Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

AB 3121: Makes Unions Your Minister/Doctor—Privileged Conversations!

Talk to an attorney, doctor or Minister and your discussions can not be disclosed.  This is not a joke—AB 3121 pretends that your conversations with the extortionist unions are covered by “privilege and can not be disclosed.  So as they harass you, bully you, steal from your paycheck, nothing can be disclosed when you want it to stop.

AB 3121 by Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) is set to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19. The bill would expand the evidentiary privileges given to attorneys and physicians to union agents when they are conversing with employees of a company represented by their union. AB 3121 would make both the union agent and employee the holder of the privilege, allowing the union agent to prevent the employee from disclosing the content of their own communications with the agent, even if it impedes the resolution of a workplace investigation.

You understand that—if a worker complains and brings action against a company and union—facts and information is not allowed to be brought forth.  That means unions and get away saying and doing anything and AB 3121 protects them from the law and civil suits.

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Bill to give union representatives evidentiary privileges to be heard in committee

By Jarrell Cook, Associate Policy Director, CMTA,  6.18.18

 

 

AB 3121 by Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) is set to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19. The bill would expand the evidentiary privileges given to attorneys and physicians to union agents when they are conversing with employees of a company represented by their union. AB 3121 would make both the union agent and employee the holder of the privilege, allowing the union agent to prevent the employee from disclosing the content of their own communications with the agent, even if it impedes the resolution of a workplace investigation.

This bill puts California manufacturers at a significant disadvantage when addressing issues such as claims of sexual harassment and other workplace safety issues and may hinder timely resolutions.

Governor Brown vetoed a similar bill, AB 729 in 2013. CMTA is working with a coalition of business and industry groups to oppose this measure.

 

Federal Judge rules Kansas Can’t STOP Non-Citizens From Voting

In Kansas, thanks to a Federal judge, El Chapo the Mexican drug kingpin, currently in a prison, can vote in a Kansas election.  Vicente Fox or an illegal alien that just turned up in in Wichita, is allowed to vote—no questions asked or proof of citizenship required anymore.

“A federal judge has struck down a Kansas voter citizenship law that Secretary of State Kris Kobach had personally defended.

Judge Julie Robinson also ordered Kobach, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, to take more hours of continuing legal education after he was found in contempt and was frequently chided during the trial over missteps.

In an 118-page ruling Monday, Robinson ordered a halt to the state’s requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The decision holds the potential to make registration easier as the August and November elections approach.”

The Kansas Secretary of State is being punished for enforcing the law by being sent for lessons in how to allow law breakers from foreign countries to vote and destroy the credibility of our elections.  Now that Kansas has done this, how soon before California Democrats end free elections here?  Thought you should know that Kansas elections have been taken over by non-citizens, per a Federal Judge.  Impeachment?

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Judge strikes down Kansas voter law, orders Kobach to take classes

By Jonathan Shorman And Hunter Woodall, Kansas City Star,  6/18/18

 

A federal judge has struck down a Kansas voter citizenship law that Secretary of State Kris Kobach had personally defended.

Judge Julie Robinson also ordered Kobach, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, to take more hours of continuing legal education after he was found in contempt and was frequently chided during the trial over missteps.

In an 118-page ruling Monday, Robinson ordered a halt to the state’s requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The decision holds the potential to make registration easier as the August and November elections approach.

Robinson’s ruling amounted to a takedown of the law that Kobach had championed and lawmakers approved several years ago. She found that it “disproportionately impacts duly qualified registration applicants, while only nominally preventing noncitizen voter registration.”

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“If eligible Kansans’ votes are not counted despite believing they are registered to vote, it erodes confidence in the electoral system,” Robinson wrote.

She ordered Kobach not to enforce the proof of citizenship law and its accompanying regulations.

Kobach’s office said he will appeal the ruling. “Judge Robinson is the first judge in the country to come to the extreme conclusion that requiring a voter to prove his citizenship is unconstitutional. Her conclusion is incorrect, and it is inconsistent with precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court,” his office said in a statement.

At trial, Kobach said the law was working. Since 2000, 129 non-citizens have either registered or attempted to register. Many of them were blocked from registering by the proof of citizenship law, he said.

“The 129 is just the tip of the iceberg…we know the iceberg is much larger,” he said.

The ruling is the culmination of a federal lawsuit filed in 2016. At a bench trial earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union and attorney Mark Johnson represented voters who said they had been impeded from registering by the law.

