Nutty John Cox for California Governor?

John CoxJohn Cox was hardly a serious candidate for governor of California when the first UC Berkeley/IGS poll was announced earlier this year in March and gave him, the only Republican listed in the poll, 18 percent of the vote and the prized second spot against Gavin Newsom, suggesting to amateur political observers that he might have a chance to get into a November 2018 Republican vs. Democrat run-off with Newsom, offering the California GOP its first long-shot chance at statewide office in years. The ensuing press reports took Cox seriously. But none of the reporters did much homework on Cox, labeling him positively as a political newcomer or outsider. They all failed to mention he had been on the ballot before in California, with an awful showing. The reporters could have recalled for readers that Cox was surely not a fresh face to our statewide ballot, and that the last time he was on it, he ran for the Republican nomination for president in the February, 2008 primary, and proved a miserable votegetter, barely mustering 3,200 votes statewide, finishing with .01 percent, while both John McCain and Mitt Romney drew over a million votes each.

Cox, a native of Illinois, is a candidate for governor who must NOT be taken seriously. He is a serial candidate, and what older Republican operatives might label a “Harold Stassen.” Stassen once served as governor of Minnesota and was termed a “boy wonder,” but was bit so hard by the political bug that he ran for the GOP nomination for president, unsuccessfully, 9 times in a row, losing every time. Yet Cox differs from Stassen in that Cox has never won any elective office, and he has run plenty of times. He has actually hit a trifecta of losses having run for every federal office one can, losing each time. Cox has run for Cook County Clerk, Congress, and U.S. Senate, all in Illinois, losing all the races, all losses by wide margins.

But in 2008, despite all his previous electoral defeats, Cox decided to run for president as well. He says he contributed $1 million to his campaign, visited all 99 counties in Iowa, campaigned hard in New Hampshire with 14 visits, visited South Carolina 10 times to campaign, and appeared on the ballot in California. During his campaign, he got into an altercation with security at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley because his campaign performance had proven so insignificant that they would not let him in to the presidential debate. Even though he was excluded, he still tried to use a questionable media credential to enter the premises under the ruse he was a fake press operative. His vote-getting prowess was a disaster – he received not one delegate to the Republican National Convention. In major counties in California that will be very important to the governor’s race, like Fresno, for example, he got just 60 votes across the county’s three congressional districts, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

By June 2017, Cox quickly fell in the gubernatorial race polls, losing 50 percent of his initial support, in the second UC Berkeley/IGS  poll when just one other Republican was added to the mix by the poll authors – this time former Assemblyman David Hadley, who was not an announced candidate for governor at the time he was added to the poll and who has since stated he is not running for the office. The significance of the second poll, with Cox running hard for several months yet dropping from 18 percent to 9 percent as an announced candidate, and Hadley at 7 percent as an unannounced candidate with no campaign, established that Republicans had hardly raised a groundswell of support for Cox in the first poll, rather, Cox made a showing in the first poll in March because he was the only candidate on the poll Republicans had to chose from. As soon as another Republican was put on the list to chose from in the second poll, even someone not running for the office at the time, Cox’s support quickly and very significantly tanked.

Cox’s lack of real support was evidenced again in a poll in Silicon Valley in May where, once again, when listed as the only Republican on the ballot he received 16 percent of the vote, however, when the poll considered “favorability,” Cox garnered a terrible 3 percent, the lowest favorability rate of all the candidates.

When asked, Cox would not tell the San Francisco Chronicle whether or not he voted for Donald Trump for president. While Cox’s strategy may be to separate himself from Trump, who surely is not as popular in California as Gavin Newsom, Cox will not be endearing himself with the thousands of members of Republican volunteer organizations in the state who care about their party’s candidates. Members of the California Republican Woman’s Federated Clubs, for example, who form many local clubs that are the backbone of the state GOP’s grass-roots operations, may or may not have supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, but they surely all overwhelmingly voted for him as the Republican Party’s candidate for president, even if some of them had to “hold their noses” out of party loyalty. These voters will not be impressed with Cox’s lack of candor about his own presidential vote, which will stink to them of party disloyalty.

The issues Californians and Republicans care about in opinion polls, like being taxed too much, do not appear on Cox’s radar screen. Cox’s central campaign theme is his “Neighborhood Legislature” idea, to expand the California Senate and Assembly to 12,000 members. It is truly a nutty idea that has no support in opinion polls. While the state Legislature truly is in need of reform, like making itself a part-time body, world history tells us increasing its size to that of a small coastal city is not going to improve policy. There were also thousands of members of the Soviet Union’s legislative body, far too many, intentionally, to actually make decisions, and the result was the concentration of power in a small committee known as the Politburo, which established a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” We are close enough as it is today with near dictatorship of Democratic control in Sacramento, to just add thousands more people to the legislative ranks.

