GOP Convention: Trump’s foes clash with backers outside gathering

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Presidential candidate Donald Trump was forced to abandon his motorcade on the side of a freeway, scramble up a hillside and slip into a side entrance of the hotel hosting the California GOP convention Friday as hundreds of angry protesters surrounded the building and did their best to disrupt the Republican frontrunner’s speech.

Credit: sfgate.com

Credit: sfgate.com

Trump joked about his roundabout entrance to the convention, saying it felt like he was “crossing the border” — but the rambunctious demonstrators outside saw no humor in it all as they scuffled with police, threw eggs and blocked roads around the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame.

Antoinette Chen See, 34, one of several protesters who formed a human chain on Old Bayshore Road outside the hotel, said she came out to try to deny Trump a platform in the Bay Area for what she called his racist rhetoric.

“We have a failed system in which someone who is so antiblack, so anti-Muslim and so anti-immigrant is allowed to be a viable candidate for president,” she said. About the chains linking her to her fellow protesters, she said: “They are not comfortable, but it’s worth it.”

Some Trump backers

Presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio were also scheduled to speak at the convention, but it was Trump who drew the most ire from demonstrators Friday before, during and after his noontime speech. Coming just one day after protests at one of the billionaire’s campaign stops in Southern California turned violent, police were on high alert. …

Click here to read the full story

Game Changer: World’s Leading Medical Group Backs E-Cigarettes

e-cigaretteOne of the world’s most prestigious medical organizations has delivered a groundbreaking 200-page report that supports e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking and demolishes several vaping myths in the process.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the most respected medical institution in the United Kingdom, concluded e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes and are likely to be hugely beneficial to public health.

Titled “Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction,” the report is one of the most comprehensive ever published examining e-cigarettes and could be a game changer for health officials and politicians all over the world. The RCP’s seminal 1962 report, which demonstrated the link between smoking, lung disease and bronchitis spurred the U.S. Surgeon General to publish the historic 1964 “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States.”

The RCP’s new report tears apart scare stories, including the ever-more popular idea that vaping is somehow a gateway to smoking. “To date, there is no evidence that any of these processes is occurring to any significant degree in the UK,” said the report’s authors. (RELATED: CDC Admits, No ‘Concrete’ Evidence E-Cigarettes Are Gateway To Smoking)

The authors are emphatic there is no evidence e-cigarette use has in any way “renormalized” smoking. “None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people.”

One of the most damaging myths about e-cigarettes that caught fire in 2015 was e-cigarettes don’t actually help smokers quit. (RELATED: Study Claiming E-Cigarettes Make Quitting Harder Exposed As ‘Unscientific Hatchet Job’)

Contrary to the claims of some public health activists in the U.S., the RCP is clear: e-cigarettes can help smokers kick their habit for good. “Among smokers, e-cigarette use is likely to lead to quit attempts that would not otherwise have happened, and in a proportion of these to successful cessation. In this way, e-cigarettes can act as a gateway from smoking.” (RELATED: Study Finds E-Cigarettes Raise Chances Of Quitting, ‘Can Save Lives’)

The RCP does not claim vaping is totally safe, as vapers inhale nicotine and flavorings. But they conclude any risk to vapers is likely to be “very small, and substantially smaller than that arising from tobacco smoking.”

Concurring with a previous report by Public Health England, RCP believes the health risks to vapers is unlikely to reach more than five percent of the risks associated with smoking. The report also warns overzealous policymakers to resist the temptation to regulate e-cigarettes in a way that would stifle innovation or discourage use.

“This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the UK,” said Professor John Britton, chair of the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group. “Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever,” he added.

Those most applauding the study’s conclusions are e-cig groups who have been fighting an onslaught of attacks from politicians and dubious public health researchers. (RELATED: Read The Stunning Correction This Scientist Dropped On Her Own Anti-E-Cig Study)

“When the RCP told the truth about cigarettes in 1962, it took two years for the U.S. government to play catch up and release its own report. It should not take two months, let alone two years, for American public health authorities to correct their past misstatements about vaping. The FDA and CDC must seriously consider the RCP’s guidance before moving forward on any new regulations or public campaigns about smoke-free nicotine products,” said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association.

“For those in mainstream tobacco control, the question for them is, how can you dismiss this report out of hand? The authors are credible experts without financial conflicts of interest in tobacco or vapor products. At some point, these groups will have to realize that the science has long outpaced their rhetoric,” Conley added.

Cancer charities added their voices to the chorus of praise for the RCP’s report. “This important report is an accurate summary of the latest scientific evidence on e-cigarettes and will help dispel the increasingly common misconception that they’re as harmful as smoking. They’re not,” said Cancer Research UK’s director of prevention Alison Cox.

Follow Guy on Twitter

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Say Goodbye To Choosing Your Neighbors And Local Tax Rates –Obama/Feds Will Decide

Free choice is where you live in America is quickly coming to an end.  Like any other tin pot dictator, Barack Obama is setting in place the “rules” of where you are allowed to live—based on his bigotry, using color and national origin and even bringing terrorist from the Middle-East and illegal aliens from south of the border to your neighborhood—for diversity.

“In December, I warned that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) new demographic assessment tool would be used to force federal policies onto towns across the country in the name of “affirmatively furthering fair housing.”

Their new assessment tool places a heavy emphasis on describing patterns of ‘segregation’ and extremely detailed demographic analysis aimed at highlighting R/ECAP (Racially or Ethnically Concentrated Areas of Poverty), especially regarding access to government services.”

Bet you did not know they are starting a re-location effort, using your hometown to do their dirty work.  Too many white people in town—you won’t be able to sell to a white couple.  Not enough “undocumented” (illegal) aliens, they will be put into housing. Want to live near your children; you might have to ask for an exemption from Federal rules from your city council for permission for you to live with family.  Again, the media has kept this quiet.

