Archives for July 2017

The Inland Empire: Second only to San Francisco in California job growth?

Los Angeles should be proud—it is one of the most poverty stricken regions in the nation, with high taxes, the worst roads, failed schools, high housing cost and loads of illegal aliens.  The “good” news is that they created over 100,000 jobs—but were these good jobs or burger flipping jobs?  With the coming end of the mall, will many in retails go on welfare and Medicaid?  But the good paying jobs in San Fran are doing well, while the Inland Empire is challenging the Bay Area in job creation.

“Asked for evidence to support the claim, Newsom’s spokesman cited research from John Husing, chief economist with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. The industry group advocates for jobs creation in the region.

The spokesman specifically pointed to a section of Husing’s April 2017 report that found the Inland Empire’s “3.47% growth rate in 2016 was second to San Francisco (4.16%).”

The report went on to say the region added the second most total jobs of any in the state, 47,500, behind Los Angeles’ 109,000 and ahead of San Francisco’s 43,800.

The Inland Empire is growing warehouses like the Central Valley is growing solar panel farms.  These appear to be the main growth area in the IE.  But, they are jobs.

u.s.-economy-jobs-resumes-slow-growth-06sept2012-620x413

The Inland Empire: Second only to San Francisco in California job growth?

By Chris Nichols, PoliFact/Capitol Public Radio,  7/27/17

California’s workforce of 19 million is spread across distinct metro regions, from tech-heavy Silicon Valley to the agricultural powerhouses of Fresno and Bakersfield, to the movie studios of Los Angeles.

Less talked about are the nearly two million who work in the state’s Inland Empire. It’s home to more than 4.5 million people in sprawling San Bernardino and Riverside counties east of Los Angeles.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democratic candidate for governor, recently claimed this region of high desert and valley communities is among the leaders in California job growth.

The Inland Empire is “the second fastest growing region” in California, Newsom said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on July 12, 2017.  “It’s about logistics, warehousing, transportation.”

Newsom makes his claim at about the 2:00 minute mark above. 

We took Newsom’s statement to mean the Inland Empire has the state’s second fastest job growth rate because the lieutenant governor went on to talk about statewide job growth immediately after making this claim.

Newsom’s comments follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent claim on NBC’s Meet the Press that California’s Central Valley and Inland Empire “are experiencing tremendous job growth.” We examined that claim and rated it Mostly True.

Still, we wondered whether Newsom was right.

We set out on a fact check.

Our research

Asked for evidence to support the claim, Newsom’s spokesman cited research from John Husing, chief economist with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. The industry group advocates for jobs creation in the region.

The spokesman specifically pointed to a section of Husing’s April 2017 report that found the Inland Empire’s “3.47% growth rate in 2016 was second to San Francisco (4.16%).”

The report went on to say the region added the second most total jobs of any in the state, 47,500, behind Los Angeles’ 109,000 and ahead of San Francisco’s 43,800.

These figures back up Newsom’s claim.

His statement also holds when looking at job growth rates over the past five years. In April 2017, Jeffrey Michael, director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, compiled data showing job growth rates by metro area. The Inland Empire had the fastest job growth rate over the past year at that time, 3.2 percent, and the second fastest rate, 22.3 percent, over the past five years.

The economists analyzed data from the California Employment Development Department.

Types of jobs

Newsom’s claim about the rapid pace of job growth appears on the money. But what about the type of jobs he described: “logistics, warehousing, transportation” ?

Husing told us this description was also on the right track. With the explosion of e-commerce, developers have seized on the Inland Empire’s vast and affordable stretches of land to build warehouses for products shipped through ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

More than 60,600 distribution and transportation jobs have been added in the Inland Empire since its rebound from the Great Recession in 2010, Husing said. In addition, nearly 46,000 construction jobs; about 25,000 healthcare jobs and 15,000 manufacturing positions have been created.

Logistics, transportation and construction “are overwhelmingly the sectors that are driving the growth,” the economist said.

Husing described most of these positions as “blue collar jobs.” In April, Husing described in more depth the Inland Empire’s wage picture. He said it had a lower share of high-paying administrative jobs compared with the state as a whole. But, he said, the region was outperforming the state in its share of middle-class jobs that pay between $45,000 and $60,000.

Our ruling

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently claimed the Inland Empire is “the second fastest growing region” in California.

We took Newsom’s claim to mean it has the second fastest job growth rate.

Data compiled by two leading economists back up Newsom’s assertion. It shows the Inland Empire’s nearly 3.5 percent jobs growth rate in 2016 was second only to San Francisco’s 4.16 percent. Figures over the past five years show the Inland Empire grew jobs at 22.3 percent, again second only to the San Francisco market.

The lieutenant governor was also correct to describe these Inland Empire jobs as based in the transportation and distribution sectors, based on data from the economists.

We rate Newsom’s claim True.

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

 

Sacramento Report: The Pension Wars Aren’t Over

CalPERS, according to the Stanford Pension Institute run by former Democrat Assemblyman Joe Nation, claims has a $1.4 trillion unfunded liability.  CalSTRS has an unfunded liability of over $200 billion—both have announced a 100% increase in mandatory contributions over the next five years—cities are already cutting public safety and other basic services—while government schools are forced to cut spending in the classroom and for student education.  Both systems are collapsing, while bring down cities and schools with them.

