Californians Getting Smarter! Californians Moving to Texas Hits Highest Level in Nearly a Decade

Just Google ”U-Haul” and you will find the closest facility to rent a truck to get you out of Dodge.  If you want till after the November elections, you might have more than $250 billion (not a typo) in new taxes and bonds on your balance sheet.  That is for the folks left in Los Angeles—the rest of the State might be lucky with about $200 billion in added debt.  That does not include the cost of regulations that will devalue your home and your business.  Can you afford not to leave the former Golden State?

“According to IRS migration data, which uses individual income tax returns to record year-to-year address changes, over 250,000 California residents moved out of the state between 2013 and 2014, the latest period for which data was available. The tax returns reported more than $21 billion in adjusted gross income to the IRS.

Of the returns, 33,626 reported address changes from California to Texas, which has been the top destination for individuals leaving California since 2007. Californians who moved to Texas between 2013 and 2014 reported $2.19 billion in adjusted gross income.

Think about it—in just one year a quarter of a million people left California—not the illegal aliens, not the rich or the poor—that is the middle class abandoning this once great State.  They are the lucky ones—the rest of us get to pay for this Socialist paradise.

Flag_of_Texas

Number of Californians Moving to Texas Hits Highest Level in Nearly a Decade

California transplants take $1.77 billion in adjusted gross income with them

BY: Ali Meyer, Washington Free Beacon, 3/31/16

The number of Californians leaving the state and moving to Texas is at its highest level in nearly a decade, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.

According to IRS migration data, which uses individual income tax returns to record year-to-year address changes, over 250,000 California residents moved out of the state between 2013 and 2014, the latest period for which data was available. The tax returns reported more than $21 billion in adjusted gross income to the IRS.

Of the returns, 33,626 reported address changes from California to Texas, which has been the top destination for individuals leaving California since 2007. Californians who moved to Texas between 2013 and 2014 reported $2.19 billion in adjusted gross income.

The number of returns showing address changes from California to Texas hasn’t been this high since the period 2006-07. During that period, 34,078 returns were filed showing address changes to Texas.

Fewer Texans moved to California during the 2013-14 period. The IRS reported 21,391 returns with address changes from Texas to California. The returns reported $1.56 billion in adjusted gross income.

“California’s taxes and regulations are crushing businesses, and there are more opportunities in Texas for people to start new companies, get good jobs, and create better lives for their families,” said Nathan Nascimento, the director of state initiatives at Freedom Partners. “When tax and regulatory climates are bad, people will move to better economic environments—this phenomenon isn’t a mystery, it’s how marketplaces work. Not only should other state governments take note of this, but so should the federal government.”

According to Tom Gray of the Manhattan Institute, people may be leaving California for the employment opportunities, tax breaks, or less crowded living arrangements that other states offer.

“States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average,” Gray wrote. “Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs.”

“Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes,” Gray wrote. “States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that may cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.”

17 of 25 MOST Expensive Zip Codes in Nation in California

Congratulations California!!!  We are at the top of a WORST LISDT again.  Out of twenty-five of the most expensive zip codes in the nation, SEVENTEEN are in California and NINE in the Bay Area.  You really have to be rich to live in the former Golden State.  California is not for the poor or middle class.  A couple of weeks ago the California Political News and Views reported that the top three WORST cities for the middle class in the whole nation were Stockton, Fresno and Los Angeles.

“Or you can take it as where Californians live, because in this year’s list, compiled by the real estate website PropertyShark.com, 17 of the 25 most expensive ZIP codes are in California and nine of those are in the Bay Area.

Let’s face it, anytime the 95070 ZIP code (Saratoga) is at the bottom of an expensive list,

The list is based on the median sales price of properties sold in 2015, and there must have been at least five properties sold in that ZIP code to qualify. So there could be pricier places out there where gentry live in homes handed down since colonial times and those folks simply aren’t doing deals.

We already knew San Fran and LA had the most expensive homes and rent in the nation.  This new report should come as no surprise.  The November Statewide ballot will have an extension of Prop.30—add twelve years and $9 billion a year to the current tax—can you afford to live in California—or are the Democrats telling you to leave?

SantaMoney

We’ve got nine of the 25 most expensive zip codes

Jody Meacham, Silicon Valley Business Journal,3/30/16

The list of the nation’s most expensive ZIP codes for housing can be taken as a guide to where the wealthy hang out or where — like the yacht market — if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.

Or you can take it as where Californians live, because in this year’s list, compiled by the real estate website PropertyShark.com, 17 of the 25 most expensive ZIP codes are in California and nine of those are in the Bay Area.

Let’s face it, anytime the 95070 ZIP code (Saratoga) is at the bottom of an expensive list,

The list is based on the median sales price of properties sold in 2015, and there must have been at least five properties sold in that ZIP code to qualify. So there could be pricier places out there where gentry live in homes handed down since colonial times and those folks simply aren’t doing deals.

But in the workaday world of tech billionaires and early employees of unicorn companies that we’re familiar with — the people who need that sixth bedroom or 50 yards or so of two-lane driveway — a median sales price of $2.2 million in Saratoga is where this list begins.