Obama Resolutions

Say Goodbye To Choosing Your Neighbors And Local Tax Rates

The Obama administration’s ‘fair housing’ policies are forcing local governments to tax their people to install homes for people of certain races only, and pushing for gag orders on people who object.

By Georgi Boorman, The Federalist,  4/22/16

The feds are out to squash the not-in-my-backyardists, this time with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. We’re not just talking about crippling the ability of local governments to design zoning rules (God forbid you be free from the meddling of a far-off bureaucracy seeking to redistribute people as ethnic units), but the ability of local officials to even criticize the federal government’s intrusion into their local affairs. This is outright censorship.

In December, I warned that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) new demographic assessment tool would be used to force federal policies onto towns across the country in the name of “affirmatively furthering fair housing.”

Their new assessment tool places a heavy emphasis on describing patterns of ‘segregation’ and extremely detailed demographic analysis aimed at highlighting R/ECAP (Racially or Ethnically Concentrated Areas of Poverty), especially regarding access to government services.

HUD clearly aims to glean mountains of demographic data, and you can bet your back yard that it won’t go to waste in the hands of the social justice bureaucracy. That data will be presented as evidence of the disparate impact of local housing policies, opening the door to federal intervention.

With mandatory analysis of racial composition and obligatory steps to “affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH),” federal intrusion is ramping up across the country. But HUD was meddling long before the new assessment tool was established—not that they want you to know about it.

We’re All Inside Chicago Now

Stanley Kurtz at National Review has written extensively on federal intervention through AFFH. In January, he pointed to the effective federal takeover of housing authority in the city of Dubuque as an example of what is to come.

Dubuque was essentially forced into Chicago’s orbit as a satellite city, as part of the same “region,” for the purpose of expanding low-income housing, although they are 200 miles apart and lie in two different states. Chicago, which has badly mismanaged its own supply of low income housing, had left some Section 8 voucher holders with nowhere to use their vouchers. The solution? Decree that little Dubuque, which had its own economic troubles, build more housing. Then the federal government could direct voucher holders in Chicago to Dubuque.

You think you can stand up to the federal bullies and say ‘Not in my backyard!’ Think again.

This kind of abuse is part of HUD’s main body of work through AFFH. Without coercion, without using the necks of local authorities as stepping stones over the inconvenient desires of local voters and taxpayers, they cannot make progress toward real social justice.

You think you can stand up to the federal bullies and say “Not in my backyard!” Think again. Look at what’s happened to Rob Astorino, the county executive of Westchester, in New York. The federal monitor in charge of overseeing Westchester’s implementation of a discrimination settlement (which requires the county to collect money “for land acquisition, infrastructure improvement, construction, acquisition, or other necessary direct costs of development of new affordable housing units that AFFH”) issued a report on March 17 alleging Astorino has misrepresented the settlement and asking that he be given a gag order. No criticism of federal overreach can be allowed. The voices of the constituency, through their elected officials, must be silenced in the interest of ethnic and socioeconomic redistribution.

Astorino has been a vocal critic of AFFH’s overreach for years. A speech he made in 2013 was so compelling that a county in New Hampshire, heeding his warnings, stopped requesting federal housing funds. Ignoring pressure from Astorino (including a press conference in front of her house last summer), Hillary Clinton has been unwilling to comment on AFFH’s policy forcing her hometown of Chappaqua, through the puppeteering only federal funding (so far) can allow, to build low-income housing units. Is Chappaqua guilty of segregation for resisting diktats to bring in more low-income minorities, or aren’t they?

We’ll Commandeer Your Money, Neighborhoods, and Voice

To be sure, HUD isn’t always transparent in its goals to overrule local zoning laws and force the construction of new low-income high-rises. Westchester’s settlement obligated recipients of federal Community Development Block Grants, including Westchester, “to conduct an analysis of the impediments to fair housing choice within its jurisdiction, and… to take appropriate actions to overcome the effects of any impediments identified through that analysis.” These were the conditions for the usual recipient. The settlement then ordered Westchester to construct 750 new low-income housing units “in predominantly white, or ‘eligible’ communities,” by the end of this year. The settlement’s demands on the county are obvious, and Westchester is on track to meet them.

Someone speaking such inconvenient truths must not only be denounced, but silenced, then forced to parrot the views he has fought.

However, as Astorino referenced in his 2013 address, HUD had further demands. They insisted in a letter from 2011 that the county, “go beyond the four corners of the settlement.” HUD wanted to lift zoning restrictions, many of which Astorino argued were reasonable safeguards pertaining to traffic safety, sewage drainage, and noise and water pollution. HUD even asserted in 2013 that zoning for single-family lots was “restrictive” or “exclusionary,” and could be discriminatory.

HUD then went on to demand that the 750 units the settlement demanded weren’t enough. What Westchester really needed was more than 10,000 new units. Who would pay for those units? County taxpayers, of course.

Astorino has had the gall to call out HUD’s overreach. Someone speaking such inconvenient truths must not only be denounced, but silenced, then forced to parrot the views he has fought. Due process, freedom of speech—to the social justice warriors embedded in all corners of the federal government, these rights are not to supersede orders to combat the so-called racism evidenced by the existence of mostly white, middle- and upper-class neighborhoods, cities, or counties. Use Big Data to hunt down and correct the policies responsible for such “disparate impact,” and don’t just ignore those annoying NIMBYists—quash them.

First They Came for Dubuque and Westchester

Federal overreach into your backyard has been happening for years, causing public commotion, it seems, only in the neighborhoods directly affected by these intrusions. Broader concern and a wider discourse on “What business is it of the federal government to decide what housing development happens across the street?” much less “Why do I need a permit for a shipping container on my property?” is muffled by the brash noises of electioneering in the presidential primary.

