SB 1309: Literally a Bill with NO Words—To Be Filled in Later—to Benefit Billionaire

Senator Ted Gaines is a GOP’er and a good guy. Good conservative, fiscally responsible and would make a super California Insurance Commissioner. BUT.

Here is the complete language of his bill, SB 1309, “xxxxx”. Not a typo, literally his bill SB 1309 has NO words. “Gaines is a co-author of Senate Bill 1309, an empty piece of legislation that was created to provide a tax break and possible exemption or expedited approvals from California’s environmental process.”

While it looks like this bill is not going to be pass, in any form, even with words, it is the type of bill that makes the public suspicious of government and tells the voter not to trust or respect legislators. The “purpose” of the bill is to give a billionaire $500 million of YOUR money, exempt him from CEQA—while your company is fined and closed down by violating this environmental law. If words were put to the bill, there would be negotiations with the legislators, the Governor and TESLA—the public would not be allowed to hear or see what is happening. Do you trust a bill without words? This is why.

felipe calderon

SB 1309: Literally a Bill with NO Words—To Be Filled in Later—to benefit Billionaire

 At 11th hour, Tesla gigafactory deal is stalling

Allen Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/29/14

As the state Legislature finishes up a two-year session, an incentive package meant to lure a giant Tesla Motors factory to California is stalling due to a lack of response by Tesla on what the company wants, one lawmaker says.

Sen. Ted Gaines said Friday that while he is still holding out hope that a deal can be reached over the weekend, he is disappointed by Tesla’s inattention.

“Tesla has not come to the table to get a deal done,” said Gaines, a Roseville Republican. “There have been offers to Tesla which they have not accepted and so I think there has to be a sense of reality of what California can and cannot do.”

Gaines is a co-author of Senate Bill 1309, an empty piece of legislation that was created to provide a tax break and possible exemption or expedited approvals from California’s environmental process. Because it is a tax proposal, the bill would require two-thirds support from the Legislature. The deadline to pass legislation to the governor is Sunday night.

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a conference call with analysts that the state landing the facility would need to offer about $500 million in tax breaks, or 10 percent of the total cost of the facility. Gaines said that number is within the realm of possibility for both California and Texas, but California hasn’t yet made any public proposal.

In order to advance legislation, Gaines said it’s his understanding that the Brown administration wanted Tesla to agree to locate the factory somewhere in California. In other words, the governor does not want lawmakers to advance a Tesla bill just so California can stay in the running for the plant the company has said will create 6,500 jobs.

The senator said he does not think Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico could cobble together a $500 million package. Those are the other states that Tesla has said were in the race.

An inquiry made with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development affirmed that there was no news on a Tesla deal. A GO-Biz spokesman suggested that an update or statement could be available Monday.

Spotted Owl Endangered Not by Man—But By Other Owl (Barred Owl)—Per Smithsonian

A few days ago the California Political News and Vie3ws reported that dead trees in the Yosemite area cannot be logged or cleared away due to concern about the “possible” endangered species, the spotted owl. By not logging or clearing the dead trees, the remains become fuel for the next wild fire. The Sierra Club prefers more tress burn, homes go up in flames, just to protect the spotted owl that doesn’t need protection for man, but from a cousin, the Barred Owl.

Half a dozen years earlier, Wiens whispered, spotted owls occupied this patch of forest. “Then barred owls were found and they’ve kind of taken over,” he said. Spotted owls have not been seen here since.

Most of the evidence that barred owls are harming spotted owls is circumstantial; that’s why Wiens and other researchers traipse the woods daily, studying how the two species fight for space and food. Still, the trend is clear. Rocky Gutiérrez, a University of Minnesota wildlife biologist, wrote in 2006 that “despite the paucity of information, many biologists now feel that the barred owl is the most serious current threat to the spotted owl.”

A wildfire rages in Buck Meadows, in the Yosemite National Park

The Spotted Owl’s New Nemesis

An battle between environmentalists and loggers left much of the owl’s habitat protected. Now the spotted owl faces a new threat

By Craig Welch., Smithsonian Magazine, January 2009

Eric Forsman tramped across the spongy ground with one ear tipped to the tangled branches above. We were circling an isolated Douglas fir and cedar stand near Mary’s Peak, the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range, scouring the trees for a puff of tobacco-hued feathers. I had come to see one of the planet’s most-studied birds—the Northern

Forsman stopped. “You hear it?” he asked. I didn’t. Above the twitter of winter wrens I caught only the plunk of a creek running through hollow logs. Then Forsman nodded at a scraggly hemlock. Twenty feet off the ground, a cantaloupe-size spotted owl stared back at us. “It’s the male,” he whispered.

Before I could speak, Forsman was gone. The 61-year-old U.S. Forest Service biologist zipped down one fern-slippery hill and up another. For years, he’d explained, this bird and its mate pumped out babies like fertile field mice, producing more offspring than other spotted owls in the range. Forsman wanted to reach their nest to see if this year’s eggs had hatched—and survived.

Every chick counts, because spotted owls are vanishing faster than ever. Nearly 20 years after Forsman’s research helped the federal government boot loggers off millions of acres to save the threatened owls, nature has thrown the birds a curveball. A bigger, meaner bird—the barred owl—now drives spotted owls from their turf. Some scientists and wildlife managers have called for arming crews with decoys, shotguns and recorded bird songs in an experimental effort to lure barred owls from the trees and kill them.

