Slippery Slope: California Begins CONTROL of Internet CONTENT

Notice that many tax increases and bond measures are “for the kids”? We want to make life better for children, so we pretend that government regulations are about making children safer, brighter, and more secure. In fact, taxes and regulations are based on power and control, by government. Seriously, Michelle Obama forcing kids to eat card board for lunch—pretending it is real food—is that for the kids, or just to show the next generation that government controls everything, even the morsels you are allowed to eat.

Now California has decided to use the power of government to determine what legal advertisements are allowed on social media. Soon, this will be expanded to ANY site that someone under 18 could look at, like the LA Times, blogs, etc. This is the slippery slope to government control of Internet content—for the kids!

“The law also makes it illegal to advertise items like drugs or guns to minors if it is illegal to market those products to minors in other media.

“If it’s illegal to sell something to a minor in a retail outlet, it ought to also be illegal to market that product to a minor on the internet,” says (former Democrat State Senator) Steinberg.”

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New Law Affects Teens Who Use The Internet

Bob Moffitt, Capitol Radio, 12/31/14

A new law that takes effect in 2015 was written to protect California teenagers who use social media from themselves and from some advertisers.

Former California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg wrote the law. He says any social media site accessible in California must give minors a chance to delete what they post before it goes viral.

“Universities are looking at the Facebook accounts and other internet sites for young people. Sometimes somebody who is 15, 16, 17 may say or do something that they may think is innocent but can actually affect their ability to get into college,” says Steinberg. “This is a common-sense provision that allows them or their parent -if they find out about it quickly enough- to say ‘Hey, take that down.'”

The law also makes it illegal to advertise items like drugs or guns to minors if it is illegal to market those products to minors in other media.

“If it’s illegal to sell something to a minor in a retail outlet, it ought to also be illegal to market that product to a minor on the internet,” says Steinberg.

Parents like Amanda Langlois agree a teenager should be able to delete a mistake made in humor or anger.

“Threats or mean things towards other kids out of anger or hate or whatever: to be able to retract that so the other child isn’t forever affected by it is important.”

The law does not provide protection for teens who post something illegal. Nor does it apply to a message or picture that is re-posted by someone else.

 

Abortions are Forever: Nicki Minaj: High School Abortion ‘Haunted Me All My Life’

Have a cold, take medicine and eventually it goes away. Sprain your ankle, the pain goes away and in a few days you are as good as new. Have a kidney or lung problem—they can be transplanted—and you are as good as new.

Have an abortion—and it is for a lifetime. Even the pro-choice singer Nicki Minaj knows the pain of abortion, the purposeful killing of a baby. Though legal, government can not outlaw the pain, it will never go away.

““It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice,” Minaj added, saying the decision to have an abortion was the right one to make at the time. “I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.”

According to Rolling Stone, Minaj admitted to having the abortion on a mix tape track called “Autobiography,” which she expected would be released under the radar. Now that she’s famous, “millions of people are gonna hear it. And you gotta watch everything you say — people find an issue with every f***ing thing.”

She had a choice—the baby did not. What do you think—who protects the baby?

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Nicki Minaj: High School Abortion ‘Haunted Me All My Life’

by Daniel Nussbaum, Breitbart Big Hollywood, 12/30/14

In an excerpt from a forthcoming interview with Rolling Stone to discuss her new album The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj told the magazine an abortion she underwent as a teenager “haunted me all my life.”

Minaj told Rolling Stone she thought she “was going to die” when she found out she was pregnant while attending the prestigious LaGuardia performing arts high school in New York.

“I was a teenager,” Minaj said. “It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through.”

“It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice,” Minaj added, saying the decision to have an abortion was the right one to make at the time. “I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.”

According to Rolling Stone, Minaj admitted to having the abortion on a mix tape track called “Autobiography,” which she expected would be released under the radar. Now that she’s famous, “millions of people are gonna hear it. And you gotta watch everything you say — people find an issue with every f***ing thing.”

Minaj told the magazine that with her new album, which dropped December 15 to wide critical praise, the rapper wanted to show fans a side of herself they haven’t yet seen.

“One of my goals was to give people a glimpse into my personal life, because it’s something I’ve kept very private,” Minaj said.

Still, the rapper maintained that her core mission of inspiring young girls remains intact.

“With a video like ‘Anaconda,’ I’m a grown-ass f***ing woman!” Minaj told the magazine. “I stand for girls wanting to be sexy and dance, but also having a strong sense of themselves. If you got a big ol’ butt? Shake it! Who cares? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be graduating from college.”

The latest Rolling Stone issue with Minaj on the cover comes out January 2. Read more excerpts from the interview here.

