Hillary/Democrats Dislike of Jews Shows Up Again

Hillary and Barack made it clear—they believe that Israel is the enemy and the Palestinian terrorists are the good guys. Time after time Obama insulted and demeaned Israel. Yet Hillary Rodham Nixon refused to denounce his words and actions—nor did she resign. Why resign, her staying on as Secretary of State, prompting the anti-Israel policies was confirmation of her position on the only free State in the Middle East.

“Hillary Clinton has appointed to her leadership team a former congressman who blamed his defeat on “Jewish interests” and the “Jewish media,” her campaign announced earlier this month.

The Clinton campaign named Earl Hilliard, Sr., who served in Congress from 1992 to 2002, as part of her 60-member Alabama leadership team on Nov. 20.

Shortly after Hilliard’s defeat, the former congressman gave an interview to the Black Commentator in which he said “Jewish interests” bought the election for Davis.

“The only thing I know for sure, that I saw in black and white, is $1,098,000 that [Davis] reported,” said Hilliard in the July 16, 2002 interview. “You can’t take money from corporations, so that came from Jews and Republicans. There’s no question where that money came from.”

By appointing Hilliard, she reconfirms her anti-Jewish/Israel views. Anybody surprised that the Democrats oppose Israel?

Photo courtesy SEIU International, flickr

Photo courtesy SEIU International, flickr

Clinton Appoints Ex-Congressman Who Blamed Defeat on Jews to ‘Leadership Team’

Earl Hilliard, Sr., blamed ‘Jewish media’ for 2002 loss to Artur Davis

BY: Alana Goodman, Washington Free Beacon, 11/30/15
Hillary Clinton has appointed to her leadership team a former congressman who blamed his defeat on “Jewish interests” and the “Jewish media,” her campaign announced earlier this month.

The Clinton campaign named Earl Hilliard, Sr., who served in Congress from 1992 to 2002, as part of her 60-member Alabama leadership team on Nov. 20.

Hilliard, who lost to then-Democrat Artur Davis in 2002, was considered one of Israel’s most vocal opponents in Congress. Davis, a staunch supporter of Israel who became a Republican in 2012, had the backing of groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League in the election.

Shortly after Hilliard’s defeat, the former congressman gave an interview to the Black Commentator in which he said “Jewish interests” bought the election for Davis.

“The only thing I know for sure, that I saw in black and white, is $1,098,000 that [Davis] reported,” said Hilliard in the July 16, 2002 interview. “You can’t take money from corporations, so that came from Jews and Republicans. There’s no question where that money came from.”

Hilliard said his opponent also received millions of dollars in free media coverage.

“Remember, the Jewish media. They started putting word out, they wanted everybody to know, because … obviously they felt that the money they had, that they put in, that they were going to beat me,” he said.

According to Hilliard, billions of dollars were being taken from poor communities and sent to Israel. He said Davis “made a pact with the Israelis” and “was used.”

“[Davis] doesn’t know that his victory sent a message to other Blacks of my era that they better be careful what they say or how they deal with the Israeli or Jewish question,” said Hilliard.

Hilliard also said that one mainstream Jewish organization wrote to him after the election and told him he “ought to stop whimpering because, after all, they didn’t replace me with a white.”

“There is a group out there that wants to dominate us,” he added. “They want us to do what they want us to do … and to Hell with our agenda if there is a conflict.”

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Reached at his home, Hilliard told the Washington Free Beacon that he did not recall the 2002 interview with the Black Commentator. However, he confirmed that he believes Jewish interests were responsible for his electoral defeat.

“Well, that’s true. Because they believed that I was anti-Jewish or anti-Israel,” said Hilliard. “They believed it. They were against anyone who they believed was anti-Israel.”

He said he was not anti-Jewish, but had disagreements with Jewish people about Israel.

“For whatever reason there are people who have always tried to bring a wedge between me and Jewish people who I disagree with on one subject area,” said Hilliard.

Hilliard asked the Free Beacon to email him a copy of the Black Commentator interview so that he could comment on it. He did not respond by press time.

The Black Commentator is an online magazine founded in April 2002 for “African Americans and the African world and their allies in the movement for economic justice, social justice and peace.”

Hilliard’s campaign was also accused of distributing an anti-Semitic leaflet against Davis in the 2002 race.

“Mr. Davis must simply understand that Jews the world over have never come to the aid of black or dark skin people because it was the right thing to do,” said the flyer.

Hilliard denied any connection to the advertisement. After the election, he warned that his loss would incite “retribution” against Jews.

“I see a future with a great deal of conflict between African-Americans and Jews in this country,” Hilliard told the Associated Press on June 28, 2002. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I don’t think African-Americans are going to sit back and let this continue. There will be retribution.”

In 1997, Hilliard came under fire for traveling to Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya while it was designated as a terrorist state and under U.S. sanctions. The then-congressman said he made the trip in order to support dialogue.

 

Will California wage hikes replace workers with machines?

Good news for computer folks—government and radical groups are making sure you always have a well paying job. Bad news for the young, the unskilled, women coming back into the employment market, radicals pushing or a $15 minimum wage are also pushing to keep you unemployed and in poverty. Sadly, you will continue to vote for politicians that WANT you dependent on government to survive.

“After the minimum wage ordinance was approved, LoGuercio invested in a $150,000 industrial dishwasher he had been eyeing to save on utility costs. The machine will also allow him to stop paying six to eight people who earn $10 to $11 an hour washing dishes. LoGuercio expects to recoup his costs in nine months, and save a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year going forward.

The owner will make an extra $200,000 a year, thanks to the hike to $15 an hour minimum wage. But-6-8 workers will be on welfare! This is how income inequality operates—government policies killing opportunity—but making some wealthier!

voting-machine-maryland-wikicommons-300x200

Will California wage hikes replace workers with machines?

by Pauline Bartolone, CalMatters, 11/22/15

After the City of Los Angeles passed an ordinance this summer to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, Richard LoGuercio spent the following weekend driving around a nearby city, looking for warehouses to move his business.

“I am just screwed,” said LoGuercio, owner and president of Town and Country Event Rentals in Van Nuys, which employs 450 people, more than half of whom earn between $10 to $13 an hour. Moving his shop to another county could help him escape the mandated wage increase.

“Labor has kind of become our enemy, because it’s just so high,” he said.

When the minimum wage goes up to $15 an hour, LoGuercio estimates his labor costs will increase by 62 percent. He says he fears his labor costs may rise even further because his more experienced workers will need to be paid more than a new employee.

“I’m in favor of (raising) the minimum wage, but not so much and not so fast,” said LoGuercio, who says he’s weighing his options for cutting labor costs.

“Wherever technology can help, that’s where we’re looking into.”

After the minimum wage ordinance was approved, LoGuercio invested in a $150,000 industrial dishwasher he had been eyeing to save on utility costs. The machine will also allow him to stop paying six to eight people who earn $10 to $11 an hour washing dishes. LoGuercio expects to recoup his costs in nine months, and save a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year going forward.

“It’s a start,” he said.

