San Fran Chronicle: We are a Robot Journalism Site

If you have a heart and blood vessels, the Chronicle, in the future will disqualify you as a journalist.  If you speak in x’s and o’s, use an algorithm instead of a brain, you have a future at the San Francisco Chronicle.

“It looked just like so many other short news briefs in the San Francisco Chronicle; straightforward, factual, a little boring. A modest earthquake struck in Soledad:

The United States Geological Survey detected the quake at 7:54 a.m. with an epicenter 15.1 miles northeast of Soledad. With a magnitude of 3.7 and depth of 6.22 miles, this quake could be felt near the epicenter but damage to structures is unlikely.

Over the last seven days, there have been four other earthquakes above magnitude 3.0 within 100 miles of this area.

What struck me wasn’t the story but the tagline at the end:

This story was created automatically by an online bot built in The San Francisco Chronicle’s newsroom. 

Imagine has easy it will be to build in a bias in reporting?  The lack of thought about an issue or policy is easy to do.  Say, for instance, no counter balance to the words of a Democrat in a story.  No reporter has to worry about ethics—robots have no ethics.  Actually, who cares whether a biased reporter or a biased algorithm wrote a story—few have any trust or respect in legacy, dead tree media.

The Chron’s robo-journalism

Bots are now providing simple news stories for the local paper. Nothing to worry about here.

ByTim Redmond, 48 Hills,  10/20/19 

It looked just like so many other short news briefs in the San Francisco Chronicle; straightforward, factual, a little boring. A modest earthquake struck in Soledad:

The United States Geological Survey detected the quake at 7:54 a.m. with an epicenter 15.1 miles northeast of Soledad. With a magnitude of 3.7 and depth of 6.22 miles, this quake could be felt near the epicenter but damage to structures is unlikely.

Over the last seven days, there have been four other earthquakes above magnitude 3.0 within 100 miles of this area.

What struck me wasn’t the story but the tagline at the end:

This story was created automatically by an online bot built in The San Francisco Chronicle’s newsroom. 

Yes: The Chron is now running stories written by robots.

This is nothing new, really. Bots have been creating sports and financial reports for some time now. SFist returned a couple years ago as a “software-assisted newsroom.” But it’s new to the Chron’s news section, unless I’ve been missing something.

I asked Audrey Cooper, the Chron’s editor, about it:

Seriously? With all of our agreements about the threats to journalism, what are the Chron’s plans to use bots to keep writing stories? This is scary.

Cooper:

Tim, you are really too much sometimes. A better way to approach this would be to ask why we would do this.

It actually requires more journalists to use this bot. However, it is faster than a human because of how our CMSs (yes, plural) work. It has to do with how the systems ingest stories, how reporters start new files, how we have to tag stories and how the content-creation and web systems talk to each other. Suffice to say, in the middle of the night, to do it properly takes a lot of time — time you don’t have because everyone is checking the website immediately after they feel a rumble. This bot is inside the web cms where web producers work; reporters write in a different cms, which creates a lot of lag time as the systems communicate. So we can have a producer or editor check this story much quicker and post something nearly immediately while a reporter checks on damage. It cannot get published until at least one journalist verifies it. It also gives us a vehicle to attach our quake maps, etc., which tell people how far the quake was felt.

In every other case to date, these stories stay up for only a few minutes before they are updated by reporters (who start new files in their usual CMS so these original bot stories don’t get overwritten, which is why you see some of them in the system.)

Nothing to worry about here. Just a few robots, working away in the wee hours, of course under proper human supervision.

This system seems to be working so well in baseball– I can’t wait to see how it transforms journalism.

Who’s really leaving California, and why does that matter?

If you want a better lifestyle, good jobs and a great place to raise kids, Californians are flocking to Florida and Texas.  But, for those near retirement age—or above—looking for a great lifestyle, a State government that is responsive to the people, not special interest and drugged out Progressives, we are moving to Idaho.  The big California loser?  The Bay Area.

“While much of the inbound migration to Boise comes from elsewhere in Idaho, many newcomers are from high-cost metros on the west coast. Per census data, 17,000 of the roughly 80,000 new Idaho residents in 2016 came from California. According to an analysis by Realtor.com, homebuyers from 82 California ZIP codes made up 4.5 percent of the page views for Boise real estate; many of them were concentrated near the Bay Area.

A Boise realtor report about local residential trends identifies this group as impacting what housing is being built, noting that local builders are focusing on “higher-end homes and amenities versus entry-level projects to meet profit margins and consumer preferences.”

Watch as the great skiing, wonderful fishing, good golf course, low taxes s and a government that respects parental rights and quality education for more Californians to love the Potato State.  As Children, and grand children visit Idaho, they will want the good life as well.

Who’s really leaving California, and why does that matter?

Many California homeowners are cashing out, picking up, and moving inland

By Patrick Sisson, Curbed,  10/22/19  

Property Lines is a column by Curbed senior reporter Patrick Sisson that spotlights real estate trends and hot housing markets across the country.

Comments, tips, and suggestions on where Property Lines should head next are welcome at patrick@curbed.com.

Idaho’s capital—from the city of Boise itself to the surrounding towns that have shifted from farmers’ fields to subdivisions over the past few years—is in the midst of a building boom. While Boise’s economy has been attracting new residents, much of the boom is fueled by migration from others trying to escape expensive coastal cities out west. Even so, the specifics of these moves don’t map exactly onto the stories we tell about who is leaving the coasts and how they’re changing noncoastal cities.