 

State of California RAISES Cost of Massage Therapy–Power and Control

Your choice in massage therapists is now being limited by government regulations. To be a “licensed” massage therapist in California means hundreds of hours of supervision and training, exams, background checks (wonder if illegal aliens will be allowed to be therapists when the amnesty goes into affect?) and fingerprinting. Does a government license make a better barber, hair braider or contractor? This is about power, control and government making money, not about your free choices.

“To be certified, applicants must complete a minimum 500 hours of instruction, complete an assessment exam and pass a background check with fingerprinting.

The new law prohibits certified massage professionals from posting sexual-type advertisements, wearing suggestive clothing or engaging in sexual activity.

Marsha Selzer, a San Diego-based massage therapist, doesn’t think the new law will have much effect on illicit massage operations.”

This is another of those laws without enforcement—who will be checking to see the license and make sure they are government “qualified”? Will government hire massage therapist police? Will there be a bounty for turning in the unlicensed? Does your human right to a massage stop when government intervenes? Freedom, not government licenses. Oh, the silliness of this is that it will not stop massage parlors, some of them, from being brothels.

Photo courtesy of DB's travels, Flickr.

Photo courtesy of DB’s travels, Flickr.

New California Law Targets Massage Therapists

Ed Joyce, Capitol Radio, 12/31/14

A new law that takes effect in California January 1 imposes higher professional standards for massage therapists.

The law establishes the California Massage Therapy Council to oversee certification of massage therapists.

To be certified, applicants must complete a minimum 500 hours of instruction, complete an assessment exam and pass a background check with fingerprinting.

The new law prohibits certified massage professionals from posting sexual-type advertisements, wearing suggestive clothing or engaging in sexual activity.

Marsha Selzer, a San Diego-based massage therapist, doesn’t think the new law will have much effect on illicit massage operations.

“There’s so many of those places, and they come up faster and faster,” said Selzer, referring to massage businesses that often provide more than therapeutic massage services.  “I don’t know how they’re going to control it.”

Selzer, whose clients include professional athletes, said the new law is a “great idea” but lacks enforcement provisions.

“If they do find ways to enforce it, that will definitely help,” said Selzer. “As a therapeutic massage therapist, I wish they would call it something else and get it away from the word ‘massage’ or from the massage industry.”

The new law does authorize cities or counties to adopt or enforce ordinances regarding zoning or business licensing of massage businesses.

 

Confused Guv Brown REFUSES to Abide by Law—Won’t Tell COST of His “Green” Policies

Looks like our very confused Guv Brown is a hero worshipper of Barack Obama and Eric Holder. Holder and Obama just plain refuse to answer questions from Congress. They lie and the media does not call them out for it. Laws go unenforced at the Federal level—and terrorists are being released from Gitmo to fight against people of Faith and free people—against the laws passed by Congress.

California has a law that says the Governor needs to create a report re: the Brown green policies. There are two parts—first, how well will the program meet the needs of the State by time certain? All very subjective, but the Guv has provided that fictional report. The second part is the cost of this, to the public, to business, to society. He refuses to provide this report—even refuses to respond why he refuses. Brown is a lawbreaker—but so what, who is going to arrest him for corruption and fraud?

“On Oct. 24, Little Hoover sent a letter to Brown to hold the governor accountable on answering the much-avoided question about mandated green energy: How much is it going to cost, beginning in 2015?

Thus far, Brown has ignored the letter.”

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Will Little Hoover compel green-energy testimony?

By Wayne Lusvardi, Calwatchdog,   12/31/14

Here’s the 13,000-megawatt question to be answered in 2015:

Will the Little Hoover Commission begin issuing subpoenas in 2015 to compel Gov. Jerry Brown and California legislative leaders to meet green energy accountability requirements spelled out in its 2012 report, “Rewiring California: Integrating Agendas for Energy Reform”?

The commission is the state’s independent state oversight agency. And 13,000 megawatts is the estimated amount of new green energy, according to “Rewiring California,” p. vii, coming on line in the course of the next decade in California under AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and other state laws.

On Oct. 24, Little Hoover sent a letter to Brown to hold the governor accountable on answering the much-avoided question about mandated green energy: How much is it going to cost, beginning in 2015?

Thus far, Brown has ignored the letter.

Bills

Neither has the Legislature passed the two electricity reform bills recommended by the Commission:

Assembly Bill 1763 is by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno. It requires the California Energy Commission to consult with other state and local agencies to develop “a report containing a state energy plan for 2030 and 2050 that promotes economic growth, ensures reliable, sustainable and affordable energy resources, and complements the state’s environmental stewardship goals.” The report then would be submitted to the governor and the Legislature.

No action was taken on AB1763 this year, and a hearing on it was canceled.

Assembly Bill 1779 is by Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville. Taking into account the implementation of AB32 and other state laws, it requires the CEC to “prepare a new, annual report to assess the effect in the aggregate of specified policies on electricity reliability and rates and whether these policies are achieving their stated environmental and economic goals.”

