Archives for October 2017

Which legislators stood up for California taxpayers this session?

CapitolIn 2017, the California Legislature launched a sustained and withering assault on middle-class taxpayers. Its victories were numerous and significant: A $75 per document recording tax was approved, affecting up to 400 different transactions; a gas and car tax, which takes effect November 1, will cost California households another $600 a year; and an increase in environmental regulations, known as cap-and-trade, could increase the cost of fuel by an additional 70 cents/gallon by 2030.

In the face of such devastating policies, it is easy for taxpayers to question whether legislators will ever be held accountable. However, a useful tool to assist taxpayers is the annual legislative Report Card published by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Introduced back in 2007, the point of the report card is to document how lawmakers have voted on issues important to taxpayers. Lawmakers tend to hide behind statements, often of dubious veracity, to justify their votes. The report card sets aside motives, politics and party affiliations and simply asks one question: did legislators stand up for the interests of taxpayers?  While politicians may obfuscate, the numbers don’t lie.

HJTA’s 2017 scorecard featured a list of 22 bills which, represents a broad sample size, making it easy to see who is either a friend to taxpayers or beholden to the special interests that pervade the state Capitol. Beyond the obvious tax increases listed above, other bills include those that make it easier for local governments to increase sales taxes, and allow for San Francisco Bay Area residents to increase bridge tolls. Attacks on the initiative process are another common theme highlighted in the scorecard.

Given the policy breadth of the bills listed above, it should come as no surprise that the 2017 scorecard was nothing short of abysmal. A record 79 legislators failed the scorecard while only 24 got a grade of “A.” Ten legislators received the coveted and difficult to get perfect score in 2017: Assembly Members Travis Allen, Brian Dahle, Vince Fong, Jay Obernolte and Jim Patterson. They were joined by State Sens. Joel Anderson, Patricia Bates, Jean Fuller, Mike Morrell and Jeff Stone. These legislators should be commended for their diligence on behalf of taxpayers. …

Click here to read the full article from the Orange County Register

San Fran Chronicle Columnist Writes Justification for Death Threats to Trump Cabinet Official

Would you buy a paper that has a columnists justifying death threats to anybody—especially a Federal Cabinet member?  Why would a legitimate newspaper keep paying a journalist that supports the killing of a public official?  Is the San Fran Chronicle a legitimate newspaper or a mouth piece for Antifa and the Democrat Party?

“The article by Mark Morford, whose biography says he has been writing for the Chronicle and sister-site SF Gate since 1998 and is described on the site as “one of the Bay Area’s premier yoga instructors,” describes Pruitt as a “banally evil, milquetoast, science-denying government administrator” who has been receiving a “surprising-but-then-again-not-really number of death threats.”

“Scott Pruitt, the pallid, oily anti-environment corporate shill beloved by the least palatable humans in the corporate world, is getting a lot of death threats, up to five times more than any EPA head in history,” writes Morford, who goes on to suggest that the death threats may be coming from “God herself.”

We will see if the chronicle fires him or explains why killing of public officials are acceptable?  Is the San Francisco Chronicle becoming a mouthpiece for the New Brownshirts?

EPALogo

San Francisco Columnist Writes Justification for Death Threats to Trump Cabinet Official

Writer says death threats to EPA’s Scott Pruitt ‘make a warped sort of sense’

BY: Brent Scher, Washington Free Beacon,  10/26/17

An article published on the San Francisco Chronicle’s sister-site on Wednesday offers justification for the increased number of death threats to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, saying the threats “make a warped sort of sense.”

The article by Mark Morford, whose biography says he has been writing for the Chronicle and sister-site SF Gate since 1998 and is described on the site as “one of the Bay Area’s premier yoga instructors,” describes Pruitt as a “banally evil, milquetoast, science-denying government administrator” who has been receiving a “surprising-but-then-again-not-really number of death threats.”

“Scott Pruitt, the pallid, oily anti-environment corporate shill beloved by the least palatable humans in the corporate world, is getting a lot of death threats, up to five times more than any EPA head in history,” writes Morford, who goes on to suggest that the death threats may be coming from “God herself.”

“They are, perhaps, coming from environmental advocates, or teachers, or lovers of life and humanity and nature, or distraught mothers, worried that Pruitt’s actions will, quite correctly, endanger the lives of their children,” Morford writes. “They are, most likely, coming from God herself.”

Morford in the piece accuses Pruitt of creating a sound proof office space so he could “block out the screams of all the children, poor, and elderly he is harming and even (eventually) killing, more or less directly, as he whispers dreamy deregulation porn into the withered, cauliflower ears of coal barons, oil magnates and leathery brothers Koch.”