To Forsman and other biologists, the bizarre turn is not a refutation of past decisions but a sign of the volatility to come for endangered species in an increasingly erratic world. As climate chaos disrupts migration patterns, wind, weather, vegetation and river flows, unexpected conflicts will arise between species, confounding efforts to halt or slow extinctions. If the spotted owl is any guide, such conflicts could come on quickly, upend the way we save rare plants and animals, and create pressure to act before the science is clear. For spotted owls “we kind of put the blinders on and tried to only manage habitat, hoping things wouldn’t get worse,” Forsman said. “But over time the barred owl’s influence became impossible to ignore.”

When I finally hauled myself up to Forsman, yanking on roots for balance, I found him squatting on the ground looking at the curious female spotted owl. The bird, perched unblinking on a low branch not ten feet away, hooted a rising scale as if whistling through a slide flute. Her partner fluttered in and landed on a nearby branch.

Both creatures stared intently at Forsman, who absently picked at a clump of fur and rodent bones—an owl pellet regurgitated by one of the birds. Moments later the female launched herself to a tree crevice some 40 feet off the ground. Her head bobbed as she picked at her nest. Over the next hour, we looked through binoculars hoping to spy a chick.

It was here, not half a mile away, above a trickle of runoff called Greasy Creek, that Forsman saw his first spotted owl nest in 1970. He had grown up chasing great horned owls in the woods outside an old strawberry farm near Eugene, and as an undergraduate at Oregon State University he prowled the forests in search of rare breeds. One day he shimmied up a tree and poked his head inside a crack. He escaped with brutal talon marks on his cheek and one of the earliest recorded glimpses of a spotted owl nest. He also scooped up a sick chick—its eyes were crusted shut—planning to nurse it back to health and return it to its nest. When he came back, though, the adult birds had vanished, so Forsman raised the baby bird himself. It lived in a cage outside his home for 31 years.

Drawn by the romance of this obscure creature that hides in dark woods, Forsman became a spotted owl expert. He was the first to note that the birds nest primarily in the cavities of ancient trees or in the broken-limbed canopies of old-growth forests, where they feast on wood rats, red tree voles, flying squirrels and deer mice. Logging of the Pacific Northwest’s conifers accelerated during the post-World War II housing boom and continued afterward. Forsman and a colleague, biologist Richard Reynolds, warned Congress and the U.S. Forest Service that shrinking forests threatened the owl’s existence. They sent one of their first letters, to then-Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon, in 1973.

The owl population crash finally began in the 1980s, about the time the environmental movement was finding its footing. In an effort to save what remained of the old-growth forests the birds needed to survive, radical environmentalists pounded steel or ceramic spikes into firs, which threatened to destroy chain saws and mill blades. They donned tree costumes to attract attention to their cause and crawled into tree platforms to disrupt logging. Counter-protests erupted. In angry mill towns, café owners provocatively served “spotted owl soup” and shops sold T-shirts and bumper stickers (“Save a Logger, Eat an Owl”). There were lawsuits, and, in 1990, the Northern subspecies of spotted owl came under the Endangered Species Act (two subspecies in other parts of the country were not affected). A sweeping federal court ruling in 1991 closed much of the Northwest woods to logging. By the end of the century, timber harvest on 24 million acres of federal land had dropped 90 percent from its heyday. The spotted owl crystallized the power of the species-protection law. No threatened animal has done more to change how we use land.

Yet the protection would prove insufficient. Throughout their range, from Canada to California, Northern spotted owls are disappearing three times faster than biologists had feared. Populations in parts of Washington are half what they were in the 1980s. So few birds remain in British Columbia that the provincial government plans to cage the last 16 known wild spotted owls and try to breed them in captivity. “In certain parts of its range,” says Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist of the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy, “the spotted owl is circling the drain.”

Barred Owls, meanwhile, are thriving. Farther south in the Oregon woods, I crunched through dead leaves behind Robert Anthony, a U.S. Geological Survey biologist, and David Wiens, a wildlife science graduate student at Oregon State. Wiens swept an antenna through the forest, weaving it in and out of snarled branches below overcast skies. Within minutes he pulled up short. The source of his signal looked down from upslope—a barred owl. He’d outfitted the bird with a transmitter the year before.

Half a dozen years earlier, Wiens whispered, spotted owls occupied this patch of forest. “Then barred owls were found and they’ve kind of taken over,” he said. Spotted owls have not been seen here since.

Most of the evidence that barred owls are harming spotted owls is circumstantial; that’s why Wiens and other researchers traipse the woods daily, studying how the two species fight for space and food. Still, the trend is clear. Rocky Gutiérrez, a University of Minnesota wildlife biologist, wrote in 2006 that “despite the paucity of information, many biologists now feel that the barred owl is the most serious current threat to the spotted owl.”

Both barred and spotted owls, along with great gray owls and rufous-legged owls, belong to the genus Strix, medium-sized birds that lack the hornlike tufts of ear feathers common to many other owls. They are so closely related that they sometimes crossbreed, blurring species boundaries and diluting spotted owl genes. More often, though, when barred owls move in, spotted owls just disappear.

Where spotted owls are finicky eaters, barred owls consume almost anything, including spotted owls. Barred owls, typically 20 percent larger than their rivals, may take over spotted owl nests or slam into their breasts like feathery missiles. “The barred owl is the new bully on the block,” DellaSala says. A few years ago, a naturalist in Redwood National Park observed the aftermath of a murderous encounter: a barred owl with a tuft of mottled feathers clinging to its talons flapping near a decapitated, partially gnawed spotted owl. When scientists dissected the spotted owl’s body, they saw that it had been sliced and perforated, as if by talons.

