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Bringing fiscal discipline to a liberal state: An interview with the GOP candidate for CA state controller

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There may not be a bluer state in the country than California, although there are certainly areas of the state which are as conservative as rural Texas. Getting elected to statewide office as a Republican is problematic at best (unless you’re the Terminator).

I spoke with Konstantinos Roditis (“Kons” to his friends), GOP candidate for State Controller, about this and some other issues. I had questions on policy, politics, and challenges.

To understand the conversation better, know that the State Controller in California is the person in charge of audits, and can be described as the person most responsible for investigating fraud, waste, and abuse. Mr. Roditis pointed to California’s high-speed rail project as an obvious example of waste.

The interview

BW: What specific education and experience do you have that makes you feel qualified for the position of State Controller?

KR: I received a Bachelors in Political Science from UCSD with a focus in national and international security studies, which gave me an education on how to navigate the political bureaucracy.

I then worked for The Performance Institute, a San Diego based think tank, where I helped develop a plan for budget and pension reform in San Diego.

I’ve also run several small businesses, and so I am fully versed on what fiscal discipline looks like and what needs to happen to cut wasteful spending.

BW: What makes you a better choice than your opponent, the incumbent Betty Yee?

KR: The post of State Controller is supposed to be apolitical. The only thing the Controller should be looking at is making sure programs and projects are running in an efficient and cost-effective manner, regardless of whose pet project it might be. Ms. Yee has failed to audit several obvious wasteful projects and programs such as the high-speed rail project.

As State Controller, I will audit all programs that need it regardless of whether I like the said project or program. I’m a staunch conservative and a Federalist, so while I may not agree with many liberal programs, I recognize the right of Californians to make those decisions for themselves. I owe it to the taxpayers of California to make certain their money is being used in the most efficient possible manner; which any taxpayer, regardless of political affiliation or ideology, should want.

Betty Yee has remained silent on the politicization of fiscal policy, programs, and pension investment strategies, and in these ways, I believe she has been an absent Controller.

BW: If elected, what would be your top priorities?

KR: Well, obviously the most important thing to do would be to audit those programs that have gone unchecked for the previous four years.

After that, it is advocating sound fiscal policy through trickle-up taxation.

BW: You’ve made trickle-up taxation a big part of your platform and written about it several times. Can you explain trickle-up taxation and why you feel it is important?

KR: Sure. In business, a producer makes a product, who then sells it to a distributor, who then sells it to a wholesaler, who then sells it to a retailer. Each time the product changes hands the price increased to cover costs and profit.

In much the same way, when money is collected by Sacramento and then distributed back to the counties and municipalities, who then distribute it to their programs and services there is the potential for fraud and costs that are unnecessary. Allowing monies to stay locally saves taxpayer dollars because, in a sense, it cuts out the middleman (e.g. distributor, wholesalers, and retailers).

Trickle-up taxation keeps more taxpayer dollars locally. Giving communities the ability to address their unique needs without having to lobby Sacramento for money. It brings government to where it should be, the local level.

By implementing trickle-up taxation you will take power away from Sacramento and gives it back to local communities, where each communities needs and desires are best met instead of a centralized government agency far removed from one’s community.

For example, if San Fransisco wants a single-payer healthcare system, I may not personally think it’s a good idea, but I don’t live there and should have no say in it. With trickle-up taxation all the money for the program comes from the local population, not the state, and therefore it’s not my money going to a program in San Fransisco. Thus, it’s really about returning power and money to local communities and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse at the state level.

Further, it will create competition between California communities to have a business-friendly tax system, which will keep businesses from fleeing the state altogether to places like Texas, and rather keeps those businesses in the state but perhaps in a more business-friendly city.

BW: Turning from policy and to politics for a moment, what challenges do you see yourself having getting elected in deep-blue California, and how do you plan to overcome them?

KR: Well they are extensive, especially right now. The country is as polarized as it has been in decades, politically, and many on both sides tend to paint the other side with a broad brush, assuming they are “Nazis” or “Communists.”

While I am very conservative, whenever I’ve explained my policy ideas to liberals, they have actually really liked them. I’m willing to go anywhere and talk to anyone to speak about policy. If everyone could just get past labels and instead listen to policy, I think the voters of California will be receptive to my message, because ultimately it does help them.