Morford concludes the article by comparing Pruitt to the devil and saying the threats on his life make sense.

“Wherever [the death threats] are coming from, it does make a warped sort of sense,” he writes. “What’s true for Pruitt and Trump is true for the devil himself. When you mean the world ill, the world will mean it right back at you.”

Audrey Cooper, the Chronicle’s editor in chief, would not comment on the contents of Morford’s column, explaining that SF Gate “currently operates independently from the Chronicle newsroom and occasionally contracts with outside columnists, such as Mark Morford.”

“I’m not going to comment on something I had no role in publishing,” said Cooper. Cooper said Morford does not write for the Chronicle‘s newspaper or website.

The headline of Morford’s piece changed from “Why do so many people want the E.P.A.’s Scott Pruitt Dead?” to “Why the EPA director’s security now costs $2 million” after the Washington Free Beacon’s report.

By Friday, the article had been further edited to morph Morford’s claim the death threats came from “God herself” to a claim that they came from “Mother Nature.”

Morford also added an attack on the Washington Free Beacon as a “literalist, desperately unloved sect of right-wing sycophants” that “mis-read” his words.

“Wherever [the death threats] are coming from, it does make a warped, dangerous sort of sense,” Morford’s article now reads. “Unless you belong to that literalist, desperately unloved sect of right-wing sycophants who sacrificed all your critical thinking skills at the altar of neo-Nazi, pro-Trump Breitbartism, you surely understand: this is no advocacy for violence. Only the smallest of minds and most unstable of souls would mis-read my words in such a way.”

Morford’s final sentence, previously a reference to Pruitt being the devil, has also been changed to a claim that Pruitt is sending “death threats to the world and all who live on her.”

“This is but a simple acknowledgement: when you send death threats to the world and all who live on her, the world will, quite naturally, send them right back,” is how the article now ends.

There is no note by SF Gate that the article has been updated. Morford’s biography on the site has also been changed, with the statement that he has written for the Chronicle removed.

Colman: A NEW LOOK AT ABORTION

Ronald Reagan said one of his worst actions as California Governor was to sign the bill authorizing abortions.  Later on he became an advocate of the sanctity of life, admitting his mistake.  That said, it is still believed that Roe v Wade was correctly decided in favor of abortion as a Federal policy.  Others, like myself, believe it was wrongfully decided because it does not protect human life—and an unborn baby is human life—it is not a blob, it is not a monkey, it is a human life.

For the legal minded, abortion should be a State decision,, based on the 10th Amendment, not a Federal issue based on the “right to privacy”.  Should taxpayers be forced to fun the killing of babies?  At the very least, take this private—stop using tax dollars to kill off future generations.

Is there a non-government way to provide abortion?  The answer is yes. 

A non-government organization could sell “abortion insurance.”  The plan works this way:  A women who is concerned about an unwanted pregnancy could pay an insurance premium to cover an abortion.  If the woman were to become pregnant with an unwanted child, she could have her insurance carrier pay for an abortion. 

A problem arises if a woman cannot afford abortion insurance.  Then, a private entity, like a charity, a community group, or a religious organization could step in and pay the bill.”

A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York August 31, 2015. Picture taken August 31, 2015. To match Insight USA-PLANNEDPARENTHOOD/   REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  - RTX1RKFV

A NEW LOOK AT ABORTION

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views,  10/31/17

Should she or shouldn’t she?  The question of a woman’s option to obtain an abortion keeps coming up. 

Currently, abortion is legal. 

In California in 1967, Gov. Ronald Reagan signed a bill legalizing abortion.  The bill is still the law. 

In January 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion legal for women.  However, the High Court applied some restrictions on legally terminating a pregnancy. 

Abortion divides each of America’s two major political parties.  Some Democrats and some Republicans oppose abortion.  Other Democrats and Republicans support the procedure. 

Does anyone really know when life begins? 

When he ran for president in 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said life begins at conception.  Not everyone agrees with McCain.  

Among middle-income and high-income women, there is support for abortion. 

Republican woman in the mold of Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, or Sandra Day O’Connor tend to favor a woman’s right to decide whether or not to terminate of a pregnancy.  These three women, if they were all alive, might not say so publicly, but the odds are that these individuals are the kinds of Republican women who support abortion. 

Most Democratic women support the right of a women to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. 

Generally, Protestant women (except evangelical Protestant women) and Jewish women are strong supporters of a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. 