“San Diego’s pension wars aren’t over yet.

Earlier this year, a state appellate court sided with the city over the city’s white-collar workers union, maintaining Proposition B, the pension reform initiative approved by voters in 2012.

The Municipal Employees Association quickly said it would appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. This week, the Supreme Court announced it would take up the case.

San Diego is already on the verge of economic calamity.  If the pension reform passed by almost 70% of the voters is not upheld, the disaster will be quick.

calpers

Sacramento Report: The Pension Wars Aren’t Over

Mark Kersey eyes a 2018 Senate race against Brian Jones, San Diego is set to receive anti-poverty funds, San Diego Republican Party chair wants GOP Assembly leader to step down and more in our weekly roundup of news from Sacramento.

By Voice of San Diego, 7/28/17

San Diego’s pension wars aren’t over yet.

Earlier this year, a state appellate court sided with the city over the city’s white-collar workers union, maintaining Proposition B, the pension reform initiative approved by voters in 2012.

The Municipal Employees Association quickly said it would appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. This week, the Supreme Court announced it would take up the case.

That means the city will continue to operate with Prop. B in effect while the case undergoes its final test, but the financial uncertainty over the possibility of getting the measure overturned will hang over the city’s head in the meantime.

Prop. B froze pensionable salaries for five years for city employees, except police officers, and shifted new city hires from getting pension plans to getting 401ks.

The measure was a citizens’ initiative but was heavily supported and crafted by then-Mayor Jerry Sanders, as well as then-City Councilmen Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer. MEA argues that the mayor’s involvement made it a de facto city initiative, and therefore required negotiations with c

Two different solutions to California housing crisis – which will work?

house-constructionSACRAMENTO – Before the recent legislative recess, California Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown announced their intention to tackle one of the state’s biggest crises: housing affordability. It’s the rare instance where virtually everyone in the Capitol at least is in agreement about the scope of the problem, even though there’s far less agreement on solutions.

Real-estate prices have gotten so high that they stretch family budgets and are a root cause of California’s highest-in-the-nation poverty rates, based on the Census Bureau’s new cost-of-living-adjusted poverty measure.

The situation is so acute it’s drawn the attention of the national media. “A full-fledged housing crisis has gripped California, marked by a severe lack of affordable homes and apartments for middle-class families,” according to a recent New York Times article. Median home prices have hit a “staggering $500,000, twice the national cost.”

The problem is particularly bad in the state’s major metropolitan areas. The median single-family home price in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, has topped $750,000. Public-opinion surveys suggest soaring home prices – rather than job opportunities or the state’s business climate – are the key reason many people are moving to other states.

But while there’s broad agreement that housing affordability is in crisis, there are two schools of thought on how to address it. Democrats are primarily trying to raise taxes and fees to pay for more government-subsidized affordable housing, whereas Republicans want the state to chip away at local governmental barriers to home construction.

Legislators and the governor have made little progress in crafting a detailed housing plan for this legislative session. But there are a handful of bills moving their way through the Capitol that encapsulate their approach. Their high-priority measure, when legislators return to the Capitol late next month, is Senate Bill 2, which would impose fees of $75 to $225 on every real-estate transaction to provide $225 million in annual funding to subsidize developers of low-income housing.

“With a sustainable source of funding in place, more affordable housing developers will take on the risk that comes with development and, in the process, create a reliable pipeline of well-paying construction jobs,” according to the Senate bill analysis.

Senate Bill 3 also takes a similar approach toward building affordable housing. The measure authorizes $3 billion in general-obligation bonds to pay for low-income and transit-oriented housing. It would need to be approved by voters in the November 2018 election. There’s also talk about using proceeds from the cap-and-trade auctions to fund such programs.

One major bill embraces some of the concerns expressed by those who want to encourage market-oriented solutions to the problem. Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, “creates a streamlined, ministerial approval process for development proponents of multi-family housing if the development meets specified requirements and the local government in which the development is located has not produced enough housing units to meet its regional housing needs assessment,” according to the bill summary. The streamlined process would apply where a project meets “objective zoning, affordability, and environmental criteria, and if the projects meet rigorous labor standards,” according to Wiener.

The bill circumvents local planning decisions, but New Urbanists and others say such pre-emption is needed because “not in my back yard” (NIMBY) sentiments among residents and city officials have impeded developers’ ability to add high-density housing in urban areas. The latter point – the requirement that workers receive union wage rates – has been a major sticking point for some conservatives, who believe the mandate could drive up the cost of home construction.

The building industry has neutralized another measure, Assembly Bill 199, which could have required such above-market wage rates for a wide range of privately funded housing projects. AB199 originally would have required “prevailing wage” for any project that involved an agreement with a “state or a political subdivision.”

The building industry argued that “the language was purposely ambiguous and could mean simple tasks, like a new porch, would require union labor,” according to a San Diego Union-Tribune report. The amended version removes that language and now applies only to projects that receive public subsidies.

There’s wide disagreement about whether additional mandates for affordable housing will substantially boost the supply of lower-priced homes. Even if the new subsidies pass, those dollars are a drop in the bucket, given the overall size of the state’s housing market, critics say. And government mandates that builders provide a set number of affordable units as part of their new subdivisions may ramp up the overall costs for market-based units.

