SB 1161: Makes Questioning “Climate Change” a Sue-able Offense. Criminal?

Did you donate to the Pacific Legal Foundation?  Do you support Americans for Prosperity?  Are you a member of the California Republican Party, which has a platform approving of all forms of energy, including fossil fuel (oil)?  Do you work for a gas station, an oil company, have your written a letter to the editor in favor of oil drilling?  If so, you could find yourself with being charged in a court of law, thanks to SB 1161.

“Section 2(b) of the bill declares it the California legislature’s policy to promote “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on those risks” [emphasis added] — a very clear signal that the target is public issue advocacy, and not merely (say) advertising that is directed at consumers in their capacity as buyers of gasoline at the pump. Last month, a federal court slapped down, as an unconstitutional burden on First Amendment rights, California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s demand for the donor lists of nonprofits that carry on operations in California.

In fact State Senator Hannah “Taxin” Jackson and San Fran’s own Senator Mark Leno want to criminalize classroom discussions, letter writing and Facebook posts.  Work for a company that makes the product and you are in even bigger trouble.  1984 is here—a totalitarian statement by Democrats that the First Amendment is now dead.  What do you think?

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California “climate science truth” bill would revive lapsed statutes of limitation

Walter Olson, Overlawyered,  5/31/16

An extraordinary bill in the California legislature, promoted as making it easier to sue fossil fuel companies over their involvements in public debate, would lift the four-year statute of limitations of the state’s already extremely liberal Unfair Competition Law, otherwise known as s. 17200 — and retrospectively, so as to revive decades’ worth of time-lapsed claims “with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced anthropogenic-induced climate change.” Despite a 2004 round of voter-sponsored reform which curbed some of its worst applications, s. 17200 still enables what a California court called “legal shakedown” operations in which “ridiculously minor” violations serve as the predicate for automatic entitlement to damages, attorneys’ fees, and other relief.

Combined with the plans laid by California Attorney General Kamala Harris — part of the alliance of AGs that has sought to investigate not only oil, gas, and coal companies, but private advocacy groups and university scientists who have played a role in what is characterized as “climate denial” — the bill would begin laying the legal groundwork for an astonishingly broad campaign of inquisition and, potentially, expropriation. The bill was approved by a subcommittee and was further amended May 10 to provide that climate science-related claims of any age would begin a four-year reviver period as of next January. [Northern California Record; the left-leaning Union of Concerned Scientists has a piece supporting the bill]

Section 2(b) of the bill declares it the California legislature’s policy to promote “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on those risks” [emphasis added] — a very clear signal that the target is public issue advocacy, and not merely (say) advertising that is directed at consumers in their capacity as buyers of gasoline at the pump. Last month, a federal court slapped down, as an unconstitutional burden on First Amendment rights, California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s demand for the donor lists of nonprofits that carry on operations in California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National City Doesn’t Take Cars From the Poor–Like San Fran

In San Fran the city is giving building permits to project if they don’t have any parking spaces—and then closing off street parking near the building.  This forces the poor and middle class to either hibernate or use unreliable, strike prone, government transportation.  Or bike to work and the birthday party, arriving sweaty and disheveled.  National City, near San Diego has decided not to force apartment dwellers to be forced to walk, bike or use failed, expensive, government transportation.

“To the chagrin of city leaders and public transportation advocates, however, the project ended up with even more parking spaces than it has units. 308 to be exact. That also exceeds the city’s 236-space minimum parking requirement for the area. And that’s not a big boon for public transit use.

The developers say the city simply came too late to the table in trying to encourage the developer to swap parking for more amenities or alternative transportation infrastructure. An effort by National City and its executive director of planning and community development Brad Raulston to reduce parking spaces began when the project was already past the planning stage and that made it difficult to reverse course.”

If there was a market place demand for housing without the ability to have a car, where is it?  Wouldn’t developers build such facilities?   The fact they don’t show it is a wish of the delusional government agents, not the public.  The good news is if this does become a mandate for government, then productive people will move to Texas and other Free States.

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Public Transit Vs Parking on Display in National City Housing Complex

California City News,  05/30/2016

A new housing development complex in National City, California has underscored the difficulties that public transit advocates often face when providing affordable housing, a recent article in Voice of San Diego notes.

From the get-go, city leaders had high hopes for the Paradise Creek project and its ability to encourage and generate use of public transportation. After all, the 201-unit complex is in one of the most walkable areas of San Diego County and sits near plenty of public transit hubs, including bus stops and a trolley station. It was one of a handful of projects to receive a sustainable communities grant from the EPA and also won state cap-and-trade funds aimed at encouraging affordable housing near public transit.

To the chagrin of city leaders and public transportation advocates, however, the project ended up with even more parking spaces than it has units. 308 to be exact. That also exceeds the city’s 236-space minimum parking requirement for the area. And that’s not a big boon for public transit use.

The developers say the city simply came too late to the table in trying to encourage the developer to swap parking for more amenities or alternative transportation infrastructure. An effort by National City and its executive director of planning and community development Brad Raulston to reduce parking spaces began when the project was already past the planning stage and that made it difficult to reverse course. For its part, the city says it was preoccupied by the dissolution of redevelopment agencies and the effects of the 2008 recession.

There’s another reason the developer chose to err on the side of more parking spaces though. Parking pays. Or, rather, a lack of it can really threaten marketability.

“If you’re a family choosing between Development A and Development B and the economics are the same, the project with more access to parking is going to be at an advantage,” said Michael Massie, the site’s project manager. “As the culture changes and public transit becomes more a part of people’s lives that will become less true. You just don’t see that here yet.”

Fair enough. But had the cap-and-trade funds encouraged reductions in parking, it would have been easier for the city to make its case, according to National City’s Community Development Program Manager Carlos Aguirre. And therein lies the paradox.

“There’s this whole discussion at the state level to try and incentive [sic] reducing our carbon footprint by funding affordable housing projects that are near public transportation lines, but they’re not asking for a reduction in parking,” he added.

Construction on the Paradise Creek apartments began in November. The first units are expected to be available sometime in late 2016.

 

Girls in Boys Bathroom Forcing Boys Out of Government Schools

If I wanted to kill off government education I would do three things—force students into failed government schools—not allowing the choice of quality education.  Then I would use restorative justice to allow bullies, druggies and disruptors in the classroom—and punish the students that want an education.  Finally, I would make sure that girls are not safe taking a shower or going to a bathroom in a government school.  Even boys understand they trouble when a girl goes up to a urinal because they “feel like a boy” that day.  Finally, a father has said enough—maybe this is the way to close down failed government education?

““My son informed me there was a girl in the bathroom with him and the other kids in his class,” the dad, Matt Stewart, told the station.

After the conversation, Stewart and his wife opted to keep their kids home.