“This decision is a stinging rebuke of Kris Kobach, and the centerpiece of his voter suppression efforts: a show-me-your-papers law that has disenfranchised tens of thousands of Kansans. That law was based on a xenophobic lie that noncitizens are engaged in rampant elections fraud,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, the vice-chairman of the Senate’s election committee, defended the proof of citizenship requirement. The Leavenworth Republican is running for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District.

“I think that it is clear that certain members of the press and the judiciary are absolutely opposed to Secretary Kobach’s attempt to defend the integrity of our elections,” Fitzgerald said.

Under the ruling, Kobach must instruct all state and county election officers that voter registration applicants do not need to provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Registrants who have not provided proof of citizenship must be listed the same as all other registrants.

Robinson rejected Kobach’s argument that the law was needed to prohibit voter fraud. She said of the tens of thousands of people whose voter registrations have been canceled or suspended because of a lack of proof of citizenship, less than 1 percent have been confirmed to be non-citizens.

Instead of helping to block voter fraud, the law “acted as a deterrent to registration and voting for substantially more eligible Kansans than it has prevented ineligible voters from registering to vote,” she wrote.

The ruling was also a slap against Kobach as an attorney. Robinson wrote Kobach had a “well-documented history of avoiding this Court’s orders.” She repeatedly criticized Kobach’s conduct in court, noting that at least once he tried to introduce evidence despite Robinson having excluded it.

She also wrote that Kobach failed to disclose documents, and she faulted misleading testimony by one of his witnesses.

Kobach was previously fined $1,000 in the case and held in contempt.

“I have a very difficult understanding why someone with Kris Kobach’s educational pedigree can make such poor judgments repeatedly,” Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said after Monday’s ruling.

Rep. Jack Thimesch, R-Spivey, defended Kobach in the wake of the ruling, citing his familiarity with Kobach from his time sitting on the House elections committee. He also supports the proof of citizenship requirement.

“It needs to be there,” he said of the proof of citizenship requirement.

Robinson concluded her ruling by ordering Kobach to take six additional hours of continuing legal education in addition to any other hours required for a law license.

“The additional CLE must pertain to federal or Kansas civil rules of procedure or evidence,” Robinson wrote.

 

Celebs Melt Down over Border Enforcement: ‘Nazis,’ ‘F**king Kidnappers,’ ‘Torturing of Children’

The parents of the 2,000 kids that have been separated from their children KNEW the kids would be taken from them.  Indeed, this is what they wanted—why?  Because they want sympathy.  They could have prevented it by not knowingly violating our laws.  Now the Hollywood crowd is calling law enforcement “Nazi’s” and kidnappers.  Would a good parent thrust their children into government foster care—these illegal aliens WANTED that—and they got what they wanted.

Now, every time a Hollywood celeb donates to a candidate, goes to a Democrat rally, these vicious attacks will come up.  The Democrat candidate will have to answer a simple question—Hollywood believe cops and Trumps are Nazi’s—do you?  If not, then why are you allowing  the celebrities to speak on your behalf?

“Film director and super-producer Judd Apatow accused News Corp. owners the Murdochs of promoting a “propaganda machine,” and appeared to accuse Session of kidnapping the minors being brought across the border by adults illegally entering the U.S.

“The MURDOCH family is part of this torturing of children. They own the propaganda machine.”

Obviously he has emotional problems and needs the government to protect him from his emotional breakdown.  What do you think?

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Celebs Melt Down over Border Enforcement: ‘Nazis,’ ‘F**king Kidnappers,’ ‘Torturing of Children’

Jerome Hudson, Breitbart Hollywood,   6/18/18

Hollywood elites took to social media on Monday and fired one unhinged tweet after another, accusing President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions of instituting U.S.-Mexico border enforcement tantamount to Nazi-like tactics of “torture” and “kidnapping.”

Film director and super-producer Judd Apatow accused News Corp. owners the Murdochs of promoting a “propaganda machine,” and appeared to accuse Session of kidnapping the minors being brought across the border by adults illegally entering the U.S.

“The MURDOCH family is part of this torturing of children. They own the propaganda machine. Fox stars and show runners should speak up! Journalists and athletes should speak up! Maybe their executives should speak up! @SethMacFarlane can’t be the only one with a conscience,” Apatow tweeted, referring to the Family Guy creator who said he was embarrassed to work for Fox because of the network’s news arm.

