In Texas V. California, Results, Not Intentions, Matter Most –Chuck DeVore

It is not a fair bit of competition between California and Texas. The former Golden State has the highest taxes, the worst regulations, Jerry Brown, Democrats/unions running the State.

Texas has Rick Perry, low taxes, business friendly, highest rate of new jobs in nation, allows fracking and believes in business, not government.

Yes, Texas does have growth problems—because of too many California middle class and companies fleeing to the Lone Star State.

“Once again, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.4%, according to a new Census Bureau report that takes into account the variable cost of housing from state to state as well as noncash benefits such as housing vouchers and food stamps. (The official poverty measure assumes the same costs throughout America.)

This broad poverty measure shows that Texas’ poverty rate dropped to 15.9%, the national average. Along with the nation’s highest poverty rate, California, with one-eighth of America’s population, has one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

Want opportunity, go to Texas. Want welfare, go to California. Go Cowboys!

Flag_of_Texas

In Texas V. California, Results, Not Intentions, Matter Most

By CHUCK DEVORE, Investors.com, 11/28/14
When it comes to poverty, the two biggest states, California and Texas, offer a vivid contrast: Results matter more than well-meaning intentions, and work beats welfare.

Once again, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.4%, according to a new Census Bureau report that takes into account the variable cost of housing from state to state as well as noncash benefits such as housing vouchers and food stamps. (The official poverty measure assumes the same costs throughout America.)

This broad poverty measure shows that Texas’ poverty rate dropped to 15.9%, the national average. Along with the nation’s highest poverty rate, California, with one-eighth of America’s population, has one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

Its state and local taxes are a whopping 52% higher as a share of income than Texas’. In fact, California could completely eliminate its income tax, the nation’s highest, and it would still pull more money from its residents than does Texas.

The states where 1-in-5 Americans call home are both minority majority states. Hispanics make up 38% of the population in both, while 12% of Texans are black vs. 7% in California.

In spite of California’s generous welfare programs designed to lift people out of material poverty and its heavy progressive tax burden intended to “spread the wealth around,” the Golden State has 47% more people living in poverty on a per-capita basis than does Texas.

Breaking down the numbers by the three largest demographic groups, an average of 9.7% of white, non-Hispanics in Texas were in poverty from 2009 to 2012 vs. 14.8% in California.

Among blacks in Texas, 19.9% were in poverty, tied with North Carolina for the lowest rate among the 12 most populous states vs. 30.1% in California. For Hispanics of Mexican national origin, the poverty rate was 22.6% in Texas vs. 34% in California.

As for schools, according to the U.S. Education Department, Texas tied with Nebraska, Vermont and Wisconsin for the nation’s second highest high school graduation rate at 88%. Iowa was first. California came in 30th, with a high school graduation rate of 78%, just behind West Virginia.

But graduation from high school means little if it’s accomplished through social promotion. In the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Education Department’s national standardized test, Texas also bested California in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading.

(California students do typically outperform their Texas counterparts on the SAT — but that’s because a far higher percentage of Texas students take the SAT in the first place.)

If the economy is strong, a solid education prepares young people for the workplace. From 2009 to 2012, 69% of Texans ages 24 to 64 were employed vs. 67% in California. Among African-Americans, the employment gap was huge, with 63% employed in Texas vs. 56% in California.

Since 2009, as California’s job market recovery has added 618,000 jobs, Texas’ has added 1.1 million. But California is larger than Texas. As a portion of the employment base, Texas has seen a 10% expansion of jobs in the past 5-1/2 years, more than double California’s anemic 4% rate of job growth.

Once people have work, their paychecks go further in Texas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Lone Star State’s real per capita personal income in 2012 was $41,733, 7% higher than California’s $38,888 — and that was before taxes.

California’s big-government model is one well-worn path — and it isn’t working for the poor. The Texas model offers a compelling alternative: A dynamic economy with robust job growth fostered by low taxes and a predictable regulatory environment is far better at lifting people out of poverty.

For human dignity and well-being, a job beats a government program every time.

The last major round of welfare reform was completed in 1996. It’s time to revisit how best to reduce poverty in America.

Policymakers would be well advised to look to Texas for inspiration.

• DeVore is vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and served as a California state assemblyman from 2004 to 2010.

Middle Class to Subsidize “Affordable Housing” for Poor in Mountain View—Creating a Caste System in California

Why is California in a Depression? Look to Sacramento and the State mandate that the middle class pay higher prices for homes and rent in order to subsidize the poor and illegal alien housing. This adds to the economic push of the middle class to Texas, Tennessee and other rational States. As the subsidies go up, affordability of housing for the middle class—and the quality of homes for the middle class—goes down.

“Mountain View is considering raising fees on new construction to fund affordable housing, a move developers say would shift projects to other towns. But City Council members say the move is necessary because of a decrease in government funding for the projects.

Last month, the City Council proposed increasing a range of affordable housing fees and is now gathering community input ahead of a public hearing on Dec. 9. The city requires that developers pay the fees to help build more affordable houses for low-income residents.”

