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.

City of Los Angeles BULLIES NRA Members/Supporters

A L.A. City Council member wants every vendor for the city—and eventually every employee of the city, to inform the government if they are members or supporters of the NRA.  This is not a joke—the totalitarians on the city council want to abuse and harass those that support the Constitution of the United States.  That is called FASCISM.

“Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s motion, if passed into law, would not ban NRA-connected contractors from doing business with the city, but require them through a new ordinance to disclose any contracts or sponsorships they have with the gun rights advocacy group.

The City Council approved a similar ordinance last year that requires contractors or prospective contractors to disclose that they have placed bids on President Donald Trump’s border wall. Although it did not place a ban on them working with the city, the ordinance sent the message that Los Angeles would be unlikely to hire a contractor with ties to the wall.

Free speech?  Not in Los Angeles.  When will the people stop this invasion of privacy by the government?

handguns

L.A. Councilman Wants City Contractors to Disclose Ties to NRA

Posted by Contributing Editor MyNews LA,,  9/21/18

Saying the National Rife Association is one of the biggest roadblocks to gun safety reform, a Los Angeles city councilman introduced a motion Friday that would require city contractors to disclose any ties they have to the organization.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s motion, if passed into law, would not ban NRA-connected contractors from doing business with the city, but require them through a new ordinance to disclose any contracts or sponsorships they have with the gun rights advocacy group.

The City Council approved a similar ordinance last year that requires contractors or prospective contractors to disclose that they have placed bids on President Donald Trump’s border wall. Although it did not place a ban on them working with the city, the ordinance sent the message that Los Angeles would be unlikely to hire a contractor with ties to the wall.

“The National Rife Association (NRA) has been one of the most significant roadblocks to sensible gun safety reform at every level of government across the nation,” O’Farrell’s motion states. “In Congress, next to nothing has been done due to the NRA’s stranglehold and propaganda machine. According to an audit obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA’s spending on political activities from 1998-2017 aggregated to over $200 million.”

The motion says the city of Los Angeles historically has enacted ordinances in support of gun safety.

The motion notes there have been more than 1,600 mass shootings in America since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which quantifies a mass shooting as when four or more people are wounded or killed in a shooting, not including the shooter.

The NRA did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

 

Colman: SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: A POLITICAL GENIUS?

For years Dianne Feinstein has been called a tool of the GOP, a “moderate” and someone that can work in a bi-partisan manner.  What a crock.  She has great PR people, lying about her voting record, corruption and abuse of the Constitution—she does not want YOU to have a gun for protection, but she has one PLUS armed body guards, paid for by the taxpayers.

The senator may have made it possible for Democratic senators from Republican (red) states — senators who are up for re-election — to vote against Mr. Kavanaugh.  These senators, who purportedly have been leaning toward confirming Mr. Kavanaugh, may now have an excuse to vote against the judge.  These senators include Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), and Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana.)” 

As we now know, the four people Dr. Ford claimed were present, claimed that were not and have no idea what she is talking about.  We know that Feinstein held on to the letter for two months and STILL refuses to allow anyone to read it.  Feinstein is a Progressive/Socialist.  The only difference between her and Alexandra Cortez—the nutty socialist from New York—is age and a smile.

Dianne Feinstein in Outer Space

Dianne Feinstein in Outer Space

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN:  A POLITICAL GENIUS?

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views  9/24/18

Wittingly or unwittingly, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) may have shone a stroke of political genius. 

Ms. Feinstein, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought up the matter of sexual harassment just before her committee was to vote on confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh for a seat of the Supreme Court of the United States.   President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh for a seat on the High Court on July 9, 2018. 

On September 20, 2018, the committee was scheduled to vote on the Kavanaugh nomination.  He was expected to be confirmed on a party-line vote.  The committee has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. 

A few days before the vote, Ms. Feinstein released information saying that Mr. Kavanaugh, over 30 years ago, sexually harassed a woman named Christine Blasey, now Christine Blasey Ford.  At the time of the harassment allegation, both Ms. Blasey and Mr. Kavanaugh were high school students. 

Ostensibly, Ms. Feinstein’s move was designed to kill Kavanaugh’s nomination.  At this time, no one knows what the committee will ultimately do. 

However, Sen. Feinstein’s move may have — and did — produce other consequences. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed its September 20 confirmation vote on Mr. Kavanaugh.  Moreover, the committee agreed to take testimony from Ms. Blasey on September 24 or perhaps a later date. 

The senator may have made it possible for Democratic senators from Republican (red) states — senators who are up for re-election — to vote against Mr. Kavanaugh.  These senators, who purportedly have been leaning toward confirming Mr. Kavanaugh, may now have an excuse to vote against the judge.  These senators include Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), and Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana.) 

The consequences of Ms. Feinstein’s actions may have made Democratic control of the U.S. House of Representatives, in the November 2018 mid-term elections, much more likely.  The harassment charges against Mr. Kavanauagh may have galvanized public opinion in such a way that voters are becoming, or have become, more inclined to choose Democratic candidates.  Recent polls show that Democrats have a good chance of winning control of the House.  For example, on September 21, 2018, pollster Nate Silver’s organization, FiveThirtyEight, reported that there is an 80 percent chance that Democrats will seize the House.  

