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.

Marshall Tuck: Why CA needs charter schools and how to improve them

California parents should have a choice—either send their children to failed government schools, with a few quality ones, or choose a charter school that meets the needs of their children, not government or special interests.  Education is supposed to be about the child, not government.  For too long we cared more about government than children.

“Too many of our high poverty children-of-color have been stuck in failing public schools and I believe this cuts directly against our values. The middle class and upper class have good options and opportunities. But I believe public charter schools can most help our children with the greatest need.

I have led a charter school network and district public schools and believe I am uniquely positioned to support charter public schools and districts public schools as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.”

That is why I am supporting Marshall Tuck for Superintendent of Public Instruction.  His opponent represent unions, Tuck represent parents and students.  It is time to make kids the priority.

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My turn: Why CA needs charter schools and how to improve them

 

By Marshall Tuck, Special to CALmatters, 10/18/18

I believe non-profit, high-quality public charter schools- especially in areas where there have been few or no high-quality public school alternatives- are a good thing for our children and our public education system.

When considering charters, I first think about my dear friend Shirley Ford, who passed away recently. When I first met her, Shirley didn’t want to send her son, Robert, to Inglewood High because she believed the school would fail her son.

Inglewood High had a 4 percent proficiency rate in math in 2002. Shirley didn’t have the money to move to a different neighborhood with better public schools or to pay for a private school.

Shirley took a chance on a new public charter school in her neighborhood, Animo Inglewood, part of the Green Dot network of schools I helped create. She helped build that school, and it changed her son’s life. The best part is that Robert is now a math teacher.

Too many of our high poverty children-of-color have been stuck in failing public schools and I believe this cuts directly against our values. The middle class and upper class have good options and opportunities. But I believe public charter schools can most help our children with the greatest need.

I have led a charter school network and district public schools and believe I am uniquely positioned to support charter public schools and districts public schools as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

I was pleased to see Gov. Jerry Brown sign legislation this year that banned for-profit charter schools. We need some other policy changes to help ensure charter schools are working well within the broader public education system in California.

We can develop stronger policies around ensuring charter school transparency, preventing conflicts-of-interests, and making sure that consistently low performing charter schools are shut down.

Additionally, the state should look into the possibility of providing short-term financial support and flexibility to districts that are losing significant revenue due to loss of enrollment, in order to help those districts make any necessary operational changes needed to adapt.

As State Superintendent, I will work to give districts much more flexibility from the Education Code, similar to what charters currently have, so that districts have more freedom to innovate and be creative.

All of our public schools should be given much more flexibility to best support their children.

Finally, the state needs to take more of a leadership role in improving collaboration between charters and districts by convening educators from district and charter schools regularly to work together on key problems-of-practice and to share best practices.

Charter schools were created in part to act as innovation labs for traditional school districts, but not enough of this is happening.

I am the candidate in this race who has led public school systems and have done so in the district and charter public school context. I believe that equips me well to lead a public education system in California that best serves all kids, no matter the public school settings.

Marshall Tuck is a candidate for California Superintendent of Public Instruction, marshall@marshalltuck.com. He wrote this commentary for CALmatters.

 

Colman: California is reckless with money.

California has a $202 billion budget.  Yet, the November ballot has several bond measures—some stealing from the mentally ills treatment and prevention!  We have water bonds—though previous bond money has yet to be spent.  Then we have Prop. 6—which would repeal SB 1, a gas tax, where a large portion of the money is NOT going to roads, but to environmental causes and the choo choo to nowhere.

Dr. Colman calls this spending reckless.  It is.  More than that it is using tax dollars to buy votes and donations from special interests.  That is the real reason for tax increases and bonds.

The State of California claims to have a budget surplus estimated to be $9 billion as of June 2018.  However, the state has unfunded public-employee pension liabilities estimated to be between $300 billion and $1 trillion.  No one knows the exact amount. 

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, says that local governments should handle public-employee pension liabilities. “  

This is why local government must raise sales tax—not for public safety, but to keep the pension system going, without reform.  Reckless?  That is a kind word.

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California is reckless with money.

Richard Colman, California Political News and Views  10/22/18

A day of reckoning is coming. 

The State of California claims to have a budget surplus estimated to be $9 billion as of June 2018.  However, the state has unfunded public-employee pension liabilities estimated to be between $300 billion and $1 trillion.  No one knows the exact amount. 

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, says that local governments should handle public-employee pension liabilities.   

Why is Brown such a coward?  The state caused these pension-related problems.  The state should solve these problems. 

The next governor of California should demand drastic action by abolishing the current system of public-employee pensions.  Instead of public employees having defined-benefit pensions, which allocate money according to a worker’s years of service and his final salary, the state should do what most private employers do. 

Most private employers use a defined-contribution plan in which a worker puts aside some part of his own money from wages into various investments.  Often, these plans are called 401(k) plans. 

Defined-contribution plans give some tax relief while a worker is still on the job.  However, when the worker retires, the current thinking goes, he will have to pay some tax on the funds stashed away when used.  However, when retired, the worker will presumably have a lower income and his tax burden will be less than when he was working. 

It’s time to stop the State of California from robbing residents who have to pay for overpriced public-employee pensions. 

Also, some public employees get extra pay by demanding Project Labor Agreements.  These agreements call for paying certain public employees 20 to 30 percent more than market rates of pay.  Why get 70 miles of freeway when it might be possible to obtain 100 miles of freeway? 

If public employees don’t like having a new pension system, fire them and hire private-sector workers to replace them.  To be helpful, the fired workers can be rehired at lower levels of compensation. 

Some Califoria cities have abandoned the use of public employees for doing municipal work.  The cities send the work to private companies — companies presumably free from extensive pension obligations. 

For the average person, California is not affordable.  A decent home in the state’s coastal regions can cost anywhere from $1.5 million to $2 million.  A 20 percent down payment on a $2 million home would be $400,000.  Not too many Californians have $400,000 for a down payment. 

California also has the nation’s highest sales tax, the nation’s top bracket for the state’s personal income tax (13.3 percent), and the nation highest or second highest gasoline tax. 

The state government cannot manage money properly.  If the state goes on spending money it does not have, then the state’s ability to borrow money will be affected.  Borrowing costs rise when a state is financially mismanaged.  A borrower with too much debt will pay a higher interest rate than a borrower who is fiscally responsible.

Californians should demand that the state impose a limit on spending and a limit on taxation.  If the politicians cannot do these things, then outraged citizens should put a proposition on statewide ballot — a proposition that would mandate fiscal responsibility. 

The time for fiscal recklessness is over.

 

Court: Obama Admin Dodged State Laws To Get Illegal Minors Abortions

No one knows for sure how many laws were broken by Barack Obama.  But, he made it clear that he did not believe in the Rule of the Law, the Constitution or regulations.  In this case, he abused illegal aliens and the unborn—violating our laws to give abortions.

“Buried in the middle of the court’s analysis was a shocking revelation: Obama administration officials transported pregnant minors in federal custody to New Mexico to obtain abortions in order to circumvent parental consent laws in other states.

An email exchange between two Health and Human Services employees in April 2014 exposed this disturbing fact. In discussing Maria, a pregnant minor held at a temporary shelter, possibly in Texas or Florida—the workers noted that Maria stated she wanted an abortion and did not want her parents to know that she was pregnant. At the time, Maria’s parents, who were to be her sponsors, were located in Florida. Maria was in the custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

After learning Maria had requested an abortion, according to government emails, “two ORR field specialists looked into the abortion laws in both Texas and Florida and reported that the general rule in both states was that minors could not have abortions without parental consent (absent exceptions, such as obtaining a waiver from a judge).” The Texas field specialist then emailed other ORR staff members, explaining: “This is why termination of pregnancies are done in New Mexico due to the fact that currently (by law) there is no parental consent requirement.”