The more the subsidies, the higher the cost for the middle class. This is really an effort to make California the “India” of the western world—a caste system of just two classes—the very rich, the very poor—with a lot of poorer paid illegal aliens.

SantaMoney

Mountain View May Raise Developer Fees to Fund Affordable Housing

By Yuqing Pan, Peninsula Press, 11/29/14

Mountain View is considering raising fees on new construction to fund affordable housing, a move developers say would shift projects to other towns. But City Council members say the move is necessary because of a decrease in government funding for the projects.

Last month, the City Council proposed increasing a range of affordable housing fees and is now gathering community input ahead of a public hearing on Dec. 9. The city requires that developers pay the fees to help build more affordable houses for low-income residents.

Fees for affordable housing construction are already generating resistance from developers. The California Supreme Court is expected to rule on a legal challenge to a San Jose ordinance that had required housing developers to include affordable units for low-income buyers on new projects.  Some Mountain View  City Council members have suggested that the city wait until that ruling before adjusting their own fees, but other members think the city shouldn’t wait.

“We should at least begin the process of upping those fees now. If the Supreme Court comes down and says ‘no,’ then we suspend the rule. But if we don’t [increase the fees] now, we are going to lose another two years worth of fees,” City Councilman Mike Kasperzak said.

Mountain View attempted to increase affordable housing fees during the last housing boom in 2005, but the effort failed.

For new office construction, the council is considering roughly doubling the $10.26 fee per square foot. Fees on for-sale housing and rental apartment buildings could also see a rise.

“We need more affordable housing,” said City Council member Ronit Bryant. “Housing prices in Mountain View have been so high for so long, the city is losing its diversity, in terms of people at different income levels.”

Bryant is advocating taking advantage of the building boom to support affordable housing. The city is currently reviewing more than 20 new development projects.

But Patricia Sausedo — a policy consultant at the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area, a coalition of developers — said it was unfair for the city to just look “at development industries to resolve what is really a social issue in Silicon Valley.”

Sausedo warned that a fee hike could discourage developers from building more houses in Mountain View, where there is already an inadequate supply to meet demand.

“Developers will go to locations where there isn’t such a fee. If you look at all the cities in the Bay Area, there are many cities that have no impact fees,” she said in an interview.

It could mean higher housing prices in the future, Sausedo said.

Kasperzak said he believed developers would continue to build in Mountain View regardless of the fee.

“It is possible that developers may think it’s too expensive to build, but right now there’s still too much money to be made in housing around here,” Kasperzak said.

Mountain View isn’t the only city that has affordable housing fees. Cupertino, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale also implement similar fees, with Palo Alto being the most aggressive.

“It’s simply that the developers are going to take less profits, honestly,” said Lydia Tan, senior vice president of real estate advisor Bentall Kennedy (US) LP, who has 25 years of experience developing affordable housing.

The question then becomes a matter of balance between the need to provide more affordable housing and how much developers can bear. Tan suggested that the city scale up the fees over time to give developers some leeway.

Kevin Zwick — CEO of Housing Trust Silicon Valley, a nonprofit organization that loans money to affordable housing projects — said he was glad to see Mountain View taking the need for affordable housing seriously.

Mountain View is also the only city in Santa Clara County that charges a fee on rental housing, which started in 2012.

“Mountain View is leading the way in our county in showing that you can both raise a significant amount of funding for affordable housing, while at the same time making sure that residential and commercial development still happen,” Zwick said.

Affordable housing fees became crucial when both state and federal funds were slashed in recent years.

State redevelopment agencies provided nearly $1 billion every year for local affordable housing projects across California before they were disbanded in 2012, according to Zwick.

Mountain View was able to use $10.6 million of redevelopment money to build the Franklin Street Apartments before the dissolution. The complex has seen more than 400 applications competing for 51 units — so many that the city had to close the wait list.

Elena Pacheco, 56, a part-time teacher in Mountain View, said she had been on the waitlist for affordable housing for seven years, but still has no clue when she could get it. Until then, she rents an apartment on California Street for $3,000 a month and shares it with two roommates to afford the rent.

But last December, Pacheco got an eviction note from her landlord, giving her two months to move out. Several days after receiving the note, Pacheco passed out at work and was later diagnosed with a brain tumor. After a legal fight with her landlord, she was able to stay, but was given a $700 rent increase.

“When you talk about Mountain View, people think you are so lucky. All these giant companies, and everything is so cool. Not for me, not for my hardworking people,” Pacheco said.

 

Confused Guv Brown to Use His 1976 Law to Finalize Theft of Private Property on Coast

In 1976 a younger confused Guv Brown led the battle for the State to steal private property—by creating a Coastal Commission to tell people, in some cases 75 miles from the ocean—how they can use their property, if they can use their property and what the bribe, ur fee, is to payoff government for the use of private property.