“As parents, we decided we were not going to force our children to make the decision between confusion, humiliation, and embarrassment,” Stewart told WXYZ.

School district officials are blaming the Obama administration for its new policy letting girls use boys’ bathrooms — and boys use girls’ bathrooms — whenever they want.

The school officials are wrong—they are to blame—if Obama told them to jump off a cliff would they?  Just because Barack is a confused person doesn’t mean our children need to be pawns in the hedonistic society of the Left.  Congrats to the father for protecting his sons.  Watch as others leave government schools.

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HERO: Dad Pulls Sons Out Of School After Officials Allow Girl To Use Boys’ Bathroom

Eric Owens, Daily Caller,  5/30/16

A father of three in small-town Michigan has pulled his three children — all sons — out of the local public schools after one of the sons told him that school officials are allowing a girl to use the boys’ bathroom because she really wants to be a boy.

The scene of the transgender fracas is Howell, Mich. (pop: 9,489) — about an hour west of Detroit, reports local ABC affiliate WXYZ.

“My son informed me there was a girl in the bathroom with him and the other kids in his class,” the dad, Matt Stewart, told the station.

After the conversation, Stewart and his wife opted to keep their kids home.

“As parents, we decided we were not going to force our children to make the decision between confusion, humiliation, and embarrassment,” Stewart told WXYZ.

School district officials are blaming the Obama administration for its new policy letting girls use boys’ bathrooms — and boys use girls’ bathrooms — whenever they want.

“As has been widely reported, on May 13, 2016, the United States Department of Justice and Department of Education issued significant guidance on the rights of transgender students,” a letter from district officials explains. “This involved the Department’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is a statute prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs or activities. Those Departments found that Title IX prohibits discrimination against students based on their transgender status.”

A school district representative said the district sent the letter home to all parents recently.

WXYZ reached out to Carnigee Truesdale-Howard, a pediatric psychologist at a hospital in the suburbs of Detroit, to present the case for why Stewart’s sons and all other boys should feel comfortable and supportive whenever a girl waltzes into the boys’ bathrooms.

“How would you want the school to treat your child if your child was transgender?” Truesdale-Howard asked.

“Put aside their fears and anxieties, and maybe educate themselves about what transgender is, and go from there,” the doctor advised skeptical underage students and their parents.

Battles over allowing boys to use girls’ bathrooms and girls to use boys’ bathrooms are brewing across the country.

Elected officials in 11 different states have announced a joint lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s decree that all public schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice

The lawsuit is being filed in a federal district court of Texas. Plaintiffs include the state governments of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Tennessee and Utah, along with Gov. Paul LePage of Maine and the Arizona Department of Education.

Notably, West Virginia and Louisiana are participating even though both have Democratic governors.

The suit comes just 12 days after officials from the Departments of Education and Justice announced they would henceforth interpret the federal Title IX law as prohibiting all discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The new interpretation means that all public schools in the country must allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, or else risk losing federal funding.

The issue of transgender bathroom use could ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court because a similar court case in North Carolina is also pending.

If the various courts considering the issue come up with different rulings, the conflict would make the Supreme Court more likely to take up the issue in some form.

 

California Back in Big Oil’s Crosshairs: Feds Quietly OK Offshore Fracking

This is confusing.  The Obama administration is allowing fracking offshore—but maybe not.  At the same time Speaker De Leon is telegraphing that in 2017 he is going to bring the hammer down on the Central Valley oil industry—this in a meeting NOT denied by the CEO of the Fresno Chamber.  Obama and Brown are pushing solar energy.  The city of San Mateo is demanding that all future housing and commercial construction include solar energy—and EV charging stations.  Of course, we can now send out oil to other nations, maybe Obama wants those revenues?

“Two federal agencies on Friday quietly finalized two reports, set for release next week, which found offshore fracking in California poses no “significant” risk to the environment — paving the way for oil and gas companies to resume the controversial extraction method in the Santa Barbara Channel and imperiling the region’s wildlife in the process, opponents said.

Gee, even Obama could not find a problem with fracking in the ocean—then it must be OK.  When will Sanders and the Menshevik Clinton start calling Obama a tool of the oil industry.  This will be fun to watch as the Democrats denounce oil drilling and fracking, while the Obama Administration proves it is a good process.

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California Back in Big Oil’s Crosshairs: Feds Quietly OK Offshore Fracking

Nadia Prupis, City Watch LA,  5/30/16

ENVIRONMENT POLITICS–“This move paves the way for offshore fracking permits that were previously frozen and the dumping of toxic wastewater directly into the Pacific Ocean.”

Two federal agencies on Friday quietly finalized two reports, set for release next week, which found offshore fracking in California poses no “significant” risk to the environment — paving the way for oil and gas companies to resume the controversial extraction method in the Santa Barbara Channel and imperiling the region’s wildlife in the process, opponents said.

The announcement Friday from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (OEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement puts an end to a court-ordered ban on offshore fracking in federal waters off the coast of California. The moratorium was put into place in January as part of a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), which challenged the Obama administration’s ‘rubber-stamping’ of offshore drilling activity without an environmental review.

Environmental activists warned on Friday that kicking off a new round of drilling in the area puts wildlife at risk from chemical-laden wastewater and said they would be willing to file another lawsuit to keep it from happening.

“The Obama administration is once again putting California’s beautiful coast in the oil industry’s crosshairs,” said Miyoko Sakashita, director of CBD’s Oceans program. “Our beaches and wildlife face a renewed threat from fracking chemicals and oil spills. New legal action may be the only way to get federal officials to do their jobs and protect our ocean from offshore fracking.”

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch, criticized President Barack Obama for “doubling down on fracking, instead of providing climate leadership and protecting our communities and our environment.”

“This move paves the way for offshore fracking permits that were previously frozen and the dumping of toxic wastewater directly into the Pacific Ocean where Californians swim, fish, and surf,” Hauter said.

The news comes a year after a pipeline rupture in Santa Barbara sent tens of thousands of gallons of crude spilling onto public beaches and into the Pacific Ocean. The operator of the pipeline, Plains All American, has a history of wreaking environmental havoc throughout Southern California and elsewhere.

And it also follows the recent signing of the historic deal reached in Paris last December to keep global temperature rise under 2°C, a goal that climate advocates say can only be reached by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and investing in renewal energy.

“It’s clear that Americans want an inspiring new vision for our energy system,” Hauter said. “The president continues to indicate that he is not the person to fulfill that vision. It’s a vision that can only be achieved by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and moving swiftly to a system driven by energy efficiency and renewables.”