Don’t wait until your own backyard is under the thumb of the federal government.

But this matters. The issue is no longer contained to property rights, or the rights of local constituencies to decide zoning policies. Tyranny never confines itself to one issue. Now, free speech is eminently threatened. In this case it’s not by way of university censorship or conventional political correctness, but by a collection of bureaucratic social justice warriors bent on shaping the racial and socioeconomic composition of your neighborhood, who cannot stand to have local officials question their authoritarian policies.

Don’t wait until your own backyard is under the thumb of the federal government. Election cycles have a commanding influence on national dialogue. Make this an issue for the candidates as well as your elected officials, and let the pressure build on this administration and the next to keep its elitist worldview, intrusive policies, and speech-censoring bureaucrats out of our local affairs.

 

San Fran Whacky Idea of the Day: Allow Homeless to CAMP (with tents) On Public Streets

If you are going to your lawyers office on Market Street in San Fran, from your office 12 blocks away, you know it is quicker to walk the distance, though sweaty, then drive a car—since parking is rare, gridlock in permanent on the main streets.  But if two Supervisors have their way you might be hopping over camping tents on the streets—housing the homeless—the tents will also add aroma to the community, since many will use a pot or something to take care of natural issues.

“Now these two termed out supervisors are pushing a right to camp agenda that they did not adopt for their own campaigns.  And while Campos hopes to run for a newly created Public Advocate position—which would broaden his power to promote campers’ rights– Avalos’ political career will soon end.

By backing public camping and seeking legislation to expand it, Campos and Avalos endanger the prospects of fellow progressives. Progressive candidates should not go along.

This is a town with PUBLIC urinals next to a baseball field for little kids, folks smoking dope openly on the street, nude people walking around—and holding sexual parades.  High taxes, highest housing costs in the nation, a hatred for cars—forcing folks to walk or bike to work, the store or to dinner at the Wharf.  Now, you can add tents for the homeless for what has become the worlds largest circus—San Fran.

homeless

Support for Camping Will Doom SF Progressives

by Randy Shaw, BeyonChron,  4/26/16

Avalos seeks to legalize and spread camping citywide

In my political forecast for 2016, I saw San Francisco progressives having a big edge in the November elections. The housing crisis, inequality, and perceptions that the system is “rigged” benefited progressive supervisor candidates as well as Jane Kim in her race for State Senate.

But departing progressive Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos are trying to change this political calculus. They are injecting a new and problematic issue into the November races:  the right to camp in public places.  Campos has never stopped criticizing Mayor Lee’s politically popular closure of the Division Street encampment, and last week, Avalos asked the City Attorney to draft legislation to “impose encampment sweep rules, including a 15-day notice and a permanent housing plan for each occupant. The proposal would also temporarily permit encampments if there is no housing available and require The City to provide services like toilets and refuse.”

I’ve seen this script before. It did not end well for Mayor Art Agnos in his 1991 re-election campaign, and backing public camping will cost progressives Board control in the November elections.

Seizing Defeat from Jaws of Victory

Although both have been on the Board since 2009, Campos and Avalos never backed public camping in their own races for supervisor, State Assembly and mayor respectively.  Encampments existed, but neither made them a public issue.

Now these two termed out supervisors are pushing a right to camp agenda that they did not adopt for their own campaigns.  And while Campos hopes to run for a newly created Public Advocate position—which would broaden his power to promote campers’ rights– Avalos’ political career will soon end.

By backing public camping and seeking legislation to expand it, Campos and Avalos endanger the prospects of fellow progressives. Progressive candidates should not go along.

The progressive candidate most impacted by Avalos’ right to camp plan is Kimberly Alvarenga, who Avalos supports to succeed him as D11 Supervisor. Alvarenga already faces a tough challenge against Ahsha Safai, who is well known in the district and narrowly lost to Avalos in 2008.

I don’t think D11 voters want campsites on their sidewalks and in their public spaces. If voters identify Alvarenga with Avalos’ camping proposal, it will ensure Safai’s victory.

Sandra Fewer has the strongest campaign in D1, but even she could find herself in trouble if Richmond residents believe she will support camping along Clement Street. D5 voters are more supportive of homeless services, but Dean Preston’s insurgent campaign against London Breed will not benefit from his association with the right to camp.

I am not even sure the right to camp is popular in Campos’ D9. This could deter Campos’ ally Hillary Ronen from supporting such a policy in her race against Josh Arce.

Progressives have such a big edge on the issues voters care about in November that Campos and Avalos are trying to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Nor is backing a public right to camp is a courageous and principled stand. To the contrary, there is nothing “progressive” about allowing the city’s public spaces and sidewalks to become campgrounds. Such reduces the quality of life for all San Franciscans, and does nothing to get those living in encampments into housing. Avalos’ plan requires the city to pay for toilets and refuse services, but such encampments inevitably result in health code violations and other unsafe conditions for nearby residents and businesses.

Considering the permit hoops small restaurants and cafes face in getting the right to have sidewalk seating, the effort to short-circuit these requirements for sidewalk camping will strike many voters as an example of misplaced priorities. These voters will reject candidates supporting such a policy.

Why would progressive supervisors want to turn the November elections into a referendum on the right to camp?  It’s a great question.

Jane Kim Gets It

In contrast to Campos and Avalos, Jane Kim understands how progressives can win citywide races. Kim has framed her State Senate race around progressive issues that broaden rather than diminish her support.

A prime example is Kim’s identification with increasing inclusionary housing requirements. Affordable housing is the top issue in San Francisco, and Kim was the driving force behind Prop C, which raises these requirements from 12%-25%. Prop C is expected to win voter approval in June.

While some developers oppose Prop C, others appreciate the certainty that Kim and her colleague Aaron Peskin are bringing to the inclusionary housing process. Peskin noted at a Land Use hearing last week that the Kim-Peskin plan involves no “backroom deals,” effectively eliminating the one-off shakedowns from community groups that developers already complying with the law too often encounter.