Employers: Minimum wage increases will put more machines in the workplace

Employer groups opposed to raising the minimum wage say labor costs are already driving decisions to replace human labor with technology. They say higher minimum wages will accelerate automation trends in the workplace.

But economists say even when jobs are replaced by technology, overall employment may not suffer.

Machines are already doing what humans had done for decades in supermarkets and some restaurants; shoppers can pay using self-checkout kiosks, and diners at Chili’s can order baby back ribs on a tabletop tablet.

The California Restaurant Association says self-ordering could become more common if the minimum wage is increased to $15 statewide, a scenario proposed in competing initiatives currently trying to qualify for the 2016 November ballot.

“When you’re talking about a 60 percent increase in the minimum wage over a short period of time, that absolutely is a game changer,” said Jot Condie, chief executive and president of the restaurant association. “They’re all planning” on ways to cut costs, including buying pre-chopped ingredients, sourcing food from international sources instead of local farmers, or hiring more discriminately.

“If they haven’t adopted technology, they are absolutely looking at technology as an option, a way to cut costs,” Condie said.

Kiosks and tablets are most likely to be seen in fast-food restaurants — but that’s not just because of labor costs, Condie said. Technology helps deliver food more quickly.

Jot Condie, President of the California Restaurant Association, picks up his lunch at an automated restaurant in San Francisco. Beatrice Katcher for CALmatters

Farmers may grow what can be mechanized

When it comes to agriculture, the California Farm Bureau Federation says it’s like any other industry that employs large numbers of low-skilled workers; growers look for “every opportunity” to cut labor costs, and technology is part of that.

Bryan Little, director of employment policy at the farm bureau, said for the past 25 years, more and more agricultural products -– including tomatoes, raisins and nuts -– are being harvested by machine. As labor costs go up, Little said, farmers decide what to grow partly on how easily production can be mechanized.

“There’s a lot more interest in growing almonds, walnuts, pistachios, other types of tree nuts that can be harvested with a crew of four or five people,” said Little, explaining that machines can shake nuts from a tree, without harming color or texture. Not so for a strawberry or melons.

He said if there were a statewide $15 minimum wage, farming would likely become more mechanized.

“You’d see more interest in developing commodities that can be machine harvested, or (growers) changing to commodities that lend themselves to machine harvesting,” Little said.

 

How CalPERS has Created a Ticking Time Bomb

CalPERS has been called a bully by the bankruptcy judge in the Stockton case. This is an agency that admits to a $281 billion unfunded liability—but if FEDERAL accounting principles were used, it would be around $752 billion. This is an agency that lied about its return on investment for years, causing the unfunded liability. Then it raised the mandated contribution by 50%–causing cities to cut cops, libraries and road safety to pay the new premium.

Now they admit the 7.5% was also a lie, claiming 6.5% ROI is correct—which if true will add BILLIONS to the cost of cities and government agencies each year to the bill—causing more cutbacks in basic government services.

“Currently, most agencies use a 7.5% discount rate. However, that rate today is too high for 3 reasons; (1) fixed income investments are currently returning 4%, (2) stocks are projected to return under 7%, and (3) with a 75% funding ratio the pension fund does not have 100% of their liabilities in assets earning income. Taking into account these factors most experts would probably recommend CalPERS to use a 3.7% discount rate. They won’t, however, because as the Stanford study has shown it would triple unfunded liabilities, drastically increase annual pension payments by the employer, and show everyone that the current benefit levels are simply unaffordable. Adequately funding pensions under these assumptions would also push hundreds of California cities and counties into balance sheet insolvency and if more cash was required to be injected into the system as private pensions are required to do with their 90% funding level requirement, into bankruptcy.”

Private firms acting like this would be closed down—and officers indicted for fraud. Why hasn’t AG Kamala Harris taken action? Who is she protecting?

calpers

How CalPERS has Created a Ticking Time Bomb

by Ken Churchill, California Policy Center, 11/30/15

During the Stockton bankruptcy Judge Klein called CalPERS the “bully with a glass jaw.” Klein meant that CalPERS, as a servicing company, has no standing in the bankruptcy because the pension obligation is between the public agency and their employees and retirees.

That means as opposed to lobbying for increased benefits as they have beginning in 1999 when they convinced the state legislature to increase the pensions of safety employees from 2% to 3% per year of service retroactively, and threatening litigation if Vallejo or Stockton cut benefits, the role of CalPERS is to simply (1) determine the required employer and employee contributions necessary to responsibility fund each pension plan they manage, (2) invest the contributions, and (3) send retirees checks for their promised monthly benefits.

So how well is CalPERS doing its job as a servicing company?

With the new on line website PensionTracker.org recently developed by the Stanford University Institute for Public Research we can view objective data regarding CalPERS’ performance, along with all of California’s other state and local retirement systems. Combined, the total unfunded pension liabilities for all state and local government workers in California hit $281 billion at the end of the 2013 fiscal year (6/30/2013), the last year data is available for.

Unfunded liabilities for each system are estimated as:

  • CalPERS public agencies (the Public Employee Retirement Fund, Judges’ Retirement Funds I and II, and the Legislators’ Retirement Fund): $116.7 billion.
  • Independent county, city and special district systems: $88.2 billion.
  • California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) agencies: $56.5 billion.
  • The University of California Retirement System (UCRS): $12.0 billion.
  • Pension Obligation Bonds issued: $8.1 billion.

These numbers, however, are based on a 7.5% discount rate on the liability. That is, the estimated value of all future payments to current and eventual retirees was discounted to a present value based on a 7.5% rate of return. For a retirement system to be 100% funded, the total invested assets in the fund have to be equal to this discounted future liability, based on the assumption that these invested assets will earn 7.5% annual returns, on average, over the next several decades. And because some of California’s government employers have borrowed money to make their annual pension fund contributions, these “Pension Obligation Bonds” also have to be taken into account when calculating the unfunded liability. PensionTracker.org calculates California’s pension system’s aggregate unfunded liability as follows:

“Total Unfunded Liabilities reflects the aggregate liabilities for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), independent pension systems, the University of California Retirement System (UCRS), plus Pension Obligation Bond (POB) balances, minus the aggregate Market Value of Assets (MVA).”

While the formula to calculate a pension system’s unfunded liability is fairly straightforward, the assumptions that are made are not straightforward at all. The result is extremely sensitive to what annual rate-of return assumption is used. When the Institute applied a lower discount rate of 3.7%, the rate that CalPERS uses if an agency wants to exit their system, the unfunded liability tripled to $946 billion, an astonishing $75,000 worth of debt for every household in California. If this rate of return is so preposterously low, why is it the rate that CalPERS uses if an agency wants to exit their system?

But these numbers, as unaffordable as they seem, do not include unfunded retiree healthcare liabilities. A 2014 study of the 20 independent county pension systems by the California Public Policy Center, “Evaluating Total Unfunded Public Employee Retirement Liabilities in 20 California Counties,” indicates when bond debt and unfunded retiree healthcare benefits were added to the county systems, the total unfunded liability for retiree benefits in those counties almost doubled from $37 billion to $72 billion.