What California needs is some political balance, and if the Republican Party can settle on a single, strong candidate to run for governor in a field of many Democrats, there is indeed a long-shot chance a united GOP could get their candidate into a run-off with a Democrat and then see what happens. The fact is Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois, all deeply “blue” Democratic states, currently have Republican governors, elected to balance Democratic control in the state. It would be a tough order for the GOP to fulfill, but not impossible, as long as Republicans end up with a candidate with a much better vote-getting history, and who runs on issues voters actually care about, than nutty John Cox.

 

Bullet train is likely to face more environmental hurdles

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

California’s high-speed train project is likely to continue to be buffeted by environmental challenges as a result of a decision by the state’s top court.

In a 6-1 ruling last week written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the California Supreme Court decided that federal rail law does not usurp California’s tough environmental regulation for state-owned rail projects.

The decision has broad significance, lawyers in the case said.

It clears the way for opponents of the $64-billion bullet train to file more lawsuits as construction proceeds and also allows Californians to challenge other rail uses, such as the movement of crude oil from fracking.

A federal court could later decide the matter differently, ruling that U.S. law trumps state regulation.

But lawyers in the field said …

Click here to read the full article

California GOP’s “Gang of 8” Who Voted for Cap and Trade Are Feeling the Heat

GOP Assemblyman Marc Steinorth denounced his 2016 Democrat opponent as a supporter of cap and trade—including the 63 cents a gallon gas tax increase.  Now, he has voted for it—so the district might have elected a real Democrat instead—at least she was honest about her position.  His constituents decided to come to his Rancho Cucamonga office to complain—his reactions?  He called the cops.  They arrived with a massive show of force, including a helicopter hovering over his constituents wanting to complain.

“The “Gang of 8” California GOP legislators who voted for Jerry Brown’s cap and trade extension (which also provides funding for the bullet train) are feeling the heat from their own party, especially Assembly GOP Caucus Chair Chad Mayes.

Multiple county committees have met in the weeks since the vote and have passed resolutions asking Mayes to resign his leadership post. So far, Orange, San Diego, Fresno, Merced, Madera, San Luis Obispo County, Mariposa, Tulare, and Ventura County central committees have passed some resolutions, some unanimously. Orange and San Diego counties are populous Republican strongholds, so their lack of confidence is particularly telling.

Did your County take a position on this?  At the August meeting of the Riverside Central Committee, the home Committee of Assemblyman Chad Mayes, they have a motion they could vote on to ask Mayes to resign as GOP Assembly Leader.  What we should all be watching is the first GOP Caucus meeting when the Legislature returns, that will determine if Mayes stays as Leader.

Taxes

California GOP’s “Gang of 8” Who Voted for Cap and Trade Are Feeling the Heat

Jennifer Van Laar, Townhall,  7/29/17

The “Gang of 8” California GOP legislators who voted for Jerry Brown’s cap and trade extension (which also provides funding for the bullet train) are feeling the heat from their own party, especially Assembly GOP Caucus Chair Chad Mayes.

Multiple county committees have met in the weeks since the vote and have passed resolutions asking Mayes to resign his leadership post. So far, Orange, San Diego, Fresno, Merced, Madera, San Luis Obispo County, Mariposa, Tulare, and Ventura County central committees have passed some resolutions, some unanimously. Orange and San Diego counties are populous Republican strongholds, so their lack of confidence is particularly telling.

A group of protesters visited Asm. Mark Steinorth’s office to ask him to explain his vote, but his staff instead called law enforcement to have them escorted out. Just last fall, Steinorth ran a campaign video blasting his Democrat opponent and warning voters that she would pass Jerry Brown’s cap and trade program, which would result in higher gas prices for working families.

When called out for the disconnect between his ad and his vote (voters got someone who voted for it anyway), Steinorth removed the ad from his Facebook page, but party activists had already downloaded it.

Jon Fleischman of Flash Report was one who had saved the video. He commented:

“It’s beyond comprehension that Steinorth would support legislation when he attacked his opponent for supporting the same bill. It smacks of opportunism.”

