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California Conservatives: Fighting National by Winning Local

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

With Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker out of the Presidential race, the debates have become a second-tier phenomenon for me. I still care about the Presidential elections, and there remains a plethora of great choices. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and US Senator Ted Cruz are my top two choices, but the next wing of candidates waiting behind them I could vote for without pinching my nose.


The third debate was great, I hear. The fireworks blew up the immoral moderators, all talking heads for the Big Media liberal establishment. Ted Cruz especially tore them up, calling out their terrible questions. Finally, the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus pulled the plug on NBC’s hosting future debates. Now Republicans need to pull the plug on the Chamber of Commerce, but that’s another blog for another day.

It’s great to be a Republican, and even one in California, but more importantly, a grassroots conservative fighting on the ground. And boy am I fighting, and more people with me. Once again, Tip O’neill had it right: all politics is local. Conservatives are learning this lesson, and finding that winning that school board or city council is not just more important, but vital to the long-term well-being of our country and our liberal (in the truest sense of the word) republican form of government. We are a republic, by the way, based on minority rights, natural law, and individual liberty. Don’t let anyone tell us otherwise. Ben Franklin called our nation “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Now it’s time to fight for keeps. It’s time to fight for in in our homes, backyards, cities. . . and our school boards.

Educational Boards of Trustees are crucial to our government, our future, and the conservative, constitutional cause. Sadly, Governor Jerry Brown rose up on California politics through the Los Angeles Community College Board. My previous state assemblyman, a union-backed (and thus union-controlled) Democrat, sat on the Torrance School Board before launching into partisan office. Imagine a deep bench of liberty-minded Republican candidates, not fighting for a federal office right away, but instead helping the team effort for the local offices. Then they win locally before taking on statewide and even national office. Republicans are succeeding at this approach in Massachusetts, and Central Mass is turning into quite a red state, if you haven’t noticed already.


Besides, national issues affect our local communities through school boards, too, and two major fights have brewed to a head in the Balanced City.

Big Labor dominates the state of California, and no one would joke or dispute that. In fact, most politicians have all but given up on fighting the collectivized liberalism of the union lobby. One state senator, who shall remain anonymous, confided to me that California students could expect no movement on education reforms – or any school related legislation – without the blessings of the California Teachers Association.

Excuse me? The labor unions did not fight for our rights in 1776, and they are not fighting for the best interests of We the People, either. They do not cast my votes, nor anyone else’s. Elected officials must do the people’s business, and labor unions, especially the public sector variety, are clearly out of synch with those values. Big Labor is now rearing its ugly head in Torrance, CA. The Service Employees International Union wants its perks and power plays, and their questionnaire to the four school board candidates exposed their penchant for helping unions, but nothing about the students (full disclosure: I am supporting the two challengers, Clint Paulson and Rick Marshall, and even donated money to aid their cause!)


The Torrance Teachers Association (TTA) is backing the two incumbents, in spite of recent controversies: three adults working in Torrance schools accused of sexual misconduct; one incumbent releasing a “false and misleading” mailer; illegal lease/lease-back construction contracts; bond measures sold one set of promises, then reneged on five months later. One candidate, conservative independent Clint Paulson, finally called out the incumbents, claiming that the President of the Torrance Teachers Association really controls the school board. In a recent twitter feed, the TTA showed their true colors, too!

And then there’s Common Core. This new curriculum has become a lightning rod of controversy, even in ultra-liberal California. Parents are not sitting out their school board elections anymore as this controversial and now deceptive and dysfunctional curriculum works its way into public schools (which have strangely become less public, i.e. open and transparent to the parents, students, and entire community).

The Republican Presidential candidates have sparred over this divisive program, and have called for its halt and removal. If nothing else, conservative presidential contenders should say “No!” to more federal involvement in our local schools.


In Palos Verdes, CA, active parents have worked hard to inform students and residents that they do not have to settle for Common Core. In an unprecedented movement against Big Business and Big Government, Palos Verdes students in droves opted out of Common Core testing.

Now the fight has descended onto Torrance, where concerned parents pushed back against “College Preparatory Math” and “Integrated Science”, and then helped set the high standards for education throughout the entire state of California. Common Core critics have slammed the new set of standards and the processes associated with it, claiming that the program wants to get rid of teachers altogether. One Torrance student commented on something I wrote about Common Core, then regretted that he could not vote in this year’s election. More people will, though, as they learn that what happens here in Torrance can influence the entire state and even the country.

In Torrance, CA, We the People are taking back local control. California conservatives are fighting over national issues, not just on the national stage, but making their voices heard at the ballot box in our backyards and front lawns. Big Labor and other federal interventions can’t succeed for the long-term when they know that they have lost the hearts and minds of local voters.


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