 

Los Angeles Teachers Union Sinks to Unmitigated Depths

Chicago style politics, with the grace of a Teamster goon at a port entrance and the use of language only someone in the military could accept—deep in battle.  LAUSD teachers, forced to pay bribes to organization that tells them if they can show up to work, if they can participate in extra curriculum activities—no wonder they are grouchy and want to hold your children hostage in failed schools—they want the children to feel the pain they feel every day working under gulag conditions.

“To begin with, the school district that was allegedly losing millions responded with a “Huh?!” and proceeded to explain that the district actually makes money due to the existence of charter schools. According to LA School Report, “In January when the Charter Schools Division presented its budget, it showed that the district receives half a million dollars more than they need to pay for the division. That report, presented to the Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee by Charters Division Director Jose Cole-Guttierez, showed that the 1 percent oversight fee collected from charter schools brings in $8.89 million while the annual expenses of the division’s 47 employees including their benefits total $8.37 million.”

The teacher’s bribes paid for a phony study, lying about the cost of government education vs. charter schools.  They know that students receive a better education in charter schools and that minority kids are given a chance of quality education—not union/government education.  The UTLA teachers may feel bad about harming hundreds of thousands of students—but if they didn’t they would not have jobs.  Shame on us for allowing teachers to harm our kids—and using our tax dollars to do it.

Mexico Teachers Protest

Los Angeles Teachers Union Sinks to Unmitigated Depths

By Larry Sand, Union Watch,  5/31/16

The union war on charter schools has become even uglier, courtesy of UTLA.

On May 4th, the United Teachers of Los Angeles, in concert with the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) – a radical union front group – planned a major protest to be held outside schools where charter schools share a campus with traditional public schools. In a statement, AROS proclaimed “…we will stand with Los Angeles parents, educators, students, administrators, and community members for fully funded public schools and call on corporate charter schools to pay their fair share to the district.” Of course, the truth is that charters are not “corporate.” And, in fact, it’s charters that aren’t fully funded, which is why they frequently have to scrounge for facilities, but AROS apparently doesn’t bother with those minor details. So it looked like a lot of school kids would be confronted with an early morning filled with angry protesters marching, chanting, being obnoxious, you know, the usual union stuff.

But parents were ticked, and with the help of the California Charter School Association, responded by posting a letter – enlarged, prominently placed, in English and Spanish, signed by 527 parents – in the lobby of the building where UTLA offices are housed. The brief but powerful missive included the following:

We are asking you to stop. This Wednesday, May 4, you plan to stage demonstrations at charter schools sharing campuses with district schools. If these actions are anything like the ones we’ve endured in the past, they will be threatening, disruptive and full of lies. We will be shouted at, maligned and disrespected, our children will ask us what they’ve done wrong, and their teachers will, as always, be expected to rise above it all.

Yes, threatening, disruptive and full of lies. But, again, it was a union rally, after all. However, when all was said and done (at least judging by media reports), there was not much activity the morning of the fourth.

But UTLA wasn’t done yet. In an attempt to press beyond the usual vapid vilification of charters, on May 10th, the union released the results of a study they commissioned. Or to be precise, a “study,” which among other things, asserted that LA schools “lost more than $591 million dollars to unmitigated charter school growth this year alone.”

Of course, the National Education Association gleefully jumped on the report, charging that, “LA charters siphon away almost half a billion from public school students.” (Memo to NEA: charters are public schools.)

But responses to the report from those in the know were anything but fawning. To begin with, the school district that was allegedly losing millions responded with a “Huh?!” and proceeded to explain that the district actually makes money due to the existence of charter schools. According to LA School Report, “In January when the Charter Schools Division presented its budget, it showed that the district receives half a million dollars more than they need to pay for the division. That report, presented to the Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee by Charters Division Director Jose Cole-Guttierez, showed that the 1 percent oversight fee collected from charter schools brings in $8.89 million while the annual expenses of the division’s 47 employees including their benefits total $8.37 million.”

The Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, representing principals and off-site middle managers, released “Separating the Wheat from the Chaff,” a document which cast doubt on the UTLA findings. But there was no equivocation from the California Charter School Association. In a 10 page response, CCSA excoriated the UTLA report point-by-point, denouncing its many inaccuracies and irresponsible conclusions, and went on to counter it’s distortions with actual facts and data.

Very interestingly, after being chastened by those parties intimately aware of the reality of district-charter finances, UTLA has been mum. No rejoinders. No “Oh yeahs?” No banner on its homepage. Nothing. The only link to the study is buried on its “News Releases” webpage. My call and email to Anna Bakalis, the union’s media person on May 19th, have not been returned. I am hardly shocked.

To UTLA – If you are really interested in solving LAUSD’s budgetary problems, here are a few ideas:

To save billions, insist that the district gets its healthcare and pension costs under control. But you have no interest in doing that because you are of the opinion that taxpayers should be forking over even more of their hard-earned money to continue paying for these extravagant plans.

How about working to get new laws passed that would more easily rid our schools of predatory teachers? LAUSD has spent $300 million since 2012 on legal fees and sexual abuse payouts to families that have sued the district. To be sure, LAUSD admins deserve much of the blame for the problem, but you and other teachers unions greatly contribute to it because you have made it so very hard to get rid of any teacher, no matter how evil.

And while you are at it, work with the district to stop hiring administrators. As the school population continues to rapidly decline due to the proliferation of charters and general outward migration, the district’s administrative staff has increased 22 percent in the last five years, according to a superintendent’s report.

But no, you rather just try to destroy charter schools, which parents are flocking to, because they want to escape from the very school system you essentially control. You just wasted $82,000 in teachers’ dues money on a bogus study which proves you are really not interested in bettering public education. It really has nothing to do with kids, but rather, it’s all about you and your unmitigated, self-serving agenda. But then again, what else is new?

California has 9 of the 10 Wealthiest Cities in Nation—Also the Most Expensive

Not sure if this is good news or bad.  California is home to nine of the ten wealthiest cities in the nation—and the costly cities for housing, while the State is the highest in the nation for taxes.  Sacramento is notorious for job killing bills—and recently, Speaker Kevin De Leon in a meeting with Fresno Chamber officials talked about the end of farming in the Central Valley, due to government control of water and the end of the oil industry—because Democrats do not like inexpensive energy for the poor and middle class (more about this meeting in a future op-ed).

As people have more money, they spend more money, spend more for housing, food and other lifestyle activities.  This squeezes the poor and middle class out of an area.  Think San Fran.

Palo Alto is the wealthiest city in the nation, “San Ramon was ranked the second most affluent city in the United States. The median household income in the East Bay city is $135,355.

The California cities of Pleasanton, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda round out the top five communities of the well-to-do in America.

Newport Beach ranked highest in the country in average credit limits, almost $83,000 for credit card holders. The median home value in the seaside community is $1,561,400.”