I have a friend who moved from Santa Clarita Valley to an area near Corpus Christi, Texas, over looking the ocean. He has 2.5 acres, a 3500 sq ft home, for $350,000.   Imagine the cost of that home if it was in Malibu or Morro Bay? That is why Texas is prosperous and California is a dying State—a suicide.

Imagine in America it is illegal to block access to private property. In fact, thanks to Guv Brown and the Coastal Commission, there is no private property in California. Isn’t that the definition of socialism, government control of property?

“On top of the financial challenges, some property owners illegally post no-trespassing signs or padlock fences.

The California Coastal Trail was created as part of the 1976 Coastal Act. The law was designed to protect the coastline from environmental degradation and give all Californians the right to use the beach.

But it’s been a huge, costly effort to try to connect nearly 1,200 miles of shoreline that runs through San Diego Bay, Venice Beach, Monterey, Mendocino and on up the coast. It gets even harder when you consider that the trail needs to be as close to the beach as possible, and that the ideal route runs through some of the state’s most populous areas on private land.”

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After Almost 40 Years, California Coastal Trail Still a Work in Progress

By Vinnee Tong, KQED, 11/29/14

Think hiking in California. What comes to mind? Maybe the Pacific Crest Trail, thanks to the Cheryl Strayed memoir, “Wild,” and the upcoming movie starring Reese Witherspoon. But have you heard of the California Coastal Trail?

Your answer may be no, partly because it’s not yet complete. The problem is that it runs through many people’s backyards, and even though the public has a right to access it, it has taken almost 40 years to build. But earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that could finally help finish the trail, and open it up to everyone.

The nonprofit Coastwalk California leads the effort to complete the trail. Each year Coastwalk volunteers take hikers into the wilderness to let them get closer to nature.

“That really is our goal, is to get people out to experience it firsthand and up close,” says Coastwalk volunteer Stan Bluhm. “And if you’ve experienced it, you’re much more likely to love it, and be willing to do what it takes to protect and preserve it.”

On top of the financial challenges, some property owners illegally post no-trespassing signs or padlock fences.

The California Coastal Trail was created as part of the 1976 Coastal Act. The law was designed to protect the coastline from environmental degradation and give all Californians the right to use the beach.

But it’s been a huge, costly effort to try to connect nearly 1,200 miles of shoreline that runs through San Diego Bay, Venice Beach, Monterey, Mendocino and on up the coast. It gets even harder when you consider that the trail needs to be as close to the beach as possible, and that the ideal route runs through some of the state’s most populous areas on private land.

On top of the financial challenges, some property owners illegally post no-trespassing signs or padlock fences.

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge ruled that companies representing Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla have been violating the California Coastal Act by closing the gate on public access to Martins Beach, just south of Half Moon Bay.

“Californians have really come to expect that the beach belongs to everyone, which is true. It does,” says the California Coastal Commission’s legislative director, Sarah Christie. “But it doesn’t mean much to say the beach belongs to everyone if you can’t get to the beach.”

You may have heard of the controversy over Martins Beach, near Half Moon Bay. Property owner Vinod Khosla closed a gate to keep people out. The Surfrider Foundation sued for access and won, and the state Legislature passed a law to ensure the beach is open to everyone.

In July, Gov. Jerry Brown gave the commission the authority to fine violators who block public access. Fines can reach $11,000 a day. Christie says the agency hasn’t used its new authority yet, but that may change.

She says the commission is ramping up its program to fine violators.

The commission has about 2,000 complaints on its backlog of public access violations. Some of those violators have been blocking access to the California Coastal Trail. At Paradise Cove near Malibu, the property owner has been charging people to park near the beach and threatened surfers with trespassing charges.

If property owners near the beach cooperate, that would be a major step forward in completing the trail. And, of course, one of the biggest obstacles is funding, according to Coastwalk California Executive Director Una Glass. Her group organizes the fundraising hikes.

The state funds the trail through the Coastal Conservancy, but it’s not a dedicated funding source. The money is sporadic. So Glass says they need more money to buy easements and literally build the trail in some places. It’s about two-thirds complete.

And there’s been progress recently. Rancho Palos Verdes started construction, and Half Moon Bay added a new section of trail. And in San Diego County, the California Coastal Trail is just about done.

Groups Sue NorCal County Over Work With Federal Wildlife Agency

This is great—a “non-profit” organization is suing a Federal agency because it has not allowed wild animals to harm local communities. The infamous environmental impact report is needed, they say, to determine if the government should be allowed to protect the public. These folks, obviously regular visitors to Denver, believe the role of government is to stop the public from using public property and that wild animals are needed to keep kids from visiting the great outdoors.

“The suit, filed in the Superior Court of California in Mendocino County, claims that the county failed to submit its $142,356 contract with the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division to proper environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. Under the terms of the contract, Wildlife Services kills hundreds of coyotes, foxes, bears, and other animals in Mendocino County each year, without assessing the environmental impact of its work as required under state law.”