It’s instructive to look past the construction and zero-in on the type of housing being built to get a better sense of what is driving this growth, according to Phil Mount, Boise’s regional realtors president. A lot of the new construction he’s seeing around towns like Eagle and East Boise could best be described as nice single-level homes—with a few added touches, including low-threshold doors that are easier for owners who are disabled, spacious hallways, wide showers, and maintenance-free features. These are easy-to-live-in homes in neighborhoods with clubhouses and walkable access to stores. They are perfect places for older, wealthier retirees to spend their golden years.

“I just had a client, a 70-year-old widow from Northern California, Darolene Mullin, who came out here because she didn’t like what was happening to her home, and the lifestyle here suited her,” he said. “She’s in the area affected by the blackouts (due to fears that downed power lines would spark wildfires), and just decided that Boise is where she’ll spend her retirement years. It’s so much easier here.”

Are wealthier retirees, or those near retirement, having an outsized impact on housing markets? In Idaho’s Ada County, which includes Boise, the inventory of available single-family homes has dropped every quarter since 2014, and the median sales price has increased from $209,990 to $324,950, a 54.7 percent jump. At the same time, demographics have shifted. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of baby boomers in the region, those aged 52 to 70, grew by 30.5 percent.

While much of the inbound migration to Boise comes from elsewhere in Idaho, many newcomers are from high-cost metros on the west coast. Per census data, 17,000 of the roughly 80,000 new Idaho residents in 2016 came from California. According to an analysis by Realtor.com, homebuyers from 82 California ZIP codes made up 4.5 percent of the page views for Boise real estate; many of them were concentrated near the Bay Area.

A Boise realtor report about local residential trends identifies this group as impacting what housing is being built, noting that local builders are focusing on “higher-end homes and amenities versus entry-level projects to meet profit margins and consumer preferences.”

The “myth” of the California retiree

California homeowners are cashing out, picking up, and moving inland, pushing up prices in other states as they look for more affordable places to live and to retire. Boise is just one of many cities seeing this influx, which some have labeled “Californication.” But the story, and the underlying demographics, are a little more complicated.

California is losing people at a fast clip. Between 2007 and 2016, the state lost 1 million residents who picked up and moved elsewhere in the U.S., about 2.5 percent of the state population (the state is still gaining population overall, due to births and international immigration). The state lost 38,000 last year alone, part of a migration trend that’s speeding up (the state ranked 49th in total amount of domestic outmigration last year). A LinkedIn analysis of the last four years of profile data found that California professionals aged 55-64 are mostly likely to move to Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, New York City, and Portland, Oregon.

But Mount says the “California fantasy”—that it’s just older Golden State expats causing the rapid escalation of housing shortages and home prices—is a simplification.

 “I’m seeing a much bigger mix of demographics coming to the Boise area,” he says. “Recently, it’s a much larger mix of folks, coming from all across the U.S., including New York and Seattle. The 40- to 50-year-old work-from-home group is one of the biggest we’re seeing, as well.”

Is it millennials? Despite recent headlines suggesting an exodus of young adults from large cities, there doesn’t seem to be statistically significant movement of young adults out of big metros.

Maybe it’s just that in a Venn diagram of demographic groups that many like to blame for economic issues and the hoarding of wealth, California baby boomers would be near the center of the chart.

A California exodus

In California, a significant number of older homeowners are hitting retirement. State residents over 65 years old made up 18 percent of the population, a group that grew by 3 percent in 2018 alone, and 80 percent of the baby boomers in the state own their homes. That’s a lot of potential for downsizing and moving out. California citizens aged 65 to 75 are also the most likely of any age group to own property. Some analysts have even said the rush of boomers downsizing will create a “shadow inventory” of housing that will help alleviate the great shortage of starter homes.

These homeowners are feeling an additional push to leave the state thanks to the recent tax reform and the SALT exemption repeal, which increases the tax bill for homeowners. According to Dan Walters, a researcher with the state think tank CALMatters, there’s been a rush of retirees or near-retirees making the move to neighboring low-tax states such as Arizona and Nevada. Researcher Joel Kotkin found that a majority of Californians expected to leave the state in the next 10 years.

These older former Californians have also zeroed in on Texas. According to the Economist, a quarter of those moving out of the Golden State between 2007 and 2016 have relocated to Texas. A city employee in Plano, Texas, who had been helping dozens of new arrivals apply for drivers’ licenses, joked that “Everyone is from California. Are they kicking y’all out?”

The main movers are middle class

But the scapegoating of rich Californians ignores many of the facts about who’s really moving. In a survey of economists taken by the San Diego Union-Tribune seeking insight into the state’s retirement climate, the consensus was that older and wealthier residents had more reasons to stay (and California has been a magnet for residents moving from similarly expensive states). Proposition 13, the state ballot measure from 1978 that froze property taxes for long-time homeowners, is a massive subsidy for the wealthy (it saved homeowners an estimated $7.4 billion last year alone).

The working middle class are “fleeing the state,” according to Kelly Cunningham of the San Diego Institute for Economic Research, due to the state’s “dysfunctional nature.” A large part of the problem is housing; per Zillow, the average house in California has risen from roughly $300,000 in 2012 to $550,000 today. Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties have seen massive outflow of residents over the last few years. California is becoming stratified, a statewide gentrification that is holding back economic growth and leaving the vaunted California lifestyle “available to an increasingly select few who can afford it.”