Glad I shop at Von’s, the 99 Cent Store and Wal Mart—could not afford the multi-million homes and the lifestyle that goes with it.  Can you?

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9 California Cities Among 10 Wealthiest In The USA: Report

Palo Alto, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda are the five wealthiest communities in America, according to a new report.

By Dave Colby, Moorpark Patch,  5/26/16

PALO ALTO – Palo Alto, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda are the five wealthiest communities in America, according to a new report issued this week.

The report says Palo Alto is the wealthiest American community of all towns that have a population of at least 65,000 citizens.

According to NerdWallet research, the median household income for Palo Alto residents is $151,370. The median home value is $2,503,600.

More than one third of Palo Alto residents – 34 perecent – have no mortgage. And the average credit limit for those roaming downtown’s University Avenue is $71,696.

Those four pieces of aggregated data give Palo Alto a #1 ranking for American well-to-do towns, according to NerdWallet.

California cities led all four categories when comparing similar data to the rest of the country.

Nine of the 10 NerdWallet-termed “wealthiest” cities in the nation were in California. One Southern city made the top 10: Bethesda, Maryland.

San Ramon was ranked the second most affluent city in the United States. The median household income in the East Bay city is $135,355.

The California cities of Pleasanton, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda round out the top five communities of the well-to-do in America.

Newport Beach ranked highest in the country in average credit limits, almost $83,000 for credit card holders. The median home value in the seaside community is $1,561,400.

You can read the full NerdWallet report here.

Nerdwallet lists the following information as the statistical basis for their findings:

Methodology

We analyzed data from 475 U.S. cities with populations of at least 65,000 that had data available for all four categories. We calculated overall scores using four measures, each weighted as 25% of the score:

    • Average credit limit for those with credit cards as of 2016 was taken from the latest data reported by Experian.
    • Monthly median home value in a particular geographical region in February 2016 as reported by Zillow Research.
    • Median household income, from the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
    • Percentage of homes without a mortgage, also from the 2014 American Community Survey.

 

Many Dream Act scholarships for undocumented students go unused

Good news, one of third of your tax dollars meant to provide scholarships for lawbreakers is going unspent.  Sacramento has decided to give your money to illegal aliens by calling them a romantic name, Dreamers”.  Then they take seats in colleges you paid for, forcing our honest student—forcing them into community colleges instead of four year colleges.  To make matters worse, government is PAYING them to kick your child out of a seat at a UC campus.

“The California Dream Act made them eligible for several kinds of grants to attend community colleges, California State Universities, the University of California and some private campuses. But the euphoria among advocates that accompanied the law’s passage has been dampened by the reality that the state-funded Cal Grant portion of the aid is reaching far fewer undocumented students than originally envisioned, particularly at community colleges.

A variety of bureaucratic hurdles, along with students’ personal money problems, confusion about rules and fears of government, are causing students to not tap their Dream Act Cal Grants, according to officials and students.

These are NOT undocumented workers—they never had papers, they and their parents violated our laws—now they are making an expensive mockery of our rules and respect for the laws—why respect our laws if government will PAY you to violate them?

Walton_High_School_New_Classroom

Many Dream Act scholarships for undocumented students go unused

By Larry Gordon, EdSource,  5/30/16

Undocumented college students are leaving a wealth of unspent aid money on the table five years after the passage of the landmark California law that provides those immigrants grants for higher education.

The California Dream Act made them eligible for several kinds of grants to attend community colleges, California State Universities, the University of California and some private campuses. But the euphoria among advocates that accompanied the law’s passage has been dampened by the reality that the state-funded Cal Grant portion of the aid is reaching far fewer undocumented students than originally envisioned, particularly at community colleges.

A variety of bureaucratic hurdles, along with students’ personal money problems, confusion about rules and fears of government, are causing students to not tap their Dream Act Cal Grants, according to officials and students.

About a third of the overall awards went unused last year, even after careful vetting of applicants for low income, high school grades and other eligibility factors. Making matters worse, nearly half of the Cal Grants awarded for community college costs were left on the table, as millions of state dollars earmarked for immigrant students went unspent. UC and CSU had better records.

Lupita Cortez Alcalá, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, said she was “not comfortable” with the participation rates in the Dreamer grants at community colleges in particular. “Of course we are concerned about those numbers,” she said, “and we want more students who are awarded those grants to use them for their higher education.”

She said efforts are underway to reach out to more to students and community colleges to learn why young people — many of whom were brought to the U.S. as small children — are bypassing the aid. The agency, which administers Cal Grants, wants to solve any communication and payment problems, she said.

One contributing factor is that these undocumented students are not eligible for federal grants and loans; so the California aid — even bolstered by waivers of community college fees and other grants for UC and Cal State students — may not be enough to cover total expenses including food, housing and books. As a result, some students abandon college and instead take full-time jobs, forgoing the Cal grants, which range for full-time students from $1,656 a year at community colleges to $12,240 at UC.

A recent survey by the California Student Aid Commission found that some students who did not take the aid blamed high costs of living in the state. In other cases, the reason was less about hardship than communication: many students in the survey reported they had not known of the Cal Grant offers despite what commission officials say were numerous attempts to contact them. A significant number enrolled at community colleges anyway, getting fee waivers but not the Cal Grants, which require more information to qualify, such as high school grades. The colleges contend that shows that they are helping these students as much as possible and that the commission’s statewide rules for verifying and distributing the Cal Grants are partly at fault for the low number of takers.

Some students say some community colleges are themselves confused about how to administer the program, and put up needless barriers. Problems arise as schools seek to verify data in some applications as required by the aid commission.

David Rojas Torres, who is in his second year at Santa Monica College, said he was unable to get his Cal Grant funds because the college wanted, among other things, copies of his parents’ tax returns. His parents are undocumented themselves and filed late. They then became nervous that handing over the paperwork might trigger an immigration status review or even deportation, even though the Student Aid Commission insists that no information is shared with immigration authorities.

“I was a little bit frightened. What if I was doing something wrong? What would happen to me and my parents?” recalled Rojas Torres, who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico at age 2 and has temporary protection from deportation under the Obama administration’s federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. So while he wound up getting the separate fee waiver, he stopped pursuing the $1,656 Cal Grant and took a cashier job to pay for books and other expenses.

The work, he said, “is cutting down on my study time.” He said he thinks that some other students were so exasperated by bureaucracy that they decided to drop out.

But Rojas Torres, who studies business administration, received help recently from a college counselor and expects to receive the Cal Grant next year at Santa Monica and later transfer to Cal State Long Beach.

Federal privacy rules bar colleges from publicly discussing individuals’ aid cases, according to Teresita Rodriguez, Santa Monica’s vice president of enrollment development, and officials at other colleges statewide. But Rodriguez said her school works hard with counseling and workshops to encourage Dreamers to obtain all the grants.