It tops out at $8.5 million in the 11962 ZIP code, which is Sagaponack, New York: a village on the eastern tip of Long Island that is, or has been, home for people like Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; late night TV host Jimmy Fallon; authors Truman Capote, George Plimpton, Kurt Vonnegut and E.L. Doctorow; actor Roy Scheider; musician Billy Joel; and former President Bill Clinton and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

After that, 94027 (Atherton, $5.9 million), 90210 (Beverly Hills, but you knew that one, $3.5 million) and 94301 (Palo Alto, $3.2 million) sandwich 10013 in New York City ($3.4 million) to fill out the most expensive five.

The other Bay Area ZIP codes on the list are all on the Peninsula, including:

  1. 94022 — Los Altos, $2.8 million
  2. 94024 — Los Altos, $2.6 million
  3. 94028 — Portola Valley, $2.6 million
  4. 94123 — San Francisco, $2.5 million
  5. 94306 — Palo Alto, $2.3 million
  6. 94010 — Burlingame, $2.2 million

If you plot these ZIP codes against the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s annual list of the 25 wealthiest ZIP codes in our coverage area published Dec. 4, 2015, you’ll see that the wealthiest families don’t necessarily live in the most expensive homes (or at least they weren’t selling last year).

Here are the nine Bay Area ZIP codes on PropertyShark’s list in descending order of expensive homes and the average net worth of families (and the rank on our list):

94027 — Atherton, $3.24 million (1)

94301 — Palo Alto, $1.59 million (11)

94022 — Los Altos, $2.76 million (4)

94024 — Los Altos, $2.8 million (3)

94028 — Portola Valley, $3.03 million (2)

94123 — San Francisco (not in coverage area)

94306 — Palo Alto (not among top 25 wealthiest)

94010 — Burlingame (not in coverage area)

95070 — Saratoga, $2.78 million (5)

PropertyShark’s full list is here.

 

Obama Admin’s Effort to ‘Eliminate Red Tape’ Adds $16 Billion in Costs

Barack Obama is either an economic illiterate or really loves poor people, unemployment and government programs.  Maybe he is still smoking those funny cigarettes, can that be his excuse of creating legislation to cut the cost of “red tape” and instead raised the cost by $16 billion a year—money taken from businesses and families—for the purpose of growing government and impoverishing the population.

“The American Action Forum has found the reviews consist mostly of recycled regulations by federal agencies that have actually increased regulatory costs.

“The recent ‘retrospective reports’ from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $16 billion in regulatory costs, up from $14.7 billion in the previous update, and 6.5 million paperwork hours,” the report said.

The agency reviews are a result of President Barack Obama’s initiative for a “government-wide review of rules on the books,” which the White House claims to have led to $28 billion in net five-year savings since 2011.

Shocked that the man who claimed you could keep your doctor and have lower health care costs lied?  Then you must be a Sanders or Hillary supporter.  Even he knows he is lying—in his almost eight years as President he has created double the national debt—that took over 200 years to accumulate. The only good news is that as of today there are 293 more days of Barack the First in the White House—can we afford that?

Obama adrift

Report: Obama Admin’s

Effort to ‘Eliminate Red Tape’ Adds $16 Billion in Costs

Adds 6.5 million hours of paperwork needed to comply with federal rules

BY: Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon, 3/31/16

The Obama administration’s effort to eliminate red tape added $16 billion in regulatory costs, according to a new report by the American Action Forum obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

“President Obama signed executive orders (13,563 and 13,610) as part of an effort to ‘eliminate red tape.’ Federal agencies were told to ‘modify, streamline expand, or repeal’ existing regulations,” according to the report released by AAF, a center-right nonprofit led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office.

However, the American Action Forum has found retrospective reviews often add additional costs to the economy. A review in 2014 added $23 billion in costs and 8.9 million paperwork burden hours.

“Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified,” the organization said.

The most recent review listed 409 rules, up from last year, with agencies averaging 20 regulations apiece. The rules increased net costs by over $16.4 billion, with only two agencies reducing costs. One silver lining of the report was the Department of Transportation, which eliminated $847 million in costs and more than 21 million hours of paperwork.

Regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services were far and away the most costly, including Obamacare regulations and a proposed rule entitled the “Protection of Human Subjects” that would cost $13.3 million while saving only $2.7 million.

“Once again, HHS is the runaway leader by imposing $16 billion in net costs and more than 25 million paperwork burden hours,” the report said. “The agency is, amazingly, responsible for 101 percent of the net cost increase, due to cost-cutting measures from other agencies.”

The report also found the number of hours needed to comply with federal regulation rose by 6.5 million.

The American Action Forum said the result of the regulatory reviews have not had the results the administration intended.

“Current Harvard law professor and former regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, wanted to instill a ‘consistent culture of retrospective review’ when he helped to advance the president’s executive orders,” the report said. “Looking at the number of new initiatives in the retrospective reviews reveals that many agencies simply ‘cut and paste’ from their previous work.”