Back in April, AB1779 failed to pass the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. After that, nothing happened.

It’s not clear whether the bills, or similar ones, will be reintroduced into the new legislative session that began on Dec. 1.

Subpoena Power 

If there is no further action, can Little Hoover really issue subpoenas to get answers? Yes.

California Government Code Section 8541-8542 authorizes the Little Hoover Commission:

  • “To issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, papers, accounts, reports and documents…

  • “To direct the sheriff of any county or any marshal to serve subpoenas, orders and other process…

  • “To certify to the superior court of any county in which proceedings are held, the facts concerning the disobedience or resistance, by any person, of any lawful order, or the refusal of any person to respond to a subpoena … and to receive the assistance of the court in enforcing orders and process.”

The governor appoints five of the nine members of the Little Hoover Commission. So it is highly unlikely it would subpoena him on this or any other matter.

And two members are appointed by the Assembly speaker, with the final two appointed by the chairman of the state Senate Committee on Rules. So it’s also unlikely legislators would be subpoenaed.

Little Hoover potentially could compel testimony from lower-level state policymakers, such as California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols. But given her high profile and close relationship with Brown, that also seems unlikely.

Ultimately, it’s the voters who must hold the governor and legislators accountable. Which they may do if green-power costs spike energy rates.

Franklin Center: The nature of changing news: A study of five online nonprofit groups

If you want to know when the city council or Congress is meeting, the Chronicle, Times or Bee is a great place to get the information. Want to know about a murder, accident or international incident—you can get the basic information from the legacy media. (though the Ferguson issue is proof the media makes up stories to sell papers, not inform the public).

If you want the background of information, want the real news—how government is abusing our rights, how special interests try to control government, how policies kill jobs and the economy—you need Internet based investigative reporting and in depth articles with all the facts, not just those from the Progressives, reprinted as news stories in the legacy media.

In a special class are the non-profit Internet journalism sites. “An important aspect of the nonprofit news business is the quality of reporting that is generated by each organization. Our quick review of websites showed that, as expected, the better funded organizations have more resources, including time, to generate better stories.

As the best funded of the five, the Center for Investigative Reporting was able to list a number of prestigious awards, including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in public reporting and 2012 Pulitzer Prize in local reporting, as well as the 2011 and 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism.”

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The nature of changing news: A study of five online nonprofit groups

Franklin Center for Journalism and Public Integrity, 12/23/14

In our previous post examining the Pew Research Center’s report on growing nonprofit news outlets, we identified five examples out of the 172 in the report that stand out as somewhat representative of the various levels of organizations working in this area of online news reporting. We included older organizations as well as those from the wave of nonprofits that news organizations founded in 2009. We also selected those that are well-funded and those that are making things happen on a shoestring.

What do these select few nonprofit news outlets look like?

To answer this question from a financial perspective, we spent some time examining their IRS 990s for 2012. The IRS 990 is a required annual report for all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. We felt that this publicly available information would at least provide a ready base of financial information to compare these five organizations, and allow us to dig beyond the Pew report’s concerns about their ongoing business viability.

We also spent some time on each organization’s website to gain more information about its staff numbers and the nature of its reporting, including any journalism awards.

Online, New Media Works Side-by-Side with Old Media

For this review, we looked at these five nonprofit news organizations:

  • Center for Investigative Reporting – Founded in 1977, nonprofit and nonpartisan. Over 300 news outlets partner with it or feature its reporting.
  • Texas Tribune – Founded in 2009, nonprofit and nonpartisan, it has the largest statehouse bureau of any news organization in the country, including newspaper and broadcast outlets.
  • Texas Observer – Covering the statehouse for 60 years (since 1954).
  • Connecticut Mirror – Founded in 2009 to provide deep coverage of statehouse policy and politics.
  • VTDigger.com – Founded in 2009 to publish watchdog reports on state government, politics, consumer affairs, business, and public policy.

Financially, A Mix of Struggles and Success

As we examined the financial data on each of these organizations, the Pew Center’s research was confirmed. Those with more revenue had more staff, and were in generally sound fiscal shape. They were also able to allocate more staff to the business side of the operation.

In 2012, total revenue for these organizations ranged from a high of  around $11.5 million to $330,000. Three operated at a loss that year. Balance sheet assets reflected a similar trend, ranging from about $7.5 million down to $120,000. You can see this displayed in the charts below. Click here for a more detailed infographic about these organizations.

A more challenging task came when using IRS 990 data to look a bit closer at the sources of revenue. The form allows a broad interpretation of how to label different revenue sources. It was a bit like comparing apples and apricots. But even so, you could gain some understanding of the base of funding for each organization.