“We put a lot of emphasis and resources in trying to get the money in the hands of these students,” she said.

About 30,700 students met the application deadline for Dream Act funds for the 2015-16 school year, yet many were eliminated for not having the requisite high school grade point average — a 2.0 for community college and a 3.0 for others — or for having family income above the $47,600 cutoff for community colleges. After vetting, 8,274 Dream Act Cal Grants were offered statewide and their usage rate varied widely among the education systems, Aid Commission statistics show. By April, only 47 percent of the 4,003 community college awards were paid to students. That contrasts sharply with 84 percent of the 1,170 at UC and 68 percent of the 2,847 offered at Cal States, according to aid commission statistics.

Student Aid Commission officials said the percentages for Cal Grant usage during the current school year will grow as some late spring quarter enrollments are added. They expect the final tally to be about the same as last year’s levels: 67 percent overall, 54 percent at community colleges, 91 percent at UC and 75 percent at Cal State campuses.

Since the undocumented are banned from submitting the regular federal financial aid form, the Dream application can be used to access other California aid as well. Low-income community college students often receive a separate waiver from paying all tuition costs; many are eligible as well for up to $1,656 in a Cal Grant for such costs as books, transportation and housing (the amount is pro-rated for less than full-time studies). At UC and Cal State schools, the Cal Grants cover all of tuition; additional aid from the schools often pays for dorms and other costs.

The author of the California Dream Act, former state Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, said government and nonprofit organizations should work harder to convince undocumented families that no information they provide will be shared with immigration services. In addition, Cedillo, who is now a Los Angeles city councilman, said in an email that he has heard from many eligible students about “challenges they had with their school’s financial aid office.” He said schools in more politically conservative areas “refused to inform” students about how to get the aid, a contention that the statewide chancellor’s office said seems unlikely to be occurring in deliberate ways since that information is widely available online.

A large number of U.S. citizens also wind up not using their regular Cal Grants, but those students can receive substantial federal grants and loans – while undocumented students are ineligible for both. And, in contrast to the Dreamers, some U.S. citizens had no intention of seeking Cal Grants but were automatically offered them, along with federal aid, simply by filling out the federal aid application; those citizens also are more likely to attend out-of-state schools and forfeit their Cal Grants.

Tim Bonnel, a financial aid specialist at the California Community Colleges system headquarters, said he was “not aware” of colleges purposefully blocking grants or incorrectly applying rules. “Most colleges understand the law is the law,” he said. Yet he added that some community college financial aid offices are short-staffed compared with Cal State or UC and that might “unfortunately lead to students falling between the cracks.”

“We need to help them get what they qualify for,” he said.

Amiel Lopez was brought to the United States from Mexico at age 5 and now is a student at San Diego City College. When she started college last year, she was not able to receive her Cal Grant because of issues related to her parents’ marital and income tax filing status, she said. (Many undocumented residents pay taxes by using an alternative to a Social Security number.) Lopez said she incorrectly had reported her parents as married when, to her surprise, it turned out that they are not. Her parents, who are undocumented, then were reluctant to provide the paperwork that would have cleared up the confusion. Lopez, who has DACA protection, got a bank loan to help cover some costs.

This year, after straightening things out, she was delighted to receive her full awards. For most U.S. citizens seeking financial aid, “it’s easier and there are a lot more opportunities for them,” she said. In contrast, undocumented students “have to make that extra step and put in a lot more effort.”

“We have to prove that these things cannot put us down.”

Other undocumented students say they are pleased to have received the grants without any hassles or delays. For example, at UC Berkeley, third-year student Paola Mora said she knows older students who had to take off alternate years from school to work so they could afford tuition before the California Dream Act was enacted. “I’m really grateful I don’t have to go through that and I can just focus on school for the four or five years I’m here. I work on the side but I don’t necessarily depend on that work to sustain me here at school,” said Mora, who came from Mexico as a small child and now receives the grants plus wages from a work-study job on campus. The aid “has changed my experience compared to people in the past.”

How I moved my startup from San Francisco to San Diego

This is all you need to know about San Fran and the technology industry, “We can quantify it by reeling off the stats: two new world-class VP hires we’d struggled to attract in San Francisco; operational costs plummeted by 14 percent; our employees’ rent reduced by 37 percent on average, and their commutes are down to less than 30 minutes; our overall profitability has rocketed by 21 percent; and we’ve gained a lot of local media attention, including having the San Diego mayor open our offices.

Our SF office pales in comparison to our new space. We can afford wall-to-wall ocean views (fun fact: study finds ocean views are linked to better mental health) in a class-A office for almost half the price.”

You are paying through the nose for an address—which is why firms are moving to Texas—where you can add NO personal or corporate income tax and workers are not forced by government to pay bribes to unions.

California is pricing itself out of the market.  Yes, San Diego is cheaper than San Fran—but that is not saying much.

Photo Courtesy of newfilm.dk, Flickr.

Photo Courtesy of newfilm.dk, Flickr.

How I moved my startup from San Francisco to San Diego

by Andrew Gazdecki, TechCrunch,  5/30/16

Tech giant of the West, soil of the startup, epicenter of the cutting-edge. Companies have long come to the Bay Area to plant their seeds, and for good reason. The stretch of land from San Jose to San Francisco encompasses some of the most revolutionary technology in the world, and the best of the best call it home. But that’s beginning to change.

Surveys show that more than one-third of Bay Area residents hope to pack up and leave in the next few years, and newcomers (those who’ve lived here five years or less) are most eager to abandon the region. Residents cite cost of living and traffic as the primary motivations to move and, increasingly, believe the Bay Area is “headed in the wrong direction.” That’s a vague statement at best, but there’s no question the region’s social and economic disparity have left a bad taste in people’s mouths for quite some time now.

As a mass exodus becomes more and more realistic, companies need to evaluate how the Bay Area stacks up next to rising tech hubs that offer lower business costs, greater recruiting power and minimal saturation. Those very reasons are why I decided to move my six-year-old startup, Bizness Apps, out of San Francisco. We broke ties with our Bay Area zip code last month and opened up shop in San Diego.

Comments on my March TechCrunch article, “Why I moved my startup from San Francisco to San Diego,” asked for a follow-up to that decision, so here it is: A breakdown of the benefits and consequences, how we made it happen and how your startup can do it, too.

You’re going to have serious pushback the moment you suggest a new idea that could be this risky.

The why makes sound sense. I crunched the numbers, I weighed the scales and I decided it was a risk worth taking. And I’m glad we did. I could quantify solid reasons, largely centering on cost and talent. I could argue my case like the best attorney. But we were still facing the question of how to do it. We had to learn on the job; hopefully others can benefit from our hindsight.

