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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.

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Guns and Crime

Will school shootings be the next step toward a nationalized police force?

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The recent shooting at Santa Fe High School outside Houston, TX, that resulted in ten dead and thirteen wounded is fueling another round of demands by liberals in Congress to pass more anti-gun laws “to protect our kids” with some blaming the NRA for preventing such laws from being passed.

While conservatives and those who claim to be conservative willingly point fingers at the Democrat side of the aisle, the sad fact is that many Republicans agree with Democrats on the issue of gun control.

For example, after blaming local police for the Parkland, FL. high school shooting in February, Trump held a bipartisan meeting with members of congress where he openly supported the idea of seizing guns from Americans who committed no crime, even if it violated their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

Weeks later, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos wrote an opinion piece praising Trump for signing the disastrous Omnibus bill because it contained over $700 million to fund the STOP School Violence Act to pay for so-called mental health services designed to prevent school shootings. DeVos’ rhetoric aside, Rep. Thomas Massey (R-KY) stated in an interview with Conservative Review at the time that the STOP SVA essentially nationalized public-school safety.

I think that nationalizing public-school safety is the ultimate goal of big-government progressives. It’s been building for quite some time now, and I think the hype over recent school shootings will be the thing that puts it over the top.

The desire to create a nationalized police force began gaining traction under the Obama administration. Consider the actions of the Congressional Black Caucus following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. In a letter to then-president Obama, the CBC demanded the appointment of a Police Czar to give the feds control over the local police. Not long afterward, Al Sharpton called for a march on Washington to demand the DOJ to take control of the police nationwide.

Though neither of these efforts came to fruition, Obama succeeded in laying the groundwork for a nationalized police force by leveraging a series of tragedies into policies giving the DOJ control over local police forces in several communities across America.

Trump has bought into the idea of federal control of local police since becoming president, threatening to “send in the feds” in January, 2017 to clean up Chicago after a FOX News report about gun violence in the Windy City.

Shortly after the Santa Fe tragedy, Trump demanded action “at every level of government” which is exactly what he said following the FL shooting. This led to the creation of a host of anti-Second Amendment proposals by Republicans and Democrats designed to disarm Americans and place armed security in every public school.

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with working to make schools safer, but with Washington working 24/7 to limit our Constitutional rights, should we give the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security that power?

Before you answer, do you remember how George Bush and a fully compliant Congress federalized airport security and created The Transportation Security Administration in the name of “safety” following 9/11? Besides creating tens of thousands of lifetime unionized government jobs, and the likely violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, these “transportation security officers” have been an abysmal failure.

Federal control of school security essentially creates a type of nationalized police force. Doing it “for the children” doesn’t change that.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Kentucky Primary

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Kentucky is the state that gave us Rand Paul. He is the biggest highlight, however he is not alone like Ben Sasse in Nebraska. Thomas Massie is also a strong Conservative. This primary has a chance to unseat a major swamp creature. Aside from this one race, there wasn’t much action to be had. Mitch McConnell shows that Kentucky does not have a rich history in holding bad politicians accountable. So if there are any Conservative victories in Kentucky, they should be celebrated vocally.

Best Pick: Geraldo Serrano
Worst Picks: Harold Rogers, Chuck Eddy, Andy Barr
Best Race: District 5
Worst Race: District 6

District 1

James Comer is more fiscally responsible than most RINOs, but he still voted for Omnibus. He is unopposed.

District 2

Bill Gutherie is an unopposed RINO.

District 3

Three Republicans look to win Louisville. The first is Vicky Glisson. She is running a limited issues campaign focused on drugs, healthcare, and a hint of fiscal responsibility. Next is Rhonda Palazzo, the most upfront Conservative in the race. She is a real estate agent and devout Christian. Her stance is overly simplistic, to a fault. Lastly is Mike Craven. His platform is also too simplistic. This race is a three way crapshoot in terms of determining the best candidate.

Conservative Pick: Rhonda Palazzo

District 4

Since 2012, Thomas Massie has been a solid Conservative. He is unopposed.

District 5

Harold Rogers is a decades experienced swamp creature, 33 years in the making. Gerardo Serrano is his challenger. Serrano has Rand Paul potential in both foreign and domestic policy, such as FISA. His website features a unique story of him and a county sheriff, where he held a sheriff accountable when the 2nd amendment was in danger. (The sheriff wasn’t a villain in the story).

I especially like his twitter handle. Geraldo Serrano is a strong candidate, and we desperately as a nation need to unseat swamp monsters such as Harold Rogers.

Conservative Pick: Geraldo Serrano

District 6

Andy Barr is another RINO with a horrendous spending record. He is being challenged by Chuck Eddy. This was a huge disappointment.