The cost of an abortion can range for $300 to $3000.  The use of the French abortion pill (RU-486) has a cost range of $0 to $1,000. 

Some elected officials oppose abortion.  These officials may not be aware of the cost of raising a child.  The cost, from birth to age 18, is about $13,000 a year (about $234,000 for 18 years.  In more costly states like California and New York, the cost of child-raising can be 20 percent higher. 

The costs associated with child-raising do not cover such expenses as college. 

Measured strictly in cost terms, an abortion is much cheaper than raising a child. 

Certain elected officials are opposed to abortion and do not want government funds used to pay for the procedure. 

Is there a non-government way to provide abortion?  The answer is yes. 

A non-government organization could sell “abortion insurance.”  The plan works this way:  A women who is concerned about an unwanted pregnancy could pay an insurance premium to cover an abortion.  If the woman were to become pregnant with an unwanted child, she could have her insurance carrier pay for an abortion. 

A problem arises if a woman cannot afford abortion insurance.  Then, a private entity, like a charity, a community group, or a religious organization could step in and pay the bill. 

The debate about abortion can and will go on forever.  What is not debatable is that the cost of an abortion is much less than raising a child. 

A famous expression says:  “The rich get richer, and the poor get children.”  A variant of that expression would be:  “The rich get abortions, and the poor get children.”

 

CalPERS Lied–and Cities Are Dying

CalPERS is corrupt.  Its former Chair is in prison for corruption, a former Board member committed suicide rather than answer his corruption problems.  Now we find that the current fiscal crisis was caused by lies of CalPERS almost twenty years ago.

“How would you feel if someone told you they’d just increased your retirement benefit by 50%, took five years off the age you’d have to be when you could retire and collect this benefit, and then told you there would be almost no additional cost because the stock market was roaring? In California, that’s what happened in December 1999. “You” were “ALL PUBLIC AGENCIES,” and their countless thousands of public employees, and “someone” was the biggest public employee retirement system in the state, CalPERS. Click here to read the agency’s 12/23/1999 analysis.

CalPERS now has a $1.4 trillion unfunded liability, forcing agencies to double the mandatory contribution—forcing cities to cut cops and other basic services.  All of this based on a lie.  Thought you should know this is an agency that needs to be closed—so it stops lying.

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

Did CalPERS Fail to Disclose Costs of Historic Bump in Pension Benefits?

by Ed Ring, California Policy Center,  10/26/17

How would you feel if someone told you they’d just increased your retirement benefit by 50%, took five years off the age you’d have to be when you could retire and collect this benefit, and then told you there would be almost no additional cost because the stock market was roaring? In California, that’s what happened in December 1999. “You” were “ALL PUBLIC AGENCIES,” and their countless thousands of public employees, and “someone” was the biggest public employee retirement system in the state, CalPERS. Click here to read the agency’s 12/23/1999 analysis.

Then how would you like it, two years later, after the market had “corrected,” you were told, via a CalPERS board resolution, that an “exception” had been made to generally accepted actuarial accounting standards, and you could choose to value your savings that had been set aside to pay for your retirement benefits at a value 10% greater than the actual market value of those assets at the time? That’s what happened in June 2001. Click here to read that 6/06/2001 letter.

Did CalPERS comply with the law when they did this?

Today, we’re left to wonder whether those actions violated state law. California Government Code Section 7507 requires that an enrolled actuary notify elected officials of the actual costs of any benefit increase.

Here is an excerpt from Section 7507:

The Legislature and local legislative bodies shall secure the services of an enrolled actuary to provide a statement of the actuarial impact upon future annual costs before authorizing increases in public retirement plan benefits. An “enrolled actuary” means an actuary enrolled under subtitle C of Title III of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and “future annual costs” shall include, but not be limited to, annual dollar increases or the total dollar increases involved when available.

The California Policy Center recently re-released a policy brief entitled “Did Your Agency Comply with the Law When Increasing Pension Formulas?” That policy brief provides clear instructions to any local elected official or local activist who would like to gather and view for themselves possible evidence of 7507 violations in their city or county.

The stakes are high. Senate Bill 400, enacted in 1999, increased pension benefit formulas by roughly 50 percent for California Highway Patrol officers. Over the next five years or so, nearly every state agency, city, and county in California followed suit, not only for their police and firefighters, but for all public employees regardless of their job description. The ongoing financial impact of this on civic budgets has been severe, and there is no end in sight.