No one knows precisely why the bigger birds came West. Barred owls originally ranged from Florida to Maine and west to the treeless expanse of the Great Plains. Sometime in the 20th century, the birds skipped west, possibly across Canada. Perhaps they followed settlers who suppressed fire, allowing trees to grow and providing nesting pockets. Some scientists blame the influx of barred owls on climate change; a few suggest it’s a natural range expansion. In 1990, barred owls in a forest west of Corvallis, Oregon, occupied less than 2 percent of spotted owl sites; today, barred owls nest in 50 percent of them. Barred owls have yet to saturate Oregon and California, but in a part of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest set aside for the smaller bird, barred owl nests outnumber spotted owl sites by a third. When barred owls invaded the Olympic Peninsula, spotted owls moved to higher, steeper forests with smaller trees and less food—”like moving from the Sheraton to some dive motel,” DellaSala says.

To count owls, which are nocturnal and hard to find, researchers do a lot of hooting; when the birds call back, biologists plunge into the forest toward the sound, usually at a sprint, stopping every so often to call out and listen again, the hoots echoing back and forth through the woods until human and bird wind up face to face. For spotted owls, the sound is vaguely like a cross between a muted rooster call and a French horn: “hoot-hootoot-hoo.” For barred owls, the tone is similar but the call is longer and patterned differently: “hoot-hoot-wahoot, hoot-hoot wahoo.” For a time, some researchers hoped that spotted owls were just clamming up around barred owls and there were actually more than they thought. But that hope has largely faded. “There’s evidence that spotted owls decrease vocalizations in response to barred owls,” says Forest Service biologist Stan Sovern. “But honestly, I don’t think spotted owls can just be silent somewhere and stay there. Part of their natural history is calling back and forth to one another.”

Predictably, perhaps, loggers, timber companies and politicians seized on the barred owls as evidence that logging wasn’t to blame for the spotted owl’s plight. They have called for a return of chain saws to federal woods, so far without success. But years of efforts by the Bush administration to jump-start logging in the Pacific Northwest remain the subject of courtroom skirmishes between the timber industry, conservation groups and several federal agencies.

Yet far from saying that the logging restrictions were a mistake, owl biologists largely insist that more forests must be spared, especially since heavy logging continues on state and private land. As Wiens and I peered across a timbered ridge, craning to see the barred owl’s nest, Anthony said, “If you start cutting habitat for either bird, you just increase competitive pressure.”

When barred owls started moving into spotted owl habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially proposed killing hundreds of the invaders. After an outcry from scientists and the public, wildlife managers instead plan to launch smaller studies to see if culling barred owls prompts the spotted birds to return. Even proponents of the approach acknowledge that the idea raises a thorny question: When is it appropriate to kill one species to help another?

Scientists and wildlife officials have taken extreme measures when species collide. Government marksmen on the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam shoot rubber bullets and explode firecrackers to drive away sea lions fattening up on endangered salmon. Downriver, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been relocating a colony of Caspian terns, which feast on endangered salmon and steelhead. In 2005, government contractors shot Arctic foxes outside Barrow, Alaska, to protect ground-nesting shorebirds. Not long ago, government-sponsored hunters in central Washington killed coyotes that preyed on the world’s last remaining pygmy rabbits.

A scientist in California collecting museum specimens recently shot a few barred owls near abandoned spotted owl nests. Two weeks later, a spotted owl returned to the area. “He flew up, sat in the branch and was sitting there, like, ‘Where’s my mouse?'” says Kent Livezey, a wildlife biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service and a member of the scientific work group trying to design barred owl control experiments. “He’d been hanging around.”

Joe Buchanan, a biologist at Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, advocates targeted hunts if the evidence indicates that culling barred owls creates havens for spotted owls. But he acknowledges there are limits: “We can’t push barred owls back to the Mississippi River.”

Forsman supports shooting barred owls only to determine a cause-effect relationship between the two birds. Anything beyond that strikes him as impractical. “You could shoot barred owls until you’re blue in the face,” he said. “But unless you’re willing to do it forever, it’s just not going to work.”

It would be several weeks before Forsman could tell for certain, to his delight, that the pair of spotted owls near Greasy Creek had again defied the odds and reared two young hatchlings. Yet Forsman isn’t sanguine about the spotted owl’s chances, particularly in northern areas like the Olympic Peninsula, where the barred owl concentration is high. “Whether barred owls will completely replace spotted owls…it’s not clear,” he says. “I would say the most optimistic view is that at some point we’ll end up with a population that’s largely barred owls, with a few scattered pairs of spotted owls.”

Yet after nearly four decades of tracking these birds, Forsman won’t discount nature’s capacity to surprise again. “No one really knows how this will play out in the long run,” he says. Some elements of life in these ancient moss-draped forests remain shrouded in mystery.

 

Free Market UBER—Quick: Government Regulated Taxi’s—SLOW

When government does something, there is less of the product or service involved, and the cost is higher. The same with government regulation. Uber is not regulated yet by government and it is quick. Taxi’s are heavily regulated, plus in most cities the drivers belong to a union—so they are driving for their children, their spouses and the union bosses.

(Go to the article to see the charts) “The first chart looks at wait times during a weekday. A whopping 93 percent of ride service users waited less than 10 minutes during this period. Compare that to 35 percent of taxi users who called a cab to their homes, and 39 percent who hailed one on the street. Not a single ride service user waited more than 20 minutes on a weekday; a considerable share of taxi riders did.

The next chart, showing evening ridership, reveals more of the same. Once again, more than 90 percent of ride service users waited less than 10 minutes. At this time of day the cabs performed even worse. About half of all taxi riders waited 10 to 20 minutes for a cab called to their homes, and street hails were split pretty evenly among the three wait times.”