To create this mountain of debt CalPERS has been and continues to use several accounting gimmicks.

Smoothing of Investment Returns

Up until 2006 CalPERS smoothed its investment gains and losses over 4 years. Then in 2006 they went to a 15 year smoothing and beginning in 2015 they are moving to a 30 year smoothing. Extending smoothing significantly lowers unfunded liabilities and therefore employer and employee contributions, and passes the costs onto future generations.

Smoothing also masks CalPERS poor investment performances. CalPERS has been one of the worst performing pension funds in the nation with their investments returning only 5% from 2003 to 2013 and last year only 2.5%.

Here is how smoothing works. If the pension fund were to lose $100 million in investment assets in a year using the market value of assets the pension fund would show a $100 million loss from the previous year. But by using a 4 year smoothing the actuarial loss for that year would be $25 million carried forward 3 more years. Using 15 year smoothing the actuarial loss would drop to $6.6 million carried forward 14 more years. Using the new 30 year smoothing the $100 million loss would drop to $3.3 million carried forward 29 more years. Essentially using a 30 year smoothing takes investment returns out of the pension calculation formula. In other words, this is no way to reduce risk and a good way to increase unfunded liabilities.

Beginning in 2015/2016 CalPERS is dropping smoothing of stock market gains and losses and will move from a rolling to fixed amortization of the unfunded liabilities with the intent to pay off all the current unfunded liabilities over the next 30 years. This is still a long period of time to pay off the debts. Under federal ERISA rules for private pensions unfunded liabilities are paid off over 7 years.

Extending Debt Payments on the Unfunded Liabilities

As bad as 15 to 30 year smoothing is, there is more. Following the 2008 stock market crash and the loss of 30% of its assets, instead of amortizing the unfunded pension liabilities and paying them back over 9 years as they were doing, CalPERS went to a 30 year amortization.

This is similar to the difference between what you would pay monthly and over time on a 9 or 30 year mortgage, though a more appropriate comparison would be taking 30 years to pay off a credit card balance, since there is no asset with a useful life being purchased. With a 9 year mortgage your monthly payments are much higher than with a 30 year mortgage but the total cost over time with interest is significantly less over time. Worst of all, by doing this CalPERS is passing a mountain of debt, higher taxes and fewer services onto our children and grandchildren.

Using an Overly Optimistic Discount Rate

Pension funds use a discount rate on liabilities based upon the assumption that their investments are going to return an amount similar to the discount rate. Currently, most agencies use a 7.5% discount rate. However, that rate today is too high for 3 reasons; (1) fixed income investments are currently returning 4%, (2) stocks are projected to return under 7%, and (3) with a 75% funding ratio the pension fund does not have 100% of their liabilities in assets earning income. Taking into account these factors most experts would probably recommend CalPERS to use a 3.7% discount rate. They won’t, however, because as the Stanford study has shown it would triple unfunded liabilities, drastically increase annual pension payments by the employer, and show everyone that the current benefit levels are simply unaffordable. Adequately funding pensions under these assumptions would also push hundreds of California cities and counties into balance sheet insolvency and if more cash was required to be injected into the system as private pensions are required to do with their 90% funding level requirement, into bankruptcy.

CalPERS and Pension Reform

Recently CalPERS has been rushing to play up its good government bona fides just as talk of pension reform next year has been heating up. Earlier this month, former San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio filed two new initiative proposals for next year’s state ballot. CalPERS is right to be concerned, since polling numbers continue to show strong public support for pension reform.

The Reed DeMaio plans are not perfect reform since they only impact new hires, but they have the advantage of being put together by former officials who grasp the depth of the crisis. The CalPERS plan seems like an attempt to co-opt pension reform. Given the skyrocketing costs they’re already facing, Californians need to be told the truth about the pension debt they and their children and grandchildren will be paying off for decades.

We need real pension reform now, but it’s not going to happen if public employee unions continue to oppose reform efforts and CalPERS continues to use accounting gimmicks to hide the enormous unfunded liabilities from taxpayers and government employees and retirees who have been promised unsustainable pensions the tax base simply can’t afford to pay.

*   *   *

About the author:  Ken Churchill is the author of numerous studies on the pension crisis in California and is also the Director of New Sonoma, a pension reform group.

Discrimination Complaints: Publicity and Blackmail Real Reasons?

Anybody can file a complaint, for any reason, with no repercussions to them—just the smeared reputation of those accused. Barack Obama believes in “white privilege”—meaning if you are white, you are a racist. So, any compliant against a white person is legitimate. So, it is no surprise that off the top, 75% of complaints are thrown out.

“During the Obama administration, the Education Department has received 1,073 complaints about racial harassment in higher education. Generally, the number of complaints a year is up, compared to prior years. Since 2010, the smallest number of complaints in a fiscal year is 137 (in 2010). In the five years prior to the Obama administration, the number of complaints never exceeded 95 and was generally smaller than that (in the 50s). An increase in complaints does not necessarily mean that the situation on campus is worse, since a variety of factors (such as outreach to encourage complaints, or the government signaling interest in enforcement) can be a factor in the number of complaints.

Of the 1,073 complaints, 227 have been closed — either by a resolution letter or by being dropped for lack of evidence. The department declined to provide a breakdown between those two very different outcomes. Another 34 complaints remain under investigation. But that means that more than three-quarters of the complaints filed in the last seven years have gone nowhere.

Bottom line is that is 1073 “complaints” there are 34 that should be investigated. I wonder how many of them are charges of discrimination by Administrators against white students?. Should taxpayers file a complaint against UCLA and Berkeley for formulating BLACK ONLY dorms on campus—isn’t this discrimination? Why isn’t Obama denouncing this discrimination?

Obama adrift

More Complaints Than Findings

Education Department has received more than 1,000 filings on racial harassment in higher ed in last seven years. But only a fraction result in any findings.

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher ed, 11/30/15

In an op-ed this month on rising racial tensions on campus, Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that in his seven years in office, the department’s Office for Civil Rights has received more than 1,000 complaints about racial harassment in higher education. He said this statistic was an indication that the current concerns about race on campus are “no small issue.”

Duncan didn’t note how small a proportion of those complaints have resulted in findings of discrimination. Most of the complaints, in fact, never result in a complete investigation by OCR, let alone a finding. That isn’t necessarily a sign of weak complaints or of poor enforcement by OCR. A review of more information provided by the Education Department, however, may illustrate why students are turning to campus protests and not to Washington with their grievances.

The Data on Complaints

During the Obama administration, the Education Department has received 1,073 complaints about racial harassment in higher education. Generally, the number of complaints a year is up, compared to prior years. Since 2010, the smallest number of complaints in a fiscal year is 137 (in 2010). In the five years prior to the Obama administration, the number of complaints never exceeded 95 and was generally smaller than that (in the 50s). An increase in complaints does not necessarily mean that the situation on campus is worse, since a variety of factors (such as outreach to encourage complaints, or the government signaling interest in enforcement) can be a factor in the number of complaints.