At what point do the people demand the courts to throw out such suits, make those bringing them pay the government—the taxpayers—for frivolous suits like this. Elitists love high taxes and government control—this is an example of radicals gone wild.

Photo courtesy of prayitno, flickr

Photo courtesy of prayitno, flickr

Groups Sue NorCal County Over Work With Federal Wildlife Agency

by Chris Clarke, KCET, 11/25/14

A coalition of wildlife protection groups filed a lawsuit against Mendocino County on Tuesday, charging that the county’s contract with a controversial federal wildlife agency violates state environmental laws.

The suit, filed in the Superior Court of California in Mendocino County, claims that the county failed to submit its $142,356 contract with the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division to proper environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. Under the terms of the contract, Wildlife Services kills hundreds of coyotes, foxes, bears, and other animals in Mendocino County each year, without assessing the environmental impact of its work as required under state law.

The groups had urged the county not to renew its contract with Wildlife Services in June, but their pleas went unheeded. Statewide, Wildlife Services kills approximately 80,000 wild animals in California alone, mainly on behalf of agricultural interests.

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The groups filing suit are the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, and the Animal Welfare Institute.

Wildlife Services has come under increasing fire as both its methods and the ethics of certain of its staff members have come under scrutiny. For example, Wildlife Services trapper Jamie Olson attracted the widespread ire of online wildlife activists after he posted photos of his dogs attacking coyotes who had been immobilized in steel-jaw leghold traps. (Note for the squeamish: that link goes to a story I wrote at the time on another site: you have to click yet another link in that story to get to the upsetting photos.)

More broadly, the Wildlife Services agency has faced mounting criticism for methods critics call wasteful and counterproductive, such as using unattended traps and poison bait stations to kill target animals. According to critics, Wildlife Services’ accidental death toll includes 50,000 non-target animals ranging from family pets to protected species such as golden eagles and California condors.

In 2013, wildlife groups successfully persuaded Sonoma County, just south of Mendocino, to end its contract with Wildlife Services. Marin County terminated its Wildlife Services contract 15 years ago, and has seen both its predator damage to livestock and its costs drop after implementing more sensible livestock protection programs.

 

Michelle Obama Now Setting Stamp Policy for Post Office—Costs YOU $142,000

Michelle Obama has gone power hungry. As the wife of the president she thinks she has the obligation to tell your children what they are allowed to eat. Michelle has been a major proponent of keeping your child hostage in failed government schools, while she pays $40,000 a year, each, for her kids to get a great education—and to eat real food at lunch!

Now, she is running the Post Office from her White House perch. She is given veto power over a government agency on the stamps they issue?   The Post Office has run an $8 billion deficit for several years—they are closing facilities and not placing retirees as fast as possible. If a private firm, it would go the way of W.T. Grant—an asterisk in history. Now she is demanding they waste $142,000—really, who cares about the design of a stamp, as long as it is in good taste and not obscene?

“The US Postal Service is going to take another shot at developing stamps promoting Michelle Obama’s fitness campaign after White House officials vetoed the ones they came up with last year.

The stamps, costing $146,250 to print and worth more than $22 million if sold, were never distributed.

Now, officials at the money-losing agency are getting ready to try again.”

President Obama And Vice President Biden Along With Wives Make Joining Forces Initiative Announcement

Unused ‘fitness’ stamps lie waiting in Postal Service warehouse

By Marisa Schultz, NY Post, 11/29/14

Michelle Obama’s fitness program had a bunch of stamps made, but they sit in a USPS storage facility.

The US Postal Service is going to take another shot at developing stamps promoting Michelle Obama’s fitness campaign after White House officials vetoed the ones they came up with last year.

The stamps, costing $146,250 to print and worth more than $22 million if sold, were never distributed.

Now, officials at the money-losing agency are getting ready to try again.

“We are continuing to develop plans regarding a fitness-themed stamp series,” USPS spokesman Mark Saunders told The Post.

Modal TriggerAbout 45 million of the stamps were left in a warehouse after the president’s fitness council expressed concerns that kids in the cartoon images weren’t wearing safety equipment.

Three of 15 stamps raised red flags: a kid doing a headstand, another taking a cannonball dive into a pool and a skateboarder without knee pads.

The White House’s concerns came to light when USPS marketing chief Nagisa Manabe asked the first lady to participate in a launch ceremony for the postage inspired by her “Let’s Move” initiatives, according to Linn’s Stamp News.

When officials on the president’s fitness council saw the designs they raised the safety concerns and the stamps were canceled.

 

Cal Berkeley “Demonstrators” Lazy—Take Holiday Break From Occupying Building

I love the rich and entitled when they are upset. They issue press releases, wait for the camera’s to arrive to chant—then stop when the camera’s leave. They are truly dedicated to radicalism and “the cause”. Except when the Holidays come and they want to go home or party. Then they call a recess, to be renewed when classes are held.