Back in 1999, pension expenses as a percent of total operating budgets in California averaged around 3 percent. Today they average over 11 percent. Depending on how fast agencies are required to pay down the unfunded liabilities on their pension obligations, and depending on how pension investments perform over the next several years, pension expenses as a percent of total operating budgets in California could rise to over 30 percent.

With rare and incremental exceptions, all attempts so far to reform pensions – and so restore financial sustainability and robust services to California’s public agencies – have been thwarted. Reformers continue to challenge these special interests in court, but progress has been slow and expensive, with no rulings of any significance.

Did CalPERS comply with the law when they offered their agency clients the option to greatly increase pension benefits? Did they comply with California Government Code Section 7507?

Using Pacific Grove as an example of CalPERS’ followup, here’s the “Contract Amendment Cost Analysis – Valuation Basis: June 30, 2000,” in which a CalPERS actuary presented to Pacific Grove’s elected officials three distinct values for the assets they had invested with CalPERS, and gave them the liberty to choose which one they’d like to use. The higher the value they chose for their existing assets, the lower the cost from CalPERS to pay for the benefit enhancements they were contemplating.

Option 1: “No increase in actuarial value of pension fund assets.”

Option 2: “Actuarial value of assets increased by twice the increase in the present value of benefits due to this amendment, limited to 100% of market value of assets.”

Option 3: “Actuarial value of assets increased by twice the increase in the present value of benefits due to the amendment, limited to 110% of market value of assets.”

In plain English, the CalPERS actuary is inviting the elected officials to pick from three differing calculations of how much money they’ve already set aside to cover future retirement payments. The difference between “actuarial value of assets” and “market value of assets” is what creates this wiggle room. While the pension fund investments may have a well-defined market value at any point in time, in order to avoid having to continually adjust how much needs to be contributed into the fund by the employers each year, a “smoothing” calculation is applied that takes into account the market values in previous years.

Obviously, based on the above three choices, how assets get “smoothed” is a subjective exercise. Otherwise there would only be one option. So guess which option was chosen by the City of Pacific Grove? Evaluating the table on page 4 of the 6/30/2000 CalPERS cost analysis provides hints.

Option 1: Employer contribution will be 25.1% of payroll.

Option 2: Employer contribution will be 20.0% of payroll.

Option 3: Employer contribution will be 6.2% of payroll.

Pacific Grove selected option 3. Is that any surprise? Consider this absurdity: CalPERS left it up to these elected officials to enact their benefit enhancement, and then told them the cost to do so could vary by over 400 percent. Of course they picked the low payment option.

Did this disclosure comply with California Government Code Section 7507? Despite the presence of disclaimers dutifully included by CalPERS, arguably it did not. CalPERS offered Pacific Grove three alternative valuations for their pension fund investments, and then presented three very different payment requirements depending on which option they chose. The diligent reader will investigate these documents in vain for additional evidence that CalPERS offered Pacific Grove – or any of its other participating agencies – a usable “statement of the actuarial impact upon future annual costs.”

Even the actuary who wrote the analysis for Pacific Grove hedged his bets. In the “Certification” section on page 5, the actuary wrote, “The valuation has been prepared in accordance with generally accepted actuarial practice except that [italics added], under a CalPERS Board resolution, an increased actuarial value of assets may be substituted for the actuarial value of assets that would have been produced by the current and generally accepted actuarial asset smoothing method described in the annual report.”

What CalPERS did was to offer public agencies the option to “smooth” upwards the value of the assets they’d set aside to cover those enhanced retirement benefits they’d awarded during the stock market bubble. They persisted in these tactics to enable agencies that had not yet enhanced their benefits to do so, in order to “compete” with other agencies and retain employees.

Not only were these asset values smoothed, of course. The payments demanded each year by CalPERS were also smoothly increased. Smoothly and inexorably, with no end in sight.

REFERENCES

CalPERS notice to All Public Agencies, 12-23-1999 – “New 3% @ 55 and 3% @ 50 Formulas, and Change in Benefits Cap for Safety Members”
http://calocalelectedofficials.org/wp-content/uploads/CalPERS-December-23-1999-Letter-Regarding-3-at-50-to-Agencies.pdf

CalPERS notice to All Public Agencies, 6/06/2001 – “New CalPERS Board Resolution Concerning Value of Assets Used in Calculation of Cost of Contract Amendments”
http://calocalelectedofficials.org/wp-content/uploads/CalPERS-July-6-2001-Letter-to-Agencies.pdf