Public sector workers from California have long sought greener, cheaper pastures. According to a report by the Sacramento Bee, 15 percent of the 561,000 pensioners in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System live outside the state. Cops and firefighters have clustered in Grants Pass and Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and other state employees can be found in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Florida.

“Compared to California, Las Vegas was a no-brainer,” Joe Beck, a former Southern California school district maintenance administrator who moved to Las Vegas, told the Sacramento Bee. “I decided that if I could handle the heat three months out of the year, I needed to move to where my retirement check would be tax-free.”

Vegas, which is close enough for an afternoon jaunt back to Southern California, also offers plentiful sunshine, lots of activities for seniors, and the same single-family-home-style subdivisions that retirees had back home.

The national challenge of finding affordable housing is having a trickle-down effect everywhere. And if Boise is any indication, few cities are adequately preparing for shifting populations and new migrations across the country.

Another Reason for Jews to Support Trump—Democrats Openly Extort Israel

Barack Obama was open about his support of terrorists wanting to take down and end the State of Israel.  To this day he continues to explain why Israel is a terrible nation—because it is free and the people decide its leadership.  AOC and her Squad have made it clear, they want to end the U.S. support of Israel.  Now Elizabeth Warren wants to cut off aid to Israel—because it is a free nation.

““Would you make American aid conditional on settlement building?” a man asked.

“Right now, Netanyahu says he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements,” Warren said. “That does not move us in the direction of a two-state solution.”

Netanyahu’s administration has continued building houses in the West Bank in recent years, and Netanyahu has promised to annex existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table,” Warren said.

“Everything is on the table,” she continued.”

This is a quid pro quo, per Democrat theory on the Ukraine.  We give Israel aid, if they stop building settlements.  When will Shifty Schiff open an investigation of Warren?  Why hasn’t Charles Schumer spoken up against this extortion of Israel?

Elizabeth Warren Threatens To Cut Off Aid To Israel

William Davis, Daily Caller,  10/21/19 

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren threatened to cut off aid to Israel on Sunday while campaigning in Iowa.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of running afoul of U.S. policy in the region, claiming that Netanyahu was making it harder for Israel and Palestine to reach a two-state solution. (RELATED: Anti-Israel Boycott Movement Exposes Schism Within The Squad And The Democratic Party)

“Would you make American aid conditional on settlement building?” a man asked.

“Right now, Netanyahu says he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements,” Warren said. “That does not move us in the direction of a two-state solution.”

Netanyahu’s administration has continued building houses in the West Bank in recent years, and Netanyahu has promised to annex existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table,” Warren said.

“Everything is on the table,” she continued.

Israel has become a hot button issue in the 2020 presidential election, as the Democratic Party has moved away from their long-standing support for the Jewish state

Firebrand Democratic freshman Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were recently banned from entering the country over the duo’s support for a boycott of the Jewish state.

Colman: WHERE’S MY MARGARET THATCHER?

While Dr. Colman asks “Where is My Margaret Thatcher”, many of us ask where is our Ronald Reagan?  President Trump is one of a kind.  Few have his guts to take on the Deep State.  Unlike the Democrats he is for the Free Market and willing to take on the crony capitalists.  He is taking on the big corporations that abuse us in the media, on the Internet and firms that take jobs overseas.

Thatcher stood for free markets, an assertive nationalism, less government regulation of the economy, limits on the welfare state, and hard work.  Hard work is reminiscent of the Queen Victoria age (1819 to 1901), when Britons, if they wanted something, were expected to work hard and not depend on government for assistance.

In 1982, when Argentina tried to take control of British territory near Argentina, Thatcher sent her military to retake the occupied land.  The land was the Falkland Islands, which are close to Argentina.”

Between Thatcher and Reagan, the world had great leaders.  We have Trump today—but in five years we will need another great leader.

WHERE’S MY MARGARET THATCHER?

By Richard Colman, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  10/23/19   

California is broke.

 The exultation over the state’s current $21 billion budget surplus is a mirage.  No one knows for sure, but the state has unfunded pension liabilities of between

$400 million and $1 trillion dollars.  These liabilities are mostly for the state’s public employees and public school teachers.

 California residents who are not American citizens get access to the 10-campus University of California and other educational institutions.  Also, these residents qualify for other benefits like housing allowances, food assistance, and health care.

 There is no need to be cruel.  No one inside California should be allowed to go hungry.  Some temporary, low level of assistance might be appropriate.  People who receive government money must be required to work.

 So what should California do?

 California needs discipline.  And no one, in recent times, has stood for discipline more than Margaret Thatcher, who was prime minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990.

 When Thatcher took over the prime minister’s job, strikes in Britain were prevalent, garbage was piling up (sometimes 20 feet high) in the streets, and the British pound was becoming worthless.  Jobs were hard to find.

 When Thatcher first ran for prime minister, the Conservative Party, of which Thatcher was the head, had a slogan:  “Labor is not working.”  The slogan was directed against Britain’s other major party, the Labor Party, which traditionally has been a socialist party.  (In Britain, “labor” is spelled “labour.”)

Thatcher stood for free markets, an assertive nationalism, less government regulation of the economy, limits on the welfare state, and hard work.  Hard work is reminiscent of the Queen Victoria age (1819 to 1901), when Britons, if they wanted something, were expected to work hard and not depend on government for assistance.