The Union-Tribune’s Dan McSwain compared the process to something out of a Kafka novel: “Raise the overall price of market units, thus ensuring that fewer get built, in order to subsidize a handful of poor families … who win a lottery administered by local government agencies, with staffs funded by housing fees that inflate prices.” McSwain blamed high costs partially on city-imposed fees that inflate housing prices by 20 percent or more.

The Legislature isn’t about to tackle that broader problem. Legislators have yet to reform the California Environmental Quality Act and other environmental rules that drag out the approval process for major new developments. For instance, Southern California Public Radio recently reported that the Newhall Ranch development in Los Angeles County finally “is moving forward after recently winning key approvals.”

That Santa Clarita Valley project, which will house 60,000 people, has been in the works since the 1980s and still is a long way from a ground-breaking. It’s been delayed by environmental lawsuits and legal challenges related to its possible impact on climate change.

Southern California Public Radio quoted real-estate experts who say the project will only make a small dent in the region’s housing shortage. But is that the fault of the developer or of policymakers who have ignored the problem so long that adding tens of thousands of new housing units only amounts to adding a few drops in the housing bucket?

The good news is the Legislature and governor are paying attention to a serious problem that has been percolating for years. The question, as always, is whether state officials can craft legislation that will make a real dent in the problem.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org.

More California inmates are getting a second chance as parole board enters new era of discretion

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

An Alameda County probation report details facts that Kao Saelee can’t change: He was 17 and armed with a sawed-off shotgun when he and three friends opened fire on a group of teens they believed belonged to a rival Oakland gang.

The spray of bullets instead struck Tsee Yorn and San Fou Saechao, both 13. It killed 7-year-old Sausio Saephan, a second-grader at nearby Garfield Elementary School who had tagged along with his older brother and was shot in the neck.

For years, members of the State Board of Parole Hearings could — and often would — deny prisoners early release based on their past, focusing solely on their criminal offense rather than whether or not they’d pose a safety risk in the future.

To inmates, it seemed an unspoken rule: Let no one out.

Now, the board has entered a new era, empowered to grant more offenders a chance at parole after a decade’s worth of court decisions and state laws that have broadened its discretion. With the greater legal flexibility, Gov. Jerry Brown has put the commission of 14 men and women at the front line of his effort to reduce the prison population and to focus more on rehabilitation rather than relying solely on punishment. …

Click here to read the full article

Assemblyman Travis Allen Wants Your Vote for California Governor

On the KTLA 5 News, Huntington Beach Assemblyman Travis Allen (R) lays out his campaign platform for California governor, including drought response and a plan to repeal Gov. Brown’s gas tax.

Ethically, Economically, Morally Bankrupt City of Los Angeles Considering City Owned Bank!! For Druggies!!!

The city of Los Angeles is looking to become the banker of choice—since almost no banks will take marijuana money—for the druggies of California, from San Diego to Humboldt.  This could become one of the largest banks in the State—and could be the best bank for money laundering, since marijuana sales are done by cash, not credit card.  Money laundering would be easy.

“On Tuesday, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson made a motion to look into the feasibility of creating the “Bank of Los Angeles” with a vision statement of “financing the building of affordable housing,” making loans to “small business entrepreneurs,” and

While the proponents of a City owned bank will cite the profitability and excellent return on equity (18%) of the 98 year old, well capitalized Bank of North Dakota, the report back to the City Council by the CAO and CLA needs to analyze why there are no other government owned banks in the country.”

L.A. will use drug money to go into competition with privately run banks!  It does not have to make money, it does not have to be efficient, just take in the drug money and pretend to do good work for the community.  Think this socialist idea is a good one?

federal-reserve-bank

Herb Wesson’s Latest Pitch: City Owned ‘Bank of Los Angeles’ … Is It  Worth the Risk?

Jack Humphreville, City Watch LA,  7/27/17

LA WATCHDOG–On Tuesday, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson made a motion to look into the feasibility of creating the “Bank of Los Angeles” with a vision statement of “financing the building of affordable housing,” making loans to “small business entrepreneurs,” and accommodating the cannabis industry and its banking requirements.

“WE THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council INSTRUCT the City Administrative Officer (CAO) and the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA), with the assistance of the Office of Finance/City Treasurer, and the City Attorney, to report back quickly to the Ad Hoc Committee on Comprehensive Job Creation Plan on the feasibility, requirements, legislative barriers, and any other relevant aspects of creating a state-chartered public bank, or other similar such financial institution, named the “Bank of Los Angeles” that would provide banking services to reinvest in the communities, neighborhoods, and residents of the City of Los Angeles primarily through the acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of affordable and workforce housing, utilizing deposits and providing financial services and products to local businesses, including the cannabis industry.”

While the proponents of a City owned bank will cite the profitability and excellent return on equity (18%) of the 98 year old, well capitalized Bank of North Dakota, the report back to the City Council by the CAO and CLA needs to analyze why there are no other government owned banks in the country.

There are a number of key issues that the CAO and CLA need to consider.

For example, how much cash will the City need to invest in this capital intensive, credit sensitive enterprise?  When the Commonwealth of Massachusetts considered the feasibility of establishing a state owned bank in 2011, it passed, in large part because of the significant upfront investment in an unproven enterprise.

Other studies have indicated that the proper equity to assets ratio is in the range of 10% to 15%, an average 12.5%.  This means that our cash strapped City will have to pony up between $125 million and $250 million to support a bank with $1 billion to $2 billion in assets.  And what is the source of that money, especially given the City’s budget shortfall is estimated to be in the range of $300 million next year.