Kim is also pushing free City College tuition for San Francisco residents, tapping into an issue that has propelled young voters support for Bernie Sanders. But unlike Sanders’s free college tuition proposal, Kim has a specific revenue raising plan—a November ballot measure for a “Mansion Tax” on the transfer of luxury homes that would raise $29 million annually.

Kim is demonstrating how progressives can win city, state and even national races. Increasing affordable housing and free college tuition are progressive issues that also draw moderate support. Unlike the right to camp in public places, Kim’s campaign is focusing on issues that expand rather than divide the progressive base.

Kim’s opponent, Scott Wiener, is trying to expand his moderate base by promoting progressive issues. For example, he has sponsored legislation expediting approvals for 100% affordable housing projects and expanding parental leave. Were Kim not out in front expanding her own support base, Wiener would win (I stand by my January forecast that Kim remains the favorite in this race).

Let’s hope Avalos thinks twice before bringing his right to camp legislation to the Board. It’s the wrong issue at the wrong time for San Francisco progressives.

 

California Finances World Bank Effort to Keep Third World Countries Impoverished

How does Sacramento waste your money and harm the poor around the world?  State Treasurer Chiang, who pretends to be a moderate Democrat (in the Bay Area a moderate Democrat is a Sanders socialist) bought $200 million of World Bank bonds, with your money.  The World Bank is then going to use the money to make the poorest of the Third World countries like California—high cost of living, high real unemployment—when you count those who have given up looking for jobs. And to make sure the cost of energy is too high, even for the wealthy of the nation.  The World Bank is working hard to keep the Third World impoverished.

““My office is excited about participating in the burgeoning green bond market, but we want to do it right,” said Chiang. “We want to raise money to combat climate change and at the same time get the best possible deal for our taxpayers.”

The treasurer recently concluded a national “listening tour” to find new ways to harness the potential of green bonds to pay for critically needed, clean-energy infrastructure in California.

Chiang’s staff also is drafting a report to identify the legal, economic, attitudinal and other barriers that have prevented the U.S. green bond market from developing as fast as those in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Maybe folks do not buy these bonds because they what progress, jobs and prosperity—not nutty ideas from government that costs too much and delivers too little.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image16423634

Treasury buys $200 million in green bonds

State Treasurer John Chiang, 4/25/16

California has finalized the purchase of $200 million worth of green bonds issued by the World Bank, state Treasurer John Chiang announced.

Proceeds from the sale will help the bank finance projects that meet specific criteria for low-carbon and climate-resilient growth; mitigate climate change or help people adapt to global warming.

“This is a win-win for Californians who are not only interested in safe, solid-performing investments, but want to move the needle on combatting climate change,” said Chiang.

These World Bank green bonds mature on Oct. 1, 2018, and have fixed coupons that pay just over 1% interest. In contrast, benchmark U.S. Treasury notes with similar maturities are currently earning only 0.82%.

The green bonds bought by California’s Pooled Money Investment Account enjoy the highest possible AAA credit rankings from rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Concurrently, the bonds also have the highest certification for “greenness” from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research.

The investment is part of Chiang’s commitment to leveraging the state’s financial resources to both buy and sell environmentally friendly securities, when such investments meet all other requirements of state policy and law.

“My office is excited about participating in the burgeoning green bond market, but we want to do it right,” said Chiang. “We want to raise money to combat climate change and at the same time get the best possible deal for our taxpayers.”

The treasurer recently concluded a national “listening tour” to find new ways to harness the potential of green bonds to pay for critically needed, clean-energy infrastructure in California.

Chiang’s staff also is drafting a report to identify the legal, economic, attitudinal and other barriers that have prevented the U.S. green bond market from developing as fast as those in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

The report’s findings and related issues are expected to be the focus of a conference Chiang plans to hold early next year that will bring together investors, environmentalists and other thought leaders.

The California’s Pooled Money Investment Account has purchased $1.3 billion in World Bank Group green bonds since 2009.

This article was released by the Office of the California State Treasurer.

 

Sand: Let’s Deep-six Prop. 30

In 2012 Guv Brown and the “moderate” Steve Glazer claimed that raising taxes by $42 billion was good for the schools and would help the education process.  LAUSD has determined to use the Common Core values—so 40% of a students grade is based on socio-economic and cultural history—in other words if you are of color or an illegal alien, you get a better grade than a white student that was born in this country.  Under those circumstances you don’t need more money, just training to keep a straight face when you are telling the public how great government education is.

Now, the friends of Glazer and Brown are preparing an extension of Prop. 30, for twelve years, to take approximately $108 billion from you business and family.  Can you afford inferior education with a much higher cost?

“The latest study on the relationship between spending and achievement, recently conducted in Michigan, found no statistically significant correlation between how much money the state’s public schools spend and how well students perform academically. Mackinac Center Education Policy Director Ben DeGrow, who coauthored the study said, “Of the 28 measurements of academic achievement studied, we find only one category showed a statistically significant correlation between spending and achievement, and the gains were nominal at best.” He added, “Spending may matter in some cases, but given the way public schools currently spend their resources, it is highly unlikely that merely increasing funding will generate any meaningful boost to student achievement.”

Steve Glazer and Jerry Brown, credit KVRM

Steve Glazer and Jerry Brown, credit KVRM

Let’s Deep-six Prop. 30

By Larry Sand, Union Watch,  4/26/16

The signatures for an initiative that would extend 2012’s “temporary” tax increase in California are due today.