BW: Last week US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was changing the Obama-era policy of not using Federal law enforcement to go after marijuana in states where it is legal. California is perhaps the most prominent of the states that have legalized recreational marijuana, via a voter-approved ballot measure. How do you feel about this?

KR: This move by Jeff Sessions is an absolute violation of state’s powers. I didn’t personally vote in favor of legalizing marijuana, but I respect the voters of California and what they want for the state is paramount. I join with Democrats and Republicans alike who are calling for Sessions to resign or be fired. Anyone who cares about states powers and an overreaching Federal Government should care about this issue, regardless of your personal stance on marijuana.

That is why if I was in the U.S. Senate I would not have voted to confirm Jeff Sessions. With his unconstitutional stance of violating state powers because of his stance on marijuana and his love of the unconstitutional and wholly un-American civil asset forfeiture programs, I could not and still cannot support him as Attorney General.

My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law not being a party hack that will support anyone because we happen to wear the same jersey.

If you want to learn more about Mr. Roditis and his policy positions, visit his campaign website here.

 

  •  Author’s disclosure: The author of this piece, who interviewed the candidate, is a colleague of the candidate, but interviewed him under the same rules as any other interview.

Benjamin Wilhelm served as a commissioned officer in the United States military for 10 years, serving one combat tour in Afghanistan. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge among other military awards. Ben has worked in a variety of private sector businesses both large and small. He is a former military and civilian firearms instructor and an advocate for veterans issues. Ben is a strict Constitutionalist who sees the Federal government as an out of control leviathan, and the federal debt as a burden that will break the country. Ben is a divorced father of two boys.

Media

Mainstream media wants you to believe the GOP’s sky is falling

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Mainstream media wants you to believe the GOPs sky is falling

The best job in the world is being an election analyst. You can say whatever you want as long as you give semi-valid reasons and even if you’re wrong, it will be unexpected factors that prevented you from being correct.

We got a glimpse of this before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election when hundreds, perhaps thousands of election analysts chimed in on various media outlets. First, we heard a steady chant about why Hillary Clinton would win. Then we got to see the shocked and occasionally tearful expressions on their faces on election day. It continued after the election when these analysts were put on the air to explain what went wrong.

Now, we’re seeing it all over again, albeit at a lesser scale. In the weeks leading up to the midterm elections, we’re already seeing crazy predictions by major commentators and news outlets claiming huge victories for the Democrats. Here’s a good example from The Hill:

Worst-case scenario for House GOP is 70-seat wipeout

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/402329-worst-case-scenario-for-house-gop-is-70-seat-wipeoutIf that pattern holds in November, the worst-case scenario for the GOP is a truly historic wipeout of as many as 72 House seats, according to The Hill’s analysis of special election results and congressional and presidential returns from 2016.

That would mark the deepest decline for either party in a single election cycle since Harry Truman ran against the “Do Nothing Congress” in 1948.

To The Hill’s credit, they noted that this worst-case-scenario is unlikely for many reasons. Nevertheless, this is a society driven by headlines and news snippets. The point wasn’t to explain later in the article why it won’t happen. They wanted to get clicks. The easiest way to do so is with shocking headlines and bold predictions.

Is it possible that the GOP will experience this “wipeout?” Absolutely. They’ve done such a horrendous job at passing their core legislation and are now pandering to moderates and independents in a last ditch effort to finish the legislative session with some wins.

Bottom line: Anyone who claims to know what’s going to happen on election day is trying to sell you something. Until it happens, they’re all just grasping at straws.

David Limbaugh asked the right question:

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Culture and Religion

Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty – Part II

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Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty Part II

Leftists incessantly issue lists of demands for the restriction of Liberty, It’s time to reverse the trend towards freedom.

This is our second part of our series of what we on the Pro-Liberty Right want for the preservation of Liberty. Part I is here.