Sources within the party say that the CA GOP board will take up the issue of Chad Mayes’ leadership position at a meeting in August, and that some Assemblymembers are attempting to play both sides of the issue – telling their county chairs and large donors that they will vote to replace Mayes, while telling Mayes he has their support.

 

Colman: HOME SWEET HOME IN CALIFORNIA — BUT FOR HOW LONG?

Will Sacramento cause the collapse of housing values?  Should a Governor in Sacramento be able to demand and enforced laws for affordable housing, high density housing and be the last and only word in the creation of new housing?  If so, why have a city council or allow people in Lompoc vote for a city council, if Sacramento is going to determine the key policies for a city?

An ADU can be built on a person’s private property.  While the ADU may be used to house an elderly relative, the ADU might also be occupied by other people — people who use illegal drugs, commit crimes, put children into schools that subsequently become overcrowded, take up parking spaces, add to traffic congestion, and produce fires.  ADUs might, ultimately, lead to lower property values for every homeowner. 

The State of California is forcing local communities to build more housing even if a given city has no room for additional housing.  California is acting like a place where respect for private property and community standards is disappearing. 

It’s time for the people of California to stand up to autocratic rule coming from elected and unelected officials in Sacramento.”

Personally, I support the creation of “granny flats”.  But the rules for these must come from the City Council, not the State Legislature. This is an issue we need to watch and control.  Sacramento is working hard to take over decisions of local government.  Either fight back at the polls or move to a Free State.  Your choice.

affordable housing

HOME SWEET HOME IN CALIFORNIA — BUT FOR HOW LONG?

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views,  7/31/17

“Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard . . .”

–“Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (1970).

What can make life beautiful?  Answer:  Living in a nice house on or near the California coast — very possibly a house with a garden, nice yards, and a swimming pool.

That ideal California house is in jeopardy — serious jeopardy.

Real-estate developers, construction unions, banks, insurance companies, architects, and others want to ruin one’s home.

In such California cities as Encinitas, Newport Beach, Orinda, Lafayette, and other cities, the State of California is demanding the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), which are sometimes called “granny flats” or “second units.”

Encinitas is a costal town about 25 miles north of San Diego.  Newport Beach is a wealthy enclave in Orange County.  Orinda and Lafayette are tony suburban towns 15 to 20 miles east of San Francisco.

An ADU can be built on a person’s private property.  While the ADU may be used to house an elderly relative, the ADU might also be occupied by other people — people who use illegal drugs, commit crimes, put children into schools that subsequently become overcrowded, take up parking spaces, add to traffic congestion, and produce fires.  ADUs might, ultimately, lead to lower property values for every homeowner.

The State of California is forcing local communities to build more housing even if a given city has no room for additional housing.  California is acting like a place where respect for private property and community standards is disappearing.

It’s time for the people of California to stand up to autocratic rule coming from elected and unelected officials in Sacramento.

 No person has an automatic right to a house.  To obtain a house, a person usually has to work hard, save money, and obtain a loan.  After buying a home, the owner should not have to spend time and money defending his property from government intrusion.

Community standards would not permit a homeowner to install a 50-foot high flashing neon sign saying something like “Harry lives here.”

No homeowner should have to suffer the indignity of having government order a high-rise building next door.  And that building next door may produce noise and foul odors.

Local communities, not higher levels of government, should have control over zoning, building heights, and housing density (houses per acre).  But the autocrats in Sacramento want to jeopardize what a homeowner has sought to achieve — the pride of being a homeowner and living in peace.

For how more months or years, will Californians be able to say:  “Our house is a very, very fine house?”

 

California’s new unions: the rise and wreckage of occupational licenses

In California, it is government, not the consumer that determines who is allowed to be in a profession and a chance at success.  No, the consumer is told who they are allowed to use for services—based on a government license, not based on quality.  This is also a way for those already licenses to keep out competition and to control the industry—not by quality work, but government created monopolies.

“So if quality is not the reason behind occupational licensing then what is? With unionization falling and licensure rising, occupational licenses are replacing the economic hazard of unions. The percentage of unionized workers in the private sector has declined from 35% in the 1950s to 6.7%, while the percentage of workers now licensed has risen from 5% in the 1950s to nearly 30%. Occupational licenses are effectively the new unions.

Occupational licensing requirements have a widespread and deep reach in California. The Golden State ranks 7th in the nation for licensing burden, with a total of 62 low-income occupations licensed and requiring an average of 549 days of education. These licenses have cast a wide net, with one out of every five Californian’s needing to receive permission to work from the government .