Literally Obama had females moved across statelines for the purposes of aborting babies—yet no one suggested he be impeached for the killings.  Obama was a lawless president.

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Court: Obama Admin Dodged State Laws To Get Illegal Minors Abortions

Unlike the Obama administration, the Trump administration will not whisk the girls off to obtain out-of-state clandestine abortions, thwarting both parental involvement and state laws.

 

By Margot Cleveland, The Federalist,  10/18/18

 

Last week, a federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union had filed in 2016 challenging the government’s award of grants to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide services to unaccompanied minor illegal aliens and trafficking victims. In the lawsuit, the ACLU argued the grants violated the Establishment Clause because the Department of Health and Human Services allowed the Catholic organization (and its sub-grantees) to deny girls and women in their care contraceptives and abortion.

The court rejected the ACLU’s Establishment Clause claim in a methodical 34-page opinion, explaining that the federal funds were not used to endorse or advance religion. Further, as the San Francisco-based federal judge stressed, the government would transfer minors to other facilities if there were a conflict between the services sought and the religious tenets of the organization running the shelter.

Buried in the middle of the court’s analysis was a shocking revelation: Obama administration officials transported pregnant minors in federal custody to New Mexico to obtain abortions in order to circumvent parental consent laws in other states.

An email exchange between two Health and Human Services employees in April 2014 exposed this disturbing fact. In discussing Maria, a pregnant minor held at a temporary shelter, possibly in Texas or Florida—the workers noted that Maria stated she wanted an abortion and did not want her parents to know that she was pregnant. At the time, Maria’s parents, who were to be her sponsors, were located in Florida. Maria was in the custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

After learning Maria had requested an abortion, according to government emails, “two ORR field specialists looked into the abortion laws in both Texas and Florida and reported that the general rule in both states was that minors could not have abortions without parental consent (absent exceptions, such as obtaining a waiver from a judge).” The Texas field specialist then emailed other ORR staff members, explaining: “This is why termination of pregnancies are done in New Mexico due to the fact that currently (by law) there is no parental consent requirement.”

According to the court, whether Maria eventually obtained an abortion was unclear. But what is clear from the court’s discussion is that under the Obama administration, HHS and ORR employees purposefully sidestepped state parental notification and consent laws as a matter of policy. And there was no good reason to do so.

The location of Maria’s parents was known and nothing indicated her parents were abusive; rather, Maria merely stated she did not want her parents to know she was pregnant. Had Maria claimed her parents were abusive, a judicial bypass would allow an abortion without parental notification and consent. The only reason, then, to transport minors such as Maria to New Mexico was the one acknowledged in the email: because that state’s law did not require parental involvement.

When asked whether the Trump administration continues to follow the Obama administration’s lead, a spokesperson from HHS’s Administration for Children and Families stressed, “It is not the policy of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Trump administration to transfer pregnant girls in the unaccompanied alien children program across state lines to evade state laws requiring parental consent or notification for abortions.”

In fact, under the Trump administration, the ORR adopted a policy not to facilitate abortions for minors. Under this policy, shelters were prohibited from helping minors obtain abortions or releasing minors from custody to obtain an abortion. Instead, the illegal alien minor could voluntary return to her native country or be released to an approved sponsor.

Earlier this year, the ACLU challenged this policy in a series of high-profile cases litigated under successive pseudonyms Jane Doe, Moe, Poe, and Roe, before finally convincing a federal district court to certify a class action consisting of all pregnant unaccompanied minor illegal aliens in the custody of ORR. The D.C.-based judge also enjoined the government from enforcing its non-facilitation policy pending trial on the ACLU’s claim that the ORR’s policy imposed an undue burden on the girls’ constitutional right to an abortion.

The government appealed that decision and last month a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case. Until the federal appellate court rules, however, the ORR must abide by the lower court’s injunction and facilitate abortions. But as the HHS’s spokesperson made clear, unlike the Obama administration, Trump’s ORR will not whisk the girls off to obtain out-of-state clandestine abortions, thwarting both parental involvement and state laws.

Congress has long debated whether to criminalize the knowing transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion when done to circumvent state laws requiring parental notification or consent. Every few years Congress takes up the issue again, with the most recent efforts being pushed by Florida representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who reintroduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act in January 2017.

Abortion activists have stymied the legislation by claiming such laws endanger girls from abusive homes who “fear a violent reaction” should they tells their parents they are pregnant. Congress should not turn “confidants” such as grandparents, clergy, and older siblings into criminals, the left argues. For instance, in opposing an earlier version of the bill more than a decade ago, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy intoned, “Congress ought to have higher priorities than turning grandparents into criminals.” The hyperbole worked, and that legislation from 2006 ultimately failed.

But once again, reality gives truth to the lie of abortion activists. Obama administration officials didn’t secret the girls out of state to obtain abortions in order to protect them from abusive parents, but because to the extreme abortion left, parental involvement is not a good, but abortion is.

 

CNN Blames San Fran’s Booming Tech Sector for a Government-Created Housing Shortage

I love when the media blames someone or an industry for a problem.  Never does it blame government policies, the cause of the concerns.  In San Fran, CNN is blaming the tech industry, while not noting the votes against more housing the 10-12 years to get approval, or the refusal to approves projects like housing instead of a laundromat—pretending the laundromat is an historic venue.

“The increasingly widespread conclusion is that this failure to build housing is a policy failure, born from highly restrictive land use regulations that’ve prevented the construction of new units. It’s a story that everyone can agree on, from the Cato Institute to some of the city’s progressive politicians.

When it comes to housing, yes, supply and demand is a real thing,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed during her inaugural address. “We often ask ‘should we build more housing for teachers, nonprofit workers, or the homeless?’ Then we answer with an unending system of laws and procedures that seem designed to say no.”

Enter CNN, which manages to ignore the supply side of this equation in favor of blaming the tech sector for the city’s woes.

“The Bay Area’s tech boom is hurting businesses,” reads the headline of a Monday piece by Ahiza Garcia, which argues that the rise of the cities tech sector “created an influx of companies, The only conclusion you get from CNN is that San Fran should not allow the creation of new jobs.  Actually, that is not a bad policy—then the firms and workers can move to Texas and have a real lifestyle, They can keep more of the money they earn, via lower taxes and lower cost of living.

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CNN Blames San Francisco’s Booming Tech Sector for a Government-Created Housing Shortage

The news network largely ignores the role of government restrictions on housing construction

Christian Britschgi, Reason,  10/18/18

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live and work in the United States, with average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment approaching $2,500. This is largely the result of the Bay Area adding a tremendous amount of jobs and people over the past decade, but failing to build housing for these new residents.

From January 2010 to January 2018, the city added 100,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with many of those in San Francisco’s booming tech sector. In that same time period, the city has added a little over 20,000 housing units. The predictable result of quickly rising demand and slowly growing supply has been a massive spike in rents, pricing some residents out of the city, and others on to the streets.

The increasingly widespread conclusion is that this failure to build housing is a policy failure, born from highly restrictive land use regulations that’ve prevented the construction of new units. It’s a story that everyone can agree on, from the Cato Institute to some of the city’s progressive politicians.

When it comes to housing, yes, supply and demand is a real thing,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed during her inaugural address. “We often ask ‘should we build more housing for teachers, nonprofit workers, or the homeless?’ Then we answer with an unending system of laws and procedures that seem designed to say no.”

Enter CNN, which manages to ignore the supply side of this equation in favor of blaming the tech sector for the city’s woes.