For example, the Center for Investigative Reporting reports that 97% of its revenue came from contributions and grants, with the remaining 3% from content fees. The Texas Tribune reported the broadest range of revenue sources, consisting of contributions and grants (71%), membership dues (16%), subscriptions (4%), and content production (4%), along with advertising revenue (2%), festival ticket sales (2%), and sponsored events (1%).

The Texas Observer reports 57% of its revenue comes from contributions and grants, while 25% comes from sponsored events, 15% from subscriptions, and 2% from advertising revenue. Virtually all of the CT Mirror’s revenue comes from contributions and grants. The VT Digger shows 58% from contributions and grants, with 38% from sponsorships, and 4% from news revenue.

Nonprofit News by Other Numbers: Staffing

As you would surmise from a review of the financials, the better funded organization is going to have the larger staff along with more reporting. Moreover, the better funded organization will be able to allocate more staff to the business side of the operation, including fundraising.

We gathered these staffing numbers from the websites of each organization. This differs significantly from the methodical survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, our review isn’t able to make the distinction between full- and part-time staff members. Even so, it does provide a quick-hitting basis for comparison and insight into nonprofit news outlets.

The Center of Investigative Reporting shows that it has 42 staff members working across the newsroom, including photo and multimedia, with another 18 working on the business side. The Texas Tribune’s split is 34/11. The Texas Observer is at 11/3 with use of contract design services. The CT Mirror is at 10/1, and the VT Digger at 7/2. Of further note, it isn’t readily apparent from the website listings whether some of these are part time or perhaps even volunteers.

Prestigious Awards

An important aspect of the nonprofit news business is the quality of reporting that is generated by each organization. Our quick review of websites showed that, as expected, the better funded organizations have more resources, including time, to generate better stories.

As the best funded of the five, the Center for Investigative Reporting was able to list a number of prestigious awards, including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in public reporting and 2012 Pulitzer Prize in local reporting, as well as the 2011 and 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism.

The Texas Tribune in 2014 listed 16 news awards, including the Investigative Reporters and Editors Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and the National Edward R. Murrow Awards for Overall Excellence and Best Website (Video). The others on our list also showed their awards, often from organizations with a decided local and/or regional focus.

It was also intriguing to see that the Texas Observer grants its own award. It’s The MOLLY National Journalism Prize that recognizes superior journalism in the “Tradition of Molly Ivins.”

Conclusion: What’s Essential for Vibrant News

Given this deeper review, you can see that the better funded and typically longer lived the operation, the more resources it has to do reporting. This includes funding and staffing. Moreover, those organizations no doubt have more time to conduct longer investigations and stick with a story rather than running from one event to the next trying to keep up with the broad sweep of news emanating from the statehouse.

As the Pew report noted, all nonprofit news outlets are doing an important job of addressing the decline of traditional news coverage at statehouses and local government. And as we noted in our post, state and local governments are where the action is happening — where the majority of laws that most intimately affect our lives are being made today.

 

We need the clear reporting of well-funded new media news outlets, and they need our enduring financial support.

 

Government Grows: New Health Laws Set to Take Effect in California

Government never sleeps and it is never closed. When the legislature is not in session, it still holds hearings, to prepare for more legislation. Have you noticed any bills to REPEAL laws? Not going to happen, only the courts have been able to try to rein in expansive government. Yet, even the courts mostly expand the role and reach of government into our jobs and wallets.

Then you have the regulatory agencies that make new rules, costly—taxes without using the term. Most environmental laws, like cap and trade are massive transfers of money—the definition of taxes. You may not know it, but hundreds of new laws and new regulations go into affect today, affecting your health –physically and economically.

Paid Sick Leave: Nearly all California employers will be required, starting July 1, to provide at least three paid sick days to their workers. The new law largely affects millions of lower-wage service industry workers, including retail and fast food employees who don’t already have paid sick leave. Under the law, workers accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work.”

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New Health Laws Set to Take Effect in California

Lisa Aliferis, KQED, 12/31/14

The new year will bring in hundreds of new laws in California, including a landmark law that permits undocumented individuals to obtain a driver’s license and another requiring that all eggs sold in California come from chickens living in bigger spaces.

Many of those new laws have to deal with health. Some take effect on Jan. 1, others in July. Here’s a look at some of them:

Assisted Living Homes: A new law increases 100-fold the top fine for violations of state regulations by assisted living facilities for the elderly. The fine is jumping from a mere $150 to $15,000. AB2236 takes effect July 1 and was part of a package of bills signed by the governor that tighten state oversight of the 7,500 assisted living homes in California. It’s the most significant overhaul of the industry in almost 30 years.

Paid Sick Leave: Nearly all California employers will be required, starting July 1, to provide at least three paid sick days to their workers. The new law largely affects millions of lower-wage service industry workers, including retail and fast food employees who don’t already have paid sick leave. Under the law, workers accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work.