“He is a fucking kidnapper!” Apatow fumed in response to a video of Sessions talking about President Trump’s immigration agenda. “The Murdoch’s support these policies ! Where are the Fox stars and executives speaking up?! Imagine if it was your kids. Who has a movie, TV show, sporting event, news show at Fox? How can you remain silent when they promote these policies?”

 

Monterey County Supervisors trim budget, laying off 13 positions – including an entire department.

The wealthy, Progressive County of Monterey is broke—so broke it has to lay off workers, cut programs.  But still has enough to finance illegal aliens and protect them, causing more crime in the community.

“Monterey County Economic Development Director Dave Spaur watched his job disappear in real time during a public hearing on June 5. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors met June 4 and 5, attempting to massage the numbers of a $36.2 million budget deficit and hammer out the 2018-19 budget that goes into effect July 1.

Along the way, they were lobbied by department heads and others who wanted to keep county jobs intact, but there was not enough juggling or money from contingency funds and cannabis tax revenue to keep them all. The supervisors spared eight employees from the Animal Services Department that had been initially proposed for layoffs – to the relief of animal advocates – but when Spaur’s department came up for discussion, four positions were slashed, eliminating the department entirely.

Instead of being responsible over the years, it was a County that could not waste enough money to make the Socialists happy.  Now real people are getting hurt—maybe the Socialist will become mere Leftists?  Either way, this is what socialism looks like.

Photo courtesy of kenteegardin, flickr

Monterey County Supervisors trim budget, laying off 13 positions – including an entire department.

Pam Marino, Monterey County News,  6/14/18

 

Monterey County Economic Development Director Dave Spaur watched his job disappear in real time during a public hearing on June 5. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors met June 4 and 5, attempting to massage the numbers of a $36.2 million budget deficit and hammer out the 2018-19 budget that goes into effect July 1.

Along the way, they were lobbied by department heads and others who wanted to keep county jobs intact, but there was not enough juggling or money from contingency funds and cannabis tax revenue to keep them all. The supervisors spared eight employees from the Animal Services Department that had been initially proposed for layoffs – to the relief of animal advocates – but when Spaur’s department came up for discussion, four positions were slashed, eliminating the department entirely.

“I was surprised,” Spaur says. He worked at the job of facilitating relocation of large-scale employers to Monterey County since 2014, and in the past year was also focused on housing. Now he’s facing retirement and his responsibilities will be divided up among other administrators who get to keep their jobs, but their focus will also be divided. “I thought the county wanted to create jobs and generate revenue,” he says.

Over two days, the supervisors agreed to cut 13 filled positions, and let go of 122.48 currently vacant jobs across all county departments. (The total Monterey County staff includes more than 5,700 employees.) Assistant County Administrative Officer Manny Gonzalez was also laid off. “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve the many elected and appointed officials, all my fellow co-workers throughout the organization, community groups and the public,” he wrote in a farewell email, noting his last day will be July 13.

Other vacant positions lost include administrative assistants, an analyst, two data center employees, a Children’s Services case worker and a social worker.

The Sheriff’s Office kept all of its filled positions, but lost 13 vacant positions, including two corrections officers, three sergeants, specialists and clerks. The Health Department lost the most: three layoffs, plus 54 vacant positions encompassing caseworkers, public health nurses, chronic disease prevention specialists and office assistants, among others.

Board Chairman Luis Alejo says the supervisors and departmental leaders worked to preserve as many jobs and services as possible, and maximized cannabis tax dollars. “We were able to keep public safety officers on the street, maintained our health and homeless services and ensured protection of our seniors and children,” Alejo says. He called it a “better budget considering the tough fiscal circumstances of our county.”

It wasn’t all bad news for employees: Besides Animal Services, which was saved from being cut in half, the Monterey County Free Libraries lost no one, and got all $300,000 it asked for to buy new books and materials. “I’ve never been so thrilled in my life,” Library Director Jayanti Addleman says. “I was literally giddy with happiness.”

The supervisors are set to adopt the final budget on June 26.

 

San Fran Supervisor: wants building owners to hire janitors to boost recycling

How do you make it even more expensive to live in San Fran?  “Hundreds of San Francisco’s largest commercial and residential buildings could be hit with daily fines if they fail to recycle properly.

But they could get out of those penalties by hiring janitors to sort the trash, according to a new proposal.”.  This is a town with a $15 minimum wage—and unions, which will demand even more.  In the end the cost will be paid by renters, HOA members and the customers—making the most expensive city in the country more expensive.