Ms. Feinstein may have made Mr. Kavanaugh look bad and, by extension, have made President Trump, who is not popular with many Americans, especially women, look even worse.  Ever since he became a candidate for president in 2015, Mr. Trump has been besieged by allegations that he is a misogynist. 

Sen. Feinstein, who herself is up for re-election in November 2018, may have made her bid for a new Senate term inevitable. 

The race for control of the Senate is too close to call. 

Regardless of what the Senate Judiciary Committee decides about Mr. Kavanaugh, Ms. Feinstein, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992, may have done the Democratic party a great favor.   

If the House goes Democratic, Ms. Feinstein may be able to take much of the credit.   And if the Senate also goes Democratic, Ms. Feinstein may receive even more plaudits.

 

City asks court to validate parcel tax funding teacher salaries, preempt legal challenges

Government schools demand all the money they can get.  But, there is little correlation between the money collected and spent and the quality fo education.  Taxation for schools is based on what the educrats can get, not what can be spent efficiently and with quality.  If it were, all schools would be Charter Schools, and the parents and teachers would non them, not unions and politicians.

“The San Francisco City Attorney’s office filed a preemptive lawsuit Friday asking the court to validate the passage of Proposition G, an annual parcel tax that is set to increase the salaries of San Francisco educators over the next two decades.

Placed on the June ballot through a voter signature drive, Prop. G authorizes the city to collect a $298 parcel tax from property owners to fund a 7 percent wage increase for San Francisco Unified School District educators. It passed with a majority vote of 60.76 percent.

Educators have been receiving the pay hike since August, but the tax has yet to be enacted, placing the onus of fronting the wage increases of some 3,600 educators on the district.

You read that right—a tax that is explicitly for the purpose of paying salaries—totally illegal.  But since this is San Fran and this is the Nullification Sate, laws means very little.  Will the courts stand up foer the law or the special interests?  If it stands up for the special interests, another reason for decent people to leave the State—before the State bankrupts them.

Money

City asks court to validate parcel tax funding teacher salaries, preempt legal challenges

By Laura Waxmann, SF Examiner,  9/21/18

 

The San Francisco City Attorney’s office filed a preemptive lawsuit Friday asking the court to validate the passage of Proposition G, an annual parcel tax that is set to increase the salaries of San Francisco educators over the next two decades.

Placed on the June ballot through a voter signature drive, Prop. G authorizes the city to collect a $298 parcel tax from property owners to fund a 7 percent wage increase for San Francisco Unified School District educators. It passed with a majority vote of 60.76 percent.

Educators have been receiving the pay hike since August, but the tax has yet to be enacted, placing the onus of fronting the wage increases of some 3,600 educators on the district.

Concerns for Prop. G’s validity have been raised due to legal challenges against another measure that passed with a simple majority in June that raises gross receipts tax on commercial rents to subsidize child care in San Francisco.

In August, business organizations sued The City to prevent the implementation of proposition C, the Universal Child Care for All measure that was also placed on the ballot through a voter initiative. They argued that the tax is a special tax and therefore subject to a two-thirds majority requirement rather than the simple majority threshold to pass.

The city’s lawsuit asserts Prop. G was passed and enacted in a lawful manner and is being filed for the purpose of judicial examination. It asks the court to confirm its validity and post notices in daily newspapers and at public libraries.

“In the absence of prompt validation of Proposition G proceedings described in this complaint, The City’s ability to ability to collect the parcel taxes authorized by Proposition G, and to thereafter fund the SFUSD educational measures specified in Proposition G, will substantially be impaired,” The City contends in the lawsuit.

Prop. G is expected to raise $50 million annually, but payments haven’t gone into effect as The City has not yet authorized collection of the tax.

“This is part of the process to validate the proposition,” said Susan Solomon, president of the United Educators of San Francisco. “It’s a good thing.”

Solomon said that the school district started paying teachers the increased wage in late August, but the money being used for the raises right now is district money, which they will not hold the city liable for if Prop. G is invalidated.

“As this saga unfolds, assuming the best happens, the taxes will start coming into the school district in January,” she said. “But this was a wonderful, good faith act on the part of the district to make sure that educators started to see the raise when they came back to work.”

Last year, the City Attorney’s Office issued an interpretation of a Supreme Court ruling that argued that voter driven initiatives are subject to a lower threshold than initiatives placed on the ballot by legislators.

“The California Supreme Court recently clarified that certain restrictions bind local officials but do not bind the voters themselves. San Francisco is confident that when voters act through the initiative process, a simple majority vote is required, rather than the two-thirds majority required when local officials act,” said John Cote, a spokesperson for the City Attorney. “We proactively brought this case to get the certainty that a court order will provide on this issue in order to uphold the will of the voters.”

 

Senator Pat Bates: Another Reason Why the DMV Audit is Needed

The DMV has been illegal registering illegal aliens as voters.  The DMV, even with an appointment could mean up to eight hours waiting in line.  The system is broken.  This, even after the Legislature gave the DMV lots more money.