The report found that the “vast majority” of agencies recycle regulations they have used for past reviews. Eighty-five percent of regulations listed in the most recent review had been used before.

The Department of Agriculture recycled 93 percent of its old rules; the Department of Energy 95 percent; Health and Human Services 95 percent; the Environmental Protection Agency 96 percent; and Veterans Affairs recycled a full 100 percent, and reviewed no new regulations.

“The administration might defend this record, noting that rulemakings can take many years to complete,” the report said. “True, but some agencies aren’t proposing any new initiatives and the average agency report contains just 3.8 novel regulatory reforms.”

“With all of the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, it couldn’t manage to develop a single new reform initiative?”

The American Action Forum concluded the retrospective review initiative is “little more than an attempt to promote additional regulation under the veil of ‘eliminating red tape.’”

 

What California Recovery? Venture Capital for Start-Ups Are Drying Up

We know that California has a $1.5 trillion debt and $1.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Just yesterday a bill was passed to raise the minimum wage to $15 and to throw tens of thousands of people out of work.  The November ballot in LA is going to have a tax increase proposal of $120 billion, the State is going to have a twelve year, $9 billion a year ($108 billion) tax on the ballot.  Even my hometown, the school district with declining enrollment, forced to closed schools is planning an almost $500 million bond measure.  In total, on the ballot in June and November there is over $250 billion in tax increases and bonds, so far.

Now Venture Capital is drying up—too many taxes, too many bills, not enough jobs that pay real money—want a good job?  Go to Texas.  Want a mountain of debt and high taxes, stay in California.

“”Investors expect to see a path to profitability,” adds Brown.

For a growing number of venture-backed companies, that means slashing expenditures, including staff: Optimizely, Shyp, Pebble, and Practice Fusion are a few of the local companies who have undergone layoffs since the beginning of the year.

Some, like Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, blamed outright the difficult fundraising environment in announcing a 25 percent staff cut at the smartwatch maker. “We’ve definitely been careful this year as we plan our products,” Migicovsky told Tech Insider. “We got this money, but money is pretty tight these days.”

Money

Startup layoffs will continue as venture capital dries up, analysts say

Annie Gaus, San Francisco Business Times, 3/30/16

With late-stage venture financing drying up, venture-backed startups have been forced to change course.

“You can only give other people’s money away for so long before you have to find a business model,” says Venky Ganesan, partner at Menlo Ventures.

San Francisco-based Shyp is one of the recent venture-backed companies to slash its

Some companies who have chased growth at breakneck speed and steep costs – “spending one dollar to get 90 cents back,” in Ganesan’s words – are discovering the money that once fueled that growth has evaporated.

“They made finance decisions around easy access to capital, and that’s going away,” says Adley Brown, VP of analysis at Pitchbook.

With a poor IPO environment and no signs that tech funding will return the frenzied levels of 2015 – a near-record $58.8 billion in total venture capital was invested last year, dipping in the fourth quarter – the pressure is on for startups to see black ink on their income statements.

“Investors expect to see a path to profitability,” adds Brown.

For a growing number of venture-backed companies, that means slashing expenditures, including staff: Optimizely, Shyp, Pebble, and Practice Fusion are a few of the local companies who have undergone layoffs since the beginning of the year.

Some, like Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, blamed outright the difficult fundraising environment in announcing a 25 percent staff cut at the smartwatch maker. “We’ve definitely been careful this year as we plan our products,” Migicovsky told Tech Insider. “We got this money, but money is pretty tight these days.”

Others were even more blunt about any failure to plan for lean times: “We overhired,” Mixpanel CEO Suhail Doshi told Venturebeat in January, on the company’s decision to lay off 20 employees.

Dan Siroker, CEO at Optimizely, cited pressure to attain “sustainable business practices” in deciding to let go 10 percent of the company last month.

For Shyp, a path to profitability means closing operations in its Miami market recently, where it had expanded last year. It also meant cutting 8 percent of its staff last week, as CEO Kevin Gibbon announced in a LinkedIn post titled “Our Commitment to Profitability and Sustainable Business Practices.”

In the post, Gibbon said that the company had reduced its operational costs in San Francisco by 50 percent. Some of those measures included reducing weekend hours of operation and improving the efficiency of operation.

One Shyp courier, who didn’t want his name used but had been working with the company for a year, said that the cost-cutting included knocking some full-time couriers – who had been eligible for health insurance since a W2 transition in the fall – back to part time.

“Since January, my hours went from about 38 per week to 32 and now only about 7 or 8 hours,” he said. “When they shut down Miami it was kind of a red flag.”

Layoffs and cost slashing at venture-funded firms are likely to continue into the year.

“We do expect to see more layoffs as well as generally slower growth in hiring, as firms bring down their burn rates to take into account the new fundraising environment,” Brown predicts.

“When you go from the growth-at-all-costs road to the path-to-profitability road, you have to cut the cost structure down, cut down on sales and marketing,” Ganesan adds. “You’re going to see more layoffs as we have seen.”