“Hundreds of San Francisco’s largest commercial and residential buildings could be hit with daily fines if they fail to recycle properly.

But they could get out of those penalties by hiring janitors to sort the trash, according to a new proposal.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai introduced legislation last week that aims to boost consumers’ recycling rates after it was recently revealed San Francisco will fail to hit its goal of sending no more waste to the landfill by the end of 2020. Sixty percent of the waste going to the landfill could otherwise be recycled.

Will this be the tipping point for responsible people to overthrow the Board of Supervisors—or will families and businesses leave town?  Over 50% want to leave—is this the final nail?

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Safai wants building owners to hire janitors to boost recycling

 

By Joshua Sabatini, SF Examiner,  6/18/18

 

Hundreds of San Francisco’s largest commercial and residential buildings could be hit with daily fines if they fail to recycle properly.

But they could get out of those penalties by hiring janitors to sort the trash, according to a new proposal.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai introduced legislation last week that aims to boost consumers’ recycling rates after it was recently revealed San Francisco will fail to hit its goal of sending no more waste to the landfill by the end of 2020. Sixty percent of the waste going to the landfill could otherwise be recycled.

The “zero-waste” goal was established in 2003 and recycling became mandatory in San Francisco in 2009.

“We will not achieve that goal by 2020. That has a price to consumers. That has a price to ratepayers. It has a price to our environment,” Safai when he introduced the legislation.

The legislation targets large waste generators, or those defined as those customers who have roll-off compactor service or generate 30 cubic yards or more of refuse weekly. That’s places like the Ferry Building, AT&T Park or large apartment sites like Parkmerced.

Department of the Environment spokesperson Charles Sheehan told the San Francisco Examiner that the proposal would impact about 600 buildings, including “some of the largest multifamily residential apartment buildings.”

Under the legislation, the department would visually inspect these buildings at least once every two years. If their garbage is not sorted enough — the threshold will be determined by the department if the proposal is approved — they would get a warning notice. If the site remains non-compliant after nine months, they could be hit with fines of up to $1,000 per day.

They could have those fines waived if they hire what’s called a “zero-waste facilitator,” defined as a person or business that has the experience to sort waste: in other words, janitorial services. They would have to hire the “zero-waste facilitator” within 45-days and contract the service for at least two years.

If the sites remain non-compliant after nine months and do not hire a zero-waste facilitator they would be listed on the department’s website as violators.

“Zero waste facilitators are an excellent resource for large refuse generators that want to increase recycling and composting and decrease the trash they send to landfill,” Sheehan told the Examiner Friday. “Supervisor Safai’s legislation will help us ensure that these large generators are complying with the City’s mandatory recycling and composting ordinance. The more our City recycles and composts, the closer we’ll get to our zero waste goal.”

Safai told the Examiner that many large buildings already have janitor services. He said his proposal will “start to chip away” at the 60 percent of waste going to the landfill but otherwise could be recycled. “It’s going to be significant,” Safai said.

The proposal could also benefit SEIU Local 87, which represents janitors and supported Safai in his election.

Recology, The City’s contracted garbage company, offers customers three bins to properly recycle. Blue bins for things like bottles and cans, green bins for compostable items like food and black bins for non-recyclable items that go to the landfill. Anything tossed into the black bins, even if it is recyclable, is not sorted by Recology and will end up in the landfill.

In 2000, San Francisco sent 872,731 tons of waste to the landfill, which decreased to 428,048 tons in 2012. In 2016, that has increased to 580,992 tons.

The law would go into effect Jan. 1.

Safai also said he plans to introduce legislation to combat the amount of construction debris that is illegally being dumped off in the landfill and not properly recycled.

 

Walters: The Capitol weighs another big, dicey power play

Gray Davis was Recalled from office in large part due to his energy policy, forcing Californians to go without energy—and causing a massive increase in the price of energy—fifteen years later we are still feeling the effects.  Now the Democrats are trying to ruin our sources of energy, raise the price—already 3-4 times the price paid by Texans!

“Critics, including some environmental groups, contend that power coming into California from other states could be generated, directly or indirectly, in ways that California itself is shunning, such as big dams, nuclear and even coal.

California, they say, could be compelled to use that power if CAISO, whose board members are appointed by the governor, is made subservient to a regional agency dominated by big utilities and generators.

Billionaire Warren Buffet, whose Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate owns Pacificorp, a huge power supplier in the Pacific Northwest, would be a major player.