The request for an audit failed after some members of the majority party did not vote for it. Now, there is another woe adding to the long list of problems at the DMV: the mishandling of tens of thousands of voter registrations enacted by the motor voter law. Senate Republicans expressed concerns that it would undermine the integrity of the electoral system. With this latest news, the public has lost confidence with the DMV. Something needs to be done to gain that trust back. The best way to do so is for the DMV to undergo a nonpartisan audit, which would reveal the extent of its problems and recommendations for fixing them. Enough excuses. Let’s audit the DMV now.

The DMV is unable to handle its main task, drivers and vehicles licenses—now we find it can not handle voter registration.  This is the same government that wants to control your health care—how many will die waiting in line for a doctor?  DMV/Single payor—both waste time, effort and money.  Single Payer is a killer—literally.

DMV

Vista Press: Another Reason Why the DMV Audit is Needed

By Senator Patricia Bates, Vista Press,  9/17/18

The mission of the Department of Motor Vehicles is to license drivers, register vehicles, secure identities and regulate the motor vehicle industry. Given the news reports of outrageous wait times, the DMV is having tremendous difficulty carrying out its most basic duties. But wait, there’s more. Three years ago, California State Senate Republicans foreshadowed a problem with Assembly Bill 1461 (2015) also known as the Motor Voter Law. AB 1461 directs the DMV to automatically register new drivers as voters unless they opt out. At that time, we expressed our concerns about adding to the DMV’s already heavy workload. Furthermore, voter registration was not an area of expertise for the DMV. Fast track three years later and we learned of a troubling problem which adds to the woes of the DMV.

It is disturbing news to hear that the DMV sent the Secretary of State approximately 23,000 erroneous voter registrations. Some drivers who wished to opt out of the program had their information sent to the Secretary of State even though they did not fill out the voter registration forms. The DMV also made mistakes that assigned some voters a different political party preference than the one they chose. We sincerely hope this was not a case of voter fraud. Once again, the DMV falls into the epitome of a state agency that just can’t get it right. It already has been criticized by the public for long wait times which the agency blames on an antiquated computer system and the REAL ID roll-out, a federal law passed in 2005 and needs to be implemented by 2020. Before the 2018 legislative session concluded in August, there was a call for an audit of the DMV by a group of Assembly Republicans. At the hearing convened by members of the Joint Committee on Legislative Audit, DMV Director Jean Shiomoto apologized for the long wait times and reassured the committee that the problem would be corrected by the end of the year.

The request for an audit failed after some members of the majority party did not vote for it. Now, there is another woe adding to the long list of problems at the DMV: the mishandling of tens of thousands of voter registrations enacted by the motor voter law. Senate Republicans expressed concerns that it would undermine the integrity of the electoral system. With this latest news, the public has lost confidence with the DMV. Something needs to be done to gain that trust back. The best way to do so is for the DMV to undergo a nonpartisan audit, which would reveal the extent of its problems and recommendations for fixing them. Enough excuses. Let’s audit the DMV now.

Senator Patricia Bates represents the 36th Senate District in the California Legislature, which covers South Orange County, North San Diego County and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. She is the

Antifa is calling for the killing of Cops, Border Guards and other Law Enforcement—Democrats SILENT

Riots at Cal, the streets of D.C. and numerous other cities, organized and led by Antifa has caused the Democrat Party to become silent.  While the Democrats call Republicans wanting the Constitution to be enforced, Nazi’s and Fascists, they seem to have no problem with violent revolution in our streets.

The author of the Incendiary News piece, Ulrike Salazar, likens Border Patrol agents to SS troops who “take away young boys and girls, tear apart families, throw away undesirables into dark and cramped dungeons.”

Then, after decrying all of the so-called atrocities committed by Border Patrol against illegal immigrants, Salazar writes: “This author only hopes that this chapter in American history will also include the moment when revolutionaries rose up with the masses and slaughtered the fascistic Border Patrol dogs and their bosses, slaying them with revolutionary fire and justice.”

By “bosses,” he presumably means Carla L. Provost, the chief of the U.S. Border Patrol; her boss, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen; and her boss, President Donald J. Trump.”

In the 1930’s the German political parties were silent to the growing Nazi control of the streets and then government.  Today, the Democrats are silent, thus making Antifa violence “normal” and acceptable.  Shame on the American voters for not punishing the violent totalitarians and their enablers.

antifa

Antifa Website Calls for ‘Slaughter’ of ‘Fascistic Border Patrol Dogs and Their Bosses’

 

By Debra Heine, PJ Media,  9/21/18

.

In a post Thursday at far-left antifa website Incendiary News, an activist advocated for revolutionaries to rise up and “slaughter” what he called “fascistic Border Patrol dogs and their bosses,” Far Left Watch reported on Friday.

Disturbingly, far-left activists have in recent months become more brazenly militant and violent in their rhetoric on their websites and social media, as PJ Media has documented here, here,  here, here, and here.

The author of the Incendiary News piece, Ulrike Salazar, likens Border Patrol agents to SS troops who “take away young boys and girls, tear apart families, throw away undesirables into dark and cramped dungeons.”