Of the 1,073 complaints, 227 have been closed — either by a resolution letter or by being dropped for lack of evidence. The department declined to provide a breakdown between those two very different outcomes. Another 34 complaints remain under investigation. But that means that more than three-quarters of the complaints filed in the last seven years have gone nowhere.

So where do those complaints go? A senior department official who spoke anonymously said there are many reasons why complaints don’t get pursued. Among the more common reasons: the person who filed the complaint decides to withdraw it, the complaint involves something that took place in a context for which a college has no legal responsibility or the complainant has filed with another avenue (for example, suing in court).

The official said that a number of the complaints that come in do reflect some of the issues being raised in campus protests, namely the allegation that many fellow students and faculty members make comments that are insensitive at a minimum and that create a hostile environment for learning, or that there is active discrimination against minority students. Among the typical kinds of cases, the official said, “a security guard” whose questions to minority students make them feel they are seen as criminals simply on the basis of their race or ethnicity, or “faculty members speaking in disrespectful ways and not treating students of color the way white students are.”

With regard to issues of free speech, the official said that OCR looks “very carefully” at comments that set off complaints, and is looking for more than just whether someone said something that offended someone else. The question is whether comments “rise to the level of a hostile environment.”

“We practice in our enforcement work that free speech and academic values must be reconciled with the obligation not to operate a racially hostile environment,” the official said.

The Education Department released 10 letters of finding made in the last two years, and a few included allegations that were based on comments of faculty members.

One involved allegations against an unnamed faculty member at Cuyamaca College, a community college in California. A student filed a complaint with the college president last year reporting that a faculty member engaged in a “comedy routine” in class, in which the professor made jokes and shared insults about black people. The original complaint didn’t identify the course or the faculty member, but when another student complained, the college was able to identify the instructor and the subject (oceanography). Documents from the college indicate that the college decided to drop the instructor for reasons unrelated to the incident.

The OCR finding against the college was that its complaint procedure was ineffective in part because it didn’t inform the student who filed the original complaint of the findings of the investigation — and that the instructor wasn’t returning.

The college, in a resolution agreement, agreed to fix its procedures so that complainants in the future would be informed of findings.

Other complaints also cite remarks by faculty members and fellow students. Some of the complaints about students include allegations of physical violence accompanied by racial slurs by individual students. Others are allegations involving groups.

Former students (all African-Americans) on the football team at Jamestown College (now the University of Jamestown), in North Dakota, complained to OCR about harassment by white students and staff members, and said that they were falsely accused of vandalizing a building and accused of being in a gang, and that they were expelled from the college without a disciplinary hearing.

OCR documents indicate that the college settled the complaints of the individual students before the civil rights office drew a conclusion on all of the charges. (An email to the president of the college, who signed the agreement with OCR, seeking details, was not returned.)

The resolution agreement between the college and OCR is largely about policies — requiring the college to strengthen policies and train people on policies to prevent racial harassment and discrimination. (The only provision about the former students themselves requires that tuition bills to them be cleared so that they can obtain transcripts of their work.)

That is typical of many of the cases OCR handles — the college agrees to “early” resolution, which ends the actual investigation if the college agrees to take various steps. Many of the steps involve clarifying antidiscrimination rules, and not necessarily the specific grievance that led to the complaint, for which evidence may or may not exist.

The Education Department official stressed that the department also does work beyond the investigation process. It recently convened college officials to discuss ways to promote a better campus environment for all students. The official said that such efforts are important, and that “we will continue aggressively to enforce” the law.

 

Five California Companies With Job Openings/Great Pay/Great Benefits

California does have jobs for qualified, educated, skilled workers. These are well paying jobs—work with a real future. No, these are not the majority of jobs—those are of the taco shell filling variety. Thought you should know where to apply for a real job in California—otherwise, Texas has plenty of jobs. Oh, these firms also provide a cornucopia of benefits!

Here is one firm in Southern California, the Bay Area AND Sacramento:

SAS Institute The next company on Fortune’s list with available positions in California is SAS Institute, with jobs is San Diego, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. The company creates analytic software.

SAS’s perks read a lot like Google’s. The company offers free snacks and beverages,subsidized lunch, massage therapy, fitness classes, hair salon, banking, subsidized public transportation, car wash, dry cleaning, personal concierge service and more.

The company also offers excellent health insurance, 401k, and 12 percent of the workforce telecommutes. How happy are employees? The company reports just a four percent voluntary turnover in workers annually. Search for SAS Institute Jobs

California does have some great opportunities! It is not all gloom and doom.

Jobs

Top 5 California Jobs for Pay and Benefits

Fortune publishes an annual list of best companies to work for. Here are the top five with job openings right now in California.

By Bea Karnes, Redondo Beach Patch,   11/29/15    

The long Thanksgiving weekend gave you plenty of time to update your resume and dream of a brighter future. If you’re going to change jobs anyway, why not work for the best?

Fortune compiles an annual list of Best Companies to Work For. While some of the top employers aren’t in California, many were hatched and nurtured right here in the Golden State.

Here are the Top 5 companies on Fortune’s list that have openings in California right now:

  1. Google And who wouldn’t want to work for Google? The company has become synonymous with high pay and golden perks. Such as:
  • free food and beverages
  • massage therapy
  • fitness classes
  • fitness center
  • weight watchers meetings
  • hair salon
  • dry cleaning
  • banking
  • car wash
  • vehicle maintenance
  • public transit discount
  • personal concierge service
  • medical facilities
  • flu shots
  • blood pressure screenings
  • breast cancer screenings
  • complete biometric screenings
  • cholesterol tests

And that’s just a partial list. Add in health insurance including generous parental leave, 401k, generous paid time off.

Corporate headquarters is in Mountain View. Google also has offices in San Francisco, San Bruno (YouTube), Los Angeles and Irvine. Search Google Jobs

  1. The Boston Consulting Group Never mind the name, this company has three offices in California–Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco, with roughly 50 job openings in the state right now. The most impressive benefit – 100 percent paid health insurance for employees and their dependents. And it’s good insurance – the typical copay is just $5.

Perks include free breakfast, free snacks and free beverages throughout the day. And if you eat too much – free weight watchers meetings. Search for Boston Consulting Group Jobs

  1. SAS Institute The next company on Fortune’s list with available positions in California is SAS Institute, with jobs is San Diego, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. The company creates analytic software.

SAS’s perks read a lot like Google’s. The company offers free snacks and beverages,subsidized lunch, massage therapy, fitness classes, hair salon, banking, subsidized public transportation, car wash, dry cleaning, personal concierge service and more.

The company also offers excellent health insurance, 401k, and 12 percent of the workforce telecommutes. How happy are employees? The company reports just a four percent voluntary turnover in workers annually. Search for SAS Institute Jobs

  1. Robert W. Baird & Co. This financial services firm has California offices in Dana Point, Grass Valley, Palo Alto, Roseville, Sacramento and San Francisco. Baird has steadily moved up the rankings of Fortune’s best companies since 2012. This private, employee-owned company offers stock options in addition to a 401k.