Californians were sold a bill of shoddy goods 22 years ago and are still paying the price in higher electricity bills.”

Does this explain the Buffett support of Democrats—he makes money from their policies’.  Just a thought.

Photo courtesy of lydiashiningbrightly, flickr

The Capitol weighs another big, dicey power play

By Dan Walters, CalMatters,  6/18/18

There aren’t too many folks in and around the state Capitol who were there 22 years ago, when the building’s denizens committed one of California history’s most horrendous errors.

The Legislature unanimously passed—and then-Gov. Pete Wilson signed—a misnamed, misbegotten “deregulation” of the state’s electric power system.

Utility executives, political leaders and even consumer groups all promoted the plan, promising that it would be a win-win for everyone.

But some of it was pure political hokum—such as giving power customers a much-ballyhooed rate cut that actually was financed with a bond issue those same consumers would repay, with interest, through their bills.

Most importantly, it turned out to be a monumental failure.

It opened the door to market manipulation by Enron and some other big energy players, drove one major utility (Pacific Gas and Electric) into bankruptcy, almost sent another (Southern California Edison) into insolvency, caused blackouts and wound up costing California consumers many billions of dollars.

This brief excursion into not-so-distant history is important because the current crop of Capitol politicians, including Gov. Jerry Brown, is pushing another big reconfiguration of California’s electric power system.

Newly drafted legislation would integrate California’s grid with those of other Western states and perhaps cede operational authority from a politically accountable agency, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to a new regional agency dominated by the power industry.

CAISO was created after the deregulation debacle to provide more accountability, but it’s the only regional operator organized that way. All others in the country are industry-dominated, as federal law prefers.

Assembly Bill 813, which passed the Assembly more than a year ago, has been stripped of its previous content behind closed doors and now contains the new scheme.

The plan seems to have broad support from both the traditional power suppliers and so-called “green-power” generators.

Backers have formed two front groups to push for its passage, arguing that integration would give California an outlet for its excess solar and wind power.

“Evolving California’s grid operator from a single state to a western region will lower rates, create jobs, and will allow for a cleaner grid by increasing the amount of wind and solar we can responsibly manage,” Sarah Webster, vice president of San Francisco-based Pattern Energy, said in a statement on behalf of one group.

It’s also touted as making it easier for California to wean itself from carbon-based power, because the state could draw on juice from other states to back up relatively unreliable green sources. That, apparently, is why Brown, a fervent advocate for reducing greenhouse gases, is a strong backer.

So what’s wrong with all of that?

Critics, including some environmental groups, contend that power coming into California from other states could be generated, directly or indirectly, in ways that California itself is shunning, such as big dams, nuclear and even coal.

California, they say, could be compelled to use that power if CAISO, whose board members are appointed by the governor, is made subservient to a regional agency dominated by big utilities and generators.

Billionaire Warren Buffet, whose Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate owns Pacificorp, a huge power supplier in the Pacific Northwest, would be a major player.

Californians were sold a bill of shoddy goods 22 years ago and are still paying the price in higher electricity bills.

This is a very complex issue that isn’t sexy clickbait for the media, but they should be paying more attention. And politicians had better think very carefully before they vote for another power play just because it looks good on paper.

 

Unions of Concerned Scientists Declares TODAY Halloween With Scare Tactics

Santa Clara County is going to have the OCEAN flood it by 2045—just 27 years from now—Imagine San Jose miles from the ocean under water.  Yup, that is the conclusion of the Union of Concerned Scientists—would you trust these folks to tell the weather tomorrow.  Obviously they are claiming that the Bay Area is not going to exist in less than three decades.  Goldwater in 1964 suggested to San Fran that it recede from the nation—but he was joking.

“Sea-level rise could swamp thousands of homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, most in Silicon Valley and Marin, within 30 years. A new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, relying on federal government projections for climate change, found that more than 20,000 homes across California would chronically flood by 2045. That is about a mortgage-length’s-time from now.

UCS climate scientist Kristy Dahl, an author of the new report, says she noticed that the Bay Area homes most vulnerable to rising seas are in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Marin counties. These are suburbs where people have typically moved to feel safe, says Dahl.”

Obviously counting house is also not in their wheelhouse—if the Biblical flood happens, as they predict, hundreds of thousands of homes would be flooded—not 20,000.  Wonder how they got any degrees?  I would not hire anyone with a degree from the same Universities that gave them a degree.  Would you?