“The Bay Area’s tech boom is hurting businesses,” reads the headline of a Monday piece by Ahiza Garcia, which argues that the rise of the cities tech sector “created an influx of companies, workers and jobs, but in 2012, it ignited a housing crisis that’s made it difficult for many people, especially those in minimum wage or entry-level jobs, to live nearby.”

For someone trying to grapple with the high housing costs faced by San Francisco’s low-wage earners, however, Garcia is remarkably incurious about what—apart from tech-fueled demand—might actually be driving up those housing costs.

There exists a single, solitary mention of the fact that “it take[s] years for projects to get approved and for construction on new developments to begin” in the last paragraph of the article. The rest of the piece is mostly finger-pointing at the peculiarities of tech-sector growth, which has given the city a lot of high-income earners demanding services from low-wage workers, while simultaneously pricing them out of the city.

That’s an interesting dynamic. It’s also one that can’t be understood outside the context of how difficult San Francisco’s land use policies make it for housing to be built for low-income workers.

While permitting obstacles get a mention, San Francisco’s zoning policies (which forbid more than two units of housing to be built on over half the private land in the city) and its laborious environmental review process (which ensures most sufficiently controversial projects will be mired in administrative appeals and litigation) are totally written out of the narrative.

What’s more, pointing the finger at San Francisco’s tech sector for housing costs manages to ignore the counter-example of Seattle, a city where rents are actually falling despite a sustained tech boom.

Unlike San Francisco, Seattle has somewhat begrudgingly embraced the need for more housing, upzoning swaths of the city’s downtown, and being far more liberal with the number of housing permits it issues each year. Between 2010 and 2017, Seattle added 48,000 units of housing, more than double what San Francisco has managed to produce in the same time, and despite Seattle having about 100,000 fewer people.

The end result is that Seattle is finally starting to see rents go down after years of sharp increases. A report from the company Apartment List found that rents in the Rainy City declined a whole 1.6 percent in 2017. In San Francisco, where average rent is already $1,000 more expensive a month than Seattle, monthly rents grew another 1 percent during the same period.

Just look to local media for a sense of how the two city’s are dealing with the high cost of living. A Seattle Times article from early October describes in great detail the construction boom going on in Seattle’s downtown, where new apartment buildings have shot up, and rents for high-end housing have cratered.

Contrast that picture with an August San Francisco Chronicle story which found numerous housing projects had stalled and others were unable to find financing thanks to a mix of rising construction costs and onerous demands from community activists that these projects rent out upwards of 25 percent of their planned units at below-market rates.

Ignoring the role that restrictions on housing supply play in increasing housing costs, as the CNN article largely does, not only paints an incomplete picture of the problem, it also gives cover to politicians and special interests pushing expensive government intervention as a solution.

In June 2018, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition—a non-profit advocacy group*—issued a major report on the unaffordable nature of housing in much of the country. It mentioned zoning or land use regulations a total of zero times, while advocating things like a national minimum wage increase and a huge infusion of federal funding to build below-market rate housing.

A month later, Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) introduced her “Rent Relief Act” which excluded any mention of reforming local or state-level land use regulations in favor of giving cost-burdened renters refundable tax credits.

Come November, California voters will vote on a measure that would, if passed, give cities broad authority to reimpose rent control.

All these solutions are terrible, counter-productive ideas, but they are the kind of ideas that can easily gain traction when government’s failure to allow sufficient housing production is written out of the media narrative on housing affordability.

Free-market types interested in ensuring America’s booming cities continue to growth and thrive should not let this omission slide, not even for a second.

 

Powell: Corruption Caught in City of Sacramento

Sacramento is the headquarters of corruption in California.  Not only at the State Capitol, but in city government as well.

“At a press conference yesterday outside of Sacramento City Hall, Eye on Sacramento, a local government watchdog organization, called for the initiation of a criminal investigation by the Public Integrity Section of the FBI into a possible quid pro quo “deal” between Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg and the State Building and Construction Trades Council – the umbrella organization of California’s construction trades unions – which involves the possible trading of $150,000 of Trades Council contributions to Steinberg’s campaign to raise city sales taxes (Measure U) in exchange for recent Sacramento City Council approval of a “project labor agreement” which gives to the Trade Council and its local units a de facto union monopoly over all future city construction projects of over $1 million.”

What a concept—you give contracts and the vendors give donations.  If we had real DA’s and AG’s in this State, maybe we would not like a two bit third world dictatorship?

Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

Eye on Sacramento Calls for an FBI Investigation into Mayor Steinberg’s Potential Corrupt Bargain with the State Building & Trades Council (the Construction Trades Union) to Trade $150,000 in Trades Council Campaign Contributions to Steinberg’s “Yes on Measure U” Campaign in Exchange for Recent City Approval of a Permanent Union Monopoly Over Future City Projects

Craig Powell, Eye on Sacramento, 10/19/18

At a press conference yesterday outside of Sacramento City Hall, Eye on Sacramento, a local government watchdog organization, called for the initiation of a criminal investigation by the Public Integrity Section of the FBI into a possible quid pro quo “deal” between Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg and the State Building and Construction Trades Council – the umbrella organization of California’s construction trades unions – which involves the possible trading of $150,000 of Trades Council contributions to Steinberg’s campaign to raise city sales taxes (Measure U) in exchange for recent Sacramento City Council approval of a “project labor agreement” which gives to the Trade Council and its local units a de facto union monopoly over all future city construction projects of over $1 million.

EOS President said, “Eye on Sacramento has long been committed to restoring sound ethics and transparency to Sacramento city government. We’ve advocated for clean and honest city government at public forums we’ve sponsored in almost every neighborhood in the city. We have discovered a very disturbing pattern of behavior involving the largest single funder of the mayor’s “Yes on Measure U” campaign committee, the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the mayor’s recent actions in pressing the Sacramento City Council to approve an anti-competitive “project labor agreement,” which has given the Trades Council and its local affiliate an effective monopoly over future major city construction contracts, a monopoly which will significantly drive up taxpayers costs on city projects and which unfairly discriminates against non-union contractors and workers in Sacramento.

“In particular, the project labor agreement effectively discriminates against Sacramento’s minority-owned and women-owned contractors, virtually all of whom are non-union. The agreement also discriminates against the 90% of local construction trades workers who are not members of the construction trades union, a very significant proportion of whom are people of color.

“As far as the impact of the project labor agreement on city taxpayers, EOS issued its Blueprint for a Post-Measure U Sacramento at a press conference on Tuesday. In that report, we projected that the project labor agreement will likely add $25 million dollars in higher direct costs to the $355 million Sacramento Convention Center projects and will likely add a further $25 million in higher bond interest costs, for a total expected hit to taxpayers of $50 million on just one set of projects. With 10 other city projects in the pipeline for next year, we estimate that the recurring annual cost to city taxpayers of the PLA will amount to $10 million or more per year.

“It’s egregious and frankly unconscionable that Mayor Steinberg is trying to convince city voters to raise city sales taxes by $100 million per year while he’s effectively shoveling great gobs of taxpayer money out the back door of City Hall to line the pockets of his single biggest campaign contributor, while discriminating against Sacramento’s minority and women-owned contractors and the vast majority of local construction workers who do not belong to a union.

“In an expose published just this morning in the Sacramento Business Journal, the mayor admits that the he and the State Building and Construction Trades Council have been working on the citywide project labor agreement for a year. We note that the first Trades Council contribution to Steinberg’s committee – what we refer to as its potential “down payment” – was a $100,000 payment on June 12, 2017, 15 months ago. Their “final payment,” if you will, to Steinberg’s committee was $50,000, funded just 22 days after Steinberg secured City Council approval of the project labor agreement.