These are phonies. They want attention—for kids (they are kids because they are still emotionally driven—and facts have little value to them. The take over of Wheeler Hall at Cal Berkeley is a great example of the immaturity of the brain fried thought of the students. The “racism” they claim exists does not take a Holiday—so why do they? Because they are not against racism, they are for publicity, the limelight and having a good time. If they were truly opposed to racism they would demand the end of it on campus—end the racist organizations on campus, the invites to Jesse Jackson, Eric Holder and other well known bigots.

“After prolonged discussion, nearly 50 people in attendance voted to release a statement that says, “We, the Open UC at Berkeley, no longer feel the need to inhabit the Wheeler Commons at all times in order to assert our right to this space, this campus and this public institution. See you Monday!”

The group also voted to clarify that whether to stay or leave would be an individual decision and that the actions of those who decide to stay in Wheeler during the break would not be interpreted as being part of the movement.”

PileOfMoney

Tuition hike protesters vote not to occupy Wheeler Hall during break

By Amy Jiang, Daily Californian, 11/26/14

The Open UC, the group that has occupied Wheeler Hall for seven consecutive days to protest tuition hikes, held a general assembly meeting in Wheeler Auditorium on Tuesday evening to discuss plans over Thanksgiving break and the movement’s next steps.

After prolonged discussion, nearly 50 people in attendance voted to release a statement that says, “We, the Open UC at Berkeley, no longer feel the need to inhabit the Wheeler Commons at all times in order to assert our right to this space, this campus and this public institution. See you Monday!”

The group also voted to clarify that whether to stay or leave would be an individual decision and that the actions of those who decide to stay in Wheeler during the break would not be interpreted as being part of the movement.

Protesters occupied Wheeler Hall beginning Nov. 19 after a committee of the UC Board of Regents voted to move forward with a tuition increase policy of up to 5 percent tuition increases annually for five years, unless the state intervenes with additional funding.

Student protesters participated in a rally and walkout Monday. Joined by UC Berkeley faculty members and community members, the crowd of more than 1,000 protesters at its peak marched through the city and campus.

The group voted at a previous general assembly meeting to rally Dec. 2, the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement and in particular the day that 800 students moved into Sproul Hall after a rally. At Tuesday’s meeting, the group decided to collaborate with the Cal Progressive Coalition to plan the rally and organized groups to plan over the break.

“If the thousand people who showed up (Monday) was any indication of how many people are going to show up for the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, I think we could fill Sproul,” said UC Berkeley student Vanessa Raditz.

On Monday evening, the Cal Progressive Coalition tweeted about forming a human chain around California Hall, an administrative building, at 8 a.m. The demonstration, however, was cancelled due to protests in Oakland against a grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

Student Needs Therapy: Student mugged, says he deserved it because of his ‘privilege’

Imagine a student that is suicidal. They would believe it is Ok to be beaten up—maybe even killed because “they deserved it”. Why do they deserve it? They got into a great school, have the wrong skin color, can go to a restaurant, own a car. These folks need to be protected. Yet at Georgetown U. a student was mugged and liked it—admits he deserved it—and the administrators did nothing to protect him, from himself. Maybe the next time he will ask to be beaten, robbed and hurt?

“Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn’t upset. In fact he says he “can hardly blame [his muggers].”

“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’ It’s precisely this kind of “otherization” that fuels the problem.”

Will someone protect US from him—why are criminals running loose on the streets? Because college educated people think getting a degree is a problem, not gangbangers with guns. The bigger question is why isn’t this a bigger story—the media needs to alert us there are people looking for “suicide by criminal” among us.

Photo courtesy neeravbhatt, flickr

Photo courtesy neeravbhatt, flickr

Student mugged, says he deserved it because of his ‘privilege’

Maggie Lit, Campus Reform, 11/24/14

 Oliver Friedfeld blames his misfortune on his privilege and the inequality gap.

 The student suggests that until we right the wrongs of the past, society should get used to “sporadic muggings and break-ins.”

 

A Georgetown University (GU) student who says he was mugged at gunpoint says he “can hardly blame” his assailants.

Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn’t upset. In fact he says he “can hardly blame [his muggers].”

“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’ It’s precisely this kind of “otherization” that fuels the problem.”    Tweet This

“Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay,” wrote Friedfeld in an editorial featured in The Hoya, the university’s newspaper. “The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

Friedfeld claims it is the pronounced inequality gap in Washington, D.C. that has fueled these types of crimes. He also says that as a middle-class man, he does not have the right to judge his muggers.

“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” asks Friedfeld. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

Police also aren’t the solution to the problem, Friedfeld argues.

“If we ever want opportunistic crime to end, we should look at ourselves first. Simply amplifying police presence will not solve the issue. Police protect us by keeping those ‘bad people’ out of our neighborhood, and I’m grateful for it. And yet, I realize it’s self-serving and doesn’t actually fix anything.”

Friedfeld suggests that the “privileged” adapt to normalized crime, until the wrongs of the past are righted.