Licensing requirements could take two years before a person is allowed to take a government test—this restricts entrance into a profession.  Who determines the tests?  Those already holding a government issued license.  This is soft-core monopoly and corruption.  Freedom?  Not in California—and many minorities are kept out of work due to the government restrictions.  Racism?  Probably.

Photo Courtesy of DB's travels, Flickr.

California’s new unions: the rise and wreckage of occupational licenses

By Nicholas Umashev, California Policy Center,  7/28/17
Occupational licensing has been receiving a lot of attention recently with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta calling for state legislators to roll back burdensome licensing requirements. No place is this needed more than in California, the breeding ground of strong unions and stiff occupational licensing requirements.

While occupational licensing is viewed as a way to ensure quality, the ugly truth is that fencing out the competition reduces quality. Consensus is not on the side of the ‘quality’ argument for occupational licenses, only two of 12 major White House studies have found that licensing laws improved quality.

So if quality is not the reason behind occupational licensing then what is? With unionization falling and licensure rising, occupational licenses are replacing the economic hazard of unions. The percentage of unionized workers in the private sector has declined from 35% in the 1950s to 6.7%, while the percentage of workers now licensed has risen from 5% in the 1950s to nearly 30%. Occupational licenses are effectively the new unions.

Occupational licensing requirements have a widespread and deep reach in California. The Golden State ranks 7th in the nation for licensing burden, with a total of 62 low-income occupations licensed and requiring an average of 549 days of education. These licenses have cast a wide net, with one out of every five Californian’s needing to receive permission to work from the government .

By restrict entry into the market occupational licenses also result in lower job growth. Specifically, licensed industries experience up to 20% lower job growth than their unlicensed counterparts. This has prevented the creation of 3 million jobs nationally, according to a study from the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Occupational licenses also increase wages at the cost of consumers. While we can cheer hooray for those licensed workers who now enjoy 15% higher wages, the party is ruined for consumers who now fork out an additional $203 billion a year. In fact, the increase in consumer prices in licensed industries ranges from 5% to a whopping 33%.

The rules surrounding work requirements are absurd if not petty. For instance, tree trimmers are required to complete 1460 hours of training, pass two exams, and pay $851 in licensing fees. Mobile home and security alarm installers are required to complete 1460 and 933 hours of training respectively. Addressing this, Senator John Moorlach attempted to push through Senate Bill 247, that would drop several of these license requirements, however it was struck down by the California Legislature in April.

Since occupational licensing agencies have the ability to deny work to those with criminal convictions they lead to significantly higher recidivism rates. With the ability to discriminate against ex-convicts, it is no wonder why California’s recidivism rate is 18 percent higher than the national average. States with the highest licensing restriction had an average 9% increase in recidivism from 1997 to 2007 – despite already having an above average recidivism rate.

Occupational licenses also harm entrepreneurship and business initiatives. A 2015 study from Arizona State University finds that heavier licensing correlated with an 11 percent lower entrepreneurship rate for low income people. You don’t need to look hard to see these effects, California has less startups per capita today than there were in 2000 with most of these firms employing a smaller percentage of Californians.

Overall, occupational licenses have negatively impacted job seekers, consumers, ex-convicts, and entrepreneurship all at the expense of higher wages for license holders. Our legislators should push for an end to the government’s anti-employment and anti-consumer regime.

One Attorney Files 2,000 ADA Lawsuits!

Why is running a business in California so expensive?  Why is the costs of goods and services so expensive in California?  There are tens of thousands of attorneys in the State, but one Bay Area attorney has filed over 2,000 ADA lawsuits—costing hundreds of millions to business and families.  It has cost the closing of businesses, it has forced some to move out of the State to avoid the extortion of this and other attorneys.

“Thomas Frankovich and his disabled Willits client have filed eight separate federal discrimination lawsuits affecting more than two dozen Mendocino County businesses since late December, accusing the defendants of failing to provide adequate access for disabled people as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuits affect restaurants in Willits and Ukiah, a Willits book store, a Ukiah car dealership and a Willits strip mall that contains more than a dozen shops and restaurants.”

These are small businesses in small towns—economically vulnerable to lawsuits.  Watch as these businesses close down—unable to afford the settlements and the changes that one attorney—that lives 100 miles away wants.  We need tort reform or the Texas Chamber of Commerce will get the best and brightest of our small business owners.

lawsuit

Willits, Ukiah businesses face new legal threats over disabled access

GLENDA ANDERSON, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, 7/28/17

A California attorney who has made a name for himself suing thousands of businesses and governments across the state over alleged violations of federal disability access law now is taking aim at enterprises in Willits and Ukiah.