6. The Left needs to stop trying to control private property with Intergalactic Background Checks. [aka ‘enhanced’ or ‘Universal’]

If there is one constant in the Liberty grabber universe, it’s that half of them are incessantly calling for gun confiscation while the rest deny they are calling for gun confiscation. They also love to parrot the line that it would be impossible to round-up everyone’s guns as a way of deflecting the issue. Except that those on the Pro-liberty side thought the same thing in the UK and Australia. Their Liberty grabber nightmare began with gun registration, under the solemn promise that it wouldn’t lead to gun confiscation. [Sound familiar?] Then of course at the next occasion of a serious crisis, this registration data was used for gun confiscation.

The fact is gun confiscation takes several precursor steps, the most critical being the assertion of government control over private property with Intergalactic Background Checks. Curiously enough, the Liberty grabbers tend to want language inserted into these laws mandating the reportage of lost or stolen firearms. Those types of rules are of primary importance only if the point of these measures is to turn them into a registration scheme.

7. The Liberty Grabber Left needs to stop pushing for even more controls on freedom.

It is also axiomatic that Leftists will exploit any opportunity to start ever-expansive controls over Liberty. The Left is a virtual fountainhead of new and more creative ways of clamping down on freedom. Having run out of new and improved ways of making it difficult, embarrassing and expensive to buy a firearm [While also lying about it at the same time] the Left has moved on to imposing controls over the purchase of ammunition. Then of course they also are making demands on how these are stored.

8. Stop attacking those who only wish to defend themselves.

There is nothing more loathsome than Leftists who excel at hurling insults at the country’s estimated 150 Million innocent gun owners. We’ve been labelled with almost everything from being Terrorists to baby killers for wanting nothing more than to be able to defend our families and ourselves.

Those who incessantly work overtime to demonize the innocent should keep one word in mind: Deterrence. The widespread ownership of weapons in most areas deters criminals since they don’t know who can fight back. This also explains why places with tight controls on Liberty tend to have higher crime rates. Curiously enough, for people who love the term ‘Commonsense’ they certainly don’t seem to well versed in it.

9. The Left needs to become educated about that which they want to control.

Granted, it might be too much to expect the Liberty Grabbers from knowing the difference between a direct impingement and gas piston actuation, but they should at least know the difference between a semi-auto and select fire. Nothing screams uninformed more than someone who confuses a clip with a magazine or some who uses them interchangeably in a claim that one can fire off 30 rounds in half a second.

Lack of knowedge is usually a negative in most cases, but in the realm of Liberty Control, the Leftists wear it as a badge of honour.

10. The Left needs to stop lying about guns.

We made these two separate items to prove a point. While some gaffes of the Liberty grabber elite are relatively harmless, there are those that are a danger to Liberty. It should go without saying that we live in an age in which the knowledge of the world is literally at one’s fingertips. There is no rational excuse for a lack of knowledge on the most rudimentary aspects of certain subjects. By the same token, there is no excuse for the propagation of deliberate false impressions and Lies particularly on the subject of self-defense.

One of the most infamous examples stems from the creation the phrase “Assault Weapon”:

The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

The Takeaway.

The nation’s Left has gone on for years demanding compromises on the part of the Pro-Liberty Right. It is time that they step up to the plate and show they can be ‘bi-partisan’ for once. These steps aren’t really that extraordinary, in fact they merely bolster Liberty. Some Leftists still purport to be Liberal, supporting these items would go a long way in showing that is truly the case.

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Culture and Religion

Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty – Part I

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Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty - Part I

Leftists incessantly issue lists of demands for the restriction of Liberty. It’s time to reverse the trend towards freedom.

Every ‘serious crisis’ involving firearms sees the same pattern of exploitation by the Liberty grabber Left. They immediately mount their gun confiscation hobbyhorse issuing lists of demands for restrictions on freedom. As soon as they get these new limitations, Leftists reset the rhetoric for the next go around. The pattern has always been one of compromise on behalf of the Pro-Liberty Right, only to see new demands made whenever the Left can exploit any new crisis.

Now is the time to reverse the trend of the incessant attacks on Liberty.

Millions of innocent gun owners in the country deserve a break in seeing ever tightening restrictions on their freedom because of the actions of criminals or terrorists. There are estimated to be 150 Million innocent gun owners that have upwards of 400 to 600 million firearms with trillions of rounds of ammunition. As the saying goes, if they were a problem, we would have known it by now. Despite the oft-repeated emotional argument foisted by the Liberty grabber Left, It is patently obvious that more guns in the hands of the innocent means less crime or governmental tyranny.