In 1982, when Argentina tried to take control of British territory near Argentina, Thatcher sent her military to retake the occupied land.  The land was the Falkland Islands, which are close to Argentina.

From the end of World War II to the 1990’s, California represented growth and opportunity.  There were jobs.  Governors like Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight, and Edmund G. (Pat) Brown had to prepare for 10,000 new arrivals a week.  California built freeways, water projects, and a top-notch system of higher education.  The crown jewel of the educational system was the multi-campus University of California.  (At one point, the university’s Berkeley campus, had nine Nobel laureates as faculty members.) Hollywood and the aerospace industry were booming.  So was agriculture.

During to so-called golden years (1946 to 1999), California became the place to live.  Along the coastal regions, the climate was mild, and there was no snow.  Southern California seemed to have year-round spring and summer.  For those who liked skiing, there were resorts at Lake Tahoe (in Northern California) and Lake Arrowhead (in Southern California).  For golfers, the Palm Springs area offered a great climate, especially from October to March.

In the 1970’s, to the 1990’s, Silicon Valley (about 40 miles south of San Francisco) emerged as a worldwide technology center.  Such firms as Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, and Intel emerged.  For skilled technology workers, there were plenty of jobs.

 Around the year 2000, things started to go sour in California.  Millions of low-income people moved in.  Housing prices started to skyrocket.  Freeways became congested with traffic.  The public school system, once one of the best in the nation, became overwhelmed with pupils who did not know English.

 Today, California resembles a Third World country.  Twenty percent of the state’s residents live in poverty, and another 20 percent live at a level close to poverty.  These statistics come from Dan Walters, the dean of the state’s newspaper columnists and a journalist for almost 60 years.  For many years, Walters wrote columns for the Sacramento Bee.  A few years ago, Walters retired from the Bee, and now his columns appear on the website <www.calmatters.org>.

 In such major cities as Los Angeles and San Francisco, thousands of homeless people live on the streets.  Some of these vagrants are hooked on illegal drugs.

 It’s time to clean up the mess in California. 

 The system of higher education (the community colleges, the California State University, and the University of California (U.C.) needs some assistance.  Fifty years ago, tuition at a U.C. campus was $180 a year.  Now, the tuition is over $12,000 annually.  Education should be regarded as an investment, an investment that will be repaid by graduates who earn more money than those who only finish high school.  At the college and university level, there should be special tuition waivers for students who graduate with degrees in science, technology engineering, and mathematics.

 One idea with exploring is encouraging certain California residents to leave the state.  Currently, the state’s population is about 40 million, more than all of Canada.

 If millions of California residents leave, there will be no need for the massive housing and transportation programs that the state government wants to create.  Think how much nicer — and affordable — California would be with 20 million to 30 million residents.

 Current plans call for more tax increases in California.  Some ideas call for increasing the state sales tax by one percentage point or more.  California already has the nation’s highest sales tax and the nation’s highest gasoline tax.  Sales taxes hurt low-income people and retired people on fixed incomes very hard.  With fewer people, California might be able to reduce — not increase — taxes.

 To bring back glory to California, it’s time for the kind of discipline exemplified by Margaret Thatcher.

 Thatcher’s discipline turned Britain around.  Someone with a similar outlook should be able to restore California to greatness.

With New Fire Threat Looming, PG&E Issues Alert for Possible Midweek Blackouts

For my readers in the foothills near Sacramento—the Republican areas of the State, be prepared.  PG&E, thanks to the refusal of government to clean up the forests, will be forced to turn off power—just for a day or two—for hundreds of thousands.  Yet, Newsom and the Sacramento Politburo refuse to take any responsibility.  Why?  Because the Democrats want to bankrupt the utilities companies and socialize them—government will own our power sources!

“PG&E officials said late Monday that the utility could initiate power shutoffs beginning Wednesday evening in parts of 16 counties: Napa, San Mateo and Sonoma counties in the Bay Area, and Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sutter and Yuba counties in the Sierra foothills.

The potential shutoffs could affect 209,000 customers.

PG&E President and CEO Bill Johnson said the utility began contacting potentially affected customers by phone, email and text on Monday. If you aren’t contacted, you’re not in the area where planned shutoffs may occur, Johnson said. “

Someone needs to send Newsom a mirror.  Maybe if he looked at it—other than to see how pretty his hair and face are—Gavin would notice his responsibility in the economic instability caused by his policies.

With New Fire Threat Looming, PG&E Issues Alert for Possible Midweek Blackouts

Don Clyde, KQED,  10/21/19 

PG&E Senior Wildfire Operations Center Analyst Sarah Gibson monitors weather and satellite images of fire areas at the PG&E Wildfire Safety Operations Center on Aug. 5, 2019 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated 6:15 p.m. Monday

With another round of windy, bone-dry weather expected to descend on Northern and Central California later this week, PG&E is alerting customers that it may again shut off power to communities from parts of the Bay Area to the Sierra foothills to reduce the danger of its electrical lines touching off wildfires.

PG&E officials said late Monday that the utility could initiate power shutoffs beginning Wednesday evening in parts of 16 counties: Napa, San Mateo and Sonoma counties in the Bay Area, and Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sutter and Yuba counties in the Sierra foothills.

The potential shutoffs could affect 209,000 customers.