Thomas Frankovich and his disabled Willits client have filed eight separate federal discrimination lawsuits affecting more than two dozen Mendocino County businesses since late December, accusing the defendants of failing to provide adequate access for disabled people as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuits affect restaurants in Willits and Ukiah, a Willits book store, a Ukiah car dealership and a Willits strip mall that contains more than a dozen shops and restaurants.

“The sheriff’s in town and we’re going to clean it up. It’s that simple,” Frankovich said in an interview on Wednesday, the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Frankovich, who has law offices in San Francisco and Chico, has built a reputation among disability access advocates as a dogged legal activist, responsible for filing more than 2,000 ADA lawsuits. His practice has also earned him critics in the worlds of business and government, plus a reprimand by the federal court system in California and formal review by the State Bar.

Businesses throughout Willits have been scrambling to comply with access requirements in the face of the legal threats. For some, the repairs have been costly.

Ace Copy and Shipping Center and the building’s owner have spent some $30,000 in repairs and Frankovich is expected to seek another $40,000 to settle the case, according to Willits attorney Chris Neary, who represents three businesses being sued, including the print shop.

“It’s all about the money,” said Martin Rodriguez, who operates Ace Copy & Shipping with his wife, Willits City Councilwoman Saprina Rodriguez. The building owner is bearing most of the costs, he said. But for a small business, every expenditure counts, he said.

Frankovich’s client, Willits resident Jeanette Brown, 78, who uses a wheelchair, said she tried unsuccessfully for years to get area businesses to improve disabled access before contacting Frankovich last year.

It took her 10 years of letter writing to convince the health clinic she frequents to bring its bathroom up to ADA standards and local businesses ignored her requests altogether, she said.

Brown, who suffers from kidney disease, recalled failed efforts to find a public bathroom she could use.

“I wet my pants on the bus coming home. That’s humiliating,” she said. It’s just one of many obstacles and problems people with disabilities face on a daily basis, she said.

“I just decided I wanted to do something to help other people,” Brown said.

Several Willits businesses, including a sushi restaurant, have avoided lawsuits by fixing their problems right after receiving warning letters, Frankovich said. Freshly painted disabled parking spaces and signs are now visible throughout the city.

He “is the talk of the town. Everyone’s fearful,” said Neary, the local attorney.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, transportation and telecommunications in addition to public accommodations.

It includes highly specific regulations that direct the placement and size of disabled parking spaces; the distance between a toilet and a safety bar; the width of doorways and the angle of access ramps.

That specificity allows litigants to sue unsuspecting businesses who believe they’re already providing disabled access, said Willits City Manager Adrienne Moore.

Last week, Moore emailed warnings to the community that Frankovich — driving his red Black Butte Bison Ranch truck — and his investigator were cruising the city, apparently in search of ADA violations. The city, which had ADA renovations underway, has since received a claim from Frankovich alleging access violations at the police department.

“No one that I know of is opposed to compliance but this attorney is preying on our town with no regard to the effect these predatory lawsuits will have on our already vulnerable town,” Moore wrote in her email to business and community members.

The legal threats come as Willits, a city of fewer than 5,000 people, weathers a period of economic transition and uncertainty.

Downtown businesses are struggling financially from the opening late last year of the Willits bypass, which shunts Highway 101 traffic around the city, Moore said in an interview. Sales tax revenue in the city has declined an estimated 35 percent since the bypass opened, she said.

ADA cases can be expensive, but also an effective way of ensuring that disabled people have access to stores and restaurants like everyone else, Neary said.

“Enforcement is necessary. Just how it’s done is never pretty,” Neary said.

He said he doesn’t agree with Frankovich’s method of enforcing the ADA through scattershot litigation. But “you can’t disagree with his right to do it,” he said.

Frankovich was reprimanded in 2005 by a U.S. District court judge during an ADA case filed on behalf of a client who had sued hundreds of businesses. The judge barred the client from filing further cases in California’s Central District federal court and required Frankovich to seek permission before doing so. He also referred Frankovich to the State Bar of California for investigation.

The State Bar in 2008 brought disciplinary charges against Frankovich alleging multiple acts of misconduct involving his ADA practice, including “scheming to extort settlements, seeking to mislead a judge and committing acts of moral turpitude.”

He was cleared of all of those charges but sanctioned on a non-ADA charge that he improperly communicated with a represented party in a foreign jurisdiction. The State Bar Court recommended public reprimand and ordered Frankovich to take ethics classes.