In some cases, staff layoffs at delivery or logistics companies are accompanied by rate cuts for couriers: Instacart recently slashed its rate per-dropoff by more than 50 percent, telling the Business Times in a statement: “We have made some recent rate changes to reduce variability in how much shoppers earn, and we are constantly innovating to help shoppers get more orders.”

Companies who are still subsidizing user growth, like some ‘on-demand’ companies with negative margins, may be under the most pressure, Brown says.

“We’ll see startups needing to get scrappy, not just in head count but in other expenditures: Office space, product, sales, marketing, across the board,” Brown adds.

Sheriff McMahon takes issue with Safety for All Act

Lt. Gov Newsom does not want you to have a gun or ammunition to protect yourself.  He wants to make sure that if a criminal pulls a gun on you or you are a customer in a convenience store that is being robbed, the criminal is safe.  He does not want the criminal harmed—and due to Pro.47andother measures, he does not want the criminal to lose his freedom.  Newsom is doing all he can to make us all victims.  Heck, in Richmond they are paying criminals $1,000 a month NOT TO GET CAUGHT COMMITTING CRIMES.  It is the families of California that are the victims of Newsoms’ policies.

“McMahon, who as sheriff has increased the number of concealed weapon permit approvals in the county since taking office, says the law will criminalize citizens exercising their Second Amendment freedom. “You’re taking normal law-abiding citizens and turning them into criminals. The laws are all in place. Felons are not supposed to have guns. We just need to focus on that and not create any new laws to try to restrict those that can legally possess firearms from doing so.”

California banned high-capacity magazines year ago. This measure takes it one step further. McMahon explains, “We have already banned high-capacity magazines. However, when the law was passed, if you owned a high-capacity magazine that can accommodate more than 10 rounds of ammunition, you could continue to possess it.”

Remember, if you have a hold up man with a gun in your face, the cops will be there sooner or later to clean up the mess.  On the other hand Newsom has 24 hour body guards—at your expense.

Gun

Sheriff McMahon takes issue with Safety for All Act

Examiner.com, 3/30/16

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon recently spoke out against the Safety for All Act, an initiative led by California’s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. If the measure qualifies for the November ballot and is approved by the voters, it would prohibit possession of large-capacity military-style magazines; treat ammunition sales like gun sales; remove guns from felons; require the reporting of lost or stolen guns; and share information about prohibited people with the federal government.

In an interview with National Rifle Association (NRA) News correspondent Ginny Simone, McMahon says the law is simply not needed. “I don’t think it is going to make any difference at all in violence in the state of California.”

McMahon, who as sheriff has increased the number of concealed weapon permit approvals in the county since taking office, says the law will criminalize citizens exercising their Second Amendment freedom. “You’re taking normal law-abiding citizens and turning them into criminals. The laws are all in place. Felons are not supposed to have guns. We just need to focus on that and not create any new laws to try to restrict those that can legally possess firearms from doing so.”

California banned high-capacity magazines year ago. This measure takes it one step further. McMahon explains, “We have already banned high-capacity magazines. However, when the law was passed, if you owned a high-capacity magazine that can accommodate more than 10 rounds of ammunition, you could continue to possess it.

“This initiative would force current owners of high-capacity magazines to sell them to a licensed gun dealer or give them to somebody in another state. This is just another piece of legislation that would create another bureaucracy in the state of California,” McMahon concluded.

Perhaps of even more concern is the act’s requirement that background checks be done on anyone purchasing ammunition. The sheriff explained, “And then for citizens to register and have a card and pay a fee to buy ammunition and then register every time they purchase that ammunition, I think that is overreach of government. I don’t think it is going to make any difference at all.”

McMahon says that it is his experience that criminals in possession of firearms rarely are carrying a fresh box of ammunition. He says it is normally a mixed bag. “I don’t see the suspects involved in these crimes going to the gun store to buy ammunition,” said McMahon.

Sheriff McMahon went on to say that there are not enough law enforcement officers on the streets to enforce the laws already on the books. He asked who would enforce the new laws. He also reminded Simone that the California Department of Justice already cannot keep up with who currently owns firearms and who is not supposed to own them.

When asked if he thought the new law would have prevented Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the assailants behind the Dec. 2, 2015, attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 and wounded 22, from obtaining weapons, he said it would not. “These folks were not on anybody’s radar. There was nothing to suggest that they would be banned from purchasing ammunition and/or the firearms.”

To learn more about the act, visit Safety for All Act. Proponents need the required signatures by June 28, 2016, if the measure is to qualify for the ballot. They reached the 25 percent mark on Feb. 22, 2016. A total of 365,880 qualifying signatures is required.

Golden State Pension Deficit: $1.2 Trillion

While the really confused Guv Brown is telling folks the unfunded liability of CalPRS is around $170 billion and CalSTRS is around $72 billion, he is a bit confused.  Combined, along with health care liabilities, the real number is $1.2 trillion—not a typo.  Stanford did a study, which shows why Brown and the Democrats are refusing to discuss the pension crisis—the $1.2 trillion is 60% of the GDP of the State.  This is totally unsustainable—Brown has to be prayer it doesn’t collapse until after he leaves office.