I don’t believe he realizes how much a massive walking contradiction he is.

Conservative Pick: None, Barr will undoubtedly win

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Georgia Primary

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Georgia is another state in the deep South that does very little to advance Conservatism in the country. Conservative Picks has thus far shown that the South is not as Conservative as stereotyped. Arkansas sends a bunch of RINOs and so too does Georgia. However, what is remarkable about Georgia is that none of the Republicans except for the awful Senator Iksakson are career politicians. He’s the only one exceeding 12 years other than Democrats, of which, he might as well be. Still, that is something to say about Georgia. The state has a lot of newer faces and most are sycophantic to Trump’s reckless spending agenda. Georgia has some strong Conservatives running to unseat incumbents. The Governor’s race was an additional focus of the Georgia addition because of previous coverage of the candidates involved.

Best Picks: Jody Hice, Shane Hazel, Philip Singelton, Hunter Hill
Worst Picks: Drew Ferguson, Rob Woodall, Rick Allen
Best Race: District 10
Worst Race: District 12

Governor

In the past NOQ Report has interviewed Hunter Hill. He is a strong candidate, with a goal to eliminate the income tax of the state, after fixing the budget. While Casey Cagle, the Lt. Governor is a favorite, forcing a runoff election is best for Conservatism in the state.

Conservative Pick: Hunter Hill

District 1

Earl “Buddy” Carter has been in the seat for three years and has proven to be a RINO with a Liberty Score of 48. He is unopposed.

District 2

This is a blue district. Herman West Jr. is unopposed in this primary.

District 3

After one year in office, Drew Ferguson has proven to be sycophantic to Trump’s reckless spending. The incumbent RINO has shown itself. However, he is being challenged by Philip Singleton. Singleton is campaigning on the exact shortcomings of Ferguson previously described. Fiscal responsibility is a pillar of his campaign as is not funding Planned Parenthood, something the incumbent has failed miserably at. The decorated veteran is also strong on immigration and for free trade.

Conservative Pick: Philip Singleton

District 4

This is another blue district and Joe Profit is unopposed.

District 5

There is no GOP contender.

District 6

Karen Handel is cut from the same cloth as Ferguson. She is unopposed.

District 7

Rob Woodall is yet another RINO. Challenging him is Shane HazelNOQ Report has actually been covering this primary for a while now. You can read his interview with editor Benjamin Wilhelm. Hazel is a strong Conservative and picked up a key endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus.

Conservative Pick: Shane Hazel

District 8

Adam Scott is another sycophantic RINO. He is unopposed.

District 9

Doug Collins has been in the game for seven years and is mediocre at best. He’s a spender. He is unopposed.

District 10

Jody Hice is a Freedom Caucus member and has only held the seat since 2014. His Liberty Score of 91 is the highest in Georgia. He has two opponents looking to force him into the runoff election. Bradley Griffin is the first opponent. He has one of the worst websites I’ve seen, functionally speaking. His platform is strong. In fact, it doesn’t seem as though he opposes Hice on any issue. The second opponent is Joe Hunt. The probably RINO warning is sounded at his campaign motto “Traditional Values and Sensible Politics.” It’s far too easy to find a social conservative but a real Conservative is more difficult. All signs point to Hunt running from the left such as his support for Net Neutrality.

Hice and Griffin are strong Conservatives, but Griffin lacks a record of action, of which Jody Hice is exceptionally strong. Because of that, voting for him is too great a risk. It would have been ideal for Griffin to have been in another District.

Conservative Pick: Jody Hice

District 11

Barry Loudermilk is like milk. He will only get worse over time. (This pun was unplanned.) He is unopposed.

District 12

Omnibus was one of a few times where Rick Allen remained fiscally Conservative. Eugene Yu looks to unseat him for the third time. Unsurprisingly, as a legal immigrant, his stance is strong. He also running as a fiscal hawk. We’ve seen this plenty of times before, but he doesn’t have any contradicting campaign talk on these matters. Rick Allen may have voted against Omnibus, but his record isn’t strong enough.

Conservative Pick: Eugene Yu

District 13

There is a race to turn the district red between Femi Akinkugbe and David Callahan. This was relatively easy to decide. Akinkugbe is for raising gun rights from 18 to 21. Callahan is a much stronger pick, having been involved with CPAC and a stronger stance on other issues. Interestingly enough, neither voted for Trump in the primaries. Akinkugbe voted for Rubio and Callahan for Fiorina. Either way, Akinkugbe isn’t a Conservative.

 Conservative Pick: David Callahan

District 14

Tom Graves is an incumbent RINO. He is unopposed.

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