Four years ago Californians voted in Prop. 30, a “temporary” tax, to pay back schools “from the years of devastating cuts.” But as I show here, there was hardly any devastation; in fact, our spending had continued to be quite robust. The measure jacked up income tax on people with incomes exceeding $250,000 through 2018 and increased sales tax on all of us through the end of this year. But, the Beholden State teachers unions are trying to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot that would continue the higher income tax through 2030. (The sales tax increase would expire as scheduled.) Earlier this month, California Teachers Association president Eric Heins told the union’s State Council that “…we need to gather 900,000 signatures to get our measure on the ballot. We are about 60 percent there, and we only have about three more weeks.”

Today, in fact, is the deadline. If enough signatures are gathered, the extension has a good chance of success. As reported by EdSource’s John Fensterwald, a Public Policy Institute of California poll found, “…among all Californians, 64 percent support the extension, 32 percent oppose it and 4 percent are undecided. Among likely voters, 62 percent back it, 35 percent oppose it and 2 percent haven’t decided. By party affiliation, 82 percent of Democrats support it while only 32 percent of Republicans do.”

When I read poll numbers like this, I always wonder if the people questioned know what we actually spend on education. My guess is that many don’t. A recent Education Next poll, which included a question about that issue, is instructive. The school districts in which their survey respondents resided spent an average of $12,440 per pupil in 2012 (the most recent data available). But when asked, the respondents estimated per-pupil expenditures in their local school district, they guessed, on average, just $6,307 – about half of what was actually spent. (By the way, these dollar amounts would be considerably higher if expenditures for transportation, capital expenses, and debt service were included.)

Should Prop. 30 (or any future such tax increases) make it on to the ballot, I would ask voters to consider the following:

  • The unions will tell you that the tax is only on the wealthy, whom they claim don’t pay their fair share. But a look at the actual numbers tells a different story. A report issued by the Congressional Budget Office in 2012 shows that the top one percent of income earners across the nation paid 39 percent of federal individual income taxes in 2009, while earning 13 percent of the income. Hence, it’s clear that the rich are already paying considerably more than their “fair share.”
  • Courtesy of Cato Institute’s late, great Andrew Coulson, we see that between 1972 and 2012 California’s education spending (adjusted for inflation) has doubled, while our students’ SAT scores have actually declined.
  • The latest study on the relationship between spending and achievement, recently conducted in Michigan, found no statistically significant correlation between how much money the state’s public schools spend and how well students perform academically. Mackinac Center Education Policy Director Ben DeGrow, who coauthored the study said, “Of the 28 measurements of academic achievement studied, we find only one category showed a statistically significant correlation between spending and achievement, and the gains were nominal at best.” He added, “Spending may matter in some cases, but given the way public schools currently spend their resources, it is highly unlikely that merely increasing funding will generate any meaningful boost to student achievement.”
  • Unconditional money poured into public education from the private sector doesn’t help either. In 2010, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the Newark public schools, which was matched by another $100 million from unnamed donors. As documented in The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools, a book about the gift, the money went up in smoke, with the teachers union playing a big role in vaporizing it. As reported by the New York Times, Newark Teachers Union leader Joe Del Grosso “demanded a ransom of $31 million to compensate for what he felt members should have received in previous years — before agreeing to discuss any labor reforms.” The new labor contract accounted for almost half the $200 million. In a review of the book, Cato Institute’s Jason Bedrick wrote, “The union boss… made the back pay a condition for even holding the negotiations. ‘We had an opportunity to get Zuckerberg’s money,’ Del Grosso later explained, ‘Otherwise, it would go to the charter schools. I decided I shouldn’t feed and clothe the enemy.’” But it wasn’t only the unions that abused the gift. As Bedrick says, “The Prize demonstrates in depressing detail just how difficult it is to reform public schooling in the United States. Laws, regulations, and labor contracts favored adult jobs over kids’ education and this entrenched bureaucracy was difficult to change—especially because reforms met opposition from special interests and their political allies.”

With a debt of over $1 trillion and counting, California clearly has a spending problem, not a too-little-tax problem. The taxpayers must take action. First, we all need to know specifically where our edu-bucks are being spent. You can start at the Ed-Data website for general expenditures. Do some digging to find out how teacher union (and all public employee union) pensions are bankrupting cities across the state. For that kind of information, Pension Tsunami is an invaluable resource. Perhaps most importantly, communicate with legislators and demand school choice. Among other things – just as in business – competition lowers prices while increasing product quality. And God knows we would benefit from both.

Randi Weingarten and other union leaders have a prized talking point: “You can’t fire your way to a teaching force.” It’s a ridiculous claim, which I debunked last week. And at the same time, they erroneously believe we can spend our way to success. But they make no real case for this, because there isn’t one. It’s time for all of us to stop falling for the feel-good fairy tales. Just saying “No!” to the Prop. 30 extension – should it get to the ballot – would be a great place to start.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

School budget laws complicate tracking of Common Core spending

Does anybody know how much is being spent on Common Core in your schools?  What are the costs of the new textbooks—how much does it cost in the long run to teach a child that two plus two can equal five if you understand the process?  Then you have Common Core standards creating grades—40% of which is based on color and national origin—the George Wallace racist approach to education—so in LAUSD every dime spent is wasted.

“San Jose Unified put about $12 million toward staff bonuses, while Santa Ana Unified spent $9 million on retiree benefits.

The money is coming from about $3.6 billion in tax revenues California’s more than 1,000 school districts received over the past two years. The Legislature specified that it “intended” for districts to “prioritize” spending of the one-time funds on implementing academic standards, including Common Core standards in math and English.

The good news is that many districts instead of spending the money on mis-educating the students are spending it to pay off unions with bonuses and retiree pay.  Actually even dime should go to anything but Common Core—our kids deserve and education not an ideological indoctrination camp.

common-core-image1

School budget laws complicate tracking of Common Core spending

By Theresa Harrington, EdSource,  4/25/16

The Fresno and Visalia school districts are spending $10 million each on new schools.