The company offers comprehensive health insurance, telecommuting, job sharing and more worker-friendly options. Search for Baird Jobs

  1. Edward Jones Another financial services firm, Edward Jones has 633 branch offices scattered around California. In addition to salary and other compensation, and health insurance, the company offers $5,000 college tuition reimbursement.

Other perks include compressed work weeks, job sharing, childcare and elder care resources, and 20 percent of the workforce telecommutes. Search for Edward Jones Jobs

 

 

Report: California’s failure to invest in public universities has hurt access?

California universities have been planning segregated dorms, teach class in ethnic and gender studies that allow the graduates to fill taco shells for a career. The UC system has an $21 billion unfunded pension liability—since Arnold one dollar out of every three in tuition increases have gone to keep the retirement checks going out. This is a system that Administrators use to promote racism, anti-Semitism and demands totalitarian adherence to scams like climate change.

“The report, “Access Denied: Rising Selectivity at California’s Public Universities,” found that the University of California and California State University systems are now too small to serve the state’s growing population, forcing campuses to turn away a large number of eligible applicants.

“At a time when an educated workforce is crucial for the California economy, is it fair that it is more difficult for today’s generation of Californians to enroll directly in a four-year university after high school than it was for previous generations?” asks the report published by Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on higher education issues.”

Maybe if the UC system was about education instead of radical ideology, graduates would be better qualified to careers in the modern work place. Instead they qualify for the “Al Gore Debate Team”—junior varsity. Until the University of California system makes education its priority, adding money to a failed program will help the radicals, the whackys and those who believe gender education is actual education, not sophomoric confusion.

UC Berkeley

Report: California’s failure to invest in public universities has hurt access

By Fermin Leal, EdSource, 11/30/15

California’s public universities can no longer accommodate the increasing number of college-ready students because the state has failed to invest the needed resources in higher education, according to a report released today.

The report, “Access Denied: Rising Selectivity at California’s Public Universities,” found that the University of California and California State University systems are now too small to serve the state’s growing population, forcing campuses to turn away a large number of eligible applicants.

“At a time when an educated workforce is crucial for the California economy, is it fair that it is more difficult for today’s generation of Californians to enroll directly in a four-year university after high school than it was for previous generations?” asks the report published by Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on higher education issues.

Key findings include:

  • The gap between the number of Californians applying to the UC and CSU systems and those who have been accepted has doubled since 1996.
  • To be admitted to UC, students need near perfect grades and SAT or ACT scores to get in, something that was not expected of applicants in previous generations. Freshman students admitted to six of nine UC campuses had an average GPA of 4.0.
  • Six of 23 CSU campuses are fully impacted, meaning they have more applications from eligible students across all majors than they can accommodate. As a result, these campuses have significantly raised admissions standards for all applicants.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, CSU campuses turned away 139,697 eligible students.
  • California ranks 49th nationally in the percentage of high school graduates who go on to enroll at four-year universities.

The report’s release coincides with today’s application deadline for fall 2016 admission to UC and CSU campuses. CSU expects to receive close to 800,000 applications for admission for next fall, while UC anticipates nearly 200,000.

For fall 2015, CSU admitted about three-quarters of all applicants, while UC admitted just over half.

Large-scale budget cuts prompted by the recession are the primary reason for the decrease in access, the report said.

Between 2006 and 2014, each system lost $1 billion in state funding, which forced campuses to slash enrollment, reduce staff, raise tuition, increase class sizes and cut services.

The report recommends that the governor and lawmakers reprioritize funding for higher education to increase access for a wider range of Californians. Each system should also cap the number of out-of-state and international students, especially at the most popular campuses, and offer viable alternatives to qualified students who were turned away, including referrals to other public universities that may have space.

These solutions could help California create a vision for higher education that’s aligned with the 21st century, the report said. “This vision includes ensuring that college opportunity and success are equally available to all Californians across the diversity of race/ethnicity, income status, and regions,” the report said.

Left Always Finds “Good Reason” to Raise Taxes—Kill Middle Class

LAUSD has announced that due to its poor education, they expect a 49% graduation rate in Spring of 2016. It would be even worse, but many students drop out, while failing, so are not counted in the final is rate. California is one of the few States still using the failed mystical Common Core—where two plus two can equal five. Even the far Left Massachusetts has thrown out this fad.

“If approved, the tax would raise between $5 billion and $11 billion annually from 2019 through 2030 for K-12 schools and California Community Colleges, according to state finance officials.

“Temporarily extending these critical revenues will help keep our state budget balanced, and prevent devastating cuts to programs affecting students, seniors, working families and healthcare,” said Gale Kaufman, spokeswoman for the initiative’s backers, Alliance for A Better California, in a statement.”

How is the money to be spent—more facilities to make room for illegal aliens, new stadiums, more parking lots—not a dime for curriculum. No money for teacher training—just fluff and payoffs to the crony capitalists and the unions. They claim it is a $9 billion bond, true. But to pay it off will costs a total of $17.1 billion. Can you afford the fluff?

taxes

School advocates look to extend tax hike on wealthy

by Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report,  11/30/15

(Calif.) A voter initiative aimed at extending temporary personal income tax hikes to fund schools was cleared for circulation last week, allowing backers to seek the 585,407 signatures needed to qualify the measure for next November’s ballot.

Titled “Tax Extension to Fund Education,” Initiative 15-0065 would extend by 12 years temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on single filers earning over $250,000; over $500,000 for joint filers, and over $340,000 for heads of household.

If approved, the tax would raise between $5 billion and $11 billion annually from 2019 through 2030 for K-12 schools and California Community Colleges, according to state finance officials.

“Temporarily extending these critical revenues will help keep our state budget balanced, and prevent devastating cuts to programs affecting students, seniors, working families and healthcare,” said Gale Kaufman, spokeswoman for the initiative’s backers, Alliance for A Better California, in a statement.

“California continues to rank 46th in per student funding,” Kaufman’s statement read. “This year’s budget is a strong step towards restoring the billions in cuts since 2008, but schools have lost more than $50 billion in funding that will never be repaid. We need to ensure that the funds that our schools receive stay stable to avoid repeating the massive cuts of the recent past.”

The potential for further cuts to education was stymied in 2012 by the passage of Proposition 30, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown as the only way to stabilize the eroding state budget and bring in more funding for schools. A quarter-cent sales tax increase created by the measure expires at the end of 2016, and personal income tax increases on residents with annual incomes over $250,000 are set to expire in 2018.

The measure has generated between $6 billion and $7 billion annually, with about half going to K-12 schools and community colleges.

While the initiative from the Alliance for A Better California – a coalition that includes the California Teachers Association – calls for its extension of the tax hikes to expire, a second proposal would make them permanent.

That initiative, backed by a group of health and youth advocates, was cleared for signature gathering last week as well.

Initiative 15-0070, titled “Tax to fund Education, Healthcare and Child Development,” would use the revenues for K-12 schools and Medi-Cal, the state-funded healthcare system for the poor.