PG&E President and CEO Bill Johnson said the utility began contacting potentially affected customers by phone, email and text on Monday. If you aren’t contacted, you’re not in the area where planned shutoffs may occur, Johnson said.

“[Shutoffs are] not a tool we want to use or a tool we like to use. We’re determined to not let catastrophic wildfires happen again,” he added.

PG&E officials said if the forecast holds, they would begin power shutoffs around 5 p.m. Wednesday for counties in the North Bay and Sierra foothills, and 2 a.m. Thursday for parts of San Mateo County. Final decisions would be made and announced eight to 12 hours before a shutoff.

Johnson said customers should prepare for outages that could last up to 48 hours.

PG&E issued an initial power shutoff watch Sunday evening as the National Weather Service warned of the onset of high winds and dry weather later this week, especially in the North Bay hills. The NWS San Francisco Bay Area office issued a Fire Weather Watch Monday afternoon, and said conditions could reach a critical point Wednesday night, with high fire danger lasting into Thursday.

“Right now, Wednesday night into Thursday morning is our period of biggest concern in terms of fire weather threat due to the most widespread and strongest offshore winds and lowest humidity,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Spencer Tanjen said Monday. Wind speeds are expected to hit the 30 mph mark, with gusts as high as 50 mph.

A ‘judicial catastrophe’ is looming, Fresno judge says. Court vacancies are a problem

Thanks to the refusal of Democrats in the U.S. Senate—led by Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, the Central Court District of California (Central Valley) might have NO civil trials and few criminal trials.  Due to the law, lots of criminals will be back on the street—which may be the real goal of Feinstein and Harris.  If it is not their goal, then that is the INTENDED Consequence of holding up confirmations.  The winners?  The crooks and thieves—the losers?  The American people.

“The court, which represents a district of about 8.5 million people, is three months away from losing one-third of its judges to retirement, the letter says. The elected officials must fill two of the court’s impending vacancies soon or risk the due process of defendants, O’Neill wrote.

The confirmation process for judges can be time-consuming so elected officials will have to act quickly, according to O’Neill.

“In addition, based on the high and increasing numbers of criminal indictments being brought in the Eastern District of California, there exists a high possibility that a number of criminal cases will have to be dismissed due to an inability to comply with the Speedy Trial Act,” the letter says.”

The Democrats do not want President Trump to appoint judges—and this is what you get.  It is time for the GOP in the Senate to hold marathon hearings and votes—end the backlog and gridlock.

A ‘judicial catastrophe’ is looming, Fresno judge says. Court vacancies are a problem

By Thaddeus Miller, Fresno Bee,  10/21/19 

A Fresno-area federal judge has sounded the alarm about U.S. Eastern District Court vacancies that could lead to a “an impending, acute and judicial catastrophe.”

Presiding Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sent a letter on Friday to the White House and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, warning about impending retirements on the court with the highest caseload in the nation for more than two decades.

“The statement sounds serious and ominous. It is both,” he said of the potential catastrophe. “It may also sound like an exaggeration. It is not.”

The court, which represents a district of about 8.5 million people, is three months away from losing one-third of its judges to retirement, the letter says. The elected officials must fill two of the court’s impending vacancies soon or risk the due process of defendants, O’Neill wrote.

The confirmation process for judges can be time-consuming so elected officials will have to act quickly, according to O’Neill.

“In addition, based on the high and increasing numbers of criminal indictments being brought in the Eastern District of California, there exists a high possibility that a number of criminal cases will have to be dismissed due to an inability to comply with the Speedy Trial Act,” the letter says.

Representatives for Harris said Monday they had not yet received the letter from O’Neill.

“Senator Harris believes a functioning judiciary is critical,” Harris’ office said in a statement. “That’s why she and Senator Feinstein are committed to working together to find qualified candidates.”

Feinstein was not immediately available for comment, but her office also released a statement.

“Senator Feinstein understands the critical role of judges in the Eastern District and shares Judge O’Neill’s concerns about two upcoming vacancies,” the statement said. “She and Senator Harris are working to ensure that qualified, mainstream jurists are promptly nominated to fill those vacancies.”

Requests for comment from the White House were not immediately returned.

The last new judge to be appointed was U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale Drozd in 2015. Judges have said previously that the court would benefit by adding six new judges, lightening the load for everyone on the bench.

The district judge job comes with a lifetime tenure, a 2019 yearly salary of $210,900 and, in California’s central San Joaquin Valley, a heavy workload.

The Eastern District of California stretches from the Oregon border in the north to the Tehachapi Mountains in the south, and is the largest of the state’s four federal judicial districts. The two main courthouses are in Sacramento and Fresno, while magistrate judges sit in Yosemite, Redding and Bakersfield.

IBM-San Jose State deal will prepare students for jobs not yet invented

If Warren and Sanders had their way, there would be no IBM—or Facebook, or PG&E or other privately run company.  Instead everything would be run by government—so government will determine where you work, if you work and how you get compensated.  Entrepreneurs would be shunned and outlawed—everybody would be equal.  Just like in Cuba or Venezuela, everybody would be equally poor.

IBM Corp. and San Jose State University have signed a partnership agreement intended to prepare students for careers in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity, cloud computing and others — “some that we know and some that are only now emerging,” university President Mary Papazian said.

The open-ended agreement includes creation of a portal for students, staff and faculty to access IBM teaching and research resources worth $5 million at the outset, establishment of an on-campus technology office and cybersecurity training center, and a skills academy with courses on the skills and ethics that will be required in an evolving digital economy.”