“The $1.2 trillion-plus deficit includes approximately $950 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and about $300 billion in other post-employment benefits (primarily retiree health care). The total translates to roughly $30,650 for every man, woman and child in the state – about $123,000 for a family of four.

The figures are substantially higher than official government estimates… The difference, as Stanford public policy professor Joe Nation explained to Insolvent Film, is that public pension systems base their financial estimates on unrealistic assumptions about investment rates of return. CalPERS expects to earn 7.5 percent a year, for example.

No the reurns are not 7.5%–State Senator Moorlach notes that the return in 2014-15 was 2.4%–the difference is added to the unfunded liability.  We have a crisis and the Guv is signing a bill to raise the minimum wage and make tens of thousands more Californians unemployed—he is really confused.

Calpers headquarters is seen in Sacramento, California, October 21, 2009. REUTERS/Max Whittaker

Calpers headquarters is seen in Sacramento, California, October 21, 2009. REUTERS/Max Whittaker

Golden State Pension Deficit: $1.2 Trillion

American Interest, 3/30/16

It’s common for reports on states’ pension deficits to throw around figures in the hundreds of millions, the billions, or even the tens of billions. But according to a new estimate of California’s pension hole from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, it’s time to bring out the t-word. The Orange County Register reports:

Preliminary calculations from a forthcoming SIEPR study peg the unfunded retirement tab for state and local government employees at more than $1.2 trillion, according to Insolvent Film, a website based on a documentary on government financial stability.

The $1.2 trillion-plus deficit includes approximately $950 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and about $300 billion in other post-employment benefits (primarily retiree health care). The total translates to roughly $30,650 for every man, woman and child in the state – about $123,000 for a family of four.

The figures are substantially higher than official government estimates… The difference, as Stanford public policy professor Joe Nation explained to Insolvent Film, is that public pension systems base their financial estimates on unrealistic assumptions about investment rates of return. CalPERS expects to earn 7.5 percent a year, for example.

Other recent reporting doesn’t inspire confidence that the Golden State’s pensions are in the best of hands. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that a county in California’s East Bay has guaranteed its top public administrator an annual lifetime pension of more than $500,000 per year once she retires. And as Governing magazine reported earlier this month, California’s largest pension fund is devoting its energies to green social activism even as it continues to fall far short of its investment targets.

With California’s pension debt now approaching 60 percent of the state’s GDP—and rising—it’s clear that tinkering around the edges won’t be enough. The confluence of powerful public sector unions, dishonest politicians eager to pander to them, and incompetent investing and accounting probably makes the defined-benefit pension status quo unsustainable in the long run. In order to bring state and local liabilities back under control—and in order to bring public employee benefits back in line with those available to ordinary taxpayers—California should transition to defined contribution 401(k)-style retirement plans for its public workers.

In the meantime, as the severity of these deficits is laid bare, the U.S. Congress should hold hearings—not only on how things were allowed to get this bad, but on what it plans to do once state and local governments start approaching Washington, Puerto Rico-style, for massive bailouts. Will any assistance be forthcoming, and if so, on what terms?

 

Hundreds of Stanford Students Want Western Civilization Requirement Back

Stanford teaches ethnic superiority in its ethnic studies course.  They teach gender superiority in their gender studies program.  They teach about white privilege and that the Founders Fathers were slave owners and had “alternative” lifestyles.  Want to know what is wrong with America?  Go to Stanford to learn.  Now some students want a real education for the $50,000 a year is tuition and school costs.

“A petition, emailed  to Stanford undergraduates by conservative student newspaper The Stanford Review, reads:

In accordance with Stanford’s commitment to educating its students, and in recognition of the unique role Western culture has had in shaping our political, economic, and social institutions, Stanford University should mandate that freshmen complete a two-quarter Western civilization requirement covering the politics, history, philosophy, and culture of the Western world.

The bad news is that Stanford has over 16,000students and only 370 wanted a real education.  The rest accept ideology and indoctrination as a substitute for learning.  Any wonder so many support Sanders and Hillary—they do not want to earn a living, they think they deserve it.

graduation college debt

Hundreds of Stanford Students Want Western Civilization Requirement Back

Mariana Barillas, Daily Signal,3/24/16

Some millennials might be spurring a comeback of Western civilization at one of the nation’s premier universities.

Stanford University students will vote April 7 and 8 on whether to reinstate a two-quarter Western civilization requirement after the success of a campus-wide campaign.

A petition, emailed  to Stanford undergraduates by conservative student newspaper The Stanford Review, reads:

In accordance with Stanford’s commitment to educating its students, and in recognition of the unique role Western culture has had in shaping our political, economic, and social institutions, Stanford University should mandate that freshmen complete a two-quarter Western civilization requirement covering the politics, history, philosophy, and culture of the Western world.

After gaining over 370 signatures, it qualified to be featured in the Associated Students of Stanford University elections ballot.

Harry Elliott, editor-in-chief of The Stanford Review, told The Daily Signal in an email that their efforts have “already accomplished the first meaningful discussion on Stanford’s humanities core in years.”