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By 2045, Rising Seas Could Flood Thousands of Coastal Bay Area Homes

Molly Petersen, KQED,  6/18/18

Sea-level rise could swamp thousands of homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, most in Silicon Valley and Marin, within 30 years. A new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, relying on federal government projections for climate change, found that more than 20,000 homes across California would chronically flood by 2045. That is about a mortgage-length’s-time from now.

UCS climate scientist Kristy Dahl, an author of the new report, says she noticed that the Bay Area homes most vulnerable to rising seas are in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Marin counties. These are suburbs where people have typically moved to feel safe, says Dahl.

“The very suburbs people flocked to because they were affordable, you know we think of as being kind of safe havens,” Dahl says.

In one East Palo Alto zip code, more than a quarter of houses could see chronic inundation, on 26 or more days a year.

“That’s on par for example with the number of homes that are at risk in Key West Florida,” Dahl says.

Dahl says one conclusion is that coastal property in the Bay Area is overvalued.

The Bay Area’s sea-level related risks aren’t limited to homes. Critical communal assets like power plants, water treatment plants, transit stations, highways and airports line the shoreline. Previous regional studies estimate, if a freeway floods five times as many people as the affected homeowners will feel the pain.

Local counties say they’re aware of these risks — and they’re now starting to plan for them. Marin County will consider spending on climate change planning as part of its budget process this week.  And in San Mateo County, supervisors next week will consider whether to spend $429,500 of state money on climate vulnerability assessments over the next fiscal year.

 

Guv Brown Taxes Carbon—Farmers Put Carbon in the Ground—without tax $$$

Jerry Brown is forcing corporations to pay $3-5 billion a year for tax credits to move carbon from one area to another.  Farmers are taking the carbon and putting it in the ground—without tax dollars.  Which is better for the economy?  Which do Democrats prefer?

“Carbon ranching is coming to Santa Barbara County, but farmers aren’t growing carbon — they’re putting it back into the ground. With the help of compost and cattle, native grasses can sequester organic carbon, enriching the soil and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

For example, a single acre of grazed grasslands can remove the equivalent of 3.9 tons of CO2 each year, according to a compost application plan outlined by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.”

Al Gore wants to get rid of cows—now we know he is as illiterate about the science of carbon and cows as he is about foreign policy and economics.  Great news for the cows—they can be saved.

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Carbon Farming coming to Central Coast – from The Bottom Line

Note – The Bottom Line is the student newspaper at UC Santa Barbara. 

By Tanner Walker, Bottom Line—UC Santa Barbara Newspaper,  6/1/18

Carbon ranching is coming to Santa Barbara County, but farmers aren’t growing carbon — they’re putting it back into the ground. With the help of compost and cattle, native grasses can sequester organic carbon, enriching the soil and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

For example, a single acre of grazed grasslands can remove the equivalent of 3.9 tons of CO2 each year, according to a compost application plan outlined by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

According to the Community Energy Council of Santa Barbara, 270,000 acres in the county are suitable for compost application. Even if only 15 percent of the available land received a single dusting of compost, their analysis “shows that the increased sequestration could offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions from the county’s agricultural sector.”

The 8,000 -acre Chamberlin Ranch in Los Olivos is currently home to carbon ranching test sites from 12 partners including UC Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District, and the Cachuma Resource Conservation District.

For the farm managers, Russell Chamberlin and his cousin Mary Heyden, adding a top layer of compost enriches the soil, provides more food for their cattle, and helps their business adapt to a changing climate.

“Weather systems have changed dramatically, more and more every year,” said Heyden in an interview with the Santa Barbara Independent. “In this area, with compost, the land stays cooler and wetter,” growing more robust grasses.

Chamberlin worked and went to school in northern California, where carbon ranching via compost has been well tested. “Work in Marin on compost on rangeland had generated a lot of excitement and attention … I got interested in making the ranch a learning site for these practices,” he said in an interview with the Santa Barbara Independent.

The Marin Carbon Project was started by a ranch owner whose pastures turned into a weedy mess after his cattle stopped grazing. After successful results from returning cattle herds to the farm, the owners began investigating other ways to enrich the soil and bring back native grasses, including carbon ranching via compost coverage. In a test area covered with compost, they found 45-50 percent more carbon was sequestered compared to the control area.

Adding compost greatly increases carbon sequestration, but it has other benefits that farmers are more concerned with. Soil in compost-covered areas stays cooler and holds more water than untreated areas, extending the grass growing season, reducing the need for irrigation, and providing more food for cattle.