At a time where menial jobs and low skilled jobs are disappearing—and computers and robots are replacing them, this is the type of public/private partnership that is need for the future.  Google is doing a massive retraining job—without the help of government.  Tens of thousands of people will be trained or retrained for the age of technology.

IBM-San Jose State deal will prepare students for jobs not yet invented 

Mary Papazian, president of San Jose State University, and Naguib Attia, IBM’s vice president for global university programs, sign a partnership on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, to train and retrain

By Jody Meacham, Silicon Valley Business Journal, 10/21/19 

T

IBM Corp. and San Jose State University have signed a partnership agreement intended to prepare students for careers in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity, cloud computing and others — “some that we know and some that are only now emerging,” university President Mary Papazian said.

The open-ended agreement includes creation of a portal for students, staff and faculty to access IBM teaching and research resources worth $5 million at the outset, establishment of an on-campus technology office and cybersecurity training center, and a skills academy with courses on the skills and ethics that will be required in an evolving digital economy.

“We’ve set it up in a way that it will become accessible, not just to us, but we hope to our colleagues across the (California State University system) as well, Papazian said.

IBM has three such agreements with eastern universities including the University of Louisville, Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, said Naguib Attia, the company’s vice president for global university programs. He established the program in the Middle East and Africa when he was the company’s vice president and CTO of its industrial sector there.

“AI, our academic initiative program, has given $295 million of software free to world universities, so the $5 million here, they can grab it quickly. We are not going to say stop,” Attia said. “We’re going to say keep going.”

He said the SJSU partnership was hatched a year ago when he first met Papazian. It seemed like an obvious opportunity for IBM, considering the university’s location in Silicon Valley and the company’s Almaden Valley lab, which opened in 1977, just six years after the valley’s nickname was coined.

The region’s tech companies “are paying arms and legs to train and re-skill and up-skill,” Attia said. “This program, you re-skill and up-skill even the people who don’t have funds to pay and this is very, very low cost.”

University spokeswoman Robin McElhatton said the school educates more employees of Silicon Valley companies than any other and said 200,000 alumni live in the area in addition to the 36,000 currently enrolled students and 4,000 faculty and staff.

“We are the pipeline to Silicon Valley,” she said.

How Many Laws Does San Fran’s Prop. A Violate?

It looks like San Fran has adopted the favorite saying of Barack Obama, as he violated numerous laws.  When reminded by the press he was violated a law, his response was, “So sue me”.  He thought he could have his lawbreaking go on for years as the Courts sorted it it.  The same for San Fran and many California cities—certainly Guv Newsom has adopted the policy—I will kill jobs and the economy, take away parental rights.  If you do not like it, sue me—it will be tied up in the courts for years, cost YOU a lot of money and we will continue violating the law.

“Prop. A’s proposed use of funds appears to skate very close to the edge in terms of complying with Prop. 46, because there is a difference between “improvement” and “repairs.” In the world of accounting and finance, this difference is significant. The distinction between capital improvements and repair expenses is clearly defined in generally accepted accounting principles which govern how they are classified on certified financial statements as well as on tax returns.

The underlying ordinance to be approved via Prop. 8 reads as follows: “to finance the construction, development, acquisition, improvement, rehabilitation, preservation, and repair of affordable housing…”

An improvement would be to add square footage to a building, or to add a significant amenity such as a swimming pool, that had not previously been on the property. Those expenditures conform to Prop. 46’s restrictions, because they are capital improvements. It is difficult, however, to discern how “rehabilitation, preservation, and repair” complies with Prop. 46, because those are not capital improvements, they are repair expenses.

If you review the spending budget for Prop. A via the text of the ordinance, in Section 3 “Proposed Program,” it becomes even more difficult to argue these expenditures are going to be for “improvement” as opposed to “repair.”

By the time the courts finalize their decision, the money will be gone, the special interests richer and the politicians that broke the law will hold other offices.  This is a scam.  That is why you always vote NO on bonds and taxes—government will steal any money you approve.

How Many Laws Does San Francisco’s Prop. A Violate?

Six hundred million dollars for, at best, less than 1,000 units of new housing

By Edward Ring, California Globe, 10/21/19 

Whether or not San Francisco’s upcoming appeal to voters to borrow $600 million to pay for for low income housing is a good idea or a bad idea depends on who you ask.

Proponents claim Prop. A, which will appear on the ballot this November 5th, is necessary because San Francisco doesn’t have enough affordable housing. Opponents argue, among other things, that Prop. A is mostly for “rehabilitation” of existing low income housing and therefore doesn’t significantly increase the supply of housing.

But does Prop. A’s proposed use of funds conform to state law that directs how bond money can be spent?

Does Prop. A’s Use of Proceeds Violate California’s State Prop. 46?

Eight years after the passage of the landmark Proposition 13, which California’s voters approved in 1978 to freeze property taxes at one percent of the assessed value at that time (with a maximum two percent per year permissible adjustment), Proposition 46 was passed by voters to offer some exemptions to Prop. 13. Specifically, Prop. 46 authorized local governments to increase property taxes if, by a two-thirds vote, ballot measures were approved to permit borrowing “to purchase or improve land and buildings.”