“The millennial generation is taking over the reins of the world, and thus we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past,” writes Friedfeld. “Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them. The cards are all in our hands, and we’re not playing them.”

Friedfeld did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publishing.

 

Southern California in need of water usage behavioral shift–government mandated

Government believes that when they run a deficit, instead of cutting spending, raise the taxes. When government schools are failing, force more students into the system by calling it “transitional kindergarten”—actually to give unions more members. If the special interest and unions want more money, create a crisis—like a lack of water, and then pass bond measures that do nothing to create more water. Government forgets to mentions it created the problem by prioritizing fish over people—prefers delta smelt and millions of acres of water going into the ocean instead of being saved—as the cause of the problem.

Now the Nanny State is deciding what your lawn should look like. One unintended consequence? If we are mandated the Arizona desert look, how many illegal alien landscapers will be out of a job?

“Of all water provided to cities, 70 percent to 80 percent goes to outdoor irrigation. Some experts say Southern Californians waste 1 million acre-feet of water through excessive watering of lawns each year — about half the amount of water imported into the Los Angeles region each year.

Voluntary water conservation measures in Los Angeles, for example, allow watering three days a week in summer. Some cities, such as Pasadena, have cut that to one day a week in fall and winter. The biggest target placed on green grass is from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which is handing out $60 million in incentives in a two-year budget mostly for what is called turf removal. MWD has received turf removal requests worth $94 million — exceeding the budgeted amount, the agency reported last week.”

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21408820

Southern California in need of water usage behavioral shift

By Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 11/29/14

Not long after 9/11, going to the airport included taking off your shoes and getting body scanned.

With the advent of the smartphone, talking is giving way to texting.

As almost all of California slips into a fourth year of severe, extreme or exceptional drought, are there similar benchmark behavioral changes we can expect regarding water?

Most experts say no, not unless the 400 retail water agencies insert draconian penalties for water gluttons, or the state Legislature passes outright bans on “nonbeneficial” water uses such as lawns, fountains and swimming pools.

Without the stick, there will be no dramatic behavioral change. People obey TSA rules because it is the law.

“Are people going to become water saints, take 90-second showers and rip out their grass lawns? That’s not going to happen overnight,” said Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve in Los Angeles and a commissioner at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power from 2008-2013.

If there is one place where change is afoot, it is outdoors.

A quick perusal of State Water Resources Control Board rules regarding water conservation and those of most local cities and water agencies reveals the obvious: There’s a bull’s-eye on your lawn.

Of all water provided to cities, 70 percent to 80 percent goes to outdoor irrigation. Some experts say Southern Californians waste 1 million acre-feet of water through excessive watering of lawns each year — about half the amount of water imported into the Los Angeles region each year.

Voluntary water conservation measures in Los Angeles, for example, allow watering three days a week in summer. Some cities, such as Pasadena, have cut that to one day a week in fall and winter. The biggest target placed on green grass is from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which is handing out $60 million in incentives in a two-year budget mostly for what is called turf removal. MWD has received turf removal requests worth $94 million — exceeding the budgeted amount, the agency reported last week.

Rainfall amounts hit historic lows last year in Southern California. The snowmelt in the Sierra was at zero percent this past summer. And reservoirs and groundwater basins — reserves for non-rainy years — are dropping rapidly, in some cases causing the ground around them to lower by dozens of feet.

In Los Angeles, a semi-arid region akin to cities along the Mediterranean Sea or in Australia, keeping a green lawn may no longer be practical.

Mitch Howard, a landscape designer with a degree from Cal Poly Pomona, says 90 percent of his business arises from homeowners who want to replace their lawns with plants native to Southern California or a Mediterranean climate because they require far less water than a carpet of Kentucky bluegrass.

“Close to 100 percent of my clients, the first question they ask is ‘How can I save water,’” said Howard, who has a bumper sticker on his truck that reads: “I killed my lawn. Ask me how.”

Penny Falcon, water conservation manager at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, reported a tenfold increase in turf removal jobs from 2013 to 2014.

But parting with one’s own lawn-scape unearths some deep psychological issues.

“The lawn in Southern California is a symbol of social status. That is ingrained in our public consciousness and is very difficult to undue,” said Adan Ortega, a water consultant who develops conservation strategies for water districts in Southern California.

Keeping a grass lawn neat and trimmed says we are in control, Howard said. A native-plant garden is more wild, less orderly — something that can create anxiety in some suburbanites.

Watering a lawn can bring a homeowner a dose of security in a scary world, said Celeste Cantu, general manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA), a joint-powers agency working on water conservation and consisting of large water districts from Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties.

The fact that surviving without water is impossible is hard-wired in our brains, she said. “Sometimes that hard wiring is expressed by wasting a lot of water,” she said.

It’s almost like the body gets sidetracked into bad habits over time.

To bring about a paradigm shift in water use, Southern Californians need to get to know water better: where is comes from, where it goes, what it truly costs, Cantu said.

“We are in a dysfunctional relationship with water. We don’t appreciate it. We take it for granted. We have to move from a dysfunctional relationship to a functional one.”