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Uber Has an Enormous Wait Time Advantage Over Regular Taxis

In San Francisco, unlike with taxis, people rarely wait more than 10 minutes for a ride service.

Eric Jaffe, City Lab, 8/29/14

It’s become a given that ride services like Uber et al are disrupting city mobility, but for all the digital ink spilled over that trend, we don’t have much data on what exactly the disruption looks like. (That is, other than the occasionally questionable data the services supply themselves.) So it’s important for outside observers to pull the veil back a bit, and a research team at UC-Berkeley led by Lisa Rayle has done just that with a new working paper on “ridesourcing” services, as they’re calling Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and friends.

The study focused on ride-service users in San Francisco. Some were intercepted immediately after a ride, some discussed a ride they’d taken in the past couple weeks. The researchers compared their findings with two 2013 data sets on taxi ridership—one a survey conducted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the other a trip log from a local taxi company.

The report is wide-ranging and worth a full read, but here are some of the highlights. Ridesource users tended to be 25 to 34 years old (with very few over 45) and a bit wealthier than the general population. The services replaced transit trips at times (24 percent of users said their alternative would have been to take the bus) and added traffic to the network (8 percent said they wouldn’t have made the trip at all). At the same time, 40 percent of users said they drove less than before, and many trips began near a rail (28 percent) or bus (85 percent) stop, suggesting a possible transit complement.

That’s largely in line with what taxis provide for a city. But there was a glaring distinction between the ridesourcing and taxi experiences with regard to wait time. Here, Uber etc. hold an enormous advantage, according to the new study. We’ve charted some of the data on wait times below.

(It’s worth noting that the comparison isn’t precisely apples to apples; the ridesource data represents all trips, and the taxi data represents dispatches to a rider’s home as well as street hails near home.)

The first chart looks at wait times during a weekday. A whopping 93 percent of ride service users waited less than 10 minutes during this period. Compare that to 35 percent of taxi users who called a cab to their homes, and 39 percent who hailed one on the street. Not a single ride service user waited more than 20 minutes on a weekday; a considerable share of taxi riders did.

The next chart, showing evening ridership, reveals more of the same. Once again, more than 90 percent of ride service users waited less than 10 minutes. At this time of day the cabs performed even worse. About half of all taxi riders waited 10 to 20 minutes for a cab called to their homes, and street hails were split pretty evenly among the three wait times.

The weekend data confirms the weekday figures. Ridesource users wait a little longer on Saturdays and Sundays, with only 88 percent waiting less than 10 minutes, but they still get their ride long before those calling or hailing a taxi.

The wait trend held true even when comparing specific zones of the city. In Zone 1, for instance, which includes downtown San Francisco, the share of ridesource users waiting less than 10 minutes ranged from 85 percent (on weekends) to 89 percent (on weekday evenings). The lowest Zone 1 wait times for taxis, meanwhile, occurred for street hails on weekdays, when only 53 percent waited less than 10 minutes. In Zone 1 on weekday evenings, only 17 percent of people calling a cab to their home waited less than 10 minutes. And the data show that Zone 1 was by no means unique.

So the lesson—as true with car services as it is for public transit—is that people hate waiting for transportation. (About 30 percent of respondents in the present study chose “short wait time” as their main reason for using the ride service, second to “ease of payment,” at 35 percent.) And the source of ridesourcing’s advantage in this area is quite clear: the mobile system that connects drivers with the nearest passenger.

In other words, one might conclude based on this data that it’s the smartphone, more than any particular transportation service, that’s greatly disrupting city mobility. (That goes for transit riders using real-time apps, too.) The question then becomes: Why haven’t official taxi companies (if not cities themselves) invested more time and energy into developing smartphone-based services? We’ll have more on this next week in the Future of Transportation series. For now, it’s worth wondering whether all the effort being poured into the regulatory fight against Uber would be better spent creating technology that mimics its key advantage.

 

Randy Bailey: “The Bogeyman” (Water)

It is easy for those that are worried about water use to claim that the building of new homes, expanding of farms, creating new jobs will harm the environment due to the lack of water—new projects would worsen the situation. So, San Luis Obispo County and others have put a moratorium on new growth—in affect telling firms if you want to grow, go to another State, California does not want you. Plus, three bills passed the legislature that at the end of the day, gives control of all groundwater in the State to Sacramento.

Farmers and other will lose assets, without reimbursement, farms will lose value, donors and friends of those controlling the water will win and honest Californians will lose, and all will pay more for good s and services.

While this story was written in a humorous fashion, it is serious. Stop the laws and regulations, start the building! “”Start a movement. March on Sacramento. DEMAND that water storage be built DEMAND that we get a water treatment system that allows our precious water to be used more than once. DEMAND that our leaky pipes that waste — conservatively — 25 percent of the water we pump out of the ground be replaced. DEMAND that our sewage doesn’t end up in our dinner. But more than anything, stop looking for the solution from ‘without. ‘ As Pogo said, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us .'”

“So this Pogo guy is taking our water?”

ManInWater

 

The Bogeyman

By Randy Bailey, (Originally printed in the Ranchos Independent (Madera County) , Volume 10, Issue 8) (Madera County)

 

The other day I was in my office when the phone rang. It was a Ranchos resident who wanted to know how to stop the development at Highway 41 and Avenue 12.

“Why do you want to do that?” I asked.

“Well; for the water: They’re taking our water,” she said.

“So they‘rethe reason we’re at DEFCON 1 right now?”

She didn’t know what that meant.

“So they’re the reason why we can’t water outside and all of our plants and lawns are dying and why the best advice we can get is ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow .and if it’s brown flush it down’?”