In addition to extending tax increases on couples earning at least $580,000 annually, the measure would impose even higher income tax rates for so-called “super-earner” couples making more than $2 million a year.

According to the groups leading this effort – the California Hospital Association, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and Common Sense Kids Action – half of the estimated $10 billion in annual revenues would go to K-14 education. Forty percent would go to the state’s Medi-Cal program, and the rest to preschool and early childhood development programs. The measure also calls for a “rainy day” budget reserve similar to that created by last year’s Proposition 2.

Neither of the two measures calls for extending Proposition 30’s sales tax increase.

Recent polling by the Public Policy Institute of California showed likely voters split evenly on the question of extending temporary taxes and heavily against making them permanent.

The initiatives also face getting lost in a sea of measures given that more than 100 proposals are vying to be on the November ballot. Three, including a $9 billion K-12 school facilities bond, have already qualified; 58 have been cleared for signature gathering, and 40 are waiting to be cleared for circulation by the Attorney General’s office. Eight petitions have failed to qualify.

Adding a new wrinkle to this year’s initiative process is a set of rules passed last year aimed at de-cluttering the California ballot by allowing the Legislature to conduct hearings on the various proposals before they go to a public vote. Lawmakers and initiative sponsors, who have until June 30 to pull a measure off the ballot, could decide to address the issue through legislation.

Californian Finances Effort to Stop Media/Obama to Bring Terrorists to United States

Not every Californian billionaire, like Tom Streyer, wake up every morning trying to figure out how to finance efforts to kill jobs, make more people poor. Robert Shillman, of Ranchos Santa Fe (San Diego County) spends his money reminding folks that terrorism, not climate change, will kill you—and that the media/Obama cabal is promoting terrorist cells coming into your community.

“Shillman Journalism Fellow articles about the dangers of accepting Syrian refugees have gone viral over the last two months, with versions reposted on conservative blogs and news hubs. Fear of Syrian migrants has fueled anger in small towns that fear they will become hosts for Islamic terrorists. Residents in cities such as Spartanburg, South Carolina, and St. Cloud, Minnesota, have organized opposition to the possibility of refugee resettlement efforts.

Asked earlier this year by Reuters about his support for David Horowitz and Pamella Geller, two well-known anti-Muslim activists, Shillman explained that he is not anti-Muslim, but rather simply more outspoken than most business leaders. “Most CEOs are hired guns and their future depends on what their boards think of them. I don’t give a fuck,” he said.”

Isn’t it time to consider American safety first? At least one wealthy individual is willing to stand up to Stephen Colbert, CBS and Harry Reid. Glad he is a Californian.

isis-declares-islamic-caliphate-in-occupied-areas-in-iraq-and-syria-1404070577

Strident Calls to Reject Syrian Refugees Fueled by Wealthy California Donor

Lee Fang, Intercept,   10/16/15

While humanitarian groups and religious charities across the country are urging the U.S. to open its arms to refugees fleeing the bloody conflicts in Syria and Iraq, a number of bloggers and political pundits are beating the drums of intolerance, using conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim rhetoric to mobilize the American public against accepting migrants escaping war.

Several of the leading voices in this effort are sponsored by Robert Shillman, a wealthy donor to conservative causes who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, a suburb of San Diego.

Shillman, who did not respond to a request for comment, is the founder and chairman of Cognex Corp., a company that produces manufacturing technology.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at FrontPage Magazine, has argued that the only “genuine refugees” are “Christian and non-Muslim” and that the U.S. should not accept any Muslims from the conflict in Syria because those fleeing the region “are not victims, they are perpetrators.”

Greenfield, who has published over a dozen articles this year about the dangers of Syrian refugees, explained on an Internet news program in September that the Obama administration is “really eager to find new undocumented Democratic voters anywhere it can” and that religious charity groups assisting Syrian refugees are simply out to make money from the crisis. “If you’re a 90-year-old Haitian who is HIV-positive, they will roll out the red carpet for you,” Greenfield claimed, as he explained the Obama administration’s approach to immigration.

Raymond Ibrahim, another Shillman Fellow at FrontPage, has argued that Western nations “should only accept Christian refugees” because Muslim refugees are merely escaping “chaos created by the violent and supremacist teachings of their own religion, Islam.”

Shillman is also a donor to ACT! for America, a group led by Brigitte Gabriel. In a recent appearance on Newsmax TV, Gabriel said her grassroots network is working to prevent the settlement of Syrian refugees in America.

“They are coming to your neighborhood,” she said. “They are coming to your state, you need to know who’s coming and how many of them are coming and whether you can stop it.” Speaking at the Value Voters summit in Washington D.C. last month, Gabriel declared, “We are trying very hard to stop Syrian refugees from coming to our country.”

The U.S. government has pledged to increase the number of refugees allowed into the country, with the Obama administration promising to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees through 2017.

Shillman Journalism Fellow articles about the dangers of accepting Syrian refugees have gone viral over the last two months, with versions reposted on conservative blogs and news hubs. Fear of Syrian migrants has fueled anger in small towns that fear they will become hosts for Islamic terrorists. Residents in cities such as Spartanburg, South Carolina, and St. Cloud, Minnesota, have organized opposition to the possibility of refugee resettlement efforts.

Asked earlier this year by Reuters about his support for David Horowitz and Pamella Geller, two well-known anti-Muslim activists, Shillman explained that he is not anti-Muslim, but rather simply more outspoken than most business leaders. “Most CEOs are hired guns and their future depends on what their boards think of them. I don’t give a fuck,” he said.

Later this month, the Center for Security Policy, one of the most prominent anti-Muslim groups in America, intends to bestow Shillman with its 2015 Freedom Fighter Award.

The growing anti-refugee backlash has been embraced by several GOP presidential candidates and senior Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the chairman of the Homeland Security subcommittee that oversees terrorist threats, said he opposed the Obama administration decision to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees, claiming the move will “put American lives at risk” because doing so would invite “another Boston Marathon Bombing.” Ben Carson, now a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has warned against Syrian refugees, claiming that “bringing in people from the Middle East right now carries extra danger.”

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, a freshman lawmaker, sponsored a bill in July to place a hold on the refugee resettlement program until a cost analysis is conducted by the Government Accountability Office. The bill initially had no co-sponsors until September, when the legislation began steadily gaining support. The bill now has 19 co-sponsors, including Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

 

The Bay Area’s Affordable Housing Options: Band Aid or Panacea?

Mayor Lee of San Fran is demanding 30,000 more housing units—mostly “affordable”. In 2014 the voters of this quaint town voted NO on housing by the waterfront. That was because people who could afford waterfront condo’s would buy them. The voters want only poor people in town, if they get their wish, who will pay the bills?

“Still, says Bruce, local governments aren’t without tools to reduce the housing crunch. Impact fees, in which employers pay a small fee each time one of its newly hired staff rented a unit could help defray cost of building more affordable housing. So could “inclusionary zoning” laws that help ensure that low-cost housing is factored into the neighborhoods. But so far, it’s been difficult getting support at city council meetings. She says cities “sometimes even fight the allocation given to them by the Association of Bay Area Government,” a state-mandated allocation that ensures every city is taking affordable housing needs into consideration.