To do that we must study history, she said.

The Santa Ana water authority — SAWPA — is embarking on a $22 million campaign to transform public lawns at warehouses, factories, schools and city halls into drought-tolerant landscapes. Sure it saves water but more importantly, they are living billboards for water conservation for anyone who drives by, she said.

Better still would be if Cantu could show everyone pictures of her great-grandparents who came from Mexico and Prussia and lived in the Inland Empire not with lawns but with flowering roses, bushes and trees.

“They didn’t have a water budget for nonessential things like grass. They had a relationship with water. They had a water ethic,” she said.

Historian Michele Zack, who wrote several books on the history of Southern California and produced a film “Eaton’s Water” on pioneers and water development in Los Angeles County foothills, said settlers from the Midwest and East Coast brought with them the British version of a public-private lawn, aka the “idealized meadow.”

This concept, made popular by American-born landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, replaced the zocalos or courtyards of plants, gardens, brick and tile — with manicured meadows called lawns.

“They were outnumbered by people moving here from the Midwest and East Coast trying to show they could be civilized here,” Zack said.

The only problem is that conditions on the East Coast are different than in Southern California.

Zack, who is also chairman of Altadena Heritage, works with the environmental-historical group to host waterwise film festivals and an awards program for homes with the most drought-resistant landscaping.

Zack and Cantu see a tide change in outdoor watering but stop short of calling it a paradigm shift — that is, a universal, societal swing.

Instead, Cantu compares the turf-removal movement to a style choice, like switching from wide to skinny neckties.

Nowadays, in more affluent communities, more people want to show off their ecological hubris by replacing their lawns, said Zack, a nod to individual empowerment. Howard, whose business, MLH Design Studio is based in Whittier, has clients in Spyglass, a well-off unincorporated hillside neighborhood overlooking southeast Los Angeles County.

Cantu wouldn’t object to the state water board passing a rule that bans lawns without a benefit, adhering to the law in California that says all water must be put to beneficial use. “That would be a huge leap for the board. I don’t think we will see that any time soon,” she said.

But through combinations of technology, a reluctance to pay higher water bills, and a green version of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” lawn removals will grow in Southern California, albeit slowly. And that kind of change is already happening.

“We need to adjust our idea of what beauty is. That doesn’t happen overnight,” Zack said.

 

Bay Area Worker: THREE Hour Commute to Work—20 Miles on Government Transportation

 This is a story about the problems of filling out forms for Covered California—yet the real story is buried deep in the article and missed by the journalists. This is really a story about how government keeps people poor, on the road and unable to live a life. Why? Because the policy of the Left is to put everybody in government transportation, take away our cars and make us dependent on government to get to work, play and visit Grandma.

How well is it working? The person in this story is unable to fill out the forms because he does not have the time, since he is working three jobs. In reality, he does not have the time because he is stuck THREE HOURS on government transportation to get to work, just twenty miles away.

“”Right now I’m on the beginning of my commute,” he says. “After an eight-hour shift, my commute is like 2 1/2 hours.”

I accompany Alexander on his commute to East Palo Alto, about 20 miles south. It actually takes us three hours, on the hotel shuttle and then three more buses. He does this commute five days a week because he doesn’t have a car. The train would be faster, but it costs three times as much, and Alexander says he has no wiggle room in his budget.

Government is making sure this man and his family is poor—yet I bet he continues to vote for Democrats that put him on the poverty line. Wonder if he could get a job closer to home if an illegal alien had not taken it? Another victim of Obama and the Democrats.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image13456426

For some uninsured, simply signing up is a challenge

Lisa Morehouse | NPR, KQED,   11/30/14

Leaburn Alexander works two jobs and does not have health insurance. It takes him three hours to commute home from the job he works as an overnight hotel janitor.

When the Affordable Care Act rolled out last year, Californians enrolled in both Covered California and expanded Medicaid in high numbers. But there are still millions in the state without health insurance. Undocumented people don’t qualify for Obamacare benefits. And many others still find coverage too expensive — or face other obstacles in enrolling.

One of those people is Leaburn Alexander. At 6 a.m., he’s finishing his shift as the night janitor at a hotel near the San Francisco International Airport. He clocks out just in time to catch the hotel’s shuttle back to the airport, where he will catch a bus.

“Right now I’m on the beginning of my commute,” he says. “After an eight-hour shift, my commute is like 2 1/2 hours.”

I accompany Alexander on his commute to East Palo Alto, about 20 miles south. It actually takes us three hours, on the hotel shuttle and then three more buses. He does this commute five days a week because he doesn’t have a car. The train would be faster, but it costs three times as much, and Alexander says he has no wiggle room in his budget.

He says he makes just under $11 an hour, and after taxes, child support and other expenses, he brings home just enough to cover rent. And all the other bills? He has a second job to cover those. His wife has been looking for work for over a year, and his oldest daughter is in college.

There’s no room in the budget for health insurance.