(See my recent CityWatch column, Earth to Eric, Get Real”)

The City expects the bank to be the depository for billions of City cash, including money belonging to our Department of Water and Power, the two other two proprietary departments, the City’s two pension plans, the Sewer Department, and numerous other special funds that all have credit requirements on where they may deposit money.  But will the City’s money be safe in this newly formed bank that has no track record?  Will the rating agencies provide the Bank of Los Angeles with the investment grade ratings that are required by depositors?  And will the deposits be insured, or are they the responsibility of the City of Los Angeles as is the case in the State of North Dakota?

The Bank of Los Angeles loan and investment portfolio must meet certain credit standards. It cannot be the lender of last resort, a source of financing for the pet projects of Mayor Garcetti and the City Council, or a source of loans at below market rates for politically connected developers.  Nor can the bank be an ATM for City Hall.

Put another way, how do we put a wall around the Bank of Los Angeles to protect it from our smooth talking Elected Elite and their ring kissing cronies?

The Bank of North Dakota is very profitable, earning $136 million, an astonishing 18% on beginning equity.  It is not a retail bank with ATMs and branch offices around the state, but a wholesale bank that works with community banks and makes direct loans to students and homeowners. It has a main office in Bismarck and several loan production offices, resulting in low overhead costs 0.4% of assets.

There are many other issues that need to be covered by the CAO and CLA, including, among others, the Bank’s management, transparency and independent oversight, technology and the back office, and the impact on our local banking system.

While it is too early to come to any definitive conclusions, the creation of the city owned Bank of Los Angeles is a very risky venture which may be beyond the financial and management capabilities of the fiscally irresponsible occupiers of City Hall.

Or put another way, “President Wesson, what herb have you been smoking?” 

 

Walters: Could complex cap-and-trade deal derail Jerry Brown’s bullet train?

Is it possible that the cap and trade scam—used to punish some and rewards others—based on junk science and political hacks—could do what lawsuits have not—kill off the choo choo to nowhere?

“The real impact of ACA 1, if any, might be to make it slightly more difficult for the High-Speed Rail Authority to pledge cap-and-trade funds as repayment for a bond issue to build the second phase of the bullet train, linking the San Joaquin Valley to San Jose.

The first stretch of track running down the San Joaquin Valley from Merced to an orchard north of Bakersfield is now under construction. But to have a system that would actually be useful, it would have to be electrified, locomotives and passenger cars would have to be purchased and, most importantly, it would have to link something with something.

Bullet train promoters believe that linking Fresno with San Jose (and to faster Caltrain service from San Jose to San Francisco) would generate enough ridership to prove viability and attract outside capital, but there are no current prospects for financing the $20 billion second phase.”

Does anyone really believe the $20 billion cost?  In the end, the winners are unions and corporations.  As always, the losers are the taxpayers and the families of California.  Anybody surprised?

jerry-brown-signs-laws

Could complex cap-and-trade deal derail Jerry Brown’s bullet train?

By Dan Walters, CalMatters,  7/27/17

The political deal that led to reauthorization of California’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions has many pieces, but one of the strangest is Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1.

To win support from Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes and presumably several other Republicans, Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats agreed to place the measure, authored by Mayes, on next year’s statewide ballot.

ACA 1 would, if approved by voters, place in the constitution a requirement that money from the quarterly auctions of cap-and-trade emission allowances be diverted into a special reserve fund beginning in 2024 and an appropriation from the reserve would require a two-thirds legislative vote.

Mayes, et al, contend that the two-thirds vote requirement would give Republican legislators a meaningful role in deciding how the cap-and-trade funds are spent, with a subliminal corollary that it would give them a potential veto on Brown’s controversial bullet train project.

However, as political cover for Republican cap-and-trade votes this month – seven in the Assembly and one in the Senate – ACA 1 is thin gruel.

First of all, it would have to obtain voter approval next year, by no means a certainty. Voters tend to reject ballot measures they don’t understand.

Secondly, it doesn’t apply until 2024, so until then Democrats will be free to spend billions of dollars in cap-and-trade auction funds however they wish, including a mandatory 25 percent to keep the bullet train project alive.

Next, it’s highly unlikely that Republicans will have enough legislative members in 2024 to block an appropriation. Democrats have two-thirds “supermajorities” in both legislative houses now and the next round of redistricting, after the 2020 census, will likely generate even more Democratic seats and make those supermajorities permanent.

Finally, the wording of ACA 1 contains a potential escape route for Democrats. It frees up the cap-and-trade money to be spent by simple majority votes after “an appropriation” from the reserve fund. Thus, appropriating even one nickel removes Mayes’ restriction.

The real impact of ACA 1, if any, might be to make it slightly more difficult for the High-Speed Rail Authority to pledge cap-and-trade funds as repayment for a bond issue to build the second phase of the bullet train, linking the San Joaquin Valley to San Jose.

The first stretch of track running down the San Joaquin Valley from Merced to an orchard north of Bakersfield is now under construction. But to have a system that would actually be useful, it would have to be electrified, locomotives and passenger cars would have to be purchased and, most importantly, it would have to link something with something.