“To the best of our knowledge, this represents the largest political contribution in city history to a city officeholder or a campaign committee under his control.

“We are distributing to the media today several documents, including, an analysis of the anti-competitive elements of the project labor agreement, prepared by the merit-shop trade association, Associated Builders of California (ABC). We also have copies of all of the relevant campaign finance filings made by the mayor’s committee through last weekend. We also have a summary of all contributions to the mayor’s campaign through last weekend, which amount to $890,000, of which $335,000 or 38% of the total has come from construction unions and union-aligned construction companies.

“We also have a copy of a California Public Records Act request that EOS is filing with the City of Sacramento that seeks copies of all communications between the mayor, his staff and the Trades Council over the past few years, including copies of all PLA drafts exchanged during that period,” said Powell.

“You’ll be hearing from Mr. Anchor Singh, the owner of Anchor Singh Painting, and Christine Leone, a local construction firm owner and an ABC NorCal instructor. Finally, Mr. Mitch Everhart, a nonunion electrician, will speak on the impact that PLA’s have had on his livelihood and his experience in being forced by PLA’s to forfeit contributions he’s been compelled to make under PLA’s to union benefit plans, a form of wage theft.

“Mr. Steinberg appears to have imported the corrupt climate of the State Capitol to Sacramento City Hall, a climate that led to the prosecution and imprisonment of several members of his legislative caucus during his tenure as leader of the State Senate. We, as citizens, should do everything within our means to oppose such a degradation of ethical standards in a city that has long had a reputation for honest, clean government,” Powell concluded.

Chronology: $100K “Down Payment,” Delivery of Project Labor Agreement, $50K “Final Payment”

  1. Formation of the Steinberg Political Slush Fund. On May 1, 2017 Mayor Steinberg formed a “Recipient Committee” by filing a Statement of Organization (Form 410) with the California Secretary of State. It was described as “Mayor Steinberg Committee for Sacramento’s Future.” The Recipient Committee provided Steinberg with unfettered control over how committee funds were spent. It skirts strict campaign contribution limits on mayoral candidates established by Sacramento City Code. Given the extremely wide latitude that Steinberg has had over the committee’s funds, the Recipient Committee can be fairly characterized as a “political slush fund.”

    Steinberg’s formation of the committee is believed to the first time in history that a City of Sacramento officeholder has ever formed such a fund.

  2. State Building and Construction Trade Council’s First Contribution (the “Down Payment?”). On July 31, 2017, the Steinberg committee filed a campaign statement (Form 460) for the period January 1, 2017 thru June 30, 2017, which discloses that on June 12, 2017 – 44 days after the formation of the committee – the State Building and Construction Trades Council made a $100,000 contribution to the Steinberg committee. According to the campaign statement, it was the first contribution received by the Steinberg committee from its inception.

    The contribution is believed to be the largest single political contribution to a City of Sacramento officeholder, or a political fund under the direct control of a City officeholder, in the history of Sacramento.

  3. The Sacramento Bee Takes Notice. On August 31, 2017, the Sacramento Bee published an article by Bee reporter Ryan Lillis which reports that Steinberg’s committee was “formed in April [2017]” and “got a $100,000 donation from the state Building and Construction Trades Council,” apparently the first public mention of the formation of the Steinberg committee and the State Building and Construction Trades Council’s funding of the committee.
  4. From Political Slush Fund to the “Yes on Measure U” Committee. On July 31, 2018, the Sacramento City Council, on a 7 to 1 vote, called to the November 2018 ballot Measure U, Steinberg’s proposal to double the temporary ½% sales tax hike adopted in 2012 and to make it a permanent tax hike.

    Three days later, on July 3, 2018, the Steinberg committee filed an amendment to its Statement of Organization (Form 410), changing the purpose of his committee from an unspecified recipient committee to a committee formed specifically to support the extension of Measure U.

  5. Steinberg Delivers Project Labor Agreement for State Construction and Building Trades Council. On August 21, 2018, the Sacramento City Council, on a 7 to 2 vote, with no prior public review by any council committee or prior reading, approved, at Steinberg’s urging, a citywide, five-year project labor agreement (dubbed a “Community Workforce and Training Agreement”) between the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council, the local unit of the State Building and Construction Trades Council.

    The project labor agreement imposes several anti-competitive barriers that serve to effectively exclude non-union contractors from bidding on city projects of over $1 million, creating a de facto union monopoly for the benefit of the State Building and Construction Trades Council and its local units. It also serves to exclude local minority- and women-owner contractors, almost all of whom are non-union, and will drive up city and taxpayers’ costs of the three Sacramento Convention Center Projects by an estimated $50 million, as well as the cost of future, significant city projects. (See handout “Letter From ABC to Sacramento City Council on Anti-Competitive Elements of Sacramento Project Labor Agreement”).

    The staff report prepared for the City Council on the agenda items obscures, rather than reveals, the intended purpose of the project labor agreement, which is to erect anti-competitive barriers to non-union contractors bidding on future city projects. By obscuring the true nature and impact of the project labor agreement, the city staff report served to effectively put local media and the public “asleep” on the issue. No media covered the Council meeting at which the project labor agreement was approved.

    Under questioning at the August 21st City Council meeting by council member Jeff Harris, both Steinberg and city staff admitted that they had not evaluated the likely cost impacts the project labor agreement would have on city projects, city budgets or city taxpayers.

  6. State Building and Construction Trade Council’s Second Contribution (the “Final Payment?”). On September 14, 2018, the Steinberg committee filed a Contribution Report (Form 497) disclosing that the State Building and Construction Trades Council made a further $50,000 contribution to the Steinberg committee – 22 days after Steinberg successfully pressed the Sacramento City Council to approve the project labor agreement to which the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council – the local unit of the State Building and Construction Trades Council – is a party signatory.

    State Building and Construction Trades Council funding of the Steinberg committee was used to pay for polling, political consultants, legal fees and to fund Steinberg’s campaign to secure voter approval of his proposed Measure U tax hike.

Click here to read the Letter from ABC Critiquing the Anti-Competitive Elements of the Sacramento PLA.

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Prayer for an American Refugee

When you vote on November 6, you will be joined at the polls by tens of thousands of illegal aliens—maybe more, thanks to the Sacramento Democrats. The DMV and an Attorney General and Secretary of State that have decided to look the other way and protect the corruption of the ballot box.

“Less than a year ago I wrote an op-ed about the need for voter identification in California, where legal immigrants and illegal aliens are automatically registered to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2015, California passed a new Motor Voter Act to automatically register “eligible voters” when they obtain or renew their license at the DMV. The move was celebrated by ACORN’s spiritual successor, the ACCE Institute, and the National Council of La Raza.

Most Americans saw the act for what it was, a scheme to snatch up the illicit and predictably Democratic vote of non-citizens, mostly Latinos, among whom Mexicans constitute the single largest group of foreign-born. After all, these non-citizens admit to finding registering to vote and casting ballots a breeze. Take for example “Angelo,” who registered to vote through a Pennsylvania DMV as a Democrat and cast his ballot from 2001 through 2014. But this is old news for some of us. In 2013, the National Hispanic Survey asked a sample of 800 likely Hispanic voters if they were American citizens. Thirteen percent admitted they were not.

Could this be a reason decent, honest Californians do not vote—they know that government is stuffing the ballot box like any other two bit dictatorship?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21606657

Prayer for an American Refugee

By Pedro Gonzalez|, American Greatness,  10/19/18

 

Less than a year ago I wrote an op-ed about the need for voter identification in California, where legal immigrants and illegal aliens are automatically registered to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2015, California passed a new Motor Voter Act to automatically register “eligible voters” when they obtain or renew their license at the DMV. The move was celebrated by ACORN’s spiritual successor, the ACCE Institute, and the National Council of La Raza.