Then, after decrying all of the so-called atrocities committed by Border Patrol against illegal immigrants, Salazar writes: “This author only hopes that this chapter in American history will also include the moment when revolutionaries rose up with the masses and slaughtered the fascistic Border Patrol dogs and their bosses, slaying them with revolutionary fire and justice.”

By “bosses,” he presumably means Carla L. Provost, the chief of the U.S. Border Patrol; her boss, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen; and her boss, President Donald J. Trump.

In an attempt to fan the flames, Salazar adds: “Who can read this, knowing the plight of the undocumented immigrant masses who struggle daily not for supremacy but basic economic survival, and have the gall to suppress that uncontrollable rage that builds inside you?”

He also calls on fellow radicals to destroy the “settler-colonialism imperialism” of Customs and Border Protection, ICE, and the whole U.S. covernment from “without, not within,” implying through mass violence.

Salazar goes on to praise the Red Guards, a Maoist group that hopes to duplicate in the United States the anarchy and terror Chairman Mao’s Red Guards inflicted on China during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. The group identifies as “antifascist” and has cells throughout the United States. According to Far Left Watch, Incendiary News is run by Red Guards – Austin (RGA)

“Revolutionary organizations throughout the country such as the Red Guards appear to be organizing among the immigrant masses in forming defense units, rallying around the shared slogan of ‘fight ICE with fire!'” he writes, adding, “the time for activism is over. Now is the time for war.”

Now is the time to mobilize the masses, particularly the immigrant masses from Central America and Mexico, to exact revolutionary vengeance and seize power. Without it, everything is just empty words. End the barbarism. End U.S. imperialism!

The Red Guards’ far-left comrades, “Serve the People L.A.,” are showing their revolutionary, anti-capitalist zeal by selling “Fight ICE with Fire” t-shirts:

 

Ivy League Study: Illegal Population is 22 Million, Double Estb. Estimate

Whether we have 22 million illegal aliens, 11 million illegal aliens or just a “few” million illegal aliens, it is still millions that violate our government that refuses to obey and enforce out laws.  Why should honest citizens obey the laws, when government allows millions to violate the law—by giving drivers licenses—allowing them to become attorney—lying on the forms that they are honest and ethical) or allowing them to take American jobs.

“The academics expected their techniques to show the population is smaller than the consensus estimate of 11.3 million. “Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said Edward Kaplan, operations research professor at Yale. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

“We have a conservative estimate that the number is at least 16.7 million,” said Edward Kaplan, an operations research professor at Yale. The study used “over 1 million scenarios accounting for all of the variability in the various parameters that we need for this model [and] on average, we’re estimating something like 22 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.”

How much is this costing our families and businesses, harming our children and elderly, crowding our schools, roads and hospitals?  Any wonder few have respect or trust in government?

Immigration

Ivy League Study: Illegal Population is 22 Million, Double Estb. Estimate

The population of illegal migrants is roughly 22 million, or twice the establishment estimate of 11 million, say three professors from Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Breitbart,  9/21/18

The shocking estimate will force establishment politicians and pro-migration advocates to recalculate the estimated impact of the huge illegal population on wages and salaries, on crime rates, welfare consumption, rental and real-estate prices, productivity rates, and the distribution of job-creating investment funds to coastal vs. heartland states.

The higher illegal population estimate helps explain why Americans’ wages and salaries have risen so little amid apparently record-low unemployment rates, and it also undercuts companies’ loud demands for yet more immigration of foreign workers, consumers, and renters.

The population estimate also raises the political and economic stakes of any amnesty legislation. In 2014, public opposition blocked the bipartisan, establishment, media-boosted Gang of Eight bill, which claimed to offer an amnesty to just 11 million migrants. Currently, advocates for a ‘Dream Act’ amnesty claim it will provide green cards to roughly 3 million sons and daughters of illegal immigrants.

The new estimate also bolsters President Donald Trump’s demand that reluctant GOP and hostile Democratic legislators fund a border wall.

“Our purpose is to provide better information,” said Jonathan Feinstein, an economics professor at Yale. In a video statement, he defended the estimate from likely critics, saying it is an expert analysis, not a political project:

This paper is not oriented towards politics or policy. I want to be very clear. This paper is about coming up with a better estimate of an important number, and we are really trying in this paper to keep away from making any statements about how that could or should be used. It is just a paper to help the debate be organized around some better information, which in my opinion is a good thing to do. I think the debate should always be centered around the best information we can develop.

The academics expected their techniques to show the population is smaller than the consensus estimate of 11.3 million. “Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said Edward Kaplan, operations research professor at Yale. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

“We have a conservative estimate that the number is at least 16.7 million,” said Edward Kaplan, an operations research professor at Yale. The study used “over 1 million scenarios accounting for all of the variability in the various parameters that we need for this model [and] on average, we’re estimating something like 22 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.”

The study says:

The figure [below] also shows our conservative estimate of 16.7 million in Red, and the most widely accepted estimate heretofore of 11.3 million in Blue on the far left. We note that this last estimate is for 2015, but should be comparable since both the estimates based on the survey approach and our modeling approach indicate that the number of undocumented immigrants has remained relatively constant in recent years. Finally, the mean estimate of 22.1 million is shown in black in the center of the distribution.