Bullet train promoters believe that linking Fresno with San Jose (and to faster Caltrain service from San Jose to San Francisco) would generate enough ridership to prove viability and attract outside capital, but there are no current prospects for financing the $20 billion second phase.

Pledging cap-and-trade money for a construction bond, which officials have suggested, might generate enough to make it happen. But bond buyers would have to believe that emission auctions would generate a sufficient and permanent source of revenue, and that belief could be undercut by the requirement for a two-thirds vote after 2024. Brown appears to be betting that it won’t hurt his pet project.

It’s one of those tangled financial and political webs that Capitol insiders savor and ordinary people despise.

 

 

Senator Anderson: Hidden consequences of children’s “Bill of Rights”

Government controls our every move.  Now is SB 18 passes, it will control and OWN our children.  If government does not like how we are raising our kids, they can take them away.  Parents will pay the bills and government will make education, health care and other decisions ovr the objections of the parents.

“Senate Bill 18 would let government create standards for measuring “bad” parents that include, but are not limited to: medical care, nutrition, home life, and education requirements. All of these standards would be defined by politicians and enforced by bureaucrats. Thus, parents’ only option will be either to obey or risk being reported to Child Protective Services. If you want the freedom to raise your kids according to your beliefs and family traditions without the threat of state intervention, your only option will be to move out of California.”

How quickly will government declare you a bad parent?  Send your child to a charter school, ask for a second medical opinion, allow your child a hamburger?  Thanks to Senator Joel Anderson for reminding us that Democrats believe that own us.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image793529

Hidden consequences of children’s “Bill of Rights” – MY Turn with Senator Joel Anderson

Senator Joel Anderson, Special to the East County Californian, 7/26/17

 

All of us agree that children deserve to be well cared for and given every opportunity to meet their full potential.

So why would anyone oppose a law to create a children’s “Bill of Rights” that guarantees children have a right to quality housing, education, appropriate health care, a safe environment, and have their other basic needs met?

Here’s why: I strongly disagree that government should be defining what is “quality” and “appropriate” and enforcing those standards. Giving government power over the sacred parent-child relationship discards our God-given parental rights to raise and provide for our own children as we see fit.

Senate Bill 18 would let government create standards for measuring “bad” parents that include, but are not limited to: medical care, nutrition, home life, and education requirements. All of these standards would be defined by politicians and enforced by bureaucrats. Thus, parents’ only option will be either to obey or risk being reported to Child Protective Services. If you want the freedom to raise your kids according to your beliefs and family traditions without the threat of state intervention, your only option will be to move out of California.

It’s not difficult to see the direction in which this could quickly go.

We saw first-hand with the legislation that removed the personal belief vaccine exemption that some legislators believe they know what is best for your children’s health regardless of what you think. We have also seen how hostile some legislators are to charter schools or homeschooling, and how negatively some look at faith based approaches to family counseling.

So why would we think that they would stop there? With the extensive framework of parental regulations created by SB 18 and its companion, Senate Concurrent Resolution 41, they’ve created a standard for every aspect of your child’s life. So if one of the legislators who is hostile to homeschooling is successful in defining public education as “quality” and home school as inferior, then your choice to homeschool would be a violation of your child’s rights and the state could intervene. With the super-majority party’s feelings about legal gun ownership, would they define a home “unsafe” if parents own a rifle or handgun?

There is limitless potential for how this could overreach in to ordinary people’s lives – people trying to raise their kids in the way they think is best. It is evident in the draft of the bill that it contemplates the state power to seize or restrict parents’ access to children that aren’t receiving what the state determines to be the correct “research-based essential needs” and “special care” from their parents or guardians.

This bill is dangerous because it does not consider the parents’ and guardians’ unique knowledge of their child’s individual needs.

Protecting” all children by replacing family decisions with the government’s preferred standard undercuts parental rights and threatens California families.

You can protect your child by protecting your parental rights. If you agree that you know what’s best for your kids, not the government, please consider signing my petition in opposition to SB 18.

Large solar plant planned for Central Valley tomato farm

Once again, the biggest crop in the Central Valley is not going to be fruits or vegetables—it will be solar panels.  Here is a farm going solar.  This is the future.  What do you think?

“”This partnership will provide quantifiable benefits to minimize near-term production costs at the farm while providing a scalable platform for stable and reliable renewable energy that can expand over time,” says Sunworks’ Chief Executive Officer Chuck Cargile.

Sounds good.  Wonder what the pay back will be?  For my solar panels on the house, it was over seven years.

Solar panels

Large solar plant planned for Central Valley tomato farm

Central Valley Business Times,  7/27/17

 

  • Solar will provide nearly all the power needed
  • “This partnership will provide quantifiable benefits”

A 665 kW solar power plant is planned for Togninali Farms, a third generation tomato farm east of Stockton on Highway 4. It’s to be built by Sunworks Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW), of Roseville.

Togninali Farms says reducing and stabilizing expenses is a key component to efforts to enhance operational efficiency and profitability.

It will use Sunworks’ solar panels to produce 1,034,645 kwh of electricty per year, which is equivalent to 97 percent of their annual energy consumption and is expected to offset more than 727 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The farm’s new ground mount installation includes Sunworks’ Rapid Rack system, a clamp-free racking system with insertion rail technology that helps prevent damage and production loss in solar systems, says Sunworks. Rapid Rack allows panels to expand during hot summer days without creating stress points that could otherwise lead to reduced energy production. It features a fully integrated wire management tray with galvanized components, providing ease of maintenance, pest protection, and anti-weathering capabilities. In total, Sunworks will aggregate 18 utility meters as part of its deployment.