CalPERS analysis for City of Pacific Grove – “Contract Amendment Cost Analysis – Valuation Basis: June 30, 2000
http://calocalelectedofficials.org/wp-content/uploads/Pacific-Grove-CalPERS-3-at-50-Cost-Estimate.pdf

CLEO Policy Brief – “Did Your Agency Comply with the Law When Increasing Pension Formulas?”
https://calocalelectedofficials.org/determine-city-county-complied-law-increasing-pension-formulas/

California Senate Bill 400, enacted 1999
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/99-00/bill/sen/sb_0351-0400/sb_400_bill_19990929_chaptered.html

CLEO Policy Brief – “Coping With the Pension Albatross” – provides links to sources for historical and projected escalation of pension costs as a percent of operating budgets
https://calocalelectedofficials.org/coping-pension-albatross/

 

Sales Of Homes For $500K & Less Plummet In SF Bay Area

You can not buy a home under $500,000, that isn’t a garbage pit in the SF Bay Area.  Imagine the cost of “affordable housing”.  On November 1 when gas taxes go up 12 cents a gallon and diesel goes up 20 cents, California will be even less affordable for the Bay Area middle class.

“CoreLogic research analyst Andrew LePage said that the number of deals last month for less than $500,0000 dropped 28 percent in a year and the number of deals for less $300,000 plummeted 41.5 percent.

A report by Metrostudy shows that only 12 percent of new homes are priced under $500,000 because prices in suburbs are rising.

Last month, the median price for new and used homes in the Bay Area was $739,000, down from $740,000 in August 2017. The median price last month is up 13.7 percent from $650,000 a year ago as buyers bought in areas with higher-priced homes, according to LePage.”

California is in a for housing bubble.  Last month the Bay Area lost 4700 jobs—the month before the loss of approximately 3,000 jobs—California is in trouble when the only area of the State with a good economy has high prices and losing jobs.  Watch this carefully.

 

sanfrancisco3

“The story in this market continues to be affordability.”

By California Patch  10/28/17    

BAY AREA, CA – Two studies released Friday show the number of homes for sale in the San Francisco Bay Area for half a million dollars or less is falling, according to the studies by CoreLogic and Metrostudy.

CoreLogic research analyst Andrew LePage said that the number of deals last month for less than $500,0000 dropped 28 percent in a year and the number of deals for less $300,000 plummeted 41.5 percent.

A report by Metrostudy shows that only 12 percent of new homes are priced under $500,000 because prices in suburbs are rising.

“Many first-time buyers face a daunting challenge in one of the nation’s priciest housing markets,” LePage said in a statement.

Greg Gross, Metrostudy regional director for Northern California, said in a statement, “The story in this market continues to be affordability.”

Last month, the median price for new and used homes in the Bay Area was $739,000, down from $740,000 in August 2017. The median price last month is up 13.7 percent from $650,000 a year ago as buyers bought in areas with higher-priced homes, according to LePage.

The all-time high median price is $775,000 set in June of this year.

Last month’s sales of new and used homes dropped 7.5 percent from 7,934 to 7,338 in a year. Last month’s sales were also 11.7 percent lower than the historical average for September.

Historical data for the report start in 1988.

Uber-Style ‘Surge’ Pricing Could Be Coming To A Theatre Near You

Be ready for confusion while going to the movies to see a film in which the actors act—after denouncing capitalism, freedom of speech and promote their hate America agenda.  Want to go to the movies on a Friday night you will be paying more than for a Tuesday evening.

“Under a new pricing strategy announced this week, ticket costs would vary by showtime. At peak times, shows would cost more. At slow times, they’d cost less.

It’s a model already used by ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, and by sports teams.

“This test could be the first step toward a pricing model that drives incremental revenue in peak periods, and incremental attendance in non-peak periods,” said Regal CEO Amy Miles in a Wednesday press conference.

The change is one of many strategies the company is leaning on to boost revenue after a box office shortfall this summer. Box office totals declined 14 percent in the third quarter this year, and 4.6 percent since last September.”

My guess is that instead of adding customers, it will be so confusing that many will stay home, watch Netflix or wash their hair.  Do we really want to pay to see folks that think we are boobs for supporting Trump for President, believe in free speech and want to be safe?  Not to mention the Weinstein effort—which caught it latest sexual predator—Kevin Spacey for abusing a 14 year old boy years ago.

uber

Uber-Style ‘Surge’ Pricing Could Be Coming To A Theatre Near You

Sammy Caiola, Capitol Public Radio,  10/27/17

 

Would you see a movie midweek instead of on a Friday night if it meant saving a few bucks on a ticket? Regal Entertainment Group wants to find out.