“When I first got this job,” he says, of his night janitor position, “they informed me about different employee packages, benefits and all that.”

But Alexander says he can’t afford the employee portion of the health insurance premium. Many people who are working lower wage jobs may qualify for Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, if their incomes are low enough. But because Alexander had been turned down for Medi-Cal in the past, he presumed he still wouldn’t qualify, even under Obamacare.

While he’d like to be insured, Alexander, 53, says he feels pretty healthy.

“I mean, there’s times where I’d be tired from fatigue at my age, and I know I’ve got a little arthritis, but I still feel pretty good,” he says. “But what might be going on inside of me is a different story.”

Alexander’s trying to quit smoking, and his blood pressure is high. He got free pills from a clinic and plans to return when he runs out.

The only time in his adult life when he had health care was when he was incarcerated. He had substance abuse issues and was involved in a bank robbery. He says he had tried recovery programs, but didn’t succeed until he became a born-again Christian.

“That was divine intervention. It really happened,” he says. “I’ve been clean and sober since July 2011.”

And so he’s grateful for what he’s got. He just doesn’t know how he’d get insurance right now.

The remaining uninsured

Uninsured Californians fall into a few categories, says Laurel Lucia, with the UC Berkeley Labor Center. One is called the “family glitch”: “Basically, spouses and children who can get coverage through a family member’s employer but it’s too expensive,” she says.

Sometimes the employee part of the premium is affordable, but the family coverage is much higher. But because the employer made an offer of insurance to family members, “when they go to Covered California they’re told they’re ineligible for subsidies,” Lucia says. It’s part of federal policy.

A second uninsured group consists of people who are eligible for subsidies through the ACA marketplace — but who still find the premiums unaffordable.

Finally, Lucia says, there may be nearly 1 million Californians who are eligible for Medicaid but don’t know it, or have had difficulties enrolling.

That may describe Leaburn Alexander. But while finding time to meet with someone to help him sign up sounds like a minor hassle to most people, for Alexander, it’s a big barrier.

“Scheduling time to do that, you know, an appointment. It’s kind of rough, kind of hard right now,” Alexander says.

Just as Alexander has no wiggle room in his budget, he has precious little extra time in his schedule. After he wraps up his overnight janitor job, he heads to a second job, washing dishes at a Stanford dining hall.

He has one full morning off each week, but that time is taken up with other needs of daily life.

“Come Wednesday,” he says, about his morning off, “that’s when my pastor comes and gets us and takes us grocery shopping.”

Alexander remains optimistic that his situation will improve.

“I’m hopeful that through prayer that God will bless me with a better-paying job,” he says.

Lisa Morehouse produced this story while participating in The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, a program of USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism.

NFL Has Become Political Operation—Propaganda Part of Game

I will admit it. Though the St. Louis Rams left Los Angeles years ago, until yesterday, I was still a fan as if they played in LA. After today, I am rethinking the idea of the NFL and pro-football as nothing but a money making political operation—promoting the radicalism of the day. Yesterday, several members of the Rams entered the game with hands op—the phony as we now know—Michael Brown scam. In fact, the Rams decided to promote a thug and gangster and tell the cops they should not protect themselves.

“Several St. Louis Rams players entered the field for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders with their hands raised overhead in an apparent act of solidarity with Ferguson protesters.

The phrase “hands up, don’t shoot” is a rallying cry used by Ferguson protesters that is based on witnesses’ claims that Michael Brown had his hands in the air, allegedly in surrender, when he was shot by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.”

Guess the Ram players did not listen to the Grand Jury report—or did not care. Worse, are they as racist as Holder, Obama and Sharpton? If I want politics on TV I will watch Fox or CNN—not a football game. Tonight I will be watching the Food Channel instead of Monday Night Football.—by the evening I have had enough of politics.

obama-michael-brown

Rams players enter field with arms raised in support of Ferguson protesters

 

Members of the St. Louis Rams raise their arms as they walk onto the field during introductions before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in St. Louis.

By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times, 11/30/14

Several St. Louis Rams players entered the field for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders with their hands raised overhead in an apparent act of solidarity with Ferguson protesters.

Players Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, Jared Cook and Chris Givens came out of the Rams locker room for pregame introductions with their arms raised, The Associated Press reported.

The phrase “hands up, don’t shoot” is a rallying cry used by Ferguson protesters that is based on witnesses’ claims that Michael Brown had his hands in the air, allegedly in surrender, when he was shot by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

A Rams spokesman said Sunday that the team was not aware that the gesture had been planned by players, AP reported.

Rams running back Tre Mason also reportedly made the “hands up” gesture after scoring on an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter.

About 75 protesters gathered across the street from the Edward Jones Dome as about 30 St. Louis police wearing riot gear watched from a safe distance, AP reported.

Protesters chanted “hands up, don’t shoot!” ”no Justice, no Football!” ”this is what Democracy looks like,” and “we’re here for Mike Brown,” AP reported.