Prop. A’s proposed use of funds appears to skate very close to the edge in terms of complying with Prop. 46, because there is a difference between “improvement” and “repairs.” In the world of accounting and finance, this difference is significant. The distinction between capital improvements and repair expenses is clearly defined in generally accepted accounting principles which govern how they are classified on certified financial statements as well as on tax returns.

The underlying ordinance to be approved via Prop. 8 reads as follows: “to finance the construction, development, acquisition, improvement, rehabilitation, preservation, and repair of affordable housing…”

An improvement would be to add square footage to a building, or to add a significant amenity such as a swimming pool, that had not previously been on the property. Those expenditures conform to Prop. 46’s restrictions, because they are capital improvements. It is difficult, however, to discern how “rehabilitation, preservation, and repair” complies with Prop. 46, because those are not capital improvements, they are repair expenses.

If you review the spending budget for Prop. A via the text of the ordinance, in Section 3 “Proposed Program,” it becomes even more difficult to argue these expenditures are going to be for “improvement” as opposed to “repair.”

How Much of Prop. A’s Proposed Spending is Actually for “Acquisition and Improvements?”

First, let’s gallop through the “Proposed Program” as summarized in the text of the ordinance:

“Section A, Public Housing,” allocates $150 million to “repair and reconstruct distressed and dilapidated public housing developments.”

This $150 million is clearly not for capital improvements. It’s for maintenance.

Section B, “Low Income Housing,” allocates $220 million to “construct, acquire, and rehabilitate rental housing serving extremely-low and low-income individuals and families.”

Here it would be useful to know to what extent there is “acquisition and construction,” which presumably conforms to Prop. 46, and to what extent there is “rehabilitation,” which arguably does not.

Section C, “Preservation and Middle Income Housing” allocates $30 million to “acquire and/or rehabilitate existing housing at risk of losing affordability,” and “a minimum of $30 million to assist middle-income City residents or workers in obtaining affordable homeownership or rental opportunities.

The second portion of Section C is especially problematic. What does this even mean? It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with repair and rehabilitation of property, much less acquisition and improvement. Is it mortgage loans? Rent subsidies? How does this conform to Prop. 46?

Section D, “Senior Housing” allocates $150 million to acquire and construct new senior housing.

At face value this does conform to Prop. 46.

Section E, “Educator Housing” allocates $20 million to “support predevelopment and new construction of permanent affordable housing opportunities or projects serving SF Unified School District and City College of San Francisco educators and employees earning between 30% and 140% of AMI at the time the bonds are issued.”

Notwithstanding whatever “predevelopment” means, the “new construction of this” is not a violation of Prop. 46, but it constitutes a nice lottery jackpot for a very small handful of San Francisco’s public employees.

Section F states “a portion of the Bond shall be used to perform audits of the Bond.”

This is a good thing, but clearly not something authorized by Prop. 46.

Based on this information, the following two tables provide estimates of how much actual new housing will be created if Prop. A is passed. They rest on the reasonable assumption that new construction will cost an average of $600,000 per unit and rehabilitation of existing units will cost an average of $400,000 per unit.

What are presented in these two cases are what might be considered a best case (#1) and a worst case (#2). The fact that these two cases present vastly differing estimates is because the language of the ordinance is deliberately vague. It doesn’t say “construct” new housing, or “rehabilitate” existing housing. Instead the language typically presents a choice, by wording it “construct or rehabilitate.”

As can be seen in Case One, below, based on the “Proposed Program” as described in the ordinance that Prop. A would approve, if 100 percent of the funds in every one of the six budget sections were allocated to construct new units if the language of the section permitted that, a total of 650 new units would be added to San Francisco’s housing stock.

That’s 650 new units of housing. For six hundred million dollars.

In Case Two, below, wherever the language in one of the six sections of the Proposed Program permits “repair,” “reconstruction,” or “rehabilitation” of existing units, that is where the funds are assumed to be spent. This is not a worst case scenario, in fact, because even in this case, Section B’s $220 million might be entirely used to acquire properties, leaving the job of repairing them to another future bond to fund. Instead, in this case the entire $220 million is assumed to be used for repair work on existing units.

As can be seen, under this second scenario, $600 million results in the rehabilitation of 925 units, with not one single new unit of housing being constructed.

No Specificity Means No Accountability

It is easy to question all the assumptions used in these two cases, but based on the performance of housing bonds in San Francisco and elsewhere in California over the past few years, the per unit cost assumptions to construct or to renovate are, if anything, too low. Why?

When so many people can’t afford housing, and the situation is so dire that supposedly public funding must come to the rescue;

  • Why is the City of San Francisco proposing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit on buildings that are already occupied?
  • Why are they acquiring properties, if these properties are already occupied?
  • Why do housing projects have to be more lavish than the privately owned rental housing stock that the vast majority of renters live in and pay for without subsidies?
  • Why does it cost so much to build or repair housing; what percent of total project costs are soft costs?
  • Why not work on a regional basis, and build and repair housing in lower cost parts of the Bay Area?

More to the point;

  • Why is Prop. A worded in a manner that leaves the administrators of these funds leeway to do pretty much anything they want with the money?
  • Why isn’t it specified, clearly, in each section, what percent of funds will be used for acquiring existing housing (if that’s even necessary), for constructing new housing units, or for repairing existing housing?

Even more to the point;

London Startup Prepares for ‘David vs. Goliath’ Fight with Uber to Dominate UK’s Gig Economy

Uber/Hela Job (British) may have found a way around AB 5 in California.  These companies are in competition to create temporary jobs for gig workers.  They click on the app, find a temporary job they want that fits into their time schedule and compensation.  No agency fees are charged to the worker or the firm doing the hiring.