The company owns Regal Cinemas, United Artist Theatres and Edwards Theatres. There are nine Regal theatres in the greater Sacramento area.

Under a new pricing strategy announced this week, ticket costs would vary by showtime. At peak times, shows would cost more. At slow times, they’d cost less.

It’s a model already used by ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, and by sports teams.

“This test could be the first step toward a pricing model that drives incremental revenue in peak periods, and incremental attendance in non-peak periods,” said Regal CEO Amy Miles in a Wednesday press conference.

The change is one of many strategies the company is leaning on to boost revenue after a box office shortfall this summer. Box office totals declined 14 percent in the third quarter this year, and 4.6 percent since last September.

Some experts have predicted continuing decline for the movie theatre industry as subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to succeed.

Natomas moviegoer Larry Turner says if movies are going to get expensive on the weekends, he and his wife might prefer to pick a different movie time — or just stay home and watch Hulu.

“No, we’re not going on a Saturday night because it’s expensive. Let’s just do Thursday morning, 11 o’clock, cause that’s how it is.”

Miles did not announce which markets will see the new pricing structure in 2018.

 

Democrats give MILLIONs of $$$ to Known Serial Sexual Harasser

Democrat Raul Bocanegra was caught in 2009, while an Assembly staffer, harassing women.  Since then he is known as a serial harasser, yet the Democrat Party has given him millions of dollars to assure women are unsafe in the Capitol.  He won his first election, lost the second and won his third—millions spent to provide California with a Harasser in Chief.  While this is just one story about his abuse of women, is it really the only one?

“Bocanegra was a Capitol staffer himself back in 2009 when Elise Flynn Gyore says he put his hand down her blouse at an after-work event at Mix Nightclub in downtown Sacramento. She filed a complaint with the Assembly the next day.

After an outside investigation, the Assembly barred Bocanegra from communicating with Gyore. But he kept his job, and he won his own Assembly seat in 2012.”
Will the Assembly Democrats stop supporting this abuser?  Absolutely not—so when they claim to be supportive of women—they lie.  Did you expect anything else from these hypocrites?

In this photo taken Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, third from left, flanked by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, right, and other Democratic lawmakers, discusses a pair of proposed measures to protect immigrants, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. California is among the states that voted for Hillary Clinton and that could find themselves at odds with President-elect Donald Trump on such issues as immigration, health care and climate change. Rendon said the intent of the legislation is to put a "firewall" around Californians. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

First Name Emerges In Capitol Sexual Harassment Scandal

Ben Adler, Capitol Public Radio,  10/27/17

 

A California Assemblyman is the first lawmaker to be named in the sexual harassment scandal sweeping through the state Capitol. A legislative staffer says Democrat Raul Bocanegra groped her at a public event eight years ago.

Bocanegra was a Capitol staffer himself back in 2009 when Elise Flynn Gyore says he put his hand down her blouse at an after-work event at Mix Nightclub in downtown Sacramento. She filed a complaint with the Assembly the next day.

After an outside investigation, the Assembly barred Bocanegra from communicating with Gyore. But he kept his job, and he won his own Assembly seat in 2012.

Gyore told her story publicly for the first time Friday to the Los Angeles Times. In a statement, Bocanegra apologized for what he called an “unfortunate experience” and said he’s learned from it.

 

 

Mexican man charged with using fake ID, voting in elections–for 25 Years!!!

Illegal Aliens vote—this one has voted for up to 25 years—using the Id of a dead man.  He also broke numerous other laws.  Another reason for the Feds to enforce our immigration laws—and to indict California government officials that protected this criminal and his actions for more than two decades.

“A Mexican man living in Sacramento is accused of using a dead man’s identity for 25 years and illegally voting in five elections.

A federal grand jury indicted 62-year-old Gustavo Araujo Lerma on Thursday for passport fraud, identity theft, conspiracy to commit unlawful procurement of citizenship and illegal voting.

This crook also used his phony “citizenship” to get his wife to become a citizen as well—deport them both.  Think we have honest elections?  Then meet Gustavo Araujo Lerma.

Voted

Mexican man charged with using fake ID, voting in elections

KPCC,  10/28/17  

A Mexican man living in Sacramento is accused of using a dead man’s identity for 25 years and illegally voting in five elections.

A federal grand jury indicted 62-year-old Gustavo Araujo Lerma on Thursday for passport fraud, identity theft, conspiracy to commit unlawful procurement of citizenship and illegal voting.