Death Certificates: Coroners will be required to list a person’s sex according to the person’s gender identity, not simply sexual anatomy. The law was inspired in part by the death of Christopher Lee, co-founder of the Transgender Film Festival. After he committed suicide, his friends were shocked to learn that his death certificate listed him as “female,” despite the fact he’d lived as a man for nearly 20 years. The law takes affect in July.

Pesticide Use at Schools: An amendment to the Healthy Schools Act of 2000 requires that K-12 schools and licensed child care centers choose the “least toxic pest management practices.” Under the new law, schools are to follow an integrated pest management approach, which generally focuses more on prevention with the fewest hazards to people and to the environment. It takes effect in July.

Concussions: Athletes who suffer a concussion or head injury must wait a minimum of seven days to return to play and have a doctor’s permission to do so under this law. The law also limits teams to two full-contact practice sessions twice a week.

Provider Network Adequacy: After the launch of Covered California, one of the issues that cropped up almost immediately was problems consumers were having in finding a doctor who would take their insurance. One of the ways insurers hold down premiums is by narrowing their provider network — they offer doctors and hospitals lower reimbursements in exchange for delivering them a higher volume of patients. This new law requires the Department of Managed Health Care to provide greater oversight of health plan network adequacy.

Hospital Fair Pricing: Low-income Californians (less than 350 percent of poverty) will be eligible for a “reasonable payment plan” if they receive a hospital bill, under this new law taking effect Jan. 1. Their payments would be capped at 10 percent of income after living expenses.

Soda Tax: While it’s not a statewide law, perhaps the most-noticed law going into effect Jan. 1 is Berkeley’s soda tax measure, passed with a whopping 75 percent of the vote in November. The law places a penny-per-ounce tax on most sugar-sweetened beverages. The tax is imposed on distributors, but analysts have long believed that it will be passed through to consumers. While the tax is not earmarked, the law requires that a panel of health experts advise Berkeley’s City Council on how to spend the tax, with an eye toward programs that further reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and mitigate the health effects of that consumption.

California Taxpayers to SUBSIDIZE Auto Insurance for Illegal Aliens

Californians are the most charitable people on Earth. Government is making sure that illegal aliens, criminals that break our laws every day, have low cost auto insurance, issued by the State (the taxpayers). This is subsidized by your taxes, money meant for education will instead be used to assure law breakers get a break on insurance, when they get their phony drivers licenses, which will be used—you know they will—to allow the illegal aliens to vote—illegally.

This is why you should never vote for any tax increases or bond measures. If Sacramento has enough money to subsidize auto insurance for illegal aliens, it has enough money for roads and education. They are NOT immigrants—they are illegal aliens. Immigrants come here legally, with permission.

“State officials hope a new law that offers California driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally will also encourage them to buy insurance.

To encourage the practice, the California Department of Insurance is aggressively marketing its Low Cost Auto Insurance program to the large pool of immigrants projected to seek licenses under the AB 60 law taking effect Jan. 1.”

Immigration Fix

Calif. to offer low-cost insurance to new immigrant drivers

by Josie Huang, KPCC, 12/31/14

State officials hope a new law that offers California driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally will also encourage them to buy insurance.

To encourage the practice, the California Department of Insurance is aggressively marketing its Low Cost Auto Insurance program to the large pool of immigrants projected to seek licenses under the AB 60 law taking effect Jan. 1.

“It would be a tragedy if after all this effort, the 1.4 million people who are getting driver’s licenses for the first time don’t have auto insurance,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

Jones and others recognized that the cost of getting licensed — $33  — is a lot cheaper than buying insurance for hundreds of dollars a year. So, Jones, working with Senator Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, got the state Legislature to open up the low-cost insurance program to the new category of immigrant drivers.

“The price will be less than $450 a year, which is less than $38 a month,” Jones said.  He said that’s about a third of what it costs to get private auto insurance in many markets across California.

Jones said more than 90 percent of AB 60 applicants are expected to be Spanish speakers. So the state’s been pushing its low-cost insurance through Spanish-language media and ads like this:

Los Angeles-based insurance broker Susan Rocha said the state program likely offers the lowest prices for low-income immigrant drivers, especially since they have no official driving record.

“Any place else it’s going to be much more, because they are considered a new driver,” Rocha said.

But Rocha cautioned that the state’s low-cost program is very basic, and those who can afford more might want to join a private plan with beefier coverage. If they can jump on a relative’s plan, they may be able to enjoy loyalty discounts, Rocha said.

For years, California law has allowed immigrants in the country illegally to buy insurance even without a license. But day laborer Alfredo Vidal said he just didn’t see the point.

“Why?” said Vidal, who borrows his friend’s pick-up truck for construction gigs around L.A. “I don’t have a driver’s license.”