San Jose Unified put about $12 million toward staff bonuses, while Santa Ana Unified spent $9 million on retiree benefits.

The money is coming from about $3.6 billion in tax revenues California’s more than 1,000 school districts received over the past two years. The Legislature specified that it “intended” for districts to “prioritize” spending of the one-time funds on implementing academic standards, including Common Core standards in math and English.

But lawmakers also told districts that they first had to spend the funds to pay for any unreimbursed claims for programs and services mandated by the state. They could also spend the funds for “any other purpose.”

That multipronged and even confusing message has prompted several advocates, along with a key legislator on education matters, to argue that the funds should have been targeted for more specific purposes – and that districts should be required to report more precisely how they spent the funds.

“It’s shocking to me that districts would not put this money directly into the classroom, because we’re trying to do something in education that does take extra resources,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who is a former teacher. “That’s not the highest and best use for the one‐time money, in my opinion,” she said, referring to the districts’ use of the funds on non­academic purposes.

“To have an intent and to not require that it be spent that way means it really was token, so it’s very problematic,” said Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, executive director of Californians Together, an organization that advocates on behalf of English-learner students. “It really kind of was a sham.”

The discretion given to local districts is consistent with Gov. Jerry Brown’s philosophy of giving them more control over how to spend state funds. It also reflected a major push by Brown to pay off the billions of dollars that the state owed to districts in “unreimbursed mandates.”

Under the California Constitution, the state must reimburse school districts for new programs or higher levels of service the state imposes on them. Over the years, the state has imposed dozens of them, ranging from student health screenings to the California High School Exit Exam.

Brown also wants to give districts similar flexibility over $1.3 billion he is proposing for one-time monies to school districts, charter schools and county offices of education during the coming school year.

“It’s a two‐fer,” said Martha Alvarez, a legislative advocate for the Association of California School Administrators. “The state’s saying, ‘We’re giving you the money for Common Core, but basically it’s (also) paying back outstanding mandate claims.’” Alvarez said the state is “trying to do two things at once.”

California School Boards Association spokesman Troy Flint said districts need continued flexibility over the funds. “Much of this money will pay for Common Core implementation,” he said. “But based on their particular situations, districts that have other pressing needs should have the discretion to address those as well.”

However, the broad discretion given to districts makes it impossible to determine what proportion of the funds actually ended up being spent on implementation of academic standards, which is what the Legislature hoped districts would place a high priority on.

“The state has no way to know except anecdotally how much of the money districts are spending on the Common Core,” said Jennifer Peck, executive director of the Oakland‐based nonprofit Partnership for Children and Youth.

“I don’t think we can totally blame districts for plugging this money where needed, given the resource constraints they had been facing for years,” she said. “But there was a false perception that a lot of support was pouring into Common Core support when that really wasn’t the case.”

Besides the one-time money, districts are also free to spend ongoing state funding from the Local Control Funding Formula on standards implementation.

EdSource is tracking how six districts (Santa Ana Unified, Garden Grove Unified, Visalia Unified, Fresno Unified, San Jose Unified and Elk Grove Unified) and the Aspire charter school network are implementing the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards in their schools.

Interviews with officials in these districts indicate that most took advantage of effectively being able to spend the funds in whatever way they chose.

  •  Visalia used a portion of its one-time money to build a new elementary school because that was a high priority for the district. The district earmarked $3.6 million for technology and spent millions in other funds on Common Core implementation.
  • Fresno’s spending included $10 million for English language arts books and $10 million toward a new Career Technical Education school, along with other expenditures.
  • Santa Ana plans to spend most of its nearly $27 million on retiree benefits, maintenance and expanding a district-operated charter school, along with a small portion devoted to standards-related uses.
  • Garden Grove was the only district among those tracked by EdSource that planned to spend its entire allocation on expenses related to implementing the standards, including textbooks and technology.

Garden Grove Superintendent Gabriela Mafi said the Legislature’s intent for districts to prioritize spending on implementation of academic standards was easy to follow, since it was very broad.

“We could have spent it ten times over,” she said, adding that the money has helped the district bridge the “digital divide” for students who don’t have computers at home

Why Can’t San Francisco Stop Its Epidemic of Window Smashing?

Prop. 47 made felonies into misdemeanors.  DA’s and City Attorneys have decided that arresting people for minor crimes is not worth the effort, since they won’t go to jail or even to court.  So petty criminals know they own the streets and can knock heads, steal a purse, break into liquor stores and the worst that could happen is a severe lecture.  This has repercussions in the real world.

““The city took 25,899 reports of car break-ins in 2015,” The San Francisco Chronicle reports. That’s a 77 percent increase over the five years beginning in 2010.

The epidemic has been getting worse for years. Back in 2006, when there were 10,000 fewer break-ins per year, police, prosecutors, and then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office felt that 41 such burglaries a day was enough to justify a crackdown.

Think you are safe in San Fran?  This is now one of the unsafest cities in the State, possibly the nation—and most of the crime is never reported—because the police will do nothing about the illegal aliens—even the murderers among them, so why expect the cops to care about your car, windows or property?  San Fran is the Wild West—no law, no order.

For those of you going to San Fran during the Republican Convention in Burlington—you do so at your own peril.

San Francisco, CA, USA

Why Can’t San Francisco Stop Its Epidemic of Window Smashing?

When progressive leaders decline to keep their cities safe, they invite over-reactions and excessively punitive approaches.

Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic,  4/26/16

San Francisco is among America’s richest cities. Its budget is nearly $9 billion a year. It is only 47 square miles in area. So why are city leaders unable to stop vandals from smashing car windows at the astonishing rate of more than 70 per day?

“The city took 25,899 reports of car break-ins in 2015,” The San Francisco Chronicle reports. That’s a 77 percent increase over the five years beginning in 2010.