While herds of cattle do benefit from the increased forage that compost provides, their presence is an essential part of increasing carbon sequestration.

 

WeHo Proposes Making Tenants Pay 50% of the Cost of Earthquake Retrofits

California has earthquakes.  We also have lots of homes and businesses that are not up to date with the retrofitting needed to protect the homes and businesses as much as possible.  In twenty years, science and construction techniques will show even better ways for protection.  Yet, the cost of retrofitting NOW will continue to be paid by owners and renters in twenty years.  In fact, this will add to the already high housing costs.

“Starting with a meeting on Saturday, over the next month, West Hollywood renters and landlords will be asked their opinion on a proposal that tenants pay 50% of what it costs their landlord to upgrade their apartment building to protect it from an earthquake. That charge would have a cap of $30 to $40 a month and would extend for 10 years.

The proposal was brought before the city’s Rent Stabilization Commission on Thursday night by Peter Noonan, acting director of West Hollywood’s Human Services and Rent Stabilization Department. It includes a waiver for tenants who are dealing with an as-yet unspecified financial hardship.  The commission hopes to develop a final proposal next month, which then will be brought before the City Council for approval.

A little here, a little there, eventually it pushes families into poverty or Texas.  This is a needed expense—we must afford it—but we can’t.  One of the struggles of living in California—oh and home and business insurance is also going up.

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WeHo Proposes Making Tenants Pay 50% of the Cost of Earthquake Retrofits

WeHoVille,   6/15/18

Starting with a meeting on Saturday, over the next month, West Hollywood renters and landlords will be asked their opinion on a proposal that tenants pay 50% of what it costs their landlord to upgrade their apartment building to protect it from an earthquake. That charge would have a cap of $30 to $40 a month and would extend for 10 years.

The proposal was brought before the city’s Rent Stabilization Commission on Thursday night by Peter Noonan, acting director of West Hollywood’s Human Services and Rent Stabilization Department. It includes a waiver for tenants who are dealing with an as-yet unspecified financial hardship.  The commission hopes to develop a final proposal next month, which then will be brought before the City Council for approval.

That approach to covering the cost of earthquake retrofitting, known as the “cost pass through,” is one of two options discussed by the commission. The other option is a “net operating income” increase, which would allow a landlord to increase the rent of his tenants by an amount sufficient to ensure that his profit from the building doesn’t fall below a certain level. That level would be calculated by looking at the owner’s profit in a certain city-designated year and determining how much the retrofit costs reduced that profit.

The Net Operating Income (NOI) approach was not recommended by Noonan or the Rent Stabilization Commissioners for several reasons. For one, it would be a permanent rent increase. Another reason is that it would have a higher impact on buildings with a majority of long-term tenants. Because of the city’s rent stabilization law, a landlord is able to increase a tenant’s rent only by 75% of the annual increase in the consumer price index for the Los Angeles/Riverside/Orange County area. However a landlord can raise the rent to a market rate when a tenant leaves an apartment. So buildings with higher tenant turnovers tend to generate more profit for a landlord than do those with more long-term tenants.

While the commissioners agreed to seek public input on the proposal brought forward by Noonan, not all of them were satisfied with it. Commissioner Garrett Charity, for example, said there should be some way to require a landlord to justify the amount of the retrofit cost that he is passing along to tenants by showing its impact on his profits, which is what is required in the NOI approach. Charity also said that the amount of the increase shouldn’t be the same for a studio apartment as it would be for a one-bedroom apartment.

A number of West Hollywood residents spoke out against any requirement that renters have to share the cost of upgrading the buildings they live in, with several claiming their buildings are owned by wealthy people who can afford to bring them up to grade to survive an earthquake.

The city is recommending that tenants share some of the cost of the required retrofit to reduce the likelihood that a building owner might decide to sell his building rather than carry the cost of retrofitting it. That likely would take the building off the rent-stabilization market, with the new owner evicting the tenants and converting it to condominium units.

That possibility was raised in a letter to the commission from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.

“The proposed seismic retrofitting ordinance will place extreme burden and expense on ‘mom and pop’ owners in West Hollywood,” said the letter from AAGLA’s Janet Gagnon, director of government affairs and  external relations. “Most of the impacted buildings are older and already require substantial amounts of ongoing maintenance and upkeep. These buildings are already under rent control and yield very little margin and barely keep their owners in business. If these owners are unable to pass-through the costs of seismic retrofitting, many will be forced to sell their property. As a result, these buildings will be converted into luxury apartments, condominiums or other uses, and as a result, the supply of affordable rental housing will be decreased.