The new estimate uses new sources of data, such as the fingerprints of migrants caught at the Mexican border, said Mohammad Fazel‐Zarandi, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In contrast, the current estimate of 11.3 million is based on the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey. “It’s been the only method used for the last three decades,” says Fazel‐Zarandi.

The illegal population is higher than expected because more migrants crowded into the United States during the cheap-labor policies of Presidents’ George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, the researchers said.

The inflow leveled off in 2008 once the economy crashed when millions of new migrants and poor Americans were unable to pay their rising mortgage costs.

The existing population of illegals tends to decline as many die of natural causes, or return home, or get “Adjustment of Status” to become legal residents. But the population is being kept level because new migrants — especially foreigners who overstay their visas or who migrate from Central America — offset the natural decline.

The Yale study goes up to 2016, and so does not offer 2017 and 2018 numbers. Many new migrants are overstaying their visas and sneaking across the borders, but President Donald Trump has tightened border defenses against overstays and border-crossers.

The Yale study complements the Census Bureau’s new estimate of the nation’s population and workforce. The bureau concluded the nation has been enlarged by 44.5 million legal or illegal immigrants, plus 17 million children of legal immigrants. Together, the new estimates conclude that the nation’s has a record-breaking foreign-born population of 55 million migrants.

That number is roughly 16.9 percent of the population, or roughly one person six living in the United States.

The study does not examine the number of illegal white-collar workers. That calculation is difficult because academics have not even counted the number of resident white-collar visa-workers, such as L-1 and H-1B visa holders. Breitbart News estimates that U.S. companies employ roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers in jobs that are sought by U.S. college graduates.

Four million young Americans will join the workforce this year, but the federal government will also import 1.1 million legal immigrants, and allows an army of at least 2 million blue-collar and white-collar visa-workers to work U.S. jobs, alongside asylum-claiming migrants and illegal aliens.

Overall, the Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor.

That flood of outside labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions. Immigration also pulls investment and wealth away from heartland states because investment flows towards the large immigrant populations living in the coastal states.

 

Guv Jerry Brown/Sacramento Democrats—Parents Are Just Egg and Sperm Donors—Children belong to the State

We know about the regulations that kill jobs, raise the cost of living, make it expensive to get quality health care and force children in failing schools that think “social justice” being taught is more important than math or science.  In every way possible, the rights of parents are being taken away.

“That’s because of a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown’s signing statement was part history lesson, part environmental lecture.

“Plastic was first invented in the late 19th century,” he begins. “Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences.”

The governor continues: “Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, et cetera — are choking our planet. It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it. And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.”

The Nanny State, government control of every aspect of our lives is in play.  Shouldn’t parents decide about straws?  Shouldn’t parents and a fast food joint decide what to serve customers—not a bunch to totalitarian political hacks in Sacramento.  The fault is not the politicians—we elected this crew and we get what we deserve.  You need to work hard for the November election to begin rolling back this tide of government control.

Straws

Want A Straw At A Restaurant? Or A Soda With Your Kids Meal? New California Laws Make You Ask For Them

Ben Adler, Capitol Public Radio,  9/20/18

If you want to sip through a single-use plastic straw at a dine-in restaurant in California, you’ll soon have to specifically ask for it.

That’s because of a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown’s signing statement was part history lesson, part environmental lecture.

“Plastic was first invented in the late 19th century,” he begins. “Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences.”

The governor continues: “Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, et cetera — are choking our planet. It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it. And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.”

The bill, AB 1884 by Asm. Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), passed the Legislature largely along party lines. Opponents argued that straws only account for the tiniest of fractions of plastic waste. And the law does not apply to fast food restaurants. In fact, a legislative staff analysis suggests it will have little actual impact on reducing plastic waste.

The law takes effect in January.

Brown also signed SB 1192 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), which prohibits California restaurants that sell kids meals from offering soda or juice as the default drink option.

Starting in January, the default drink must either be water, sparkling water, flavored water with no added sweeteners, unflavored milk, or a non-dairy milk alternative.

Customers will still be allowed to request soda or juice at no additional cost.

 

Rejecting one-size-fits-all approach, California governor vetoes later school start time bill

Every once in a while Jerry Brown sides on behalf of the parents and people of California.  Normally he believe s government is smarter than the people—and that the people need government to run their lives.

Gov. Jerry Brown has quashed an effort to mandate later school start times in most middle and high schools by vetoing a bill that would have banned starts before 8:30 a.m.

“This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards,” he wrote in his Thursday veto message for SB 328, authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D–La Cañada Flintridge. “Several schools have already moved to later start times. Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”

While forcing the schools to take away computer classes, science classes, replaced with course in peer counseling, social justice, understanding sexual identities.  At least he will allow local schools to decide when classes can begin—even if the classes have little to do with education.

Close up of alarm clock, woman in background.

Close up of alarm clock, woman in background.