“This partnership will provide quantifiable benefits to minimize near-term production costs at the farm while providing a scalable platform for stable and reliable renewable energy that can expand over time,” says Sunworks’ Chief Executive Officer Chuck Cargile.

Data show charter school students graduating from college at three to five times national average

LAUSD is a racist school district. Period.  How do I know this?  There are 54,000 students on a waiting list trying to get into charter schools.  There would be more on the list, but the district capped those allowed to apply.  Why is this important?  By not allowing quality education for minorities, the government is not allowing them to graduate from college.

“So, let’s put these charter success rates in context. Among all students attending all types of schools in America, only about 9 percent of students from low-income families earn college degrees within six years. That means some of the top charter networks listed above, those in the 50 percent range, are doing five times as well.

Further, there’s tantalizing evidence in the college “persistence” data kept by these charters, where they monitor alumni still in college to determine if they are on track to earn diplomas, suggesting that bigger gains may be unfolding within a few years. Since the 2010–11 school year, for example, KIPP’s New York region was able to boost its six-year diploma-earning rate from 33 percent to 46 percent”.

Wasn’t this the goal of George Wallace?  He wanted blacks to work in the fields, not get college diploma’s.  What is the difference between Wallace and LAUSD?  LAUSD uses fancy words to explain its racist policies.

LAUSD school bus

Data show charter school students graduating from college at three to five times national average

Richard Whitmire, Los Angeles School Report,  7/27/17

 

About a decade ago, 15 years into the public charter school movement, a few of the nation’s top charter networks quietly upped the ante on their own strategic goals. No longer was it sufficient to keep students “on track” to college. Nor was it enough to enroll 100 percent of your graduates in colleges.

What mattered, concluded the charter leaders, was getting your students through college — ensuring they earned a four-year bachelor’s degree within six years of graduating from high school.

Hold us accountable, the educators said, for how our kids do once they leave us, marking a remarkable paradigm shift in the way charter schools define success.

The initial spark may have happened in the 2008–09 school year, when KIPP realized its graduates were struggling in college. The network changed the name of its college success program from “KIPP To College” to “KIPP Through College” — a seemingly small tweak that signaled huge changes ahead.

Uncommon Schools was hearing similar feedback from its alumni, who faced financial challenges, struggled with being away from home, and felt uncomfortable at predominantly white colleges. Changes were required to ensure alumni not only gained access to college but actually earned degrees.

So Uncommon Schools moved in the same direction as KIPP, and other charter networks followed. The shift is yet another example of the intense sharing of best practices between America’s top charter networks, as documented in The Founders.

Today, the college graduation goal has been widely adopted, even by many single-site charters. At the small, relatively new Boston Prep, which serves students in grades 6-12, for example, classes are referred to not by the year students will graduate from high school, but the year they expect students to graduate from college. Next month, incoming sixth-graders will begin introducing themselves as the Class of 2028.

For several reasons, this dramatic strategic shift has drawn limited attention outside the charter school world, in part because to outsiders it seems to be a cross between brash and outlandish.

For starters, the proof of achieving the goal seemed nonexistent, at least at the time. Many charter networks were first launched only with elementary grades, and were too new to even conceptualize future alumni who could become college graduates.

Another reason the new goal has drawn so little attention is the common acceptance that students and the colleges they attend — not the students’ high schools, or even middle schools, in some cases — are responsible for whether those students earn college degrees.

But the charter networks are sticking to their new strategic goals, despite skepticism that high schools should be held responsible for whether their graduates earn college degrees. KIPP kids, CEO Richard Barth told me, are like family. You don’t just let family members leave home without helping them achieve their future goals.

At most, traditional high schools publish “college readiness” reports. In California, for example, parents can learn how many students at their local high school met the “A-G” course requirements required by the University of California system.

Many traditional high schools and private schools also grade themselves by calculating the number of their graduates accepted into colleges — but then rarely follow up to ensure that those students even enroll in their freshman year of college, let alone complete their studies to earn degrees.

Problem is, the traditional high school measures of college readiness are crude, as seen by the shockingly high number of incoming college freshmen who require remedial coursework before they are even allowed to take for-credit courses — a fault that leads to millions of degree-earning failures.

This makes the new goal set by the major charter school networks, to grade themselves on the percentage of their students who go on to earn four-year college degrees in six years, all the more radical — especially given the fact that these networks educate low-income, minority students, whose college graduation rates pale in comparison to their more affluent white peers — a mere 9 percent earning degrees within six years, compared with 77 percent of students from high-income families as of 2015.

If public and private high schools across the country catch on, this seemingly small ideological tweak in the charter sector has the potential to transform the entire American education system.

A LOFTY GOAL

Now, for the first time, it’s possible to start answering the question of whether that goal is achievable.

We identified nine large charter networks with enough alumni to roughly calculate degree-earning success rates. Chicago-based Noble Network of Charter Schools, for example, has more than 10,300 alumni, 1,444 of them past the six-year mark. Other networks have far fewer at the six-year point, but a sufficient number to measure meaningfully.