Two campus discussion events about the initiative, including one led by university faculty and students, were held on campus earlier this month.

Elliott said the array of courses offered to fulfill the university’s Thinking Matters undergraduate requirements has created a “race to the bottom.” The 2015-16 catalog lists courses such as “Food Talks: The Language of Food” and “The Science of Mythbusters.”

“I was lucky enough to be selected for Structured Liberal Education, a year-long residential humanities program teaching the Western canon; I think all students should be afforded that opportunity,” Elliott, an economics major, said.

Even if a vote is successful, the initiative would still require faculty approval.

“We hope to get a positive vote to push the Faculty Senate to discuss seriously the need for a civilization requirement, and the reasons the student body want that requirement to be focused around the West,” Elliott said.

Elliott says he has “had a number of people in person thank me for bringing this discourse to Stanford, but also a number of fairly unpleasant encounters, in the last few weeks.”

In an opinion piece published by The Stanford Daily, Mara Chin Loy claims that the initiative “actively participates in my dehumanization and the dehumanization of my communities.” Loy is an undergraduate student at the university and self-described “social activist.”

“We don’t need to learn about Western civilization and its ideals, because we have spent every moment of our lives resisting and fighting to live and love ourselves, so that we can transcend Western values,” Loy wrote.

A Stanford Review editorial claims that a “common civilization requirement” is essential for students if they wish to understand the society in which they live.

Social awareness arises from a common set of values and norms. Societies neither function nor prosper without shared beliefs, values, or customs. Even if one disagrees with these principles and traditions, reform cannot occur without understanding the historical context in which they arose.

 

Rent Control Is a Kludge, Not an Answer, for Affordable Housing

If I want to create New York style corruption—under the table payments, bribes, lies on government forms—I would create rent control.  Rent control is another word for theft.  This allows government to tell property owners how much they can charge for rent, meaning owners get less and the renters save money.  This is a transfer of money, via government edict, not the market place.

“The attention to rent control is understandable, given the costs of housing, but unhelpful. Rent control is a policy that, as libraries full of research and California’s own experience demonstrates, doesn’t do much to accomplish its avowed purpose: to make more affordable housing available. The last thing California needs is a costly and time-consuming fight over rent control.

As the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office made clear in a 2015 report, the heart of California’s housing problem is that we Californians have long failed to build anywhere close to enough new housing to accommodate the number of people who live here. The office said we’d need an additional 100,000 units a year, on top of the 100,000 units we’re building, to mitigate the problem. As a result, housing prices and rents have long been higher than in any other state. And the problem has been getting worse, even in this era of slower population growth.”

Rent control is part of the Socialist goal—taking from some and giving to others, based on government policy of theft.  I wonder if Bernie Sanders would be upset if I took his car and claimed it was a socialist move.  Socialism, rent control, is theft—protected and promoted by government.

affordable housing

Rent Control Is a Kludge, Not an Answer, for Affordable Housing

California Embraces Complex Formulas to Dodge the Hard Work of Actually Fixing a Problem

 

By Joe Mathews, Zocalo Public Square,  3/31/16

Rent control won’t solve California’s enormous housing problems. But that’s not stopping many Californians from pursuing rent control policies in their hometowns.

2016 threatens to become the Year of Rent Control, with the topic white-hot in the Bay Area, home to California’s most expensive housing. Rent control refers to laws that put limits on how much landlords may raise rents; such laws often include provisions requiring landlords to produce specific causes before evicting tenants.

Last summer, Richmond became the first city in California in 30 years to pass a new control law (the law was later suspended, and the issue will likely be decided at the ballot). This touched off similar legislation and ballot measures to establish or strengthen rent control in other Northern California cities, including Alameda and Santa Rosa.

And in recent months, rent control has become a top issue in the state’s biggest cities.

In San Jose, multiple proposals to tighten rent controls, perhaps by tying them to inflation, have been debated in the city council, and some could go to the ballot. A ballot initiative to cap rent increases was just filed in Oakland. Los Angeles is considering a new registry of rents and a crackdown on landlord efforts to skirt existing rent control laws. And in San Diego, a tenants’ movement and an online petition are building momentum to establish new controls. In all these places, landlords have countered with their own legislation or possible ballot measures.

The attention to rent control is understandable, given the costs of housing, but unhelpful. Rent control is a policy that, as libraries full of research and California’s own experience demonstrates, doesn’t do much to accomplish its avowed purpose: to make more affordable housing available. The last thing California needs is a costly and time-consuming fight over rent control.

As the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office made clear in a 2015 report, the heart of California’s housing problem is that we Californians have long failed to build anywhere close to enough new housing to accommodate the number of people who live here. The office said we’d need an additional 100,000 units a year, on top of the 100,000 units we’re building, to mitigate the problem. As a result, housing prices and rents have long been higher than in any other state. And the problem has been getting worse, even in this era of slower population growth. In 1970, the gap between California home prices and the rest of the country was 30 percent; today, home prices are 250 percent more expensive than the American average.

