Reason Rips First Five & Co.


Here’s an article from Tim Cavanaugh at Reason, having some fun with Rob Reiner’s big government First Five Program.

The best part is the reference to our old friend Matthew J. Cunningham. Follow the links all the way back to a 2006 Flash Report blog post Cunningham did on the program – before he got hooked up with all that Children and Families green!

And here is a tale in The Voice of OC(EA) about how our local branch is suing the State to keep their stash from going to help support MediCal! It seems these people are really, really desperate to keep their gravy train rolling along. After all, the Executive Director of the OC branch makes $327,000 a year in salary and benefits. His job? Handing out cash. Nice work if you can get it.

Right now the First Five superstructure is tottering and about to collapse. Let’s help give it a push.

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  1. #1 by Repug Alert on April 12, 2011

    Poor Kiducrats. Everybody is now piling on.

    Don’t you people get it? It’s all about the children!

  2. #2 by TheFullertonWatcher on April 12, 2011

    Just wait the unions will soon start attacking eachother!

  3. #3 by Fullerton Rudy on April 12, 2011

    Why am I not surprised that the union mouthpiece would advertise this useless, non-accountable commission?

  4. #4 by Ruben on April 12, 2011

    How about logging in on this new article and raising some consciousness?

    http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/first-5-commissions-sue-over-state-budget-9779

  5. #6 by just a guy on April 12, 2011

    Is Cunningham still defending his work for the First 5ers? Or said he slip quietly into the night?

  6. #7 by anon on April 12, 2011

    the fun fact about this situation statewide is that the late Republican State Senator from Sacramento, Dave Cox, had introduced legislation last year to take the huge reserves that the County First 5 Commissions were sitting on. Orange County is a pittance compared to the reserves that LA County has. His legislation would have plugged part of the deficit last year. Brown has done the same thing…..

  7. #8 by Aristole on April 12, 2011

    True! Dave Cox died never accomplishing his goal. May Jerry Brown succeed!

  8. #9 by Fullerton Rudy on April 12, 2011

    He can’t be quiet because the nun who taught his third grade class told his parents he was verbose. They didn’t know what that meant but it was good for three more years’ tuition.

  9. #10 by Tony Serra on April 12, 2011

    I’m not certain Matt EVER defended his involvement. He tried to change the subject and started calling people names.

    I think if Matt Cunningham had a defense of his contract and FIRST 5 in general, he would publish it. All the more reason to think he was scamming money with his buddies Campbell and Hewitt.

  10. #11 by Socrates on April 13, 2011

    I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.

  11. #12 by Ruben on April 13, 2011

    SB 486 (being voted on today by the Health Committee) is intended to permanently divert First 5 funds to Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. More power to it!

  12. #13 by Aaron F Park aka Sgt York on April 13, 2011

    Where’s Jerbal Jubal? I love seeing his comment on every post related to Cunningham.

  13. #14 by Allan Bartlett on April 13, 2011

    Just get rid of this stupid commission once and for all. My gawd….now they are suing the state to keep their largess? They acting like a bunch of little jackals at the already picked through carcass of the taxpayers. Lastly, it’s funny to see Matt get caught up into the vortex of more bad PR for his work for this ludicrous commission.

  14. #15 by Anonymous on April 13, 2011

    Why don’t youpost something to Red County again so everyone can see Matt and his lies. The guy just needs to take a break and figure out what he truly values.

  15. #16 by schwarzeneggar Centrist Republican on April 13, 2011

    Aaron F Park aka Sgt York :Where’s Jerbal Jubal? I love seeing his comment on every post related to Cunningham.

    Jerbie is in Suite C (the COMMODE) in the Jerbie Cave….of course wearing his OC Parks ranger uniform…Urell is ministering to him in his time of need and Jonny “I am the FleshMan” Fleischmann is filming it with his FlashCam…look for it to be broadcast on YouToadTube

  16. #17 by Cynthia Ward on April 13, 2011

    Ew….

  17. #18 by Ruben on April 13, 2011

    Dutton deferred the bill until next year – though I was for it, it not being on the ballot makes it clearer what they are doing this year.

  18. #19 by Ruben on April 13, 2011

    Dudes – Matthew Cunningham himself comments on the Reason article – at the bottom

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/04/07/stivic-stymied-in-finale-of-fi#commentcontainer

  19. #20 by Fullerton Rudy on April 13, 2011

    Oh boy! Cunningham vs. Moxley. Game over!

  20. #21 by DeForest Tree on April 13, 2011

    This would be great John and Ken stuff.

  21. #22 by Ruben on April 14, 2011

    Other than the need for funding Medi-Cal – which is the main issue right now – the problem with First 5 is its exemption from conflict of interest for its Boards.

    >>> The exemption from conflict of interest that allows the Commissions to fund PRIMARILY Commissioner agencies and should be changed. The incentives it creates for potentially illegal decision making for instance, against employees who could make complaints about misbehavior within the organization are very high.

    >>> Why do you think EVERY OTHER agency in CA does not allow its Board members to receive funds? Because everyone knows that people are fundamentally too greedy to allow that and that it will influence their fiduciary duty.

    >>> So, if you were a Commissioner on one of those Boards, and if the choice is between the potential of a noisy lawsuit for, e.g. improper hiring practices such that it might bring negative attention and thus risk the continued funding, which way do you think you and the commission lawyers would push? It’s really a no brainer – you’d choose the money and that’s why we have conflict of interest laws for public agencies – except of course, First 5. I believe that somehow the voters did not understand that this was a risk they were undertaking when it squeaked by.