But going without insurance can lead to hundreds of dollars in fines, not to mention losing one’s driver’s license, and car registration. In a crash, a driver might not be able to afford thousands of dollars in repairs. Some drivers might be apt to leave the scene. And this could raise insurance costs for everybody.

Vidal was willing to accept the risks.

“I have to take people with materials to the houses,” Vidal said. “I have to be driving all the time.”

Immigrant advocates have largely avoided handing out insurance advice. Ana Garcia gives workshops on the new law for the Central American Resource Center, and said her priority is helping immigrants get their license.

“We only went over insurance when they take the driving test,” Garcia said. “I let them know that whatever car they need to use for the driving test needs to be insured.”

For his driver’s test, Vidal said he’ll borrow his friend’s car, which is already insured.  If he passes and gets his license, Vidal says he’ll take all the proper next steps.

“We’re going to get insurance – everybody,” Vidal said. “We know it’s the law.”

 

Will NYPD Revolt Hit California? When?

Drug arrests in New York are down 84%, tickets issued down 94%. New York police now understand that arresting someone could be a career ending act. Even the Mayor of New York has publicly proclaimed that he told his son that police are racist. So, why get into trouble—eat a donut and stay out of the line of fire. Somewhat the same is going on in Oakland and in Los Angels crime is up for the first time in 12 years—hard to arrest gangsters when your career could be over with just one phone call to Al Sharpton.

Police are being shot at all over the nation. Police are needed to protect the police, protecting the public in cities like New York, Oakland and LA is secondary to physical and economic survival. America, could find itself like New York—no cops (they still show up, draw a salary, but can not work without the pain of death—financially or actually).

“Supporters of the NYPD have pointed out throughout the back-turning that their officers feel upset at Mayor de Blasio and others, that they feel they are less safe because of the comments of politicians. This is one more example of one of the most irritating tendencies of unionized police forces today – a recurring demand that they receive the same attitude of respect for authority given to the United States military, without any of the responsibility and duty that comes with it. A poll last week found that a mere 15 percent of active duty service members approve of President Obama – understandable, considering his many policy decisions and a laundry list of questionable choices.”

Our cities are fast sliding into anarchy. Obama is smiling.

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The NYPD’s Revolt Is A Direct Threat To Democracy

By Ben Domenech, The Federalist, 12/31/14

Since the moment when police officers turned their backs in protest on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, we’ve seen the type of escalating activity in the city which would be more recognizable as the preview to a messy Latin American coup d’etat. The latest is a form of purposeful sabotage on the part of the NYPD, which is now actively shirking its duty to enforce the law. According to the New York Post, traffic tickets and summonses have plummeted by 94 percent, and overall arrests are down 66 percent for the week compared to the same period last year. Here’s the data comparisons from this year to 2013:

Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame. Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300. Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241. Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.

Considering how much New York, as with many of our other major cities, has leaned toward over-policing, this isn’t all a bad thing – I’m not going to get worked up about cops handing out fewer parking violations. But as a whole, this represents a completely irresponsible rejection of the duty to enforce the law. Yesterday, speaking to a graduating class of more than 800 new officers at Madison Square Garden, de Blasio was booed and heckled as he struggled to extend an oratorical olive branch. De Blasio told the gathering of new cops “you will confront all the problems that plague our society, problems that you didn’t create” – in response, a heckler jeered “You created them!” People in the audience applauded and cheered as a de Blasio tried to recover with even more voluminous praise for the force.

Supporters of the NYPD have pointed out throughout the back-turning that their officers feel upset at Mayor de Blasio and others, that they feel they are less safe because of the comments of politicians. This is one more example of one of the most irritating tendencies of unionized police forces today – a recurring demand that they receive the same attitude of respect for authority given to the United States military, without any of the responsibility and duty that comes with it. A poll last week found that a mere 15 percent of active duty service members approve of President Obama – understandable, considering his many policy decisions and a laundry list of questionable choices.

But is the American military turning their backs on the Commander in Chief? Showing contempt for him? Going AWOL with the endorsement of their superiors? Shirking their duty? Booing and jeering at him at a graduation ceremony? No. They, after all, are not unionized.

The real rise of frustration with police officers in America comes down to one thing: an enduring sense that the current law enforcement system is unfair. We have to abide by rules they do not. We are the civilians, as if they are not. When we go before a court, enduring bias assumes that police are responsible and honest, even if the evidence suggests otherwise. District attorneys have one method for grand juries with cops, and different methods for ones without cops. The problem is one of institutional disrespect for their own civic obligations. We have to obey the commands of officers, but they have no real desire to obey the commands of their own authorities, or the ultimate authority they serve – the people.