The shortage is strongest in the urban coastal counties where people most want to live, creating a wave of people who push inland in search of housing. So Californians devote more of their incomes to housing, live in more crowded spaces, and commute further to jobs. In a Sacramento speech last fall, Roger Sanders, former finance director for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, noted that, from 2010 through 2014, “the state population increased by 1.55 million, while throughout all of California only 312,000 permits for new housing were approved, or one unit for every five new residents.” Significantly, the urban counties (10 northern counties and seven southern counties) approved only 200,000 units, or only one for approximately eight new residents.”

The reasons for the lack of building are many and related: community resistance, environmental policies, high costs of construction, a lack of fiscal incentives for local governments to approve housing, regulatory constraints on development, and the high cost of land. This is such a wickedly complex problem that it’s laughable to see rent controls as a cure.

Since housing markets are regional, it’s especially hard to see how local rent control in one city or another could ever make any impact. To the contrary, one reason for California’s sprawl is the way that cities within regions compete with each other to claim the most desirable businesses and housing for themselves, while sticking their neighbors with needier people.

And if rent control really works to control prices and produce stability, as its supporters claim, why are the cities with rent control—among them Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Santa Monica, San Jose, Thousand Oaks, and West Hollywood—so expensive? And on the other side of the question, opponents of rent control sound ridiculous when they warn that it will discourage new construction, especially since state law has exempted new construction from rent control laws since 1995. All but about 15 cities in California have no rent control—and they have housing shortages, too.

The real import of the rent control debate is as a reminder of California’s civic disease: our long history of embracing complicated formulas as ways to dodge the hard work of democratically solving tough problems. Rent control laws often include complicated formulas for allowing rents to be raised by different percentages or in different ways depending on a host of conditions (like whether a landlord has made capital improvements or had made previous rent increases).

It’s instructive that rent control’s California history is deeply intertwined with the ultimate dodgy California formula, Proposition 13. That constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 1978, provided the foundation—via its limits on property tax increases and supermajorities for state and local taxation—upon which two generations of other fiscal formulas have been built.

One false promise of Prop. 13 was that saving property owners money on their taxes would lead to lower home prices and rents. So when home prices and rents soared after the amendment passed, liberal cities began to install rent control ordinances that, like Prop. 13, didn’t lower rents or housing prices either.

Rent control has been—and will be, if it expands in the near future—just another complication in a housing world that already has too many such kludges. And it’s a particularly counterproductive one since, just as Prop. 13 keeps taxes lower the longer you stay in your home, rent control grants special privileges to the older and more stable among us, regardless of their actual financial need.

That is the peculiar tragedy of 21st-century California: A place that once cherished and defined the new is now organized around the imperative of favoring the old and the established. It is infuriating, and odd, that people who think of themselves as progressives defend, and even seek to extend, such fundamentally conservative policies.

The people who need protection in California are poor people who cycle through housing. The best approach here is not more housing incentives—decades of housing incentives both to developers and renters have produced very little housing here—but developing robust support structures (via transportation, health, child care, jobs, and cash) that follow poor people wherever they can find opportunity. And, of course, more housing.

In a state devoted to anti-tax formulas that don’t keep taxes low and education funding guarantees that don’t guarantee much money for education, it’s no surprise that rent control laws don’t make housing affordable. So let’s not pretend that rent control is anything other than just another way of pretending to address our housing problems.

 

Orange County Officials Look to Deregulate Taxicab Industry

Great news for freedom and letting the marketplace set prices—without the heavy hand of government regulation.  ““Instead of allowing the legislature to regulate Uber, the solution is to deregulate the entire market and make it a level playing field so we don’t over burden the taxi industry,” Spitzer told members of the OCTA. While the details would have to be approved by each individual city, the prospect comes as welcome news to the county’s 26 taxicab companies which currently employ more than 900 drivers.

The motivation for such a move is clear: since last year, the number of taxi permits in Orange County has fallen by 16 percent, with competition from rideshare companies being “the primary reason,” according to the OCTA. If Orange County were to deregulate the industry as a result, it would be following in the footsteps of San Diego which did so in 2014 and also altered its medallion program last year.”

The money saved goes back into the pockets of the drivers and the cab owners.  Instead of government adding to the cost of a ride, the free market competition creates lower prices and moves the industry into the future.  Uber and Lyft are the future, now Orange County can join San Diego in the future of transportation.

Uber

Orange County Officials Look to Deregulate Taxicab Industry

California County News, 03/30/2016

It’s no secret that the rise of rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber has severely wounded the once-thriving taxicab industry. Now, officials in Orange County are considering a relaxation of rules and regulations on taxi drivers in the hopes of leveling the playing field.

On Monday, Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer asked the county’s transportation authority to look into ways to do just that. OCTA staff are expected to report back to the board about the range of options available, such as fee reductions, changes to the county’s medallion program, or a general relaxation of regulations affecting cab companies.

“Instead of allowing the legislature to regulate Uber, the solution is to deregulate the entire market and make it a level playing field so we don’t over burden the taxi industry,” Spitzer told members of the OCTA. While the details would have to be approved by each individual city, the prospect comes as welcome news to the county’s 26 taxicab companies which currently employ more than 900 drivers.