What made the move worthwhile

Let’s just get this part out of the way. We can quantify it by reeling off the stats: two new world-class VP hires we’d struggled to attract in San Francisco; operational costs plummeted by 14 percent; our employees’ rent reduced by 37 percent on average, and their commutes are down to less than 30 minutes; our overall profitability has rocketed by 21 percent; and we’ve gained a lot of local media attention, including having the San Diego mayor open our offices.

Our SF office pales in comparison to our new space. We can afford wall-to-wall ocean views (fun fact: study finds ocean views are linked to better mental health) in a class-A office for almost half the price. It’s allowed us to expand into a larger, modern and more comfortable space, and our employees love showing up to work. Down here, you have more options that can suit your culture and your budget.

It’s looking good, but moving was not easy by any means.

The questions began — starting with myself

As any entrepreneur knows, you’re going to have serious pushback the moment you suggest a new idea that could be this risky. You need to know, without a shadow of doubt, that you’re looking to move your business for sound economic reasons that stand up to scrutiny. That way, when the tough spots come (and they will), you won’t be left questioning the decision in the first place. You won’t question the basis of your decision — you’ll just fight the small fires that arise along the way.

Home is where you make it, even for startups.

Did I have to stay put in San Francisco for my investors? Did they want us to stay or chase the future elsewhere? Did location matter more to them than profits and success? Does San Diego have access to venture capital? Was moving to a lower cost area a sound long-term decision?

Luckily for us I was able to quickly check these questions off the list. We have a team of exceptional investors that want us to do what is best for the business, regardless of our location. When we ran the idea by them with some of our initial analysis, they were completely behind us. Also, if we decided to take on more venture funding, San Diego ranks No. 4 in the nation in VC dollars per capita, and has more VC funding than Seattle and Austin — combined.

Then I looked at the talent I had now, and the talent I needed to continue to grow the company. Did I, in Silicon Valley as a small fish, have the power to recruit the best future talent? I found myself realizing I would be a far more attractive employer in a less competitive environment. The reality was that I was competing with the salaries and benefits of the largest companies in the world. I wanted my employees to feel valued, to feel they are compensated fairly, to have the standard of living they deserve. I couldn’t make that match up in San Francisco.

But more questions were needed to solidify how we would pull off a move successfully.

Once I was sure moving made sound business sense, I needed to extend my questioning. How did my key team members and employees feel about a potential move? Would they be open to the possibility of a move? Would I lose my very best employees, or would they see sense in my decision and get on board with moving with me? By now I was heading into December and the questioning gained momentum.

And so I began to extend my questioning beyond myself and my closest team members. This was essential to the how of the move, simply because I needed to understand viewpoints other than my own. How could I mitigate the losses if I wasn’t sure what those losses would be?

Planning the move

First of all, we had to examine a few things. Our chief order of business was to nail down office space — which was far from an easy task. While the cost was less expensive than our San Francisco office, negotiating a lease takes time, energy and commitment. We also had to do the research and figure out the logistics of relocating without allowing a bunch of rumors going around the workplace. Without a definitive plan in place, we had to keep everything quiet until we were absolutely sure we would be moving. After we found an office space and had a lease in hand, we worked for a month to figure out a way to get our employees to follow us.

Ultimately, we knew our employees would have a tough time with change, but we didn’t think we should hold back pursuing relocation for fear of upsetting the apple cart. We knew we had intelligent talent on our hands, so we instilled trust by asking for their opinion.

I had to accept the scary reality that I would definitely lose some of our employees. And that is a scary thought for any tech startup. However, knowing what talent I was liable to lose was a vital step in mitigating the impact of our move.

Soliciting employee feedback

Before we officially announced a move, we sent out multiple surveys to all employees and asked if they would be willing to move to a number of locations outside of San Francisco — including San Diego. And to our surprise, the majority of our respondents said that they would be willing to pack up and join us in San Diego. Considering we had already found a potential office and that the cost of operating there was far less expensive, we were thrilled.

Make the relocation decision a company-wide discussion from Day One.

We knew we needed to make sure that people were not just blowing smoke in the first survey, so we sent out a new survey about once a week to see if anything had changed. A lot of our team seemed really excited about a Southern California lifestyle. We subtly started to share the benefits that San Diego had to offer the company: less expensive, nicer office space and being a bigger fish in a smaller pond. But the key to making this work was retaining my best employees. So in January a survey a week started hitting the inboxes of our employees. I moved forward with logistics, thinking all was going great.

The presentation

Come February I called an all-hands meeting for the company to announce “We are officially relocating to San Diego,” and I walked out of that meeting having shell-shocked my entire staff. The surveys weren’t as reliable as I had hoped — by a pretty large margin.

Mistake number one: I should have spent more time speaking one-on-one with everyone and finding out their thoughts. I took the reliability of surveys for granted without a second thought. They were wrong — the “moving” majority dropped to a minority.

I shared our official plans to relocate. I prepared what I thought was a great presentation highlighting why San Francisco was not the best place for our business. I started by showing pictures of our nice, new office followed by pictures of the beaches. You know, to get people excited. Then I gave a video walk-through of our new place.

Then I started to explain how the rent in San Francisco was absurd — which actually backfired a bit with my die-hard San Francisco employees. After that, I shared some information about how there’s so much untapped talent in San Diego.

Unfortunately, it did not go as planned. Even with the relocation packages, salary and stock bonuses we offered, along with a clear timeline of our plan, people were not sold — morale collapsed in that instant.

After the announcement, communication was poor and morale decreased significantly. We should have clued in team leaders sooner to help mitigate the damage and gauge their own willingness to move before the rest of the staff. For anyone thinking about relocating your startup, make the relocation decision a company-wide discussion from Day One.

The move

Despite its poor initial reception, we had signed a lease, the plan had begun and there was no turning back. So after the official announcement, we made sure to speak to every single employee in the company and gauge their interest every single week. Some gave us an immediate, “Yes I’ll move.” Some gave us, “I need more time to think about it.”

Others were interested in working remotely. And, some were very upfront and said they were likely to leave the company in the upcoming months. So, we needed to get creative here.

I needed every employee during the transition, as we couldn’t risk gaps in service, so I incentivized my team to stay together as long as possible with a $5,000 bonus for staying with the company until July 1.

Tech hubs are emerging all over the country.

This all paid off. That scary moment of thinking I was losing most of my talent in reality changed to losing only about 7 percent. And even for those 7 percent, we’ve given LinkedIn recommendations, handled reference calls and even offered introductions at top SF companies. It was important to us not to forget the very people who facilitated our growth, even at a parting of ways.

With a vague idea of who was following us down to San Diego, we still had to set our sights on setting up shop in San Diego. Our VP of Finance created a huge to-do list of what tasks needed to be done, when they needed to be done and who needed to do them.