The city is holding a meeting to get the public’s input on the options at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the city auditorium, which is located at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., just north of the West Hollywood Library.

Baby Steps: Why MacDonald’s Eliminating Plastic Straws in Ireland and the UK is Important to LA

Remember the good old days when you go to a grocery bag and the store provided the bags?  Now you bring your own bag or they make a dime from you.  It adds up.  Britain and other nations are in the process of outlawing Q-Tips and plastic straws—you will have to bring your own straws.  Los Angeles and many cities outlaw Styrofoam cups.  Now MacDonald in Ireland is ending the use of plastic straws.

What is next—all plastic utensils will be outlawed—and then you will be bringing your own forks and spoons to the fast food joint of your choice—or pay them for wooden utensils—if we are allowed to cut down trees to make them.

“The primary concern of anything from nuclear material to plastic bags must be its long-term impact on and degradability in the environment. Several years ago, Germany required that the price of something like a washing machine be priced from neutral in nature to neutral in nature, which meant not buying relatively cheap space in West Africa from poor countries to dump their European waste.

While charging 10 cents a bag at the grocery store and elsewhere has to some extent cut down on the consumption of plastic bags, it’s not enough to address the bigger underlying problem, as manifested by huge plumes of plastic debris floating in and washing ashore from the planet’s oceans. Recently, 17 pounds of plastic debris was found in the stomach of a pilot whale.

We are going back to the stone age.  I discussed this with my good friend Celeste Greig and she asked a good question.  If we are not allowed straws, plastic forks, knives or spoons, at, say a chili joint, how do we eat?  Easy, I said, the Lord gave you fingers—that is the goal of the Left, no water, no energy and eating like cavemen (I will use the sexist term).  Ready for the new world—400 B.C.?

plastic pollution

Baby Steps: Why MacDonald’s Eliminating Plastic Straws in Ireland and the UK is Important to LA

Leonard Isenberg, City Watch LA,  6/18/18

 

FIRST PERSON-Might there be a glimmer of hope for the environment and our species’ long-term survival on this planet, now that MacDonald’s has finally acknowledged a plastic-in-the-environment crisis of epic proportions?

Given the magnitude of the problem, it might not seem like much that MacDonald’s has started to implement a program to eliminate the use of single-use-plastic-straws in the UK and Ireland. However, it’s at least a beginning, which makes me wonder why we all can’t — individuals and businesses — do this on our side of the Atlantic and, indeed, around the world.

It began as a not well-thought-through convenience over 70 years ago, but now it’s a fair question to ask: how much has single-use-plastic and other non-biodegradable materials compromised the livability of our planet’s environment not only for ourselves but for every other species? The assault went into overdrive during the post-WWII period, all because big business was allowed by the government to ignore the environmental ramifications of what it manufactured. Whether it was product packaging or the product itself, manufacturers have been able to wash their hands of responsibility for much of what they make once it’s put into the stream of commerce. The idea was to sell as much as possible without imposing even reasonable restrictions on consumers, like the minor inconvenience of asking them to bring their own reusable bags or containers — something that could be a first step in turning things around in the environment.

The primary concern of anything from nuclear material to plastic bags must be its long-term impact on and degradability in the environment. Several years ago, Germany required that the price of something like a washing machine be priced from neutral in nature to neutral in nature, which meant not buying relatively cheap space in West Africa from poor countries to dump their European waste.

While charging 10 cents a bag at the grocery store and elsewhere has to some extent cut down on the consumption of plastic bags, it’s not enough to address the bigger underlying problem, as manifested by huge plumes of plastic debris floating in and washing ashore from the planet’s oceans. Recently, 17 pounds of plastic debris was found in the stomach of a pilot whale.

I find it hard to believe that in 2118, scientists couldn’t develop a more biosphere-friendly technology for dealing with this and other problems. But first, the desire for short-term corporate profits would have to no longer hold primacy over this battle for survival.

In our capitalist system that is supposedly built on competition — but where competition no longer seems to exist — what would happen if a market or other business opened selling only biodegradable items? I know it would get both my attention and my patronage.

If you have any similar ideas designed to turn around the not-so-slow-motion degradation of our environment, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

 

(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles, observer and a contributor to CityWatch.