The motivation for such a move is clear: since last year, the number of taxi permits in Orange County has fallen by 16 percent, with competition from rideshare companies being “the primary reason,” according to the OCTA. If Orange County were to deregulate the industry as a result, it would be following in the footsteps of San Diego which did so in 2014 and also altered its medallion program last year.

 

LA Hotels Upset With Free Market and Use of Private Property

It looks like the revenues of Los Angeles are “missing” $41 million in tax revenues and hotels are missing possibly $200 million (based on missing tax revenues) in revenues.  All of this because private property owners, as individuals using an Internet system (AIRBNB) are renting their homes to tourists.  That means the tourists have more money to spend on food and recreation—and the homeowner can pay the bills or buy new items for the home.

It seems the hotels believe you do not have the right to rent your own home.  That is what the free market is all about—choice—Motel 6, the Hyatt or AIRBNB.  Freedom has not cost, the cost of freedom is too expensive.

“Unlike hotels, Airbnb hosts in Los Angeles are exempt from room taxes, tourism fees, and assessment fees. These fees were developed for hotels because of the hospitality industry’s integral relationship to promoting tourism throughout Southern California.

The study was compiled by a Penn State professor, and also just happens to have been financed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the country’s premier hospitality trade group.

Aside from the raw loss of revenue, the study hints at other more subtle effects. For example, even though more tourists are visiting L.A, the city’s tourist resources budget—sourced from tourist fees levied on hotels—isn’t adjusted to account for the great number of people presumably staying in Airbnb lodging.”

Huh?  The folks are already here and happy, no need for a tax supported government agency to get them here.  The hotel tax is just a gimmick to grown government—if the hotels want more customers they should provide new amenities, not higher taxes.

Hotel California

Airbnb Scams L.A. Out Of $41 Million Each Year, Study Says

by Matt Tinoco, LA1st, 3/31/16   
But without Airbnb, how will we ever rent out a hammock in someone’s backyard (Photo via Airbnb)

A new study says that the city of Los Angeles is missing out on $41 million in revenue the city could be collecting it regulated Airbnb rentals like hotels and other hospitality institutions, according to the L.A. Times.

Unlike hotels, Airbnb hosts in Los Angeles are exempt from room taxes, tourism fees, and assessment fees. These fees were developed for hotels because of the hospitality industry’s integral relationship to promoting tourism throughout Southern California.

The study was compiled by a Penn State professor, and also just happens to have been financed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the country’s premier hospitality trade group.

Aside from the raw loss of revenue, the study hints at other more subtle effects. For example, even though more tourists are visiting L.A, the city’s tourist resources budget—sourced from tourist fees levied on hotels—isn’t adjusted to account for the great number of people presumably staying in Airbnb lodging.

This newest study is just one of many that have cropped up recently on Airbnb, evaluating the home-sharing company’s effects on the hospitality and rental economy.

Earlier this month, a study from CBRE Hotels cited Airbnb as the reason L.A.’s hotel room rates are rising at a slower rate in some neighborhoods than others. With a deluge of supply, hotels can’t necessarily capitalize on lodging scarcity to raise prices.

A another paper argued that short-term rentals, specifically like those offered by Airbnb, are contributing to L.A.’s housing crisis. Aside from taking vacant units off the market, the paper points out how building owners have been known to evict tenants and replace them with Airbnb lodging, as happened in Santa Monica last year.

The L.A. Times also concluded that Airbnbs are exploding across Southern California. The Times found Airbnb listings had increased 42 percent during the final seven months of 2015, and opined that, basically, hotel companies need to pay attention.

The biggest sticking point about Airbnb for both regulators and hoteliers alike are the small percentage of Airbnb hosts who lease space on a regular basis. The most recent study says about 22 percent of Airbnb operators lease their properties for 180 days of the year and 4 percent lease space for at least 360 days.

While Airbnb is quick to point out the vast majority of its listings come from small-time operators who, for example, rent out a bedroom occasionally, critics point out how the vast majority of Airbnb revenue comes from whole-home rentals. According to the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, approximately 89 percent of Airbnb’s revenue is sourced from whole-home rentals, none of which is subject to the same regulation as hotels.

Lots of cities have actually been cracking down on Airbnb, worried about the company’s tendency to squeeze already highly limited rental stock. Santa Monica has been rigidly enforcing legislation against short term rentals since 2015, and West Hollywood considered banning the service outright all together.

Up in San Francisco, Airbnb launched an incredibly passive aggressive ad campaign after the city forced the company to pay $12 million in backed hotel taxes it didn’t think it needed to pay.

Note: Airbnb sent us the following statement via email following the publication of the above piece:

This factually inaccurate study was paid for by the hotel industry and is intended to mislead and manipulate. Over the last two years, LA officials have heard from thousands of middle class Angelenos urging the city to adopt clear, fair rules for home sharing and allow Airbnb to collect taxes on behalf of hosts. Airbnb initiated a dialogue with city officials about enabling the platform to remit taxes on behalf of users in late 2014, and we welcome AHLA’s support in moving that process forward.