“Yeah. They’re taking our water.”

”Well what about the development the other way? The one off of Road 34?”

“Them too. Definitely. No question they’re taking our water.”

“Well, Highway 41 and Avenue 12 is a done deal. That’s been in the works for decades. Short of an act of God or a nuclear holocaust, there’s no way to stop it.”

“But they’re taking our water …”

“Yeah. I got that part.”

“Can’t we get to vote on it or something?”

“You did.”

“When?”

“When you elected the people to run Madera County’s government; and the state of California’s government. You elected them to represent your interests and your interests then were closer shopping and a larger tax base so things could get done. Remember? When water wasn’t an issue, solely because we hadn’t run out yet, it was the crappy roads and· a swimming pool at the high school and a community park …”

“But our water …”

“Look. Our water problem is very real, but those developments have nothing to do with our water situation.”

“What do youmean?”

“With neither of those developments built, what’s our water situation in the Rancho’s right now?”

“It’s terrible. That’s what I’ve been saying.”

“Okay, if those developments aren’t even built, who’s using all the water in the Ranchos right now?”

There was a long silence.

“But our water …”

“WE are using all of the water. Us. Not ‘them.’ We utilize the ‘Ranchos System’ of water management where we suck it out of a depleting aquifer, use it one time, then put it into an aging septic system. Any guesses where that septic tank water is going?”

Another long silence .

“We do not have awater shortage problem. We have a water storage problem. We should be getting our water from Temperance Flat dam behind Millerton Lake …”

“Well then why don’t we?”

“Because it’s not built. ‘They’ won’t let it be built. Even in a drought year enough moisture falls on California to supply all of our water needs, but there’s no where to store it so it ends up in the ocean. Do you really want to do something about ‘our water’?”

“That’s what I called you about.”

“Start a movement. March on Sacramento. DEMAND that water storage be built DEMAND that we get a water treatment system that allows our precious water to be used more than once. DEMAND that our leaky pipes that waste — conservatively — 25 percent of the water we pump out of the ground be replaced. DEMAND that our sewage doesn’t end up in our dinner. But more than anything, stop looking for the solution from ‘without. ‘ As Pogo said, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us .'”

“So this Pogo guy is taking our water?”

What recovery? California Loses 400 MORE Good Paying Jobs

Our confused Guv Brown is giggling about the California miracle. Jobs everywhere—and he is right. If you want a low paying, no benefit, part time job—you can have it anywhere in the State. Want a good paying job, with a future, you can have it—in Texas, Florida or Nevada. A Pasadena firm making drones is moving to Reno—with a “partnership” with a local Nevada university. Pasadena is the home of Cal Tech, one of the leading technology schools in the world—but 400 professional, scientific, high paying jobs are going to Reno.

“Drone manufacturer Ashima Devices announced Tuesday that it will move its headquarters from Pasadena, Calif., to Reno, Nev., and is expected to bring about 400 jobs with it.

The jobs will be centered in researching, testing and building the company’s unmanned aerial vehicles and are expected to arrive by 2018, according to USA Today.”

Obama Jobs Tour

Drone Maker Ashima Moving HQ from California to Nevada, Taking 400 Jobs With It

By John Nassivera, Headlines and Global News, 8/28/14

Drone manufacturer Ashima Devices announced Tuesday that it will move its headquarters from Pasadena, Calif., to Reno, Nev., and is expected to bring about 400 jobs with it.

The jobs will be centered in researching, testing and building the company’s unmanned aerial vehicles and are expected to arrive by 2018, according to USA Today.

Ashima’s drones are controlled from the ground by a wearable tablet that users can strap to their arm while they move around. The devices, which are not in production yet, will be used for law enforcement, security, fire and rescue and industrial purposes.

Ian McEwan, chief technical officer at Ashima, said the company’s round Hexpuck drones can provide short-range “situational awareness” of 600 feet to almost a half-mile. He added that the Hexpucks are designed to “get to the scene, get out and get reconnaissance going.”

Larry B. Lambert, vice president of Ashima, said Nevada was a perfect place for the new HQ because of The Silver State’s can-do attitude and an educated workforce that is interested in working on drones, Area Development Online reported.

The company said it was persuaded by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Office of Economic Development and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada to move to the state.

The Economic Development Authority said Ashima will create programs with the University of Nevada, Reno, to prepare students who are looking to take on drone-related jobs, USA Today reported.

“A lot of graduates from UNR and a lot of graduates from the community college system are going to find their way to Ashima,” Lambert said.

“We want to build that community so a lot of your sons and daughters stay here and work here instead of going off to some other place.”

Los Angeles City Council Wants a Sidewalk Tax!

The City of Los Angeles admits that 40% of its streets are cracked, broken and dangerous—I wonder if the streets in war torn Gaza is as bad. The cost to fix, is estimated, at a minimum to be $1.5 billion. So, how much does this union controlled town spend to fix the sidewalks? $27 million. Not a typo. In other words, the city has no intention to fix the streets—the leadership likes the Gaza look of the community.

But, they have a plan—they want to create a “new revenue stream”. For the uninitiated, that means raising taxes. Instead of ending the union monopoly over the city, instead of reforming the collapsing pension system, instead of ending the almost half billion debt of the city will have by 2017, they want to raise taxes. Great way to make matters worse.

“While the members of the City Council droned on about alternative financing and enforcement plans, new technologies, the hiring of independent contractors, and many other related matters, the real issue is who is going to pay for the repair of the City’s tree damaged sidewalks.

The City is looking to establish “new revenue streams” so it can develop a complete and comprehensive solution for our sidewalks.”