In his ruling, Judge Pat McElroy noted: “The aggressive pursuit of litigation involving violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act has become a highly contested area of law. Attorneys, such as respondent Thomas Edward Frankovich, who seek out and profit from violations of the ADA are at the center of this controversy. Some see these attorneys as champions of the disabled, while others view them as unscrupulous pariahs.”

According to the Center for Legal Policy, just the ADA payouts related to alleged employment discrimination filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission exceeds $100 million annually.

Legislators have passed laws aimed at limiting ADA lawsuits but their numbers continue to rise, according to the report.

 

High-speed rail gets us stuck in traffic

The choo choo to now here is based on 20th Century technology, payoffs to unions and crony capitalists supporters of the Establishment and a total lie—they lied about ridership, routes and costs.  This is no longer a government policy issue, it is a criminal act.  Allow a vote by the voters and it will be demolished.  That is why the scammers of Sacramento hate the idea of the people allowed to speak at the voting booth.

“It will soon be nine years since high-speed rail was passed in California. But Californians haven’t gotten the high-speed rail system they were promised. Instead, high-speed rail has taken a new form: it is more expensive and smaller in scope, and it will substantially increase traffic congestion in urban areas.

High-speed rail will cost Californians billions of dollars. In urban areas, increased traffic may cost Californians billions more. Its business plan relies on unrealistic ridership projections. The project is devoid of private funding because businesses see high-speed rail as likely to run at a loss. While high-speed rail wastes more taxpayer dollars, the private sector makes it obsolete with technological innovation, which will reduce future income from the high-speed rail system. High-speed rail authorities have violated federal law by making significant changes to the proposition approved by voters. High-speed rail has not been the success voters imagined when the bill passed.”

Cap and trade, supported by Gop Assembly Leader Chad Mayes and six other Assembly members created a NEW 62 cents tax on a gallon of gas—with this blood money going to the failed. Corrupt choo choo.  We need a revolt at the polls in 2018—unless you have a job lined up in a Free State—and willing to let that very rich and the illegal aliens finance this scam.

high speed rail train

High-speed rail gets us stuck in traffic

By David Schwartzman, California Policy Center,  7/24/17
It will soon be nine years since high-speed rail was passed in California. But Californians haven’t gotten the high-speed rail system they were promised. Instead, high-speed rail has taken a new form: it is more expensive and smaller in scope, and it will substantially increase traffic congestion in urban areas.

High-speed rail will cost Californians billions of dollars. In urban areas, increased traffic may cost Californians billions more. Its business plan relies on unrealistic ridership projections. The project is devoid of private funding because businesses see high-speed rail as likely to run at a loss. While high-speed rail wastes more taxpayer dollars, the private sector makes it obsolete with technological innovation, which will reduce future income from the high-speed rail system. High-speed rail authorities have violated federal law by making significant changes to the proposition approved by voters. High-speed rail has not been the success voters imagined when the bill passed.

When voters approved Proposition 1A with 52.7%, the estimated cost for high-speed rail going from Sacramento and San Francisco to San Diego was $45 billion. However, a 2011 business plan by the California High-Speed Rail Authority projected costs to be $98.5 billion, and potentially as high as $118 billion, while also ending at Anaheim rather than San Diego. Despite the enormous difference in cost, Californians were not consulted about whether they were still interested in high-speed rail. Instead, the project was scaled down, with slower speeds and fewer new tracks, estimated to cost $68.4 billion, and later $64 billion.

However, even the $64 billion figure, 42.2% higher than what voters approved, has proved unrealistic. High-speed rail has consistently been behind schedule and over budget. Figures show that the eventual cost may exceed $100 billion. World Bank numbers reveal high-speed rail in California is projected to cost $56 million per kilometer, the highest cost in the world.

To reduce projected costs, the state embraced a so-called blended system, where high-speed rail trains share tracks with local commuter systems at the northern and southern ends of the line. After an alteration to the high-speed rail business plan, the first phase of construction will connect the Bay Area with the Central Valley. The new plan will not meet the 2 hour 40 minute maximum travel time required by Proposition 1A. The blended system also violates Proposition 1A’s mandate that trains be fully independent and not shared.

In the densely populated Peninsula, the introduction of high-speed rail under the blended system will cause massive time increases. During the peak hour, trains will pass through every three minutes. New perimeter fencing and four-quadrant gates have officials concerned about increased congestion in the 41 places where train tracks meet the streets. According to a report by rail transportation expert Paul Jones, the number of vehicles that can cross the rail grade in gate up periods between trains during the peak will decrease by 60%. During peak hours, gate down times will approximately double. The cost of Bay Area traffic congestion is already $2.6 billion a year. New delays could mean millions or billions more in lost productivity.