We all got to work on our laundry list of things to do. From getting bids on furniture, to hiring movers, to opening up a new office, we were busy with the logistics of the relocation itself. Installing furniture, activating services, relocating your team… a lot goes into opening an office. This is also a decisive period for employees riding the fence on moving, so it’s critical to keep them comfortable. We opened our new office in San Diego on March 1, two full months before we closed our SF doors.

Keep both offices open in the interim

Those two months between March and May when we had two offices open were tough. It was change: We were in limbo. I was surrounded by an amazing team who still hit their goals and kept on task, but I also had to see some of them walk away, even if I desperately wanted them to stay. I watched people go, for good, for remote-working, or in the process of moving to San Diego. I was, literally, the last man standing. We closed our San Francisco office on April 21, yet I didn’t head down to the new office myself until May 1 when our lease ended. It felt important for me to stay behind; a captain never leaves his ship.

And it was personal. So much had been accomplished in that space. We were on the Inc. 500 fastest-growing company list for two years in a row, there had been so many great times and our processes had improved immensely. We had fun, we learned and we grew as a team. Closing our San Francisco office was an emotional time for everyone, but the show must go on.

Recruit before you uproot

We began our San Diego talent search months before leaving San Francisco, flying candidates up to interview in our SF office and hiring them before we opened our SD doors. The media buzz surrounding our move leveraged our recruiting more than anything — we received hundreds of applications.

Our announcement to move attracted top media attention, and the mayor of San Diego offered to join us for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. In regards to becoming a bigger fish in a smaller pond, the move itself went extremely well.

Consequences and mistakes

There’s no doubt the decision to move had its ups and downs, but the benefits far outweighed the mistakes I made as we transitioned. The one that hurts the most was that we lost about 7 percent of our valuable employees, and I attest that to the way the move was presented to our team. Another struggle we are still working around is half of our team is now working remotely, which strains communication and productivity.

How could I mitigate the losses if I wasn’t sure what those losses would be?

If given the opportunity to do the moving process over, I would have planned more carefully. Our move plan covered everything from prepping our remote team to cleaning the carpets and disabling the alarm system. However, with all this planning, I should have clued in more employees individually sooner rather than relying almost solely on company surveys. When selling employees on the move, I also focused too much on San Francisco’s drawbacks and not enough on San Diego’s advantages. I failed as a leader here, and view this as my biggest mistake with the move.

As CEO, I lost the trust of many employees who felt undervalued by my decision. If you’re committed to moving, you have to take the heat that comes with that. I know the decision was right. The benefits we are seeing are just the beginning. We anticipate all of the above metrics to only improve as time goes on.

I know I’ve harped on this enough, but the benefits are real: lower operational costs, shorter commutes, less competition for talent. These factors position you in a way the Bay Area’s saturated atmosphere can’t. As the great Jack Welsh said, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”

A lasting competitive advantage

After reading the above, you might think a move is crazy — it’s expensive, risky, uncomfortable and borderline insane. But so is losing out on prime talent, pouring money into rent and operational costs that dwarf the rest of the country’s. If you ever plan to get out, the time is now. Tech hubs are emerging all over the country; from San Diego to Detroit to Atlanta, cities are eyeing the opportunity to pick up where the Bay Area has left off, evolving into more profitable locales for businesses that are just as ready as residents to head for shore.

Yes, Silicon Valley will probably always be the best place to start the next Facebook. For the other 99 percent of us — those with practical, executable ideas — there are better places out there. If you want to build a profitable, mid-sized company, explore elsewhere. Don’t get caught up in the notion that tech lives and dies in the Bay Area, or that sharing an area code with the giants will spur your momentum. Growth is about competitive advantage, not proximity to the scene.

Home is where you make it, even for startups.

Government Regulations Kill UnitedHealth in California ObamaCare Market

If you were a major company, would you continue to sell your product through ObamaCare, if the price, the services and the locations for the product to be sold is totally controlled by government?  UnitedHealth is not allowed the freedom of the market place and government is working hard to assure the failure of private companies.

“The state exchange had limited UnitedHealth to selling exchange plans in several smaller markets for 2016 because it didn’t participate the first two years. Those areas are predominantly rural counties in Northern California, but they also include Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties.

In February, Covered California’s executive director, Peter Lee, criticized UnitedHealth for blaming the federal health law for its heavy losses instead of taking responsibility for its own business mistakes.

Lee said UnitedHealth made a series of blunders on rates and networks that led to steep losses on individual policies across the country.

The bureaucrat forgot to mention that government approves the rates—and the losses are due to the fact the company is not allowed to sell the insurance statewide—government prefers to blame the company instead of the government policy.  How prices, mediocre care, high premiums and the better doctors and hospitals refuse to participate.  Third World health care thanks to Barack Obama.

ObamacareSymbol

UnitedHealth to exit California’s Obamacare market

Chad Terhune, California Healthline, 5/31/16

UnitedHealth Group Inc. is leaving California’s insurance exchange at the end of this year, state officials confirmed Tuesday.

The nation’s largest health insurer announced in April it was dropping out of all but a handful of 34 health insurance marketplaces it participated in. But the company had not discussed its plans in California.

UnitedHealth’s pullout also affects individual policies sold outside the Covered California exchange, which will remain in effect until the end of December.

“United is pulling out of California’s individual market including Covered California in 2017,” said Amy Palmer, a spokeswoman for the state exchange.

It’s expected that UnitedHealth will continue offering coverage to employers in California and to government workers and their families through the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Representatives of UnitedHealth didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. In April, UnitedHealth’s Chief Executive Stephen Hemsley said the company was unwilling to keep losing money on the exchange business overall.

“The smaller overall market size and shorter term, higher-risk profile within this market segment continue to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis,” Hemsley said in a conference call with investors in April.

UnitedHealth just joined the California exchange this year, and it only had about 1,200 enrollees so the immediate impact on overall coverage numbers is minimal. The number of individual policyholders outside the state exchange wasn’t immediately known.

Palmer said UnitedHealth policyholders will know their options for 2017 coverage when health plans and rates for next year are announced in July.

Critics of the Affordable Care Act have seized on the company’s exit, state by state, as further evidence the health-law insurance exchanges aren’t sustainable financially and that premiums will rise even higher for consumers.

The Obama administration has countered that the number of health plans offering exchange policies has increased since the 2014 launch, and that it expects the individual market will continue to stabilize as adjustments are made.

Many consumer groups welcomed UnitedHealth’s arrival in Covered California in order to give people more choice and inject more competition into the market. The top four insurers in the exchange, led by Blue Shield of California and Anthem Inc., control more than 90 percent of Covered California enrollment.