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Now Our City Council Wants a Sidewalk Tax!

Written by Jack Humphreville, City Watch LA, 8/29/14

LA WATCHDOG-Pleading poor mouth, our City Council appears to be hell bent on dumping its obligation to repair our tree damaged sidewalks on homeowners, apartment owners, commercial establishments, and/or the general public.

The City estimates that 40% of our 10,750 miles of sidewalks are in need of various levels of repair and that the cost to fix our failed sidewalks and curbs will be at least $1.5 billion.

According to Councilman Paul Krekorian, this estimate may be based on a February 2008 Street Services report that said that 38% of the City’s properties have “some sidewalk damage.”  However, according to his rough and dirty calculations, only 12% of the linear length of our sidewalks may be in need of repair.

Unfortunately, there is no concrete information about how many of our sidewalks are in need of repair, including those segments damaged by trees and their roots, a responsibility the City assumed in 1973, overriding the 1911 state law that obligated the property owners to maintain their sidewalks.  Nor is there any information about the level of damage of these flawed segments or any distinction between residential and commercial properties.

The City is concerned about its liability for its damaged sidewalks, not only from everyday slip and fall injuries, but from the 2010 Willits v. City of Los Angeles federal class action lawsuit that alleges the City violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Accordingly, the City will devote the entire $27 million allocated for sidewalk repairs in this year’s budget to fixing City owned sidewalks that “hold the highest potential for liability and present the most significant challenges to mobility and public access to the public’s facilities.”    But more will be needed next year to fix City owned sidewalks.

The City Council has asked the City Administrative Officer and Chief Legislative Analyst to report on reconstituting the “50/50” cost sharing program for residential properties that was discontinued in 2009 because of budgetary constraints. As part of this analysis, the CAO must also determine the City’s cost of repairing or reconstructing sidewalks and compare those costs to what is available from independent contractors that are not burdened by the expense associated with City’s cumbersome bureaucracy, regulations, and work rules.

The City Council has also requested reports on two other ways to mitigate or eliminate its obligation to repair tree damaged sidewalks.  One would create a low cost Revolving Loan Program funded by the City’s taxpayers while the other would establish Assessment Districts funded by taxes on local property owners.

While the members of the City Council droned on about alternative financing and enforcement plans, new technologies, the hiring of independent contractors, and many other related matters, the real issue is who is going to pay for the repair of the City’s tree damaged sidewalks.

The City is looking to establish “new revenue streams” so it can develop a complete and comprehensive solution for our sidewalks.

 

Riverside Government High School Thinks Dumpster Diving is a Needed Life Skill for Special Education Students

Is it possible that professional educators can be this abusive to students in special education? Is this what the professional educators, teachers that belong to a union, be so heartless as to use class time to teach special education students how to “dumpster dump”? These so called professionals are teaching kids how to survive, not live, by going through dumpsters for food and bottled. These are sick people—why hasn’t the School Board fired all those responsible? Do you trust these “educators” with your children or the children or your friends and neighbors?

Seems to be these teachers should work in the White House, dumpster diving seems to be the goal of Obama for all Americans—most of his “job” creation is part time, low pay, no benefit work. Dumpster diving would help the victims of Obama economic policies.

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A Riverside High School Thinks Dumpster Diving is a Needed Life Skill for Special Education Students

By Vicki Alger, Independent Institute, 8/28/14

Apparently dumpster diving is an important life skill for special education students, at least according to some officials at Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County.

Last week news reports surfaced that special education students at Patriot High School were searching through campus trash cans for recyclables that could be turned into cash as part of a “functional skills program.” According to the Press-Enterprise:

School board members … didn’t know the Patriot High School program included an activity that had special education students sort through campus trash bins. They said they learned of the issue when complaints were posted on Facebook and then reported in the news media.

Officials have suspended the recycling activity and are reviewing the overall functional skills program…

[Jurupa Unified School District Superintendent Elliott Duchon] said…that “this is standard curriculum” for the program’s students, who routinely collected recyclables such as cans and bottles.

“Up to last week, there has not been one complaint,” he said.

Ann Vessy, Riverside County Office of Education’s executive director of special education, has said such projects are common, though some schools do it different ways.

The functional skills program is carefully tailored for special education students and is part of their individualized education programs, Duchon said. It teaches general life skills such as how to do a budget, purchase groceries and cook meals.

It sounds more like school officials are preparing students for extreme hoarding or cheapskate show auditions—or at least lives of extreme filth, based on descriptions from students and parents:

… parents blasted district officials for fostering a practice they said humiliated special education students and exposed them to germs.

“It is disgusting,” said Carmen Wells, who aired her complaints to the media after learning her autistic son was digging through trash in the hot sun while wearing heavy gloves and an apron on his first day as a Patriot High freshman.

Arianna Lizarraga, a former special education student, sobbed as she recounted her feelings while digging through trash.

“I’ve been there and it’s not easy,” she said. Lizarraga’s mother, Rhonelda Lizarraga, said her daughter hadn’t told her about her experience until news surfaced about the Patriot High incident last week.

“When she told me, it made me angry because I couldn’t protect her,” Rhonelda Lizarraga said.

School board member Brian Schafer said he could sympathize with the parents’ complaints because he is the parent of a former special education student.

“Digging through trash is not a life skill,” Schafer said. “It’s unhealthy.”

This situation is also completely avoidable. A leading reason why public school officials can be so thoughtless is they oversee a virtual monopoly with a captive clientele.