The epidemic has been getting worse for years. Back in 2006, when there were 10,000 fewer break-ins per year, police, prosecutors, and then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office felt that 41 such burglaries a day was enough to justify a crackdown.

For visitors, these “smash-and-grab” burglaries are enough to ruin a vacation, as thieves bust open rental cars and make off with suitcases, cameras, and even passports.

Locals arguably have it even worse. They can’t park at night without worrying that their windows will be busted a second or third or fourth time. For the very rich, the repair job is pocket change. For everyone else, it’s a significant surprise expense.

I discovered that the hard way. A couple months ago, I parked a 10-year-old Nissan Altima on 18th Street near South Van Ness in The Mission while in town to attend a wedding. It was only there overnight. Before I returned the next morning, a vandal had smashed both passenger-side windows. As best I can tell, nothing was stolen. It cost roughly $340 including tip to get the windows replaced. I could manage the expense, but federal data suggests that nearly half of Americans would have trouble coming up with a similar sum in an unexpected emergency.

A lot of San Francisco journalists who’ve covered this story have their own tales of woe. Sergio Quintana of the local ABC affiliate said that his car has been broken into three times in recent years. KTTV says its cars and news vans have been hit several times.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr had his car window smashed, too.

“Why San Francisco is suffering a unique spike in property crime hasn’t been fully explained,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports, “but the problem is at the center of a war between District Attorney George Gascón and the city’s police officers’ union over their respective crime-fighting competence as well as the impact of reforms favored by Gascón and other progressives designed to thin jails and prisons.”

The police particularly dislike Proposition 47, “a ballot initiative passed into law in November 2014 that reduced six nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors.” But that was a statewide measure, while the smash-and-grab epidemic is local and predates 2015. What’s more, Gascón says that he still charges car break-ins as felonies.

After the San Francisco Fox affiliate had a vehicle broken into in broad daylight while staffers were eating lunch, they called police, but didn’t get much help. Then they tracked down security camera footage that showed two men breaking into their vehicle, including their faces and the license plate of the car they climbed into.

7 weeks later the SFPD still hadn’t identified or caught them.

Other local press outlets report that a great many “smash-and-grab” car burglaries are perpetrated by repeat offenders who are given light sentences by judges who don’t see the crime as a particularly serious offense. Is that judgment correct?

The cost to victims is highly variable. Some are like me and have nothing stolen. The only cost is replacing the glass. Others lose purses, laptop computers, and other valuables, sometimes including items with sentimental value that can never be replaced.

If we’re very conservative, and figure an average of $500 of economic damage to victims of car break-ins, these thieves cost San Francisco victims just short of $13 million last year. And that’s using the number of reported break-ins. Many more go unreported.

There are other costs, too:

A handful of guns stolen from vehicles in San Francisco and then used to kill people—including a muralist in Oakland, a backpacker in Golden Gate Park, a hiker in Marin and a woman walking on a city pier—have made headlines.

But those high-profile cases represent just a fraction of the guns stolen from cars in a city that has seen a rash of auto burglaries. Through Nov. 20, 57 guns have been stolen from vehicles in San Francisco. That’s up from 48 in all of 2014 and 31 in 2013, according to San Francisco Police Department statistics.

In a related story, the New York Times reported, “Recent data from the F.B.I. show that San Francisco has the highest per-capita property crime rate of the nation’s top 50 cities. About half the cases here are thefts from vehicles, smash-and-grabs…”

The article continues:

Scott Wiener, a supervisor and an advocate for more aggressive law enforcement, said his constituents were urging him to act. “I can’t tell you the number of times where I have received emails from moms saying, ‘My kids just asked me why that man has a syringe sticking out of his arm,’ ” he said. “San Francisco at times is a consequence-free zone,” Mr. Wiener said. “I’m not advocating extreme law and order, but there has to be consequences. Sometimes people might need to spend six months in jail to think about what they did.” In a bitterly contested 6-to-5 vote last year, Mr. Wiener led the passage of a measure adding several hundred officers to the city’s police force, the first increase since the 1980s, when the population was over 10 percent smaller.

But the supervisor for the area that includes The Mission, where my car was burglarized, said this:

On the other side is David Campos, a supervisor who opposes the increase in police officers and describes Mr. Wiener’s views as “a very knee-jerk kind of punitive approach that is ineffective and inconsistent with the values of San Francisco.” Mr. Campos and many others evoke the charitable spirit of the city’s namesake, St. Francis. “We are not going to criminalize people for being poor,” he said. “That criminalization is only going to make it harder for them to get out of poverty.”

San Francisco’s liberal ethos, Mr. Campos said, was changing as the city focused more on business and the needs of the tech industry. “I think there has been a shift in the people who have come to San Francisco,” Mr. Campos said of the city’s new arrivals, a group that is well educated and well heeled. He deplores what he describes as a growing “sink-or-swim” free-market ideology that stands in contrast to the city’s traditions.

“I don’t know which San Francisco will prevail,” he said.

Campos position is frustrating. The people who want San Francisco’s “smash-and-grab” vandals punished, myself included, do not want “to criminalize people for being poor.” We want to criminalize people for willfully smashing in car windows, stealing personal items, and imposing hundreds of dollars in repairs on victims, most of whom are working people who really suffer from such a loss.

Campos vilified his colleague for saying, “Sometimes people might need to spend six months in jail to think about what they did.” Yet how did Campos react to news that guns are being stolen in some of these smash-and-grab burglaries? He crafted legislation “to require that law enforcement officers as well as civilians who leave guns in parked vehicles in the city secure the weapons in lock boxes or in an enclosed, locked trunk. Failing to secure a gun in a parked car would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail or a $10,000 fine.”

In other words, he wants to punish some of the victims of smash-and-grab burglaries with longer jail sentences than he is willing to give the perpetrators of the crime.