    >>> I believe strongly in employee rights and have concerns about this sort of thing occurring given that the Commissioners are now using the taxpayers’ funds to try to keep the funds for themselves. The funds belong to the taxpayers, not to the Commissioners. The action to sue makes me even more concerned about the exemption from conflict of interest as I believe that Commissioner self interest is driving the lawsuits and the taxpayer should be made aware of this.

    >>> I do not disagree that, on a case study basis (which is not good enough generally), that some good ideas may have come from First 5 – but there has to be another way to do it.

    >>> So, perhaps a higher tax on tobacco or on the wealthy, if that money is given to CPS or another county agency DIRECTLY and does not pass through the self-interested grip of the First 5 Commissioners.

  22. #23 by Amen on April 14, 2011

    The County Health Care Agency Director is an automatic member. The In Orange County the CEO also gets an appointment (WHY?!). The CEO has designated the Social Services Agency Director as his appointee. So now you have two agency members who also just happen to work for the Chairman Bill Campbell – who is their boss as the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

    Have hey ever voted against anything Campbell wants? Want to make a bet?

  23. #24 by Ruben on April 14, 2011

    The person who is now the First 5 lobbyist wrote the First 5 law for the most part.

    Here are my opinionated guesses as to why she wrote into a law the provisions that she did, including that the foxes can guard and eat from the hen house:

    1) the Commissions have to have a Bd of Sup member on them – that provides some built in media support as papers like to have access to supervisors; and it makes sure that the Commission is visible; that they rotate off ensures that there is always a visibility of the agency at the county board level.
    2) the exemption from conflict of interest: probably political payback to her friends; the most stupid provision IMO – these lawsuits would not be happening if it were not in there
    3) she was probably fishing for the lobbying job as she wrote the thing, given that the assn she runs gives her a personal private hers-only defined benefit pension – not sure if her staff gets that too.
    4) a huge budget for marketing could ensure that anytime there is opposition a lot can be spent on countering opinions.

  24. #25 by Amen on April 14, 2011

    The State level revenue siphons off 6% of the total rake for statewide PR. So why the hell does the local commission have to spend a nickel lobbying and PRing?

  25. #26 by Ruben on April 14, 2011

    Well, here’s my theory and maybe that will help: the state and a few of local have split in this case to some extent. I have not heard of the state level and the local level to have split on anything before, so I am sure some people are feeling some heavy anxiety about what’s going on.

    So why have they split? Because they let the Commissioners guard the money and eat it too – and the Commissioners have come to believe that the money is theirs, at least locally, and so they are breaking from the state level and running their own campaign because they really now think it is their own money – not just First 5 money, their OWN, PERSONAL money.

    On top of that, at least one Executive Director thinks its her OWN, PERSONAL money, and she is listed as a plaintiff to seek the return of what she now believes is her rightful money, which is just laughable.

    It just is NOT their money, but since they were led to believe by the language of Prop 10 that they could eat all the money they want for themselves, IMO – they feel they can spend it on PR, whether through legal fees to hide that it’s PR or because they really are so blinded now that they think they can impact a judge’s reading of the language by complaining about it.

    They’ve just had no real experience until AB 99 with anyone exercising ANY power over them, so they are acting, IMO, like little children who have a toy taken away from them by their parent for the first time – they scream. I really think it’s that simple.

  26. #27 by Anonymous on April 14, 2011

    Are you the real Tony Serra? and are you saying that you think Matt Cunningham was scamming money with his buddies?

  27. #28 by Fullerton Rudy on April 14, 2011

    He’s says FFFF “cherrypicked” his billings out of context! Now that’s hilarious. Still throwing a bunch of useless words at his problems. But they never seem to go away.

  28. #29 by Travis Kiger on April 14, 2011

    Just to be safe, we should post the whole stack.

  29. #30 by Fullerton Rudy on April 14, 2011

    Heart attack in Suite C!

  30. #31 by Sacreamento Insider on April 15, 2011

    There is a lot of ignorance in several of these posts. You folks need to go back to Proposition 10 and read the proposition. It establishes the state commission and the 58 county First 5 commissions and the split of the tax money levied on tobacco products sold in the 58 counties. Instead of spouting crap and making up your own “facts”, read Proposition 10 which the State/State Controller/and the 58 Counties must follow.

  31. #32 by Tony Serra on April 15, 2011

    Why is Matt so afraid to debate this over at RED COUNTY?

    Has Chip fobid him too, or is he really afraid of being exposed further to his “BASE” of blind followers.

    Seems to me the boy is hiding!

  32. #33 by Finally Cunningham Speaks! on April 22, 2011

    Cunningham defends First Five:

    “Unlike the typical government agency, the Commission doesn’t look for ways to perpetuate itself but operates on the presumption that it will wind down and eventually cease to exist. it lives within its means, and when Prop. 10 revenues declined, it cut back rather than agitate for more money (unlike your typical government agency).

    If the state government were operated in the manner as the Commission, we wouldn’t be facing chronic deficits. I have encountered few public agencies run more conservatively and prudently than the “liberal” Children and Families Commission of Orange County.”

    I think I read this same horse shit once coming out of the mouth of Supervisor Bill Campbell!

    Then there’s this gem from Cunningham:

    “And calling First 5 “socialism”: regardless of whether you’re for or against it, it isn’t socialism, and calling it that drains meaning from the term.”

    Um, taking peoples money and giving it to somebody else for no reason except the government can do it is the very essence of socialism!

  33. #34 by Ruben on April 23, 2011

    the lawsuits by 5 First 5s are proof that First 5s are very much interested in self-perpetuation.

  34. #35 by Mid County Blues on April 23, 2011

    Right. Why lobby unless you really care about keeping your mission going?

  35. #36 by Ruben on January 19, 2012

    new First 5 Commission information site:

    http://www.flopped5.org/index.html

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