At this point in time, the quality of the data available for tracking their progress ranges from rough estimates to moderately precise, with the bulk coming from the non-government National Student Clearinghouse, which matches high school, college, and other identifier records to track students as they progress through higher education. The charter networks purchase the data from the Clearinghouse.

To account for imperfections in the Clearinghouse data, some charter networks also use internal tracking systems to ensure no student falls through the cracks. Others rely solely on the raw Clearinghouse numbers and don’t have systems in place to track on top of the Clearinghouse.

Another important notation about the data, which we explore in greater detail here, has to do with the denominator.

KIPP is a fervent believer that college graduation cohort data should be tracked from ninth grade — not 12th grade, the starting point that the other charter networks included in this study use.

For students who attend KIPP middle schools, KIPP tracks them when they graduate from eighth grade to ensure they are kept track of, regardless of whether they go to a KIPP high school.

For students who go to non-KIPP middle schools and start attending KIPP as high schoolers, they track them when they start ninth grade.

The problem with starting in 12th grade, argues KIPP, is that it could tempt schools to push out weaker students during high school years, thus allowing the stronger students to boost the schools’ college-going and college-completion rates.

KIPP may be right. But in The Alumni, where KIPP is the only network that is currently tracking students from ninth grade, we have decided it is important to share cohort graduation rates that start in 12th grade. What’s key to this series is learning what works in boosting that college graduation rate — lessons that could be passed along to all schools, not just charters. Moving everyone to the gold standard is the next step.

Below are the reported numbers of students who have earned a four-year college degree within six years of high school graduation.

For the one charter network that tracks students from ninth grade:

  • KIPP Public Charter Schools: Across KIPP, a network of more than 200 schools with 80,000 students located in multiple states, 38 percent of the students who graduated from a KIPP middle school, or enrolled in a KIPP high school in ninth grade, are earning college degrees. (This number would certainly be higher — and closer to the rate at Achievement First and Uncommon — save for KIPP’s radical and model honesty policy of starting the graduation clock earlier to catch any high school dropouts.) In its New York region, profiled later in this series, the graduation success rate is 46 percent. KIPP uses both Clearinghouse numbers and its own tracking system.

For the eight charter networks that track students from the beginning of 12th grade, three compile their own data on top of Clearinghouse tracking:

  • Uncommon Schools: For the New York–based network, the only alumni who have reached the six-year mark graduated from North Star Academy Charter School in Newark. (The alumni from its Brooklyn high school just reached the four-year mark. Of the 142 North Star students who reached the six-year mark, 71 earned four-year degrees: a 50 percent success rate. Based on factors such as rising GPA and SAT scores, Uncommon predicts a rising college success rate. For example, of the 80 students in the class of 2013, half graduated this June with a Bachelor’s degree, four years after leaving high school, and 23 percent are still enrolled in a four-year college. This fall Uncommon will have 570 alumni enrolled in four-year colleges; by 2020 Uncommon will serve 22,000 students in grades K-12 and have about 2,000 college-age high school graduates.) Uncommon uses both Clearinghouse numbers and its own tracking system.
  • Achievement First: The network’s first two graduating classes to reach the six-year mark had only 25 and 19 students. For those students, the college graduation rate was 32 percent, a rate they say has risen rapidly. But their subsequent classes, which have not yet graduated college, have far more students and thus can better represent the network’s success. Achievement First, which has schools located in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, has 839 students currently in college, 314 of whom are upperclassmen who can be analyzed by three criteria to project whether they will earn a diploma:
    1. The student has been in college for at least six semesters
    2. The student has earned at least 10 credits per semester
    3. The student has at least a 2.3 GPA, and the most recent semester was at least a 2.3.

Of those 314 upperclassmen, 162 fit the above criteria for being on track to graduation. This places Achievement First’s projected six-year college graduation rate at 52 percent.

  • YES Prep Public Schools: For this Houston-based charter network, 46.7 percent of the graduates earned a bachelor’s degree. That number is based on 569 graduates who reached the six-year mark, 266 of whom earned four-year degrees by then.

The remaining networks that track students from the beginning of 12th grade rely solely on Clearinghouse data:

One outlier:

  • Green Dot Public Schools: This Los Angeles–based network will be included among the project profiles, but its graduation rate data are too cloudy to list here. For example, Green Dot says its “unmatched” Clearinghouse data are between 55 percent and 60 percent, which is unusually high. All the Green Dot graduation data will get discussed when the Alumni project profiles the network.

(The figures above raise numerous questions. Where do the numbers come from? How accurate are they? What about the dropouts? Why the big differences among the networks? For a more thorough discussion of the data, click here.)

HOW THE FIGURES STACK UP

If you are a high-income white or Asian parent, these degree-earning rates will not impress. Among those parents, 79 percent of their children earn four-year degrees within six years after graduating from high school.

But because these charter networks almost exclusively educate low-income and minority students, the question has to be framed differently. The challenges faced by these students are incomparable to children from most upper-income families.

One quick example: In a 2017 internal survey of KIPP alumni currently in college, 43 percent said they had missed meals so they could have money for books, fees, and other expenses. Most alarming: 57 percent worried that food would run out before more money for food arrived.

So, let’s put these charter success rates in context. Among all students attending all types of schools in America, only about 9 percent of students from low-income families earn college degrees within six years. That means some of the top charter networks listed above, those in the 50 percent range, are doing five times as well.