The Left again proves it is an economic illiterate. The answer they claim is to charge an impact fee (tax) when you hire people. This is why Texas loves California—we are illiterate.   Why pay a fee just to hire an employee—instead have reasonable taxes, services and a responsible government—things you will seldom find in California.

Los Angeles development

The Bay Area’s Affordable Housing Options: Band Aid or Panacea?

by Jan Lee, Triple Pundit, 11/30/15

The San Francisco Bay Area’s housing problem is no secret. In fact, it’s been around for so long that organizations created to incentivize housing options for low-income or impoverished residents more than 30 years ago have become an essential part of the fabric that supports incoming, idealistic new arrivals — even ones with solid jobs.

These days, the challenge of finding housing in the Bay Area’s nine counties isn’t limited to the low-income family, the elderly resident on Social Security or the homeless, disabled veteran. It extends across all economic sectors and most neighborhoods of the Bay Area’s burgeoning cities and suburbs. It includes the restaurant staff that services San Francisco’s mid-city tech industry, the front office workers in Oakland and the part-time office cleaners throughout the area. It even includes those entry-level to mid-income salaried tech employees who don’t earn enough to snag one of the few houses on the market each month.

And it isn’t just in those communities where the tech industry is booming. As is so often the case in geographic areas where a growing industry has forced demand to outpace supply, the shortage is almost everywhere. The deficiency in affordable housing is even felt in East Bay suburbs an hour’s drive away from the city. In places like Lafayette, the market demand for houses has pushed the median price above $1 million, far out of reach for the average worker. And it’s done one more thing, says Sonya Trauss: It’s eroded the rental market.

Trauss is the founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation (SFBARF) — an organization that, up until recently, received more attention for its odd acronym than its answers to the area’s rental woes. But earlier this month, SFBARF did what many figured was the unthinkable: It announced it would sue Lafayette for allegedly going against its word and not building enough affordable housing. And it would go after others that it felt fell short on their commitment as well.

The way that Trauss sees the problem: Cities don’t want to have affordable housing in their backyards.

“There’s not enough political will to build,” Trauss said earlier this month in an interview with TriplePundit. “Suburbs have the idea that housing doesn’t pay.”

It’s easy to see why. In neighborhoods like Palo Alto and Mountain View, where the average two-bedroom, modestly-sized house can range as high as $3 million, rental neighborhoods are an endangered species. They figure large in Mountain View’s North Shore Precise Plan, but are hard to find on its development map.

SFBARF’s answer for the region’s housing dilemma has raised some eyebrows as well. It isn’t, well, the kind of thing that residents expect to hear in the Bay Area, where stories of rush-hour gridlock extend back into the 1960s and the population already tops 7 million. But it speaks to the heart of the problem in counties like Solano and Marin, where single detached homes comprise as much as 70 percent of the existing real estate market.

More population density

There’s room in the suburbs, Trauss argues. “I do understand that there are people in the that like the suburban form, and I think there is enough room in the Bay Area for there to be suburban sprawl — for a while at least.” But she feels there’s also room for more density that would meet the needs of those who like city life and need better options for housing. And, contrary to many who move to outlying areas like Lafayette and Walnut Creek, she says she likes density. It affords more opportunities, cuts down on commutes and interconnects communities.

Gloria Bruce agrees that “suburban sprawl” offers at least part of the answer to fixing the Bay Area’s housing crunch. She serves as the executive director for the East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), which advocates for improved housing options in places like Oakland, a city that doesn’t have the sprawl but often tries to address its housing shortages. These days, Bruce says, mindset isn’t a predominate problem in Oakland when it comes to building affordable housing. Money and resources are.

“It’s not — overall — a NIMBY [not in my backyard] city,” says Bruce, although she admits that there are “pockets of resistance” when it comes to building low-income housing. “The problem Oakland has now is that it just doesn’t have sufficient money to build much more affordable housing.”

But that doesn’t mean other cities can’t do more. “I do think it’s important to shine a light on other places — from Pleasanton to Mountain View to communities in Marin — that have new jobs in various sectors but are generally resistant to building more housing.”

She says EBHO has tried to work with outlying counties where lower-income individuals work and can’t afford to rent, but it is difficult. “There is huge resistance to building more homes in many of these places; there’s a feeling that it’s a threat to a certain way of life. But when your traffic is snarled, and your adult kids or your aging parents can no longer afford to live in your hometown, and your first responders and your domestic workers are commuting two hours to get to work. What kind of quality of life is that anyway?”

Still, says Bruce, local governments aren’t without tools to reduce the housing crunch. Impact fees, in which employers pay a small fee each time one of its newly hired staff rented a unit could help defray cost of building more affordable housing. So could “inclusionary zoning” laws that help ensure that low-cost housing is factored into the neighborhoods. But so far, it’s been difficult getting support at city council meetings. She says cities “sometimes even fight the allocation given to them by the Association of Bay Area Government,” a state-mandated allocation that ensures every city is taking affordable housing needs into consideration.

Jackie Jenks, who runs the Hospitality House across the bay from Oakland in San Francisco’s densely-populated Tenderloin District, offers a similar take on what is fueling the crisis. And she doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to assessing the reasons that housing costs are unattainable by a growing sector of the population:

“Economic inequality and greed. Market forces and greed are driving up the costs of housing everywhere, and many property owners are interested only in how much they can get on a rental or a sale and not in how their actions impact others who are just trying to make it,” Jenks says. Like Bruce, she has watched her neighborhood become transformed by the growth of companies like Yelp, Airbnb and Pinterest, with older, lower-income neighborhoods “being fixed up, priced up and marketed to tech workers who are willing to live in very small spaces with limited facilities because everything they need is provided at their workplace.”

But Jenks says she isn’t sure that imposing fees to pay for new housing in San Francisco isn’t entirely the answer. With limited land mass, “impact fees can only do so much … [We] need for developers to be part of the solution, to be exceptional, and to go beyond the letter of the law when it comes to inclusionary housing.”

Trauss, Bruce and Jenks all agree, however, when it comes to private-sector options. “The tech industry could do more to build truly affordable housing,” Jenks says.

And, adds Bruce, “They should engage positively with local government and advocates to find shared solutions, rather than just finding ways to work around local ordinances or throwing tons of money at ballot measures they don’t like.”

Trauss says her answer is “more of a long-term one … The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve realized there’s a lot of crossing paths of each other because people have different time frames for their solutions.” She says she thinks cities, developers and the tech industry that invests in the area should look at the present housing shortage as an opportunity. “Money is interested in this place. It wants to do stuff here,” including build more housing. “And people need housing and people want housing.”

As for Lafayette and other suburban areas with room to grow, Trauss says the city has the wrong message. “We’re not asking the government for a handout. We don’t want them to do anything for us. We just want them to let developers, private developers with their own money, … build something so we can spend money to buy it.”