The state exchange had limited UnitedHealth to selling exchange plans in several smaller markets for 2016 because it didn’t participate the first two years. Those areas are predominantly rural counties in Northern California, but they also include Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties.

In February, Covered California’s executive director, Peter Lee, criticized UnitedHealth for blaming the federal health law for its heavy losses instead of taking responsibility for its own business mistakes.

Lee said UnitedHealth made a series of blunders on rates and networks that led to steep losses on individual policies across the country.

“Instead of saying, ‘We screwed up,’ they said, ‘Obamacare is the problem and we may not play anymore,’” Lee said in a February interview with California Healthline. “It was giving an excuse to Wall Street and throwing the Affordable Care Act under the bus.”

Lee had also previously knocked UnitedHealth for sitting out the first two years of Covered California before joining in 2016.

In April, UnitedHealth said it had nearly 800,000 enrollees on exchange plans across the country. It expected that number to fall to about 650,000 by December as people drop off coverage or find other insurance.

New York and Nevada have said that UnitedHealth will participate in the individual markets there and the company has filed plans to sell similar plans in Virginia.

 

Protests backfire as anti-American images push undecided voters to Trump

In 1994 Pete Wilson was running for re-election as Governor of California.  At the same time Prop. 187 and the issue of illegal aliens was at the forefront of issues.  At one pint hundreds of radicals, waving Mexican flags ran through downtown Los Angeles and chanting Mexican slogans.  That mob scene became a TV commercial and turned the election into a landslide against his opponent, Kathleen Brown, Jerry Browns’ sister.  Today we may be witnessing the same phenomena, mobs trashing Trump, waving Mexican and other foreign flags and invading Trump rallies, stopping traffic and seen on the 6 O’clock news.

“Protesters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last week toted Mexican flags, burned American flags and clashed with police, racking up $50,000 in damage to the neighborhood.

Perhaps even worse for the rioters, they are likely chasing undecided voters toward the side of the man they are protesting.

“When people show up throwing bottles and waving the Mexican flag, you have had a lot of people who may have not been willing to support Trump who see this and say the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, who ran House Republicans’ campaign committee for two cycles a decade ago. “There is no question these are helping Trump, and Democrats know that.”

The rioters do not like free speech or political discourse—instead like totalitarians they want non-believers to be sent to the Gulag—not allowed to run for public office.  The good news is that the bigger the riots, the easier it will be be for Donald Trump to win.

Donald Trump

Protests backfire as anti-American images push undecided voters to Trump

by Seth McLaughlin,, The Washington Times, 5/30/16

 

The ugly protest scenes outside Donald Trump’s rallies are doing more damage to the protesters than to Mr. Trump’s political chances, according to analysts who say the violence and anti-American sentiments are backfiring.

Protesters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last week toted Mexican flags, burned American flags and clashed with police, racking up $50,000 in damage to the neighborhood.

Perhaps even worse for the rioters, they are likely chasing undecided voters toward the side of the man they are protesting.

“When people show up throwing bottles and waving the Mexican flag, you have had a lot of people who may have not been willing to support Trump who see this and say the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, who ran House Republicans’ campaign committee for two cycles a decade ago. “There is no question these are helping Trump, and Democrats know that.”

The billionaire businessman’s stern calls to tighten border controls, his vow to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and his declaration that Mexican society is sending “rapists” and other bad elements to the U.S. have angered Hispanic activists, who view Mr. Trump’s campaign as a tipping point in politics.

Likewise, his call for a ban on Muslim visitors and some of his comments about women leave many voters wary and some of them angry enough to take action beyond the ballot box.

Attempts to disrupt his rallies from the inside have drawn stiff rebukes from the 69-year-old candidate, who has talked about punching protesters and described others as undatable goobers, diaper-wearing morons and fat blowhards.

“Go home to mommy,” he told a protester at rally last week in Albuquerque.

Outside of the Albuquerque rally, things were even worse.

Six city police officers sustained “significant injuries” and another was treated for smoke inhalation from fires that protesters set. Every officer who responded was pelted with rocks and other debris by the anti-Trump swarm, the department said.

Two juveniles were arrested and released to their parents, and a 30-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

The department signaled that more arrests are likely but could not confirm reports that Mexican gangs were involved in stirring up the fracas.

Television news, already eager to cover Mr. Trump, has been filled with images of lines of officers preparing for violence and reporters documenting every rock-throwing incident.

Patrick Buchanan, a two-time presidential candidate, said the scenes could alarm moderate Republicans already wary of Mr. Trump, and there is a danger the protests could feed into a media narrative that he is inciting the violence.

For now, though, Mr. Buchanan said “on balance Mr. Trump wins” because the protesters appear to be backing up the candidate’s claims.

“Cop-battlers and rock-throwers desecrating American flags and waving Mexican flags are a perfect foil for Trump,” he said. “They solidify and harden his base and reinforce his case against the illegals from across the border.”

Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, and her allies have indeed accused Mr. Trump of stoking the violence with his policy proposals and behavior on the stump.

“When you divide people against one another, you don’t know what is going to happen,” Mrs. Clinton said at a rally this year. “We are seeing violence at political rallies in our country. That is the kind of thing you see on TV, you assume is far away, don’t you? Well, this, this hateful talk about immigrants, about Muslims, about women, I mean, enough, enough. It is not who we are.”

Corey Lewandowski, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said the press is overplaying the protest story.

Mr. Trump and the campaign do not condone violence,” Mr. Lewandowski said. “The campaign rallies are attended by tens of thousands of people, and it’s no surprise the dishonest media is intent on focusing on a few professional agitators.”

David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said Mr. Trump’s rallies are “pretty unprecedented” and that the closest historical equivalent he could think of was George Wallace’s 1968 campaign and the way in which “he’d bait the media.”

“In a conventional campaign, such rallies and optics would hurt,” Mr. Yepsen said. “Just look at what the Chicago 1968 convention did to Democrats — made them look unfit to govern. But Trump’s is an unconventional campaign.

“It’s a little early to see whether it works with general election audiences, such as independents in tossup states,” he said. “It fires up some voters and scares others. Trump doesn’t seem likely to tone it down. He’s going with what worked, and he seems to be his own best consultant.”

Polling from earlier this year, after the first round of violent protests, suggests voters do blame Mr. Trump but blame the protesters even more.

Jeff Crouere, a Trump delegate from Louisiana who hosts a conservative radio talk show, said the protests have been net positives for the presumptive Republican nominee.

“Every time you see one of these protesters burn an American flag or attack a police officer or hurl a profanity-laced tirade against a Trump supporter, I think that reaffirms to all Americans that Donald Trump is standing up for our country,” Mr. Crouere said. “I think the average American sees these people committing violence and burning the flag and says we affiliate more with the person who is waving the American flag, not the guy who is burning the American flag.”