Most Americans saw the act for what it was, a scheme to snatch up the illicit and predictably Democratic vote of non-citizens, mostly Latinos, among whom Mexicans constitute the single largest group of foreign-born. After all, these non-citizens admit to finding registering to vote and casting ballots a breeze. Take for example “Angelo,” who registered to vote through a Pennsylvania DMV as a Democrat and cast his ballot from 2001 through 2014. But this is old news for some of us. In 2013, the National Hispanic Survey asked a sample of 800 likely Hispanic voters if they were American citizens. Thirteen percent admitted they were not.

Still, the response to my column was like the response to every other column on this issue: non-citizens are not registered to vote through the DMV, but on the off chance that they are, they certainly don’t cast ballots. But in August, federal authorities charged 19 non-citizens with voting illegally in the 2016 election. Do we need to guess which party they favored? That wasn’t enough to convince the notably asinine open borders advocates that more investigation into this problem needs to be done, but what would be?

Two months later, four women in the border state of Texas, all Latinas, were revealed to be part of “an organized voter fraud ring and were paid to target elderly voters in certain northern Fort Worth precincts in a scheme to generate large numbers of mail ballots, then harvest those ballots for specific candidates.” Of the four women, one pleaded guilty and received six months in jail while the other three were released on bond. Small price to pay so far for attempting to influence American elections. It’s yet unknown which candidates paid for the subversive scheme, but my money is not on the elephant in the room. It’s also unclear whether the four are illegal aliens. It would not be a stretch, however, to say that these women are only in the United States because for the last half century we have failed to secure our borders and repair our immigration laws—and that includes birthright citizenship.

The critics have been vindicated, but the culprits are only more brazen than ever.

Approximately 1,500 “eligible voters,” California DMV officials found, were non-citizens registered to vote between April and September. This comes on the heels of the revelation that roughly 23,000 registration “mistakes” were made by the DMV the month before. These are only the incidents that we know of, and it is safe to assume that this revelation hardly scratches the surface. One might say, however, that no mistakes were made at all, because this is the precisely what the program was intended to do. Gavin Newsom would agree.

The California gubernatorial candidate has made universal health care for non-citizens a prominent plank in his platform. Newsom touts his “success” as the mayor of San Francisco, with its designated defecating streets, as testimony that “It can be done.” No sane citizen would endorse subsidizing the health care of foreigners when they can hardly afford looking after themselves, so why would Newsom make it part of his platform?

Consider another “accomplishment” of San Francisco under Democratic Party leadership.

In July 2018, San Francisco, like a few other wayward American cities, began allowing non-citizens (specifically illegal aliens) to vote in school board races. Non-citizens already vote. Now Newsom is simply asking for them to vote for him, and he isn’t the only one.

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said recently that non-citizens will provide the thrust of the “blue wave” in the coming midterm elections. The blue wave, according to Abrams, “is made up of those who’ve been told that they are not worthy of being here . . . of those who are documented and undocumented.” How might non-citizens be part of the wave, other than by casting a ballot? We don’t have to guess the answer.

According to The Washington Times, the Texas Democratic Party asked non-citizens to register to vote, sending out applications to immigrants with the citizenship box already checked “Yes.” The Public Interest Legal Foundation notified district attorneys and the Justice Department to the pre-checked applications. “This is how the Texas Democratic Party is inviting foreign influence in an election in a federal election cycle,” said Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for the PILF.

Newsom, Abrams, and the Democratic Party are enlisting foreign nationals to influence and shape American politics. Further, Democrats are also showing us that they are willing to wage proxy wars on American soil to protect their illegal electorate, pitting black blocs—essentially the paramilitary wing of the Democratic Party as was the KKK of old—against federal agents on the streets of our cities. The Democratic Party’s strategy, then, is to incite discord among foreign nationals in the United States as they subvert constitutional law in the process.

It is unclear, however, that the Democratic Party deserves all the blame for this sad state of affairs. The flaccid, impotent wing of the Republican Party that insists America must maintain a permanent underclass of foreigners in the name of their sacred cow, free market capitalism (as if “free” means without consequences), are also to blame. And it’s also the case that non-citizens engaged in breaking both our immigration and our election laws deserve blame for their behavior, too.

We should also consider the recent Mexican presidential election, because Mexicans comprise America’s largest immigrant group. The meteoric rise of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, now the President-elect of Mexico, was accompanied by an umbra of anti-American rhetoric. Ahead of his “radical revolution,” Obrador promised that “very soon, after the victory of our movement, we will defend migrants all over the American continent and the migrants of the world who, by necessity, must abandon their towns to find life in the United States; it’s a human right we will defend.” Let them try.

Just how Obrador plans to make good on his absurd promise is less important than the fact that he won by a landslide. In other words, a majority of Mexican voters wholeheartedly approved of Obrador’s leftist agenda and anti-American promises. How leftist? The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a full member of the Socialist International, denounced Obrador as “a communist with Cuban instincts.” After he decided to make his bid for the presidency in 2016, Obrador gave a speech where he gushed over Fidel Castro, comparing his own worldview to the dead dictator’s:

Fidel Castro is at the height of Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro is a giant. . . . Although we know that conservatives, on the right, do not like anything that has to do with the struggle for justice, for freedom and for the independence of peoples, for us, Commander Fidel Castro is a social, political fighter of great dimensions, because he knew how to lead his people and achieve authentic, true independence.

In Southern California, “AMLO the hope of Mexico” bumper stickers (AMLO is Obrador’s nickname) have begun to appear beside California license plates. Many of the people who we naively welcome into the United States hate our country and its institutions, and their president-to-be has told them that they are entitled to go forth against our laws and work to destroy them.

Peter Brimelow wrote that only immigrants (or their children, in this case) could be persuaded to pay attention to immigration. “They actually know something about it, after all, unlike most Americans.” That is, Americans who are not immigrants themselves or the immediate descendants of them do not tend to have an instinctive grasp of what’s at stake in our fights over immigration. More to the point, Brimelow wasn’t referring to the political and economic aspects of immigration—things with which Democrats and libertarian-progressive minded Republicans concern themselves with a singularity of mind that is frankly, idiotic.

Culture, above all, is what is at stake. There exists a major gap between Mexican and American culture that presents a challenge for assimilation unlike anything this country has faced before. For most of American history, immigrants came by boat and from Europe, to this country which they had little reliable information of, and would not offer them welfare of any sort. For this reason, they had to have the energy and ambition to endure trials and tribulations before they even arrived in America, and it was not uncommon for those who lacked these qualities to simply not attempt the trip. “The newcomers,” Oscar Handlin said, “were on the way toward being American almost before they stepped off the boat.” Those immigrants were mentally preparing themselves to become American, but the same can no longer be said for those caravaning up from south of the border, who do not need to possess the same qualities as the immigrants of yesteryear, nor have they any need of assimilating.

As the son of immigrants, I have never understood why so many foreigners who have entered this country by way of chain migration or illegally with absolutely nothing meaningful to offer it now refuse to learn English and a growing number actually insist that they only be addressed in their native tongue. Once upon a time, grateful immigrants were the norm, and they still exist, but their voices are being drowned out along with those of the rest of us. Now, many “migrants” care nothing for American history and the traditions that built up the society they purport to need sanctuary in and that provides them and their children with the opportunity to prosper—a society superior enough to their own that they travelled far to join.