Further, there’s tantalizing evidence in the college “persistence” data kept by these charters, where they monitor alumni still in college to determine if they are on track to earn diplomas, suggesting that bigger gains may be unfolding within a few years. Since the 2010–11 school year, for example, KIPP’s New York region was able to boost its six-year diploma-earning rate from 33 percent to 46 percent.

Individual charters that were early pioneers also have sufficient numbers of alumni to take a measure of their college success. Boston’s Academy of the Pacific Rim, for example, opened its doors in 1997 and now has 489 graduates since the class of 2003, its first graduating class, including 220 who have reached the six-year mark. Among those: 70 percent earned four-year degrees, the highest success rate we’ve come across in this project for a charter that targets low-income students.

If these rising success rates prove to be true, the civil rights and anti-poverty implications are significant. Is it possible to identify any anti-poverty program that has demonstrated effectiveness of this magnitude?

In the education field alone, consider Head Start, an early childhood education program that platoons of statisticians have argued about for decades, citing evidence of either small gains or no gains, depending on which study. What these charter networks are doing with college graduation goes far beyond scratching around for small-bore gains.

NEW PLAYERS ON THE FIELD

As part of this series, we profile most of the major players who have graduates past the six-year mark and describe their college preparation and tracking strategies.

Interestingly, the most compelling stories about improving college graduation rates may arise from the charter networks new to the push to make sure their graduates make it through college.

Los Angeles–based Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, for example, has a lower college success rate of 25 percent. That’s in part due to their rapid push into expanding the number of high school students they serve. They were also late to shift their focus toward tracking alumni in college, and they strive to limit additional spending on expensive guidance programs, for example, so they can offer themselves as a model that succeeds with low-income students relying on the same funding that goes to traditional public schools.

Can Alliance’s recent, low-cost method of using alumni and mentors boost their low degree-earning rates? That lesson may prove more valuable than lessons learned from KIPP’s more expensive college-tracking network, especially to traditional school districts unable to afford teams tracking their students into and through college.

If Alliance can make meaningful gains, then so could thousands of traditional school districts. And the same observation holds for what Green Dot, which started its college-tracking effort only two years ago.

THE WORK OF PIONEERS

The charter networks profiled in this series are pioneers in this campaign — fulfilling one of their original charter school missions of becoming incubators of innovation. As such, their discoveries matter greatly.

Here’s a taste of what the front runners are learning: High school grade point averages matter far more than expected, and efforts to bolster GPA in high school give students the persistence skills needed to make it through college.

Another key lesson-learned: Like it or not, SAT scores matter a lot — not just in getting admitted, but also in persisting — which means pushing high school juniors into extensive preparation work for the test.

And the bottom line of every charter network: Research the hell out of which colleges work for their kids, and make sure they go there!

What readers are likely to find compelling about the charter networks profiled in this project are the different approaches used. KIPP, for example, throws its muscle into KIPP Through College, a hands-on campaign that tracks their students all the way through college.

At Uncommon Schools, the muscle focuses more on revamping and strengthening the academic program in grades 5–12 to give their graduates a tailwind through college.

Which works better? At the moment, both networks show roughly equal results.

There are some lessons that all the networks are discovering independently. Higher-ranked colleges do a far better job seeing their students through to a diploma. (In some cases, that range can be dramatic: 90-plus percent success at an elite college, compared with 15 percent or even lower at non-selective universities.) Thus, college counselors do their best to push students to apply for their “reach” schools.

Among the middle-ranked and lower-ranked universities, some do far better than others at ensuring that low-income students win degrees. So, all the charter networks employ aggressive counseling to keep their seniors away from the lesser-rated institutions. Noble network charters has a particularly interesting story there.

Another surprise finding: Many small but selective colleges that have traditionally enrolled nearly all-white student bodies, and are located in rural communities in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, are proving to be great collaborators with inner-city charters. Those colleges are seeing graduation rates above 90 percent with charter students. Who saw that coming?

To diversify their campuses, these colleges eagerly seek out well-prepared minority students (not just minority students from the middle and upper-middle class who went to suburban or private schools, but urban minority students truly in need of a boost) and are willing to take dramatic steps to ensure their success on their campuses.

The challenge for college counselors at these urban charters: getting their students equipped to survive far from home in an environment where few of their classmates share similar backgrounds as theirs: low-income minorities, some of whom are undocumented.

IT’S A REVOLUTION

While college-degree-earning rates may be important, the longer-lasting and still barely noticed development here is the declaration by the KIPPs, Uncommons, Achievement Firsts, YES Preps, and other networks across the country that earning college degrees should be the ultimate accountability measure for their high schools.

This is something new — and potentially revolutionary.

In years past, K-12 accountability measures focused on data points such as third-grade reading scores, the number of ninth-graders taking algebra, or setting new records for the most number of AP tests taken and passed. My prediction: Those data points will remain markers but will be subsumed by the far larger data point of college completion.

Like it or not, college is the new high school, regardless of the chosen career. Who doesn’t need to be a careful reader and writer to work in sophisticated blue-collar jobs? We need to judge high schools by how many of their graduates earn college degrees within six years.

And while charter leaders don’t want to stir up more controversy by saying it out loud, the implication is clear: Traditional high schools need to get on board with the same goal. Again, college is the new high school. And that rule applies equally to low-income minority students, who make up half the student bodies of our nation’s public schools.