In retrospect, Mayor de Blasio should’ve responded to the backs turning by firing people immediately. The NYPD needed to be reminded that chain of command exists, and that they are not at the top of it. Instead, what New York City is experiencing now amounts to nothing less than open rebellion by the lone armed force under the worst kind of weakened junta, one led by a figure ideologically radical and personally weak, who has lost control of his bureaucracies and may soon be devoured by them.

Perhaps he can take a cue from a political leader of another time, who faced open revolt from a police force in another major city.

To Mr. Samuel Gompers

President

American Federation of Labor

New York City, N.Y.

Replying to your telegram, I have already refused to remove the Police Commissioner of Boston. I did not appoint him. He can assume no position which the courts would uphold except what the people have by the authority of their law vested in him. He speaks only with their voice. The right of the police of Boston to affiliate has always been questioned, never granted, is now prohibited. The suggestion of President Wilson to Washington does not apply to Boston. There the police have remained on duty. Here the Policemen’s Union left their duty, an action which President Wilson characterized as a crime against civilization. Your assertion that the Commissioner was wrong cannot justify the wrong of leaving the city unguarded. That furnished the opportunity, the criminal element furnished the action.

There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time. You ask that the public safety again be placed in the hands of these same policemen while they continue in disobedience to the laws of Massachusetts and in their refusal to obey the orders of the Police Department. Nineteen men have been tried and removed. Others having abandoned their duty, their places have, under the law, been declared vacant on the opinion of the Attorney General. I can suggest no authority outside the courts to take further action. I wish to join and assist in taking a broad view of every situation. A grave responsibility rests on all of us. You can depend on me to support you in every legal action and sound policy. I am equally determined to defend the sovereignty of Massachusetts and to maintain the authority and jurisdiction over her public officers where it has been placed by the Constitution and law of her people.

Calvin Coolidge

Governor of Massachusetts

I doubt that the Salvador Allende of Park Slope has the stomach for such a confrontation – but the reality is that the NYPD today is turning into an embarrassing neighborhood bully, and the only thing a bully understands is force. You wouldn’t want those broken windows to stay broke, would you?

University of Michigan Survey Finds High Use, Satisfaction with Local Government Privatization

Want to save tax dollars? Want accountability for government services? Need to keep costs down and projects efficient? Then privatization is the answer. Several library systems in Southern California, Camarillo, Santa Clara, several in Riverside County, are run not by government but by private firms. In all cases the hours open are more, there are more services, books and resources—and in all cases, the cost is less. Maybe we could sell the Post Office and many other government agencies—have better service and a lower cost.library college student books

Michigan is leading the fight against bigger government. Your town can learn from this State.

“The survey, released by the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy last month, found that 65% of Michigan’s local governments—and 84% of jurisdictions with over 30,000 residents—outsource one or more services. Further, 73% of officials from jurisdictions that privatize services reported being satisfied with the results, a finding that notably cut across party lines. Only 15% of jurisdictions that currently privatize services reported ever bringing a previously contracted service back in-house, suggesting that privatization tends to stick once implemented.”

Privatization means profits and taxpayers. Government provided services mean high costs and minimum service.

University of Michigan Survey Finds High Use, Satisfaction with Local Government Privatization

65% of Michigan municipalities privatize services, and 73% of them are satisfied with it

Leonard Gilroy, Reason, 12/31/14
With the heated rhetoric that often surrounds the privatization of government services, a perspective often lost is that of those officials that actually implement it. A new University of Michigan survey of local officials in Michigan adds some interesting new insights from practitioners, finding that most jurisdictions privatize something, and by and large, they’re happy with it.

The survey, released by the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy last month, found that 65% of Michigan’s local governments—and 84% of jurisdictions with over 30,000 residents—outsource one or more services. Further, 73% of officials from jurisdictions that privatize services reported being satisfied with the results, a finding that notably cut across party lines. Only 15% of jurisdictions that currently privatize services reported ever bringing a previously contracted service back in-house, suggesting that privatization tends to stick once implemented.

Digging further into user satisfaction, the survey found that 78% of officials in jurisdictions that privatize report satisfaction with their contractor(s) responsiveness, with similarly high levels reported for quality of service delivery (77%) and timeliness of service delivery (77%). And nearly two-thirds (64%) of officials reported being satisfied with the cost savings from privatization.

The survey found that the most common services outsourced are attorney/legal services (83%), engineering (51%), solid waste and recycling (45%), property assessment (43%), and inspections (42%).

For officials in municipalities that currently outsource services, the most common factors reported as encouraging privatization were cost savings (58%), a lack of in-house expertise (52%), and a desire to improve service quality (40%). By contrast, for those that do not currently use privatization, the most common factors officials report as discouraging them from doing so were high costs from private service delivery (18%), a lack of available private providers (17%), and sufficient in-house expertise (13%).