Yet they’re not actually “here,” and they don’t really want to “join” because they bring “there” with them, and with it their preferences for the form of government and laws that wrought economic destruction and stripped liberty from the denizens of their homelands. And withal come the cultural habits that have locked the Third World into a perpetual state of “development” and strife. For these intruders, who would work with Democrats to subvert our laws and subject us to a dictatorship of the proletariat—either by foolishness or intent—there can be no sympathy.

America is running out of time to address this growing problem in a serious way. If the country does not turn hard-a-starboard, we will not only do a disservice to those Americans whose families have been here for generations, we will also harm those who came to this country more recently in order to escape what we are now importing to the United States. For these patriotic Americans, the housing crisis will be exacerbated by gangs who buy up homes, not to house and raise families, but to serve as depots for drugs and abductees. Mexican cartels will further reduce our beautiful national parks to occupied territory for their drug laboratories and passageways for human trafficking. Crime rates in cities will continue to rise as we import foreigners from the murder capital of the world. Once all but eradicated in the United States, Third World diseases will be spread to the interior of the country. With it all, the elites will consolidate political power in exchange for handouts as the political habits of people who are accustomed to this way of life are applied here.

This is not a dystopian forecast beyond the realm of possibility—it the present reality of the Third World. “Consider the violence in Mexico,” Wayne Allensworth writes:

During this year’s election campaign, over 120 candidates were assassinated. Over 200,000 (and that’s the official figure—the actual body count is probably higher) have been killed in Mexico since 2006, and Mexico’s official murder count last year was over 25,000. “Socialized” or “mass” crimes are becoming frequent in Mexico—mobs loot department stores and supermarkets, derail and rob trains, and are tapping into oil pipelines, often with the help of the drug cartels, which have numerous other business interests these days. As far as Central America, El Salvador and Honduras are frequently listed among the most murderous countries in the world.

We will not live to see the rest of America undergo Third Worldization like California, but our children and our children’s children will pay the price for us and become refugees of what once was America. Indeed, the American Dream could easily, under those conditions, become a myth for future generations.

The sniveling progressive Republican wing is waxing irrelevant, but they are still able and willing to assist the Democrats’ scheme to sell off the American Dream to foreigners who are indifferent or hostile to our way of life. Who will save us from ourselves? President Trump has declared that if push comes to shove, the military will be deployed to secure our borders. Let’s pray that he is not bluffing.

Richard Blum, a $100 Million UC Investment, Feinstein Campaign Donations: Business As Usual at UC?

Corruption?  The poster family for this is Dianne Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum.  Under Oabma Blum got a no bid contract to sell 38 closed post offices.  As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Feinstein had to resign—she was doing the oversite of a defense contractor—controlled by her husband.  China?  Blum is one of the biggest investors in that totalitarian nation.

“University of California regents approved a nine-figure investment in a private equity fund run by a major donor to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose husband sits on the regents’ board. The investment was disclosed just as some of the private equity fund’s overseers and advisers were pumping thousands of dollars of donations into Feinstein’s campaign, according to documents reviewed by Capital & Main.

In the fall of 2017, UC regents decided to shift $100 million worth of university endowment and pension resources into the RISE fund, operated by TPG. That firm was founded by David Bonderman, who has forged extensive business relationships with Feinstein’s husband, regent Richard Blum. Over the past quarter-century, Blum served as a TPG executive, founded a fund overseeing TPG’s Asia business and partnered with TPG on numerous investment deals with his own investment fund, Blum Capital. The $100 million investment was UC’s first investment with TPG.”

The smear artist and her husband look like they will have six more years to scam the American people.  When will Jeff Session open his investigation of this corrupt couple?

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks after a closed-door meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill. The panel voted to approve declassifying part of a report on Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects.

Richard Blum, a $100 Million UC Investment, Feinstein Campaign Donations: Business As Usual at UC?

Co-published by Splinter
In the fall of 2017, UC regents shifted $100 million worth of university endowment and pension resources into a fund founded by a business associate of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband, regent Richard Blum.

 

By Matthew Cunningham-Cook and David Sirota, Capital and Main,  10/15/18

Dianne Feinstein’s husband and the UC system are no strangers to controversy surrounding their investment and business practices.

Co-published by Splinter

University of California regents approved a nine-figure investment in a private equity fund run by a major donor to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose husband sits on the regents’ board. The investment was disclosed just as some of the private equity fund’s overseers and advisers were pumping thousands of dollars of donations into Feinstein’s campaign, according to documents reviewed by Capital & Main.

In the fall of 2017, UC regents decided to shift $100 million worth of university endowment and pension resources into the RISE fund, operated by TPG. That firm was founded by David Bonderman, who has forged extensive business relationships with Feinstein’s husband, regent Richard Blum. Over the past quarter-century, Blum served as a TPG executive, founded a fund overseeing TPG’s Asia business and partnered with TPG on numerous investment deals with his own investment fund, Blum Capital. The $100 million investment was UC’s first investment with TPG.

Securities laws require public officials to make investment decisions on the basis of merit, not personal relationships or political contributions.

Since 1992, Bonderman and his wife have donated more than $32,000 to Feinstein’s political campaigns. Additionally, donors associated with the RISE fund’s board and advisory panel have contributed more than $65,000 to Feinstein’s campaigns and political action committee. That includes $15,400 of donations in the three-week period surrounding the disclosure of UC’s investment in the RISE fund. Those donations came from Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, as well as from Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson. Marc Benioff and Hobson, who is married to George Lucas of Star Wars fame, sit on the RISE Fund’s Founders Board.

In general, securities laws require public officials to make investment decisions on the basis of merit, not personal relationships or political contributions. A 2010 Securities and Exchange Commission rule was explicitly designed to deter financial firms from using campaign contributions to influence investment decisions.

“The decision by the UC regents to make an investment in a fund run by a close friend and business partner of Richard Blum raises potential issues of institutional corruption.”

 

Blum argues that there is no conflict of interest.

“I’ve never heard of the RISE Fund,” he told Capital & Main. “We used to be partners with TPG. We’ve done investments together. But I have nothing to do with TPG or the RISE Fund… [The University of California investment office] never checks with me on anything.”

Blum conceded that, in addition to his business and personal relationships with Bonderman and TPG, he also knows another top TPG and RISE Fund executive, Jim Coulter, and added, “I occasionally get together with [UC Chief Investment Officer] Jagdeep [Singh Bachher] and we talk about philosophy.”

Singh Bachher is in charge of oversight and management of UC’s investment in the RISE Fund.

Capital & Main asked TPG if it had disclosed its executives’ relationships with Blum and donations to Feinstein. In a statement, TPG said that it “adheres to the strongest compliance standards and all political donations are subjected to compliance review and clearance, and in the case of federal officials are publicly disclosed through the Federal Election Commission. TPG responded in the ordinary course to due diligence questions posed by UC in connection with its investment.”

The University of California forwarded the regents’ conflict of interest policy and made no other comment. Senator Feinstein did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

“The decision by the UC regents to make an investment in a fund run by a close friend and business partner of Richard Blum raises potential issues of institutional corruption,” said Jay Youngdahl, an attorney and pension expert. “When money saved for workers’ retirement is placed into high-fee investments that benefit those close to politicians, questions need to be asked and answered. Investment funds in several states have suffered problems with similar practices.”

Blum, Bonderman and the UC system are no strangers to controversy surrounding their investment and business practices.

Blum in recent years has faced questions about his overlapping business and political interests. In 2013, he was lambasted by investigative journalist Peter Byrne when Blum’s real estate firm, CBRE, got a $118-plus million contract to sell and lease U.S. Postal Service property. In 2015, the Postal Service’s inspector general recommended that the contract be terminated. Blum was also criticized by Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times for his role in using CalPERS, the state employees’ retirement fund, to purchase the for-profit higher education firm ITT. At the same time he was investing in ITT, which has now been shut down (at a significant loss to CalPERS), Blum was voting to increase UC tuition by 32 percent.