If these California parents lived in almost any other state, they could immediately transfer their children to public schools outside their resident districts or to public charter schools without huge waiting lists because they’re allowed to expand in response to parent demand, or use any number of publicly and privately financed private school scholarships. If California parents lived in Arizona or Florida they could also have nearly all the state funding students’ current school districts receive for them deposited into education savings accounts (ESAs) instead.

With those funds parents could pay for the current and future educational services that best meet their children’s needs—not those of public school officials who think lessons in rummaging through other people’s trash is all that special needs students deserve.

 

People Found Ineligible for Obamacare Coverage Must Repay Subsidies–But Never Will

This is another Obama/Brown joke. Those they allowed unwarranted subsidies will get caught and they forced to repay the money stolen. Is this like the 36,000 illegal aliens criminals given amnesty to continue their crimes on our honest citizens? Or is this like the special rights unions have to harass, bully and steal from workers that want no part of their operations? Is this like children being forced to eat what Michelle Obama wants under threat the government schools will lose money? Or when Oklahoma decides to educate its children, instead of indoctrinate them with Common Core, Obama ends protections for the schools?

Get real, a couple of people will be publicized giving money back—tens of thousands will laugh at the government. “First reported by the newsletter Inside Health Policy on Thursday, the clarification worries immigration advocates, who say many residents don’t know about the requirement. If people do not provide the necessary information, they could be deemed ineligible for subsidies and lose their coverage.”

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People Found Ineligible for Obamacare Coverage Must Repay Subsidies

The rule primarily affects immigrants. Many people have not provided sufficient documentation to prove lawful presence or citizenship in California.

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News, 8/29/14

Consumers getting government subsidies for health insurance who are later found ineligible for those payments will owe the government, but not necessarily the full amount, according to the Treasury Department.

100,000 Californians must provide proof of legal residency or lose eligibility for subsidies.

The clarified rule could affect some of the 300,000 people enrolled in a health plan through healthcare.gov. They face a Sept. 5 deadline to submit additional documents to confirm their citizenship or immigration status, and also apply broadly to anyone ultimately deemed ineligible for subsidies.

California runs its own exchange and is on a different timeline. Covered California will send notices starting next week to 100,000 people affected. They have until September 30 to respond.

First reported by the newsletter Inside Health Policy on Thursday, the clarification worries immigration advocates, who say many residents don’t know about the requirement. If people do not provide the necessary information, they could be deemed ineligible for subsidies and lose their coverage.

If found ineligible, residents could owe thousands of dollars.

Under the health law, people who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, about $11,670 to $46,680 for an individual this year, are eligible for premium subsidies to help them purchase coverage if they buy through the new state and federal marketplaces, such as healthcare.gov.

Some exceptions apply. For example, undocumented immigrants cannot enroll in coverage through the new marketplaces. And people with job-based insurance that meets the law’s requirements are not allowed to get a subsidy, no matter their income.

A Treasury official said an enrollee who gets such an advance tax credit, but is later found ineligible to have received it, would have to pay those amounts back, generally through a tax refund reduction.

Such a rule would not just affect the 300,000 immigrants who have received notices requesting additional information. It could also apply to someone who had job-based insurance, for example, but was approved incorrectly for a subsidy through the new marketplaces. If later found ineligible because of that job-based coverage, that person would also owe the government what was paid to insurers on his behalf.

What’s less clear is how much an ineligible person would have to pay.

The health law caps repayments for subsidy-eligible lower income residents to between $300 and $2,500, depending on family size and income, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But people who earn more than four times the federal poverty rate must pay any subsidies received back in full, with no cap. Whether those caps apply to people who received subsidies but were later deemed ineligible is not clear.

 

Phony Liberal San Fran: Does Not Allow Homeless to SIT at BART Stations

The city of San Francisco is a fraud. It is begging Obama to send more illegal aliens to their city. It is a city that tolerates drugs, sex and rock and roll. They love high taxes, strong regulations and hate jobs—unless they pay oodles of money.

The city has a war on the homeless—they are not allowing them to sit at a BART station. Bet if the homeless came here illegally it would explode their heads.

“People who lay or sleep in the station corridors are, according to BART police Lt. Tyrone Forte, a potential impediment to speedy evacuation. He said BART could be held negligent if an emergency were to occur and the exits were not accessible due to people sitting in the corridors.”

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Arrests Mount As BART Enforces No-Sit Policy

by Bay City News, 8.29/14

Homeless advocates are criticizing efforts by BART police officers to enforce a no-sit policy implemented in two San Francisco BART stations since mid July as being too harsh.

According to BART, the strict enforcement campaign is designed to bring the stations into compliance with California law, which requires that stations be able to evacuate safely in four to six minutes.

People who lay or sleep in the station corridors are, according to BART police Lt. Tyrone Forte, a potential impediment to speedy evacuation. He said BART could be held negligent if an emergency were to occur and the exits were not accessible due to people sitting in the corridors.

According to BART, the first infraction is responded to with a verbal warning and a possible citation. The second infraction is met with another citation, but the third infraction includes a summons for a court appearance and potentially an arrest or fine.

Since BART’s enforcement campaign began on July 21, however, critics in San Francisco have called BART’s approach and tactics inhumane, citing a high arrest rate and an insufficient number of beds available in the city’s shelters to accommodate the homeless rousted by police.

BART police began enforcing the building code at the Powell BART station and expanded their efforts to the Civic Center station shortly thereafter.

Forte said the 30 people who have been arrested at the two stations were initially contacted regarding violation of the building code, but some were arrested for either refusing to leave the station, having outstanding warrants or other infractions.

He also said that the stricter enforcement has resulted in an increase in people seeking shelter inside the neighboring BART stations.