But affordable housing also won’t happen until employers take an active roll in fixing the problem, says Bruce. “It isn’t fair, healthy or sustainable to reap the benefits of high-tech office development without also building some homes for local workers. We all deserve to live where we work and work where we live, if we choose to.”

 

Private Bus Company GROWING in San Fran—NO TAX SUBSIDIES

The fastest growing companies in San Fran and the nation are Uber and ARIRBNB. They are private firms, barely regulated by government—people use them by choice, not because they are a monopoly. In the same sense, “Chariot” is a private bus service that is growing in the Bay Area—no unions, no monopolies, no subsidies—it is growing because people want to use it—this is what freedom feels like.

“More than a year and a half later, Chariot is the only bus startup left in San Francisco. They’re doing at least 40,000 rides per month and have gotten the average price down to $4 per ride with many customers using commuter benefits.

The other two bus startups got embroiled in regulatory issues and ended up in the deadpool. Leap faced a cease-and-desist from the California Public Utilities Commission when it started operating before it had an official licenses and came under media scrutiny for not having disability access. Nightschool’s model, where it leased the buses instead of owning and operating them outright, also put it into legal gray area at a time when it didn’t have enough venture capital to persist through the process.

Vahabzadeh stressed that a key point of Chariot’s survival has been that the company has been above-board with the law from day one.

Low priced, no tax dollars, free choice. Maybe the economic illiterates of San Fran will come to their senses—but I doubt it.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21552155

The Last Bus Startup Standing: Chariot

by Kim-Mai Cutler, TechCrunch, 11/29/15

In the beginning, there were three.

There was Leap Transit, the Andreessen Horowitz-backed bus startup stocked with Blue Bottle Coffee and furnished with plush stool seating for morning and evening commuters.

Then there was the Nightschool’s nostalgic take with off-duty schoolbuses for late-night transport between the East Bay and San Francisco after the region’s commuter rail system BART shut down for the night.

Then there was Chariot, a no frills, functional take that founder Ali Vahabzadeh set up in about 10 weeks with commuter vans. After talking to scores of MUNI and Uber users for three weeks last January, Vahabzadeh decided to launch a service that spring. Commuters told him they were frustrated with the capacity problems both systems faced during peak hours.

So Vahabzadeh rented vans, hired drivers, got commercial vanpool insurance, a gasoline line of credit, procured parking, built a basic website, and started taking credit card payments — all within a few months.

“Our service is completely vertically integrated,” he said. “We source the vans, drivers, gas and insurance and we actually hire our own drivers as opposed to making them 1099 contractors.”

More than a year and a half later, Chariot is the only bus startup left in San Francisco. They’re doing at least 40,000 rides per month and have gotten the average price down to $4 per ride with many customers using commuter benefits.

The other two bus startups got embroiled in regulatory issues and ended up in the deadpool. Leap faced a cease-and-desist from the California Public Utilities Commission when it started operating before it had an official licenses and came under media scrutiny for not having disability access. Nightschool’s model, where it leased the buses instead of owning and operating them outright, also put it into legal gray area at a time when it didn’t have enough venture capital to persist through the process.

Vahabzadeh stressed that a key point of Chariot’s survival has been that the company has been above-board with the law from day one.

“They haven’t cowboy-ed it,” said San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener, a mass transit advocate who recently pushed for a master subway plan for the city. “They’ve been good about taking feedback and making sure they’re complying with the law. I’m a fan and think that private transportation options and rideshares have a significant role to play in making us a transit-first city.”

After their initial flagship route through the Marina and Financial District, Chariot added bus lines out to the Western side of the city and through the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

Because Chariot is a consumer web and mobile startup with a direct relationship to its users through an app, the company can flexibly add or take down routes based on consumer feedback. They’ve crowdsourced ideas for routes from users through Tilt, another YC-backed crowdfunding company.

“We’ll only launch certain routes if ‘X’ numbers of users sign-up and provide their credit card details. Once we reach a certain number, their credit cards will get charged for the first monthly pass. If it doesn’t Tilt, nothing happens. We think this is a great way to take risk off our tables and get the community involved in putting together better commuting options for themselves.”

They can also quickly remove under-performing bus stops or routes. For example, the startup took down several Cole Valley stops about a month after launching.

This is a totally different process than the city’s public transit system, which handles orders of magnitude more volume than Chariot with 700,000 passenger boardings per day. On the one hand, transit planning is painfully slow. It’s taken more than a decade and a half to discuss and plan Bus Rapid Transit routes on Geary and South Van Ness, for example.

Bus Rapid Transit (or BRT) produces routes at faster speeds because they involve specially-designed bus stops and exclusive lanes. San Francisco’s system currently operates at a speed of 8.1 miles per hour. It’s the slowest major urban transit system in the country, and the most expensive per mile to operate.

Latin American cities like Mexico City and Bogota, which have been much faster to adopt BRT than San Francisco, rely heavily on it. But San Francisco has been slow partly because merchants keep objecting to losing parking spaces in front of their shops. A few months ago, dozens of residents along a proposed BRT route project objected to having 200 trees replaced to make way for the bus line, a $158.8 million project.

On the other hand, the MTA and MUNI won’t quickly shut down bus stops if there isn’t enough demand, which could leave lower-income or more vulnerable residents hanging. A primary concern for transit officials running public systems, unlike those running private companies, is equity and accessibility.

This isn’t to say that Chariot intends to crowd out MUNI. It’s more to say that public systems and private bus startups have different approaches to route-planning and managing customer relationships, and that they might be complementary. In fact, Chariot could one day be a vendor to public systems with its consumer-facing apps and route-planning and management software.

Yet this hasn’t stopped a worthy discussion that is politically sensitive at times about whether private transit startups will foment disinvestment from public systems, much as the rise of the private automobile in the mid-20th century undermined subway and mass transit systems decades ago.

In the history of California, transportation has served as a potent visual symbol of power, access and then, exclusion.

When the railroad tracks were laid across the state a decade after the 1849 Gold Rush, Leland Stanford’s railroad company Southern Pacific was memorably iconized in Frank Norris’ novel as the Octopus, a beast with tentacles in everything from the farms of Central California to the Gilded Age mansions on top of Nob Hill.

The progressive reformer who broke the hold of Southern Pacific on California, Hiram Johnson, campaigned for governor using the newly-invented private automobile as a symbol of his clean break from the state government’s corrupt past.

Then, of course, the Google Bus became a potent symbol of income inequality and displacement in San Francisco last year for affordable housing and tenants rights activists.

Wiener said he didn’t see Chariot and other ride-sharing services eating into MUNI or MTA’s load.

“I hear that concern and people articulate it, but I just don’t see it,” Wiener said, pointing to how voters passed a $500 million transportation bond last November. “Even if you add up all of the shuttles and all of the rideshares and every single private option, it’s dwarfed by the number of people who rely on public transit.”

Then, of course, plenty of companies are rapidly experimenting with cars from Google to Tesla to Uber and probably Apple.

If startups and tech giants are planning for the future of the car, then who is doing the same for larger-format vehicles and shared transit?