Rejecting one-size-fits-all approach, California governor vetoes later school start time bill

Senate author said he plans to try again next year

Theresa Harrington, EdSource,  9/21/18

Gov. Jerry Brown has quashed an effort to mandate later school start times in most middle and high schools by vetoing a bill that would have banned starts before 8:30 a.m.

“This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards,” he wrote in his Thursday veto message for SB 328, authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D–La Cañada Flintridge. “Several schools have already moved to later start times. Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”

Portantino said he remains committed to the need to delay school start times and plans to “bring this important public health issue back next year.

Lisa Lewis, spokesperson for the nonprofit Start School Later California, which supported the bill, said she intended to continue advocating for later school start times throughout the state and would support another bill in the Legislature. The bill picked up steam this year when it passed the Legislature and was sent to the governor, after failing to win enough votes in the Assembly last year.

Lewis stressed that a state law is needed since most districts in the state have an unhealthy start time of before 8:30 a.m. She pointed to a 2011-12 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reports that nearly 80 percent of schools start before 8:30 a.m.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend the 8:30 a.m. start time based on research that shows teens undergo biological changes when they reach adolescence that makes it difficult for them to go to sleep early, resulting in sleep deprivation that can contribute to poor attendance, lower grades and graduation rates, depression and other health issues.

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” Lewis said of the veto by Brown, whose term ends this year. “I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of it at the state level. I think the current situation has proven that is not being handled adequately at the local level.”

The California Teachers Association, which opposed the bill, was “pleased” that Brown stuck to his support for local decision-making in individual districts, said CTA spokeswoman Claudia Briggs.

“Our members aren’t opposed to changing the start time and never were — they just believed it’s a matter that has to be decided at the local level with input from students, parents and school boards who live in the local community and know the challenges and benefits of current start times,” she said. “They are the ones who are best equipped to determine what start time would be best for their students. We’re glad to see that the governor agrees with us.”

Now, the average school start time for California’s more than 3 million public middle and high school students is 8:07 a.m., according the Centers for Disease Control study.The bill would have allowed districts to continue to offer optional “zero periods,” which are extra classes students can take voluntarily, before 8:30 a.m. It also would have exempted rural districts.

 

Reconciling a Love for Trains with an Opposition to Subsidies

This is a simple issue.  Do you love trains?  Great.  For many years I had an American Flyer train set from the 1930’s.  Love the trains.  But, do I believe that my readers should finance a trip on a train from Los Angeles to San Diego?  Of course not.  As we now know trains are last century transportation—and very, very expensive.  My daughter worked for a summer in downtown L.A.  We live in Simi Valley.  The American taxpayer subsidized her trip downtown with $17.50.  Then, going home, another $17.50–$35.00 a day so she could go to an internship.  Is this fair to the poor and middle class needing money for their own family?

“Amtrak resulted from a similar accident of history. In the 1960s, a passenger train advocate named Anthony Haswell believe that a true national system of passenger trains could be profitable, and lobbied Congress for the federal government to take over passenger trains.

Nothing happened until 1970, when the Penn Central Railroad went bankrupt. Though the company failed because of poor management and industrial decline, railroaders convinced Congress that money-losing passenger trains were at fault, so within four months of the bankruptcy, Congress passed legislation creating Amtrak.

Far from making money, as Haswell expected, Amtrak loses between $1 billion and $2 billion a year. In 2001, Haswell admitted that “I am personally embarrassed by what I helped create.”

Today, taxpayers spend nearly $25 billion a year subsidizing rail transit and Amtrak. Counting all subsidies, urban rail transit costs about four times per passenger mile as much as driving and intercity passenger trains cost about four times as much as flying.

What a scam on the taxpayers.  End the subsidies and you will see transportation based on the needs of the people, not the crony capitalists and unions that are making out like bandits.

train

Reconciling a Love for Trains with an Opposition to Subsidies

by Randal OToole, New Geography,   09/22/2018

 

As a life-long railfan, I love passenger trains. But as a transportation economist, I hate subsidies for the way they dilute productivity and transfer wealth from the many to the few. Thus, I am a reluctant opponent of subsidies to Amtrak and urban rail transit.

Romance of the Rails, a new book that the Cato Institute will publish in October, is my attempt to reconcile these views by looking deep into the history of passenger rail transportation. Rail lovers look back with nostalgia at the Golden Age of passenger trains, roughly 1895 to 1925, when thousands of passenger trains connected every part of America and streetcars rumbled through every city of more than 15,000 people.

What few see is that streetcars and trains were and are so expensive that they were mainly used by the elites and offered little mobility for the average American. In 1920, at the height of the Golden Age, Americans traveled an average of 1,200 miles a year in streetcars and trains, compared with 17,000 miles a year today by automobiles and planes. But while automobiles are relatively egalitarian, most Americans in 1920 rarely, if ever, rode streetcars or trains.

The Golden Age was made possible only by a unique confluence of events that will never be repeated. Many of the key technologies that enabled the Golden Age were invented by one man, Frank Sprague, who deserves to be called the Tesla of transportation.

In the late nineteenth century, most urban jobs were in factories and most factories were in downtowns. But getting people to the jobs was a problem. In 1888, Sprague developed the first workable electric streetcar, and within 15 years more than a thousand American cities had installed such streetcars.