On Sept. 8, however, BART police will begin their enforcement of the no-sit violation at the Embarcadero BART station, with enforcement at Montgomery station to follow, Forte said.

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, is a fierce opponent of BART’s enforcement tactics and approach, calling the enforcement “harsh” as well as “a misapplication of the building code.”

She said that individuals take up a small section of the large underground corridors, and in the event of an emergency, they would be evacuated as well.

“If they aren’t harming anyone, they should be left alone,” Friedenbach said.

Friedenbach said that BART police do provide homeless individuals with information about the city’s shelter resources, many of which are at capacity most nights, or difficult to access without a phone.

One of the primary resources suggested to homeless individuals by BART police is the Homeless Outreach Team, known as the HOT team, which provides case management and services to homeless people who are on the street and not using other city homeless services.

However, HOT team case manager Angella David said today that the HOT team is not accepting new cases, hasn’t been for about two months and probably won’t accept new cases until December.

David said their caseworkers are at capacity and that the city’s shelters are full almost every night. She said there is some wiggle room for people in life-or-death situations, but otherwise there are limited shelter opportunities compared to the number of people in need of shelter.

Friedenbach said that there are fewer than 1,200 beds available in the shelters city-wide, and that many of those are occupied by people with 90-day long reservations, making it difficult to provide shelter for walk-in cases and those on the waitlist.

According to the 2013 Homeless Count, a biennial tally gathered by volunteers, the San Francisco Police Department and the HOT Team, gathered by canvassing the city to count homeless individuals, 6,436 people were identified as homeless in San Francisco, with more than half of those people living on the streets, according to the city’s Human Services Agency.

With roughly 3,400 individuals living on the city streets and only 1,200 shelter beds, critics argue that the roughly 2,200 people left without a warm place during the night should not be kicked out of public places that shelter them from the elements.

 

L.A.’s Demand-Based Parking Program Moving in ‘Exactly the Right Direction’–$6 Hr. Parking Meters

Los Angeles is spending $210 million (not a typo) to promote government transportation and to make it more difficult for cars to come into the Downtown area. At midnight use of street parking with parking meters is cheap. During the day, when people want or need to be downtown, the cost of a meter can be $6 an hour (again, not a typo). The idea is to make it too expensive and difficult for the poor and middle class to be downtown—this is an area for the rich and the illegal alien—real folks are not wanted by Mayor Garcetti and his Democrat buddies—unless they waste time using government transportation.

“Two years into downtown Los Angeles’ demand-based parking program seeking to reduce traffic congestion, lower air pollution, and boost transit efficiency, parking officials say the project is improving parking availability while bolstering the city’s revenue.

Launched in May 2012 as part of a $210 million demonstration initiative, the LA Express Park program tracks downtown street parking through wireless sensors in a 4.5-square-mile area. Parking meter rates are adjusted using data from the sensor — rates increase when demand is highest, while rates are lowered in areas with less demand.”

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L.A.’s Demand-Based Parking Program Moving in ‘Exactly the Right Direction’

by Sarah Parvini. KCET. 8/25/14

Two years into downtown Los Angeles’ demand-based parking program seeking to reduce traffic congestion, lower air pollution, and boost transit efficiency, parking officials say the project is improving parking availability while bolstering the city’s revenue.

Launched in May 2012 as part of a $210 million demonstration initiative, the LA Express Park program tracks downtown street parking through wireless sensors in a 4.5-square-mile area. Parking meter rates are adjusted using data from the sensor — rates increase when demand is highest, while rates are lowered in areas with less demand.

Express Park is currently expanding into Westwood Village, with plans to extend to Hollywood in 2015, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

“Everything is moving in exactly the right direction,” said Peer Ghent, project manager of LA Express Park. “Parking occupancy in all areas has gone up, and that’s reflected by the general improvement of the economy and the impact of development downtown.”

But while more people are parking downtown, it’s hard to tell if that’s because of the burgeoning program or other factors, Ghent noted.

“It’s difficult without a control group to say what would have been if we hadn’t changed prices,” he says. “What I do know is that our revenue has gone up by 2.5 percent and the average price has gone down at about 11 percent of spaces.”

Parking in the 6,000 parking meter spots and 7,500 city-owned lot spaces that are part of the project can cost between $1 and $6 per hour. Before the program, the average hourly rate for meters in the area was $1.95 per hour. Since then, the average dropped to $1.76 per hour, LADOT data shows. Some 3,700 spaces downtown now have a rate of $.50 per hour at some point during the week.

Funded initially with $15 million in federal backing and $3.5 million in city support, the program began as a one-year demonstration project through May 2013. It has since been extended through June 2015 with funds from the city’s parking revenue.

Express Park facilitates an easier commute for Angelenos while boosting city profits, City Councilmember Mike Bonin told KCET in an interview. Parking policy should ensure public safety and a steady flow of traffic, he added, instead of primarily focusing on raising revenue.

“If there’s not a lot of demand, you can have a low rate and make it easy for people. If there’s 10 people vying for the same parking, you should charge a little more,” Bonin said. “Cost has gone down but revenue has gone up because of peak demand pricing.”

For example, there are a few options available for drivers who want to take advantage of the program. Right now, three smartphone applications developed by outside companies — ParkMe, Parker, and ParkMobile — use city data to provide information on available parking spaces, or allow user to pay for parking with cellphones.

During the budget crisis, Bonin added, the city approached parking revenue as “gold in the gutter,” looking to parking revenue to fill the city’s coffers with funds for street resurfacing and paying for police.

“I think we’ve probably gone a little too far in that direction,” he said. “It’s about time we modernize the way we did things — smarter and more efficiently.”