More recently, Blum Capital was blamed by Payless ShoeSource’s creditors for bankrupting the chain to provide $350 million in dividends to Blum Capital and its business partner on the deal, Golden Gate Capital. In the Blum and Golden Gate-initiated bankruptcy, Payless closed 700 stores, laid off hundreds and sued former employees to repay for small signing and relocation bonuses the company had given out.

Similarly, the SEC fined TPG $13 million for misleading investors in December 2017. In June 2017, Bonderman resigned from Uber’s board after making a comment widely seen as offensive to women. And in 2015, TPG was sued by its former communications director, Adam Levine, who had also worked as deputy press secretary for George W. Bush. Levine claimed in legal filings that the firm “miss-billed [sic] expenses, flouted compliance rules, and gave inaccurate information about its investment team,” according to Reuters. The lawsuit was dropped later in the year, according to the firm.

Meanwhile, the UC Retirement Plan has lately been engulfed in scandal over pay-to-play allegations.

In early September, the pension trade publication Institutional Investor published a report showing that the retirement system’s chief investment officer faced “serious charges of mismanagement.” The report also highlighted allegations from an anonymous tipster with inside information that Bachher had placed $250 million in a fund run by a former UC regent, Paul Wachter, who had participated in Bachher’s hiring. The investment was opposed by other top investment staff at UC, the article said.

 

San Fran: Now so bad, it’ll make you cry

This is San Fran, October, 2018:

“Twentieth-century San Francisco, Herb Caen’s beloved Baghdad by the Bay, has ceased to exist.  It has been replaced by a city where the sidewalks around Market Street are, in places, caked in feces, urine, and vomit.  The stink as you emerge from the BART batters you like frozen sleet, shocking and overwhelming.  The hordes of homeless, sprawled in doorways and sleeping on the sidewalks, are a bitterly eclectic mixture of the mentally deranged; burnt out druggies; dead-eyed hippies; con artists; pickpockets; and hundreds of simply lost, forgotten souls.

From a world class city, to one that is looking like a Third World city.  This is a socialist paradise—looking more like Havana than an American city—the very rich and the very poor, the middle class has long ago left.  In twenty years the whole of California will look and feel like Venezuela—the productive folks will have left.

poop scooper san fran

San Francisco: Now so bad, it’ll make you cry

By Lee DeCovnick, American Thinker,  10/18/18
 

Twentieth-century San Francisco, Herb Caen’s beloved Baghdad by the Bay, has ceased to exist.  It has been replaced by a city where the sidewalks around Market Street are, in places, caked in feces, urine, and vomit.  The stink as you emerge from the BART batters you like frozen sleet, shocking and overwhelming.  The hordes of homeless, sprawled in doorways and sleeping on the sidewalks, are a bitterly eclectic mixture of the mentally deranged; burnt out druggies; dead-eyed hippies; con artists; pickpockets; and hundreds of simply lost, forgotten souls.

I had occasion to visit downtown San Francisco this afternoon, the first time in over seven years, though I reside only thirty miles away in the East Bay suburbs.  During my working life, I have commuted to San Francisco as a bushy-tailed junior executive in the ’70s, as a small business-owner in the early ’80s, and as a corporate executive in the ’90s.  Thankfully, “Old” San Francisco really was a wonderful place to work, eat, and play.

As I walked the three blocks back to the BART, I was panhandled four times, plus two clumsy pickpocket attempts.  I didn’t see a single cop in a car or on foot.  What could they do?

What finally broke my heart were the kids and women, also lying in the streets, drugged, shell-shocked, begging for food.  I found an ATM, took out some cash, and bought twenty five-dollar “Arch Cards” from McDonald’s and passed them out.  The salty tears flowed gently down my face and onto my lips.  My soul, my humanity was abused, sickened, and disgusted.

Today I observed a city that carefully and deliberately schemed to become an open sewer.  This is far beyond simple incompetence.  The magnitude and pervasiveness of this horror remains indescribable.  No rational, thinking person, or board, or mayor could allow this societal abomination to continue unabated in a first-world country.

Yet it does.

San Francisco willingly hosts a malignant cancer that has metastasized and destroyed all aspects of a civilized, compassionate society.

While skyscrapers still fill the skyline, and tankers and giant container ships still prowl the bay, the City-by-the-Bay soul has begun its death rattle.

 

 

Texas Dems ask noncitizens to register to vote, send applications with citizenship box pre-checked

Voter fraud?  The Fake News folks tell you it does not exist,, just a scare tactic of Republicans.  In Texas, the Democrat Party works hard to register illegal aliens as voters.  And, they do it openly, proudly.

“The Texas Democratic Party asked non-citizens to register to vote, sending out applications to immigrants with the box citizenship already checked “Yes,” according to new complaints filed Thursday asking prosecutors to see what laws may have been broken.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation alerted district attorneys and the federal Justice Department to the pre-checked applications, and also included a signed affidavit from a man who said some of his relatives, who aren’t citizens, received the mailing.

“This is how the Texas Democratic Party is inviting foreign influence in an election in a federal election cycle,” said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the PILF, a group that’s made its mark policing states’ voter registration practices.”

I hope the Texas Attorney General indicts the leadership of the Democrat Party and every individual responsible, even the vendors for this abuse of the electoral process.  Also, shouldn’t AG Sessions indict these folks for Civil Rights violations?  In short the book needs to be thrown at those involved.

Flag_of_Texas

Texas Dems ask noncitizens to register to vote, send applications with citizenship box pre-checked

By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times,  10/18/18

The Texas Democratic Party asked non-citizens to register to vote, sending out applications to immigrants with the box citizenship already checked “Yes,” according to new complaints filed Thursday asking prosecutors to see what laws may have been broken.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation alerted district attorneys and the federal Justice Department to the pre-checked applications, and also included a signed affidavit from a man who said some of his relatives, who aren’t citizens, received the mailing.

“This is how the Texas Democratic Party is inviting foreign influence in an election in a federal election cycle,” said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the PILF, a group that’s made its mark policing states’ voter registration practices.

The Texas secretary of state’s office said it, too, had gotten complaints both from immigrants and from relatives of dead people who said they got mailings asking them to register.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to investigate.

“If true there will be serious consequences,” he said.

The PILF publicly released complaints it sent to Hidalgo and Starr counties asking for an investigation. The organization also provided copies of pre-marked voter applications and the affidavit from the man who said his non-citizen relatives received the mailing.

The applications were pre-addressed to elections officials, which is likely what left many voters to believe they were receiving an official communication from the state.

But the return address was from the State Democratic Executive Committee, and listed an address in Austin that matches the state Democratic Party’s headquarters.

The letter is emblazoned with “Urgent! Your voter registration deadline is October 9.” It continues: “Your voter registration application is inside. Complete, sign and return it today!”

On the application, boxes affirming the applicant is both 18 and a U.S. citizen are already checked with an “X” in the Yes field.

The mailing also urges those who are unsure if they’re registered to “Mail it in.”

A person answering phones at the state party declined to connect The Washington Times with any officials there, insisting that a reporter email questions. That email went unanswered.

Sam Taylor, spokesman for Texas’s secretary of state, said they heard from people whose relatives were receiving mail despite having passed away 10 years ago or longer. One woman said her child, who’d been dead 19 years, got a mailing asking to register.

“It looks like a case of really bad information they are using to send out these mailers,” Mr. Taylor said.

He said some of the non-citizens who called wondered whether there had been some change that made them now legally able to vote despite not being citizens.