In 1892, Sprague developed the first high-speed electric elevator, enabling high-rise construction that packed even more jobs into major downtowns. In 1898, Sprague developed the first electric rapid transit lines capable of bringing large numbers of workers into those high-rise downtowns. In 1918, Sprague also invented positive train control.

Thus, Sprague is largely responsible for the growth of the monocentric city in which most jobs were located at the hub of a number of rail transit spokes. But even in the early twentieth century, most factory workers were unable to afford to ride rail transit, so they and their families lived in tenements within walking distance of their jobs.

Everything changed in 1913 when Henry Ford developed the moving assembly line for making Model Ts. As is well known, the efficiency of the moving assembly line enabled Ford and other manufacturers who followed him to increase worker pay and reduce the price of their products, thus granting to even unskilled workers the mobility once enjoyed only by the very wealthy. Less well known, and more important to rail transit, is the fact that moving assembly lines required lots of land, so factories moved the suburbs, bringing about the end of the monocentric city and rail transit’s preeminence.

Early buses, such as the 1923 Safety Bus developed by a family of brothers named Fageol, cost less than streetcars, so as transit companies extended lines into the suburbs after 1920, they used buses rather than rail. But those buses cost more to operate per passenger mile than streetcars, so initially there was little motivation to convert streetcars to buses.

In 1927, however, the Fageol brothers introduced the Twin Coach, the first bus that cost less to operate than streetcars. By this time, most streetcar lines were near the end of their expected 30-year lifespans, so hundreds of transit companies began scrapping streetcars and replacing them with buses.

At about the same time, Great Northern Railway president Ralph Budd realized that buses worked better than intercity passenger trains for short trips. So the Great Northern bought a Minnesota bus company, Northland Transportation, and gave the company funds buy out scores of other bus companies. One of the companies Northland bought used a running dog as its logo, and soon Northland changed its name to Greyhound.

In the 1930s, as president of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, Budd helped start National Trailways Lines. Thus, a railroad president could justly be said to be godfather of America’s intercity bus industry.

Budd still believed passenger trains could be competitive over medium and long-distance routes, but the automobile in the 1920s and the Depression in the 1930s had decimated intercity passenger trains. In 1933, Budd attended Chicago’s Century of Progress Fair, where various manufacturers exhibited new products and ideas including diesel engines, stainless steel, air conditioning, and streamlining. Budd put these ideas together and had the Burlington introduce the world’s first diesel-powered streamlined passenger train in 1934. The erudite Budd named these trains zephyrs after the god of the west wind.

In the 1930s, Zephyrs and other streamlined trains revitalized intercity passenger rail because they were faster and more comfortable than the steam-powered trains that preceded them. But they were unable to compete against commercial airliners in the 1950s. By 1958 ridership had declined so much that the Interstate Commerce Commission predicted that passenger trains would disappear by 1970.

Congress responded by offering the railroads a simplified process for cancelling interstate passenger trains. This created the “commuter crisis” when railroads proposed to use this process to cancel interstate commuter trains serving New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. To rectify this, Congress in 1964 offered federal subsidies to states and regions that took over commuter trains. Politically, Congress couldn’t pass a law that helped just four cities, so it offered similar subsidies to all public transit agencies. Within a decade, the transit industry that had been mostly private was nearly all municipalized.

By that time, rail transit survived in just eight urban areas, and initially transit agencies elsewhere were content to run buses. But government’s desire to spend money won out over any effort to be efficient, and today well over 40 urban areas have rail transit lines, most of which could be operated more efficiently with buses.

Amtrak resulted from a similar accident of history. In the 1960s, a passenger train advocate named Anthony Haswell believe that a true national system of passenger trains could be profitable, and lobbied Congress for the federal government to take over passenger trains.

Nothing happened until 1970, when the Penn Central Railroad went bankrupt. Though the company failed because of poor management and industrial decline, railroaders convinced Congress that money-losing passenger trains were at fault, so within four months of the bankruptcy, Congress passed legislation creating Amtrak.

Far from making money, as Haswell expected, Amtrak loses between $1 billion and $2 billion a year. In 2001, Haswell admitted that “I am personally embarrassed by what I helped create.”

Today, taxpayers spend nearly $25 billion a year subsidizing rail transit and Amtrak. Counting all subsidies, urban rail transit costs about four times per passenger mile as much as driving and intercity passenger trains cost about four times as much as flying.

Cost is just one of rail’s disadvantages. Offering door-to-door service, cars are far more convenient, while planes are considerably faster than the fastest high-speed trains. No one would propose a multi-billion-dollar program to save slide rulers from the pocket calculator industry or to save manual typewriters from word processing computers. So, concludes Romance of the Rails, it is time to stop subsidizing the passenger rail industry.

Randal O’Toole (rot@ti.org) is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and author of the new book, Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need, which will be released by the Cato Institute on October 10.

 

The California Legislature Is Finally Out of Session. Here’s How Much Damage It Did This Year.

The old and confused Guv Brown has till September 30 to further destroy the rights of the people of California—and to leave a legacy of totalitarianism, taxation and government control.