The top speed for high-speed rail within the blended system will be 110 miles per hour. This means the California High Speed Rail Authority can avoid using grade separation (tracks going either under or over streets) on the Peninsula, which federal authorities require at speeds over 125 miles per hour. At 110 miles per hour, safety becomes an issue given the amount of gate crossings on the Peninsula. The local commuter system, Caltrain, already averages 12 fatalities a year since 1992, and has had nearly quadruple the fatalities of nearby BART, which is more extensive. In the absence of grade separation, increased speeds could jeopardize more lives.

What is this all for? In the Bay Area, the time benefits high-speed rail provides are minimal. The top speed for Caltrain between San Francisco and San Jose is 79 miles per hour. Currently, a bullet train goes from San Francisco to San Jose in 57 minutes. A high-speed rail “super express train” will go from San Francisco to San Jose in 47 to 49 minutes.

A 2012 Caltrain study found that for a workable schedule, local commuter service and high-speed rail must go at the same speed on the same tracks. High-speed rail can only go top speed on bypass tracks. During peak hour, high-speed rail must go the same speed as local commuter service. Such limitations defeat the purpose of a high-speed rail system.

It is no surprise that local citizens and government officials have been almost unanimous in their opposition to high-speed rail. When compared to the increased traffic burdens, high-speed rail looks to have a net negative effect on the Bay Area.

California does not have money to waste on high-speed rail. Our January 2017 study found that California has $1.3 trillion in state and local debt, including between $713 billion and $1.02 trillion in unfunded pension obligations. Given the high cost, poor execution, and questionable need, there is no reason to turn to high-speed rail to improve infrastructure. It is time to end the high-speed rail project before any more taxpayer money is wasted.

David Schwartzman is a Policy Research Fellow at the California Policy Center. He is a rising senior studying economics, mathematics, and finance at Hillsdale College.

Future of California Cars: Sharing Not Buying?

Since the beginning of the auto industry it was the goal of every 16 year old to buy or own a car.  Since Ford created the mass production of cars, families wanted to have at least one car.  In California most families have two or more cars.  But, like many industries, technology has disrupted the historic methods of operation for industries—ATM’s at banks, ordering kiosks in fast food joints.  Now VW is looking to change the way we use cars—from ownership to sharing.

“California has approved Volkswagen’s plan to invest $44 million in an electric car sharing program for Sacramento.

The Sacramento area beat out the state’s other large cities as Volkswagen’s choice for the nation’s largest city-focused, single investment in electric vehicle infrastructure.

It’s called Green City, part of the automaker’s Electrify America program.

In fact, in Paris, they already have a sharing program.  As the photo with this article shows, cars are lined up on the streets, and with the use of a credit card you can rent the car by the hour, instead of owning it—or driving your car into the city from the suburbs.  In May I was in Paris and saw these firsthand.

paris cars photo

California Approves Sacramento-Area Electric Car Share Program

Randol White, Capitol Public Radio,  7/27/17

 

California has approved Volkswagen’s plan to invest $44 million in an electric car sharing program for Sacramento.

The Sacramento area beat out the state’s other large cities as Volkswagen’s choice for the nation’s largest city-focused, single investment in electric vehicle infrastructure.

It’s called Green City, part of the automaker’s Electrify America program.

It was approved unanimously by the California Air Resources Board Thursday as part of the company’s settlement with the state over VW’s emissions cheating scheme.

Austin Brown with the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy at UC Davis said it could serve as a model for future planning.

“So, that’s getting great siting, that’s getting good distribution, and then I think maybe even most importantly, there’s a really big effort on a part of this to integrate electric vehicle charging into disadvantaged communities,” Brown said.

Volkswagen said it will work to use California-based companies and employees, and will build on Sacramento’s electric vehicle plan to serve those disadvantaged communities.

The city will announce next week how it plans to collaborate with Electrify America.

 

New Law Barring ICE from Posing as Local Law Enforcement Is Just a Symbolic Gesture

California is a joke.  Confused Guv Brown and his legislative Democrat buddies continue to pass laws that are unneeded, irrational or not based on fact.  The sycophant from San Jose, Assemblyman Ash Kalra, obviously not the brightest bulb in Sacramento authored a bill telling ICE they can not claim to be “police”.

“Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) penned the bill to curb the tactic reportedly used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. Media reports about ICE officials posing as local cops to induce compliance prompted Kalra to introduce the legislation.

AB 1440 notes that federal immigration agents are not licensed peace officers.

Seriously,   have you ever asked your local police officer to show you their “license” to be a police officer?  None exists.  This is just another joke, which is why California is considered the flake and quake State.  Maybe Ash and the Guv have been testing what the Rolling Stones in their iconic record, Satisfaction” called “funny cigarettes”?  Too bad Democrats have no sense of truth, fact or reality.

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New Law Barring ICE from Posing as Local Law Enforcement Could Be Just a Symbolic Gesture

By Silicon Valley Newsroom, InsideSanJose,  7/27/17

 

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill this week that prevents federal immigration officials from masquerading as local police in California.

Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) penned the bill to curb the tactic reportedly used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. Media reports about ICE officials posing as local cops to induce compliance prompted Kalra to introduce the legislation.

AB 1440 notes that federal immigration agents are not licensed peace officers.

“I am pleased that Gov. Brown has signed AB 1440 into law, upholding the trust and faith our local law enforcement work to develop with local communities every day to provide for the public’s safety,” Kalra said in a statement. “Under the new federal administration, ICE and CBP are undertaking unprecedented and aggressive tactics to identify, monitor and detain undocumented immigrants for deportation. This bill sends a clear message—that in California, law enforcement officers are sworn to protect all residents, regardless of their immigration status.”

Analysis of the bill noted that immigration officials tend to detain people without warrants. To get around their warrantless searches, ICE and CBP agents tell people they’re police officers to get them to open the doors into their homes and businesses.

Officers have a legal right to mislead the public about their identity, but the practice is viewed as unethical. Inducing compliance to gain entry into a person’s property is viewed as coercion and a violation of Constitutional rights, according to immigrant advocates.

Because federal law overrides state law, the bill could be viewed as symbolic. However, the law provides a way for California and its local governments to send a message to residents that it does not condone President Trump’s immigration policies, which have quickened the pace of deportations that were already at a record clip under the previous administration.

 

Senate Filibuster Is At End—Now Or When Dems Take Senate

Though Washington is in chaos, there is one certainty—the U.S. Senate filibusters, they ability of the minority to demand a 60 vote count before anything can be done, is over.  If the GOP does not end it now, immediately, it is absolutely positive that in 2019—if the Democrats take the Senate, they will end the 60 vote rule—remember they were the Party that ended the 60 vote rule for judges and Presidential nominees.  Only legislation is allowed to demand a 60 vote effort.

“President Trump said Saturday that Republican senators look like “fools” for refusing to change Senate rules that would allow legislation such to pass with a simple majority, and suggested that he’s looking at ending health-care subsidies for members of Congress.

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” the president tweeted. “After seven years of ‘talking’ Repeal & Replace, the people of our great country are still being forced to live with imploding ObamaCare!”

Without hesitation I will tell you the FIRST piece of legislation the Democrats will pass with the end of the 60 vote rule, will be the impeachment of President Trump—absolutely the goal of the Democrats, so if it is going to happen, let it happen now so the GOP can save the economy of America.  What do you think?

SenateSeal

Trump warns of ending health-care ‘bailouts’ for Congress, pushes Senate for majority rule

‘Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW!’ he tweeted Saturday

By Dave Boyer, The Washington Times, 7/29/17

President Trump said Saturday that Republican senators look like “fools” for refusing to change Senate rules that would allow legislation such to pass with a simple majority, and suggested that he’s looking at ending health-care subsidies for members of Congress.

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” the president tweeted. “After seven years of ‘talking’ Repeal & Replace, the people of our great country are still being forced to live with imploding ObamaCare!”

The president appeared to be referring to a part of the 2010 health care law that shifted members of Congress and many staffers out of the normal health-benefits plan for federal employees and into the new Obamacare insurance exchanges. The Office of Personnel Management decided that the employer contribution portion of premiums could be provided through the exchange in the District.

Some conservative groups have been calling for that policy to be revoked.

“To unite congressional Republicans, President Donald Trump should take action to end the congressional exemption from ObamaCare,” said Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots. “It is apparent that since members of Congress, their families and staff do not have to live under the law they passed for every other American, they lack the incentive to take the action they were elected to take.”

She added in a statement, “Ending Congress’s special exemption from ObamaCare will motivate Republicans to finally keep their promise — if not for principle, at least to improve their own insurance predicament.