The past few years have seen record-setting gun sales, while that type of violence has diminished. The story has always been one of the Pro-Liberty Right compromising, while the Socialist-Left responds with new demands. It is time that they ‘gave back’ (to coin a phrase), for once they should be the ones making the making the compromises.

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” Thomas Jefferson

The degradation of Liberty should in no way be considered to be ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’. Those who claim to be ‘Liberal’ should be advocating Liberty instead of tearing it down. It should also be patently obvious that depriving the people of their means of self-defense does nothing to protect them.

Recent events here here and here, should also make it patently obvious that people will find a way to inflict violence on others. The ever-increasing limitations on Liberty pushed by people who are supposedly ‘Liberal’ on serves to make the situation far worse, with an example of an attack  in a place with severe restrictions on the possession of firearms.

Our List of Demands to reverse the trend towards Liberty.

In light of the recent ‘serious crisis’ that clearly demonstrated that Liberty Control only serves to endanger the innocent, this is our list of demands for the Conservation of Liberty.

1. Background checks should only be on the purchaser, leaving off the data on the firearm.

Ostensibly, the purpose of a Federal background check is to ‘Keep guns out of the hands’ of a laundry list of prohibited persons. So why does the 4473 form include information on the gun being purchased?

If this is supposedly only for the buyer of a gun, why do they need that information? If it is a true ‘background check’ on the purchaser, the information on the gun should be irrelevant. And yet that information is collected under tight controls, why?

Federal law “specifically forbids the government from creating a national registry of gun ownership”,  so why are they collecting that data? Unless they are lying about the purpose of the program.  It is time for the government to be finally true to it’s word, a Background check on a purchaser should just a Background check on a purchaser, nothing more.

2. The Left needs to stop wasting everyone’s time on provisions that violate the commonsense human right of self-preservation.

This includes trying to repeal or virtually rewrite the 2nd amendment based on their twisted interpretation of it’s wording. The Liberty grabber Left needs to be aware of two important points:
One, the 2nd amendment isn’t going anywhere.
Two, it only affirms the common sense human right of self-defence. This means that even if it were to carry out the Herculean task of repealing the 2nd amendment, it would have no effect.

3. Media: Stop pretending snapshot polls taken at the height of hysteria represents steady state opinions.

Any news coverage of a ‘serious crisis’ will invariably include some sort of instant poll, exploiting the raw emotion of the moment that will have ‘90%’ supporting Intergalactic Background Checks or some other restriction on Liberty. It should be obvious that a snap shot glimpse into the psyche of the moment will have wildly inaccurate results, but these are subsequently trotted out to show that ‘everyone’ wants just about every limitation on Liberty under the sun. It is also axiomatic that polls taken during normal periods that don’t exhibit the desired results will be ignored.

4. Liberty grabber Leftists need to acknowledge that background checks already exist.

Those notorious instant polls will also display the anomaly of high polling numbers on ‘background checks’. Often times this vague phraseology will be used to exploit confusion on the issue. This provides an entry for the Liberty grabber Left to interpret this to mean that just about everyone (even NRA members) are demanding Intergalactic Background Checks [Or whatever terms the Left uses to exploit this issue – enhanced, universal, etc].

In point of fact, Federal Background checks have been around for over 25 years, so when a pollster asks about ‘background checks’ many will answer in the affirmative since they know they already exist. While many on the Left will answer the same, not knowing that fact, but are desirous of even more controls on Liberty.

5. Implement the reforms on suppressors.

Despite all the research they’ve done on the subject in the movie theatres, guns with suppressors do not emit a soft ‘Phft’ with each shot. While they cut some of the noise associated with the discharge of combustion gases in the firing of a weapon, they do nothing for the mechanical noise of the cycling of the weapon or the noise emanating from the passage of the round through the air.

So while they can’t turn every handgun into a silent killer, they do protect the hearing of those practising their marksmanship as well as keep the ancillary noise level down for the neighbours of firing ranges. This is why there is no reason to restrict the sales of essentially a muffler for a firearm .

Part II will detail the rest of the items to reverse the trend away from Liberty.

 

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