Senate Bill 100 was one of those bills that gets national attention because of the audaciousness of its goals. Signed into law last week, it intends to prod California to buy 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045. But it’s typical legislative claptrap. Markets—not government mandates—are going to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Its deadline is 27 years away, which renders it meaningless.

In this case, the 100-percent figure is little more than a headline-grabbing goal. Technology doesn’t exist yet to reach it, unless we want to cover the state’s magnificent landscape with giant bird-killing wind turbines and solar panels. There are no penalties if the state doesn’t reach the goal. The law will almost certainly raise electricity prices, especially in the hottest and poorest parts of the state. But it made for some great press conferences. It’s about posturing over policy.

Who needs science and technology—Brown and the Sacramento Democrats can just mandate the end of reliable, affordable energy in California—and they are doing it.  If you leave now, the value of your home will still be high.  In 3-5 years, the value of homes, thanks to SB 100 and other unachievable pieces of legislation will collapse the housing market—get our while the getting is still possible.

Capitol

The California Legislature Is Finally Out of Session. Here’s How Much Damage It Did This Year.

No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session. That goes double in California.

Steven Greenhut, Reason,  9/21/18

 

It’s that time of year.

The California Legislature has concluded its session and I can again publish one of my favorite quotations, from 19th century New York Judge Gideon Tucker: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” At press time, we’re still waiting to see how many liberty-destroying bills that Jerry Brown will actually sign into law, this being his (mercifully) last signings/vetoes after four total terms as governor.

Last year, Brown signed 859 measures into law. We’ll see this year’s final count in coming days. Not every bill is a bad one. But if you wonder why taxes keep going up, regulations keep piling up, and the tax code becomes more complex, you might think about the sheer volume of legislation that makes its way through both houses of the Legislature.

Rust never sleeps, but at least lawmakers are back in their districts. Unfortunately, the November general-election ballot is loaded with initiatives, which simply are proposed laws decided by voters. One of those would roll back the recent gas-tax hikes, but most float costly taxpayer-backed bonds and regulate our lives and property. Proposition 10, for instance, would remove state limits on local rent control. Hey, if we can’t fix the housing crisis, why not make it worse?

This idea reinforces that simple, easy button “fixes” that exacerbate serious problems are as much the fault of voters and direct democracy as lawmakers. But the Legislature has the market cornered on posturing. Interest groups aren’t going to spend millions of dollars to pass a ballot measure that doesn’t do anything. But legislators will spend their time debating highfalutin measures that are solely about virtue-signaling.

Senate Bill 100 was one of those bills that gets national attention because of the audaciousness of its goals. Signed into law last week, it intends to prod California to buy 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045. But it’s typical legislative claptrap. Markets—not government mandates—are going to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Its deadline is 27 years away, which renders it meaningless.

In this case, the 100-percent figure is little more than a headline-grabbing goal. Technology doesn’t exist yet to reach it, unless we want to cover the state’s magnificent landscape with giant bird-killing wind turbines and solar panels. There are no penalties if the state doesn’t reach the goal. The law will almost certainly raise electricity prices, especially in the hottest and poorest parts of the state. But it made for some great press conferences. It’s about posturing over policy.

Same with the new law restricting money bail. That process was ripe for reform given that people who can’t afford to post bail are far more likely to accept an unfavorable plea deal so they can get home to take of their kids, work and pay the rent. Unfortunately, this measure was amended in the final days of session to give judicial panels so much power that it’s likely that people will languish in jail longer than they would have under the old system. It’s commendable that criminal-justice reform has gotten the attention of the Legislature, but it’s important that such reforms actually accomplish their stated goals. But the press conference was a good one.

When they’re not posturing, lawmakers are busy raising taxes. Assembly Bill 1184 deals with transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft. Their emergence has been a bright spot in the state’s economy, not to mention a great advance for consumers. San Francisco is the heart of that industry, yet this bill would let that city impose taxes on TNC rides originating there—and would impose taxes on the emerging autonomous vehicle and zero-emission vehicle industries.

As my colleague, Ian Adams, and I wrote in our letter to the governor urging a veto: “Autonomous vehicles offer great potential for improving the lives and mobility of Americans. Likewise, zero-emission vehicles offer great potential for reducing pollution. All such technologies should be encouraged, not hampered with additional taxes and regulations.” California progressives don’t understand that higher taxes work against their broader aims. In the end, such measures increase our cost of living, which is why the state tops the nation in poverty.

I’m only scraping the surface of hundreds of bills that passed out of the Legislature this year. A handful are good—such as a now-vetoed bill that would remove a conflict of interest during some county cause-of-death examinations (Senate Bill 1303). But more typically we see efforts such as Assembly Bill 1884 (signed by the governor), which forbids restaurants from handing out single-use plastic straws unless the customer first asks for one.

Given all of California’s serious problems, it’s hard to see the value of that nonsense. Then again, Judge Tucker would understand. We should all be happy the Legislature is out of session for a few months.

This column was first published by the Orange County Register.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. He was a Register editorial writer from 1998 to 2009.