It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.

Federal prosecutors say that for over a quarter of a century, Araujo used passports in the name of “Hiram Enrique Velez,” a U.S. citizen who has died.

Authorities claim he voted in numerous federal, state and local elections and used the false identity to obtain residency and then citizenship for his wife, Maria Velez.

She’s charged with conspiracy and unlawfully procuring citizenship.

Araujo could face 15 years in prison if convicted.

 

Horseshoeing school sues California for ban on teaching students without high school diploma

Per the State of California, you can not learn the trade of “horseshoeing” unless you have a high school diploma.  In LAUSD you can get a diploma with a “D” average—in other words you are a functional illiterate.  What does bad education have to do with the ability of shoeing a horse?

“The supposedly progressive state’s 2009 law that bans “private postsecondary educational” institutions from admitting students without a high school diploma or government-approved equivalent is the target of a First Amendment lawsuit by the Institute for Justice.

Earlier this year state regulators threatened to shut down Bob Smith, owner of the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School, for giving a future to students who couldn’t or didn’t want to pursue the officially recognized path for education, the libertarian public-interest law firm said this week.

He had to turn down Esteban Narez, “a ranch hand working odd jobs” to support his family, from enrolling in his eight-week course to become a farrier because Narez didn’t have a diploma.

That set up the grounds for the First Amendment federal lawsuit IJ filed to protect “communicating a message” via horseshoe vocational training:”

Another example of how government harms the individual.  Yes, make government education great again—but stop standing in the way of people getting great training and good jobs.

graduation cap diploma isolated on a white background

Horseshoeing school sues California for ban on teaching students without high school diploma

Greg Piper, The College Fix,  10/27/17   

California really doesn’t want people with less education to have a bright economic future.

The supposedly progressive state’s 2009 law that bans “private postsecondary educational” institutions from admitting students without a high school diploma or government-approved equivalent is the target of a First Amendment lawsuit by the Institute for Justice.

Earlier this year state regulators threatened to shut down Bob Smith, owner of the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School, for giving a future to students who couldn’t or didn’t want to pursue the officially recognized path for education, the libertarian public-interest law firm said this week.

He had to turn down Esteban Narez, “a ranch hand working odd jobs” to support his family, from enrolling in his eight-week course to become a farrier because Narez didn’t have a diploma.

That set up the grounds for the First Amendment federal lawsuit IJ filed to protect “communicating a message” via horseshoe vocational training:

The classroom portion focuses on horseshoeing theory, horse anatomy, movement, and lameness, along with business advice on client management, self-employment, and how to interact with barns, trainers, and veterinarians. …

PCHS has taught students from all walks of life. A typical class has 12 to 14 students, usually a mix of hobbyists and aspiring professional farriers.

California lays out a process for students without a diploma or GED to become eligible to enroll in private postsecondary schools, known as an “ability to benefit examination.”

But the four federally recognized exam providers don’t test any skills that are necessary to shoeing a horse, and the California Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education has not used its authority under the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 to approve alternatives, the suit claims.

Smith’s horseshoeing school is particularly valuable to students who are “not proficient in written English” because it lets them “take their exams orally” if needed and it has graduated students who used that option, the suit says.

Because vocational schools would have to buy an ability-to-benefit examination from a private provider, Smith’s school would have to eat that cost or add it on top of the $5,500 tuition it charges students, which covers all their costs in the program.

The suit says state law is out of whack with federal law on student loans, which Smith’s school doesn’t accept:

By contrast, the California Act applies even to ability-to-benefit students who want to pay tuition at a regulated institution using their own money. The minimum operating standards prohibit the admission of ability-to-benefit students, who have not taken and passed an ability-to-benefit examination, whether or not the student is taking out loans to attend school.

Narez is an ideal plaintiff to challenge the law because he’s older than California’s “compulsory age of secondary education,” he had to leave high school after a football injury and his family couldn’t afford surgery for it, and he got a job rather than return to school to help pay for medical bills.

He represents the American dream:

When he was again well enough to work, Esteban took a part-time job at a therapy barn—the Monterey Bay Horsemanship & Therapeutic Center—where he helped special needs children learn to socialize through contact with horses.

His job at the therapy barn sparked a passion for horses. He worked during the three-hour sessions with kids in the morning, and then he would do odd jobs as a ranch hand in the afternoons.

In 2016, Esteban left the therapy barn to work full time as a ranch hand at the Willow Pond Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains north of Soquel, California. He now works there seven days a week.