A backlash against figures like Campos helped fuel California’s last round of over-punitive criminal-justice policies. Fortunately, there is a much more sensible course available today.

Contra the San Francisco cops and Campos, there is no contradiction in believing that California imposed overzealous penalties on petty criminals for a generation and believing that a crackdown on property crime in San Francisco is overdue. The key is to avoid the mistakes of past crackdowns by internalizing the lesson that raising the likelihood of punishment is more important than increasing its length.

San Francisco shouldn’t send first-time “smash-and-grab” convicts to state prison for five years, or for life because they’ve already got two felony drug convictions in their past.

But they should punish as many perpetrators as possible as quickly as possible.

They should force first-time offenders to do a short stint in city jail––30 days, say–– to strap on an ankle bracelet that monitors their location after their release, and to make restitution. For second-time offenders, “six months in jail to think about what they did,” plus two-years of monitoring, seems like a reasonable punishment to me.

Alternatively, city officials could continue to tolerate the window-smashing, causing more working people to be victimized and making their city a more lawless place. At some point, San Francisco residents will get so fed up that voters will elevate their own version of a Rudy Giuliani figure, embrace surveillance cameras, and otherwise react more harshly than would’ve seemed necessary if municipal officials had only exercised a modicum of common sense.

The movement opposing over-incarceration is overdue, important, and fragile. It can’t survive another era of big-city progressives failing to keep crime at reasonable levels. L.A. has 4 million residents and had 27,535 car burglaries last year. 25,899 car burglaries in a city of less than a million people just isn’t reasonable.

Report: Feds Illegally Funded New York City Abortion Escorts

Barack Obama is making sure that women in New York are safe going to an abortion mill—while assuring that the babies are dead on arrival.  He is using AmeriCorps workers, a federal program to provide security services for abortion mills—totally illegal.

“The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), an AmeriCorps grantee that received more than $30 million in federal funds from 2010-2015, allowed several members to provide emotional care for women while undergoing an abortion.

The same federal law authorizing the AmeriCorps program expressly prohibits federal funds from being used on abortion services or referrals.”

How many times does Obama have to tell us he is a lawless President—he makes the rules and follows the laws he wants—and tells us to sue him if we do not like it.  The Obama Administration is the most corrupt, lawless and totalitarian administration in the history of our nation.  Still, the media is fearful of telling the truth about the crooked President.  Are you angry yet?

Planned Parenthood Abortion Pro Choice

Report: Feds Illegally Funded New York City Abortion Escorts

By Bre Payton, The Federalist, 4/26/16

AmeriCorps, a federally funded government program, allowed several on-duty members to escort women to three abortion clinics in New York City in violation of federal law, according to an Inspector General report.

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), an AmeriCorps grantee that received more than $30 million in federal funds from 2010-2015, allowed several members to provide emotional care for women while undergoing an abortion.

The same federal law authorizing the AmeriCorps program expressly prohibits federal funds from being used on abortion services or referrals.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the government agency that oversees AmeriCorps, found that NACHC leaders discouraged transparency and tried to bury negative information instead of reporting it. Several NACHC staff members told investigators they had seen instances of waste, fraud, and abuse, but were told by senior management keep quiet about it and not tell federal authorities.

Although NACHC has denied wrongdoing, they agreed to implement a series of immediate reforms while the investigation was underway, which included firing the staff members who participated in illegal activity and retraining remaining employees about prohibited activities.

After the investigation was concluded, CNCS stipulated that NACHC conduct its own investigation into the matter and rewrite policy to increase transparency, among other things.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which recently threatened states with legal action if they defunded Planned Parenthood, also funds NACHC and is aware of the investigation.

Democrats: Lets Tax People More—To Create Affordable Housing—So Cost of Living Is More Expensive

It is obvious that Democrats and their elected officials are complete economic illiterates.  They want to solve the affordable housing problem by taxing the poor, middle class and the rich more.  This means the folks have LESS money to pay for rent or a home.  It is also drives up the cost of housing—making homes MORE UNAFFORDABLE—all in the name of affordable housing.  If I wanted to make matters worse I would spend billions on affordable housing, forcing home and rent prices so high that people will be forced to move to the Free State of Texas or another free State, where the officials actually took an economics class.

“The sweeping package, co-sponsored by 12 Democratic legislators from around the state, would shore up existing programs to build and rehabilitate housing for low-income and homeless Californians. The legislation calls for increased investment in both urban and rural areas.

Local housing programs have been struggling since the state dissolved local redevelopment agencies to balance the fiscal 2012 budget.

In San Fran and LA, due to government regulations, fees and taxes the cost of GOVERNMENT is approximately $100,000 for every housing unit built.  A better plan would be to lower the cost of government—which then makes housing more affordable.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image20781311

State Democrats Propose $1.3 Billion Affordable Housing Plan

By Stephanie Martin Taylor, KQED, 4/26/16

 

A group of Democratic state lawmakers wants to tackle the California housing crisis by using money from this year’s state budget surplus.

Bay Area Assembly Democrats David Chiu of San Francisco and Tony Thurmond of Richmond unveiled the $1.3 billion plan at a news conference in Sacramento on Monday.

“I don’t think there’s anyone here in 2016 who thinks a roof over your head should be a luxury. That is not the California dream,” said Chiu, citing the state’s housing costs and failure to curb homelessness.

The sweeping package, co-sponsored by 12 Democratic legislators from around the state, would shore up existing programs to build and rehabilitate housing for low-income and homeless Californians. The legislation calls for increased investment in both urban and rural areas.

Local housing programs have been struggling since the state dissolved local redevelopment agencies to balance the fiscal 2012 budget.

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed several recent housing bills. The Chiu-Thurmond proposal honors his request to make housing legislation part of the budget negotiation process, though his office declined comment on the new legislation.

The plan’s supporters, who include Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, have requested a hearing next month.