Mr. Taylor said there is a state law against encouraging someone to falsify a voter application, but it would be up to investigators to decide if pre-checking a box rose to that level.

PILF has been pushing state election officials in recent years to be wary of non-citizens who manage to register and, in many cases, to actually cast ballots. The organization has found thousands of people who later admitted they weren’t citizens, but who managed to register or vote in New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania

The organization is also embroiled in a legal battle with Harris County, Texas, which has declined to provide PILF with similar voter data.

PILF says usually the origin of non-citizens voting is motor vehicle bureaus, where people are pressed to register — and often ignore or miss the admonition that they must be citizens.

In this case, though, the invitations were sent directly by a political party.

The data from North Carolina suggests that non-citizens who vote skew decidedly Democratic, based on their pattern of voting in Democratic primaries.

The affidavit PILF provided to prosecutors Thursday is from David C. Kifuri Jr.

He said “several relatives” of his who are legal permanent residents but not citizens got the mailing, and were confused. He said in his affidavit he told them to report the mailing to local authorities and not to fill it out any further.

The Hidalgo County election office said it forwards all applications that arrive to the state for processing. Officials can’t tell whether something was pre-checked or not when it got to the applicant.

A county elections spokeswoman couldn’t say whether pre-checking the citizenship box was legal.

Mr. Churchwell, though, said it crosses lines because prosecutors looking into whether someone illegally registered to vote need to be able to see the intent of the applicant, and a pre-checked box defeats that.

Mr. Churchwell said the party was putting immigrants in a tough position, as evidenced by the number of them who were calling state officials wondering if there’s been some change allowing them to vote.

“The victims will actually be the non-citizens,” he said.

 

Why do California babies have syphilis in numbers rivaling those of poor nations?

California is falling apart. Highest taxes, worst roads, failed government education, high cost of living, crime waves—this is a State that prefers poverty—highest in the nation, to economic freedom.

Now, add syphilis to the list of why the former Golden State is falling apart.  Worse, it is babies that have the disease.

“About two decades ago, congenital syphilis was all but eradicated in California, the most populous state. But in the past six years, the number of cases has jumped from 33 to 283—almost a tenfold increase. It’s the highest number of cases in any state and accounts for the third-highest rate per live birth, behind Louisiana and Nevada.

California owns the dubious distinction of having about a third of the nation’s congenital syphilis cases. Thirty infected babies were stillborn in the state last year, the most on record since 1995.

“It is shameful,” Klausner said. “These are statistics we see among the poorest countries in the world.”

More proof the Sacramento Democrats have moved us into Third World status—category by category.  The “good” news is that we have legalized marijuana so we no longer need to feel the damage—we can be mellow.

baby-voting

Why do California babies have syphilis in numbers rivaling those of poor nations?

By David Gorn, CalMatters,  10/16/18

Jeffrey Klausner has seen the damage congenital syphilis can do to newborns, and it makes him a little sick.

“It’s one of the horrible outcomes,” said Klausner, an infectious disease professor at UCLA’s medical school. “You have devastation of the newborn.”

It’s not just the neurological harm the illness causes, or the infant deaths or stillborn deliveries, he said, but the fact that it’s all preventable—with a single antibiotic shot.

About two decades ago, congenital syphilis was all but eradicated in California, the most populous state. But in the past six years, the number of cases has jumped from 33 to 283—almost a tenfold increase. It’s the highest number of cases in any state and accounts for the third-highest rate per live birth, behind Louisiana and Nevada.

California owns the dubious distinction of having about a third of the nation’s congenital syphilis cases. Thirty infected babies were stillborn in the state last year, the most on record since 1995.

“It is shameful,” Klausner said. “These are statistics we see among the poorest countries in the world.”

Many countries have virtually eradicated the illness by making sure pregnant women are screened and treated for syphilis. The World Health Organization set a benchmark—50 cases per 100,000 people—that it expects 80 percent of the world’s countries to meet by the end of the decade. California does not hit that standard.

“This is a failure of the public health system,” Klausner said.

Congenital syphilis is a debilitating disease, passing to unborn babies through the placental wall. Symptoms at birth can include meningitis, anemia, enlarged liver and spleen, pneumonia and mental retardation.

Why is the dramatic spike in congenital syphilis occurring in California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, with a dramatically expanded health system? The answer is complicated.

“We see some parts of the state where it’s more prevalent,” said Heidi Bauer, chief of STD (sexually transmitted disease) Control for the California Department of Public Health.

She’s referring to the Central Valley, particularly Kern County, where a high number of cases have been recorded. That area is strongly affected, she said, by “high rates of poverty, homelessness and substance abuse,” Bauer said. “It’s a variety of things.”

California law requires syphilis screening for all pregnant women at their first prenatal visit. But in more than half of the state’s congenital syphilis cases, women didn’t get prenatal care until the third trimester, if at all. Almost half of the pregnant women whose babies had syphilis acknowledged using methamphetamine in the year before their diagnosis, and 13 percent said they had exchanged sex for money or drugs in the year before their diagnosis.

“In Kern County in particular, there’s lots of meth use. Lots of transactions to get drugs,” said Jennifer Wagman, a UC San Diego professor who’s researching the cause of the congenital syphilis spread.

Syphilis has been an issue in the LGBTQ community, but it barely existed in the heterosexual community, and it’s unusual to see a sexually transmitted disease cross over to heterosexual women, she said.

“We’re seeing a mixing up of partnerships in that subset” of poor female drug users in the Central Valley, Wagman said. “So we’re seeing these higher rates in these pocket communities, where there are gaps in the health-care system and gaps in access to care.”

Another contributor, she said, is that California as a whole has a higher rate of all sexually transmitted disease than most other states. Over the past five years, rates have climbed 45 percent in California, with a record number of more than 300,000 cases in 2017.

In addition, “we are seeing more women who are unstably housed, and many with substance-use problems,” Bauer said. “Many of them have had children removed from them in the past.”

Women with previous congenital-syphilis births who’ve had those children taken from them may be reluctant to get any health care at all, fearing the authorities will take the next baby, Bauer said. So some women bear more than one child with congenital syphilis.

She said the state concentrates on reaching women who have been incarcerated or those in the sex industry, because they’re at greater risk for drug use, unprotected sex and infection. The state also reaches out to substance-abuse treatment centers and providers of homelessness services, trying to get women tested for sexually transmitted diseases even before any pregnancy.

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But to Klausner, that’s a band-aid approach. Other states and countries do more comprehensive screening and treatment, he said, with close local monitoring of pregnant women to make sure they are screened, provided with the test results and helped with access to treatment. That process takes manpower, and California is hamstrung by too low a budget, he said.

California’s last budget for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases was about $11 million. The state added $2 million in the current spending plan, but only for a single year.

“That’s a joke,” Klausner said. “Epidemics go up exponentially. That’s a spit in the ocean.”

Advocates had pushed for an ongoing $10-million-a-year increase.

Wagman said the state needs to fund a large-scale investigation to figure out why congenital syphilis is rising and how to fix the problem.

“Most of my work has been in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily in Uganda,” she said, “…and there is no congenital syphilis in Uganda because they’re so actively monitoring it” through testing and follow-up. But many doctors in California think of congenital syphilis as a disease that’s been eliminated, she said.

“I don’t think anyone expected this to go on the way it has,” Wagman said. “Everyone’s trying to figure out what the next steps are.”

Klausner said he can answer that one.

“It’s not a medical problem at all; it’s a public health problem,” he said. “We need surveillance, response and intervention. Syphilis is eminently controllable.

“The reality is, if you don’t make it a priority, what’s going to stop it?”