Though he has an outstanding job offer if he graduates from a farrier school like Smith’s — the only such full-time institution in the state — Esteban can’t enroll because of California’s law that requires him to deprive his family of financial support while he get a government-approved education that is useless for his intended vocation.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to rule state regulations unconstitutional to the extent that they stop horseshoeing schools from teaching would-be students in Esteban’s educational position.

Read IJ’s summary and the lawsuit itself.

 

UC Berkeley Killing Free Speech on Campus Via “Security” Fees

UC Berkley has decided to end free speech on campus.  Instead of doing by edict, they are doing it via “security” fees and limiting the audience—along with forcing groups to give the University an eight week “notice” of the meeting.

“Retaining aspects of previous policies, the policy requires that student organizations assume full responsibility for the facility and security costs of their events. Additionally, at least eight weeks prior to their event, student groups must reserve a venue and file a UCPD services request form.

The revised policy combines several previous procedures into a single list of requirements. It applies to “Major Events,” which are described as events that may have an anticipated attendance of more than 200, interfere with other campus activities or affect campus security. As stated in the policy text, the policy will be applied “without regard for perspectives or positions expressed in connection with those events.”

So if Antifa or other totalitarian/violent organization threatens to riot, the cost of security goes up to the tens of thousands of dollars, ending the opportunity to hear a speak.  Even if you can afford the security, in most cases you will only allow 200 people to hear the speaker.  Free speech?  Not at UC Berkley—the Brownshirts have full control of education at this once world class school.

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley student groups face revised event policy

By Revati Thatte, DailyCal,  10/26/17

A number of UC Berkeley student groups are facing difficulties in organizing events after the implementation of a new campus event policy in August.

Retaining aspects of previous policies, the policy requires that student organizations assume full responsibility for the facility and security costs of their events. Additionally, at least eight weeks prior to their event, student groups must reserve a venue and file a UCPD services request form.

The revised policy combines several previous procedures into a single list of requirements. It applies to “Major Events,” which are described as events that may have an anticipated attendance of more than 200, interfere with other campus activities or affect campus security. As stated in the policy text, the policy will be applied “without regard for perspectives or positions expressed in connection with those events.”

“We are continuing to work to find the best ways to ensure we can balance supporting our students’ free speech, ensuring safety for our community, and creating a culture of care for all of our students,” said Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Stephen Sutton in an email.

Cal Hacks held their hackathon from Oct. 6-8. Cal Hacks director Jimmy Liu said in an email that the organization could not secure Wheeler Auditorium for their opening and closing ceremonies because they missed the deadline to book the venue.

Cal Hacks has been held at Memorial Stadium for the past three years, and every year, the campus required the organization to pay for security, facility and venue fees for the entire event.

“For us, it’s an unfortunate fact that we’re already used to,” Liu said in an email. “We hope in the future the campus can be more supportive of student organizations — we would rather use the funds to throw a better event.”

On Oct. 12, the Berkeley Forum hosted Josh Earnest, former President Barack Obama’s press secretary. According to Berkeley Forum President Haley Keglovits, the eight-week deadline to secure a venue limited access to the event to only 200 people, despite a larger interested audience.

Keglovits said in an email that speaker schedules are often not finalized far enough in advance for clubs to secure a venue before the deadline. This, in effect, reduces event attendance drastically, according to Keglovits.

“It is certainly possible that we will have to cut attendance to 200 again and won’t be able to accommodate everyone who wants to see a speaker,” Keglovits said in an email. “While we still have the ability to host our events, we certainly will not be able to serve as large of an audience as we have in the past, which is disappointing.”

Manu Meel, executive vice president of external affairs of BridgeUSA at Berkeley, said that the event policy deters students from inviting “constructive” speakers to campus, citing the expenses incurred by having high-profile guests.

Sutton said in an email that the revised policy is currently open to the public for feedback and will close on Oct. 31. According to Sutton, the department is working with the ASUC and student members of the Compliance and Enterprise Risk Committee, or CERC, to “ensure we have robust student feedback.”

Sutton said in an email that as of Wednesday, the campus has received closed to 300 individual comments, of which 90 percent are from students.

Meel stated that BridgeUSA at Berkeley hopes to partner with campus and invite many prominent speakers from both sides of the aisle to participate in “point-counterpoint” panels. Given the high expense, however, Meel added the only way that his organization can bring speakers to campus is if it splits the cost with several other student organizations.

“A lot of student organizations are unable to afford such expensive fees,” Meel said. “Students who are serious about inviting constructive speakers are prevented from doing so.”