The survey results also pointed to a major area of potential improvement, as only 25% of officials reported having any techniques for formal evaluation of privatization efforts in their jurisdictions. And in those jurisdictions, 92% reported using analyses of service delivery costs, but only 68% evaluate contractors’ compliance with service delivery standards.

Overall, 69% of respondents felt like their jurisdictions were doing the right amount of privatization (again, with few partisan differences), which may help explain why only 10% of jurisdictions planned to pursue additional privatization initiatives in the coming year, a figure slightly lower than the 12-15% seen in the most recent annual surveys. This isn’t really an unexpected result, given that interest in privatization tends to rise and fall with the national economy and government fiscal conditions.

Surveys like this are very useful for providing some much-needed perspective on what tends to be an issue driven by passionate rhetoric on all sides, which obscures the nuance of real-world experience. Privatization is neither a panacea nor a scourge—it’s a proven public service delivery tool used in many places by officials of all political persuasions.

Using Drought to Empire Build: San Diego Hiring Staff To Enforce Water Restrictions

Great news for employment in San Diego. Thanks to the drought, the city of San Diego is hiring water monitors—folks that will check out whistleblowers and neighbors that hate their neighbor reporting alleged violation of government water use regulations.

If this does not work, expect a bounty program for turning in your neighbor—maybe $50 per snitch? This is not about the drought—seriously will three monitors save the State from policies that take water from people and give it to fish? Or policies that allow water to flow into the ocean instead of being saved? This is about empire building, not water.

“At the beginning of November, the city of San Diego adopted mandatory water restrictions, including limits on when sprinklers can run and when plants can be watered. But it didn’t have enough staff to proactively look for water-rule breakers.

Now that’s no longer true. In December, the city hired two provisional employees to respond to water use complaints, and is hiring a third who will start Jan. 6, said Robyn Bullard, a spokeswoman for the city’s Public Utilities Department.”

RB Drought

San Diego Hiring Staff To Enforce Water Restrictions

By Claire Trageser, KPBS, 12/31/14

Victor Sandoval, a field representative for the city of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department, checks the sprinklers at a Pacific Beach home on Nov. 20, 2014.

At the beginning of November, the city of San Diego adopted mandatory water restrictions, including limits on when sprinklers can run and when plants can be watered. But it didn’t have enough staff to proactively look for water-rule breakers.

Now that’s no longer true. In December, the city hired two provisional employees to respond to water use complaints, and is hiring a third who will start Jan. 6, said Robyn Bullard, a spokeswoman for the city’s Public Utilities Department.

Mandatory Water Restrictions

• Watering lawns three days a week, and limited to seven minutes per station in November through May.

• Residences with odd-numbered addresses can water on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

• Residences with even-numbered addresses can water on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

• Apartments, condominiums and businesses can water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

• Must use hoses with shut-off nozzles or timed-sprinkler systems to provide water to landscaped areas.

• Wash vehicles only before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. in November through May.

• Water potted plants, vegetable gardens and fruit trees before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

• No watering lawns or plants on rainy days.

• Ornamental fountains must be turned off except for repairs.

The provisional employees are retired field representatives who are familiar with the job but who can only work for 90 days. Bullard said these three employees will stay with the Public Utilities Department while the city hires new field representatives and will help train the new hires.

Bullard said the new field representatives will be interviewed in January, “then they have to go through the hiring process, background check, employment check, all of that, so best-case scenario they would be in place in January.”

The city already has two field representatives and another employee who respond to water waste complaints.

When the City Council approved the water restrictions in November, the Public Utilities Department said it would need seven employees, including four field representatives. To avoid spending extra money on new hires, the department planned to convert existing vacancies to the new field representative positions, Luis Generoso, the city’s water resources manager, told KPBS.

“When we said that we are not going to increase our position count in our budget, that meant that for us to be able to hire these people, we would have to look for existing positions that are vacant and then try to convert those, take over those positions and use them for limited field reps up until they’re no longer needed,” Generoso said. “So in essence, if we had a vacancy that is not a critical fill vacancy, that maybe those could be used for this temporary position.”

The vacancies used to hire field representatives were Information Systems Analyst II, Assistant Laboratory Technician, Wastewater Plant Operator and Heavy Truck Driver II, according to a status update KPBS obtained under a Public Records Act request.

The city also uses its water meter readers and Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol to report water rule breakers.

Residents and RSVP can make reports over the phone, by email and by using the city’s Waste No Water mobile app.

Violators get a letter telling them to stop. If a resident reports a violation and then reports it still exists two weeks later, field representatives will call or go out to the property and explain the new rules, Generoso said. If even that doesn’t work, the property owner will get a letter from the city’s code enforcement unit giving another 10 days to fix the problem. If it’s still not fixed, the owner will get a fine of $100, $250 or $500.