“October 17th, 2019, London, UK – In the latest signs of an increasingly digital and competitive industry, Hela Job, the London-based company that launched the UK’s first job-finding app, now faces some stiff competition. Uber, the US-based ride-hailing company, just launched a beta version of a similar app in Chicago called “Uber Works”. Hela Job plans to own the mindshare of gig worker in the UK with their new app and Uber Works plans has similar ambitions in the U.S.

The London-based founders of Hela Job welcome the competition. “The gig economy is in desperate need of disruption in job markets throughout the world,” said Hela Job Founder and CEO Ioannis Antypas. “Uber’s entrance into the marketplace underscores the enormous opportunities in the gig economy market for different companies that know the local job market. Of course, we know the UK job market more than Uber. In fact, we carried out two years of R&D before our launch last month. We’ll prove our UK expertise as we reach out to gig workers in cities throughout the UK.”

Once proven in the UK, it will move to the US, sooner rather than later.  Just as Charles Schwaab was a major disruptor for the buying/selling of stocks, this effort will change the hiring practices of companies.  Another disruptor of industry AND government.

London Startup Prepares for ‘David vs. Goliath’ Fight with Uber to Dominate UK’s Gig Economy

Hela Job, 10/17/19  

Hela Job, launched in London last month, is the UK’s first app that connects gig workers with local, temporary jobs. With Uber’s recent launch of a similar app in the U.S. Hela Job founders admit they’re in a race to win the hearts and minds of UK’s booming gig economy before Uber enters the market.

October 17th, 2019, London, UK – In the latest signs of an increasingly digital and competitive industry, Hela Job, the London-based company that launched the UK’s first job-finding app, now faces some stiff competition. Uber, the US-based ride-hailing company, just launched a beta version of a similar app in Chicago called “Uber Works”. Hela Job plans to own the mindshare of gig worker in the UK with their new app and Uber Works plans has similar ambitions in the U.S.

The London-based founders of Hela Job welcome the competition. “The gig economy is in desperate need of disruption in job markets throughout the world,” said Hela Job Founder and CEO Ioannis Antypas. “Uber’s entrance into the marketplace underscores the enormous opportunities in the gig economy market for different companies that know the local job market. Of course, we know the UK job market more than Uber. In fact, we carried out two years of R&D before our launch last month. We’ll prove our UK expertise as we reach out to gig workers in cities throughout the UK.”

A recent study by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that Britain’s booming gig economy more than doubled in size over the past three years and now accounts for 4.7 million workers. The study also concluded that one in 10 working-age adults now work on gig economy platforms, up from one in 20 in 2016.

While most gig platforms and apps have focused on fulfilling the HR needs in vertical markets, with freelance, part-time workers often separated by thousands of miles from their employers, Hela Job the only job-filling, job-finding app in the UK focused on fulfilling the HR needs of local job markets.

How will Hela Job work? Once a business owner or HR manager posts a temporary job on the platform, local, pre-qualified workers are notified instantly on their smart phone. The first pre-qualified worker to respond to the job posting will be hired instantly. When a worker accepts a job offer, the app uses GPS to physically track them as they drive or, if they live in the same neighbourhood, walk from their home to the job site.

HR managers predict the app will save them time and money. “With Hela Job, I can hire someone temporarily and if they do a great job and I want to hire them full time later, I won’t have to pay a huge agency fee,” said Emma-Jane Nutbrown, Head of Business Development at a London Museum. “Another great feature is the fact that employees hired through the app are required to scan a QR code with their smartphones at the start and end of every shift. This makes time-sheets digital, more accurate, and saves us time in tracking their hours”. Also saving HR managers time – Hela Job interviews prospective workers before they can become eligible to be hired through platform. In addition, every job seeker is subjected to an AI-powered security check.

Job seekers call the app empowering. “The location feature is amazing! Who doesn’t want to work closer to home?” said Sia Tehrani, a London resident who works part-time at a London coffee shop. “I love the freedom the app gives me. When I want to work I’ll turn the app on and make myself available. When I don’t want to work, I turn it off. I’m in charge of my work schedule and I love it!”

While Hela Job is currently only available in London, Antypas plans to make it available for job seekers in every major UK city by December. And later, to keep pace with the booming gig economy worldwide, the company plans to introduce the world’s first locally-focused, job-filling, job-finding app to international markets. Hela Job’s next target is to compete directly with Uber Works the U.S., where an estimated 57 million workers have joined the gig economy.

The company’s slogan, “Fill a Job, Find a Job with Hela Job”, will likely be translated into multiple languages as service industries in industrialised countries worldwide undergo a fundamental, digital transformation, relying less on full-time employees and more on part-time, local workers looking for jobs in their own neighbourhood.

L.A.’s sanctuary policy releases 100 criminals a day: ICE

If you re an American that breaks the law in Los Angeles, you go to jail.  If you are an illegal alien that breaks the law in L.A., at least 100 of you will be put back on the street.  You will be protected from ICE and deportation by the LAPD—total violation of the law and their oath of office.

“California’s sanctuary city policies are causing as many as 100 illegal immigrants with criminal records to be released out into the communities every day in the Los Angeles area alone, a top ICE official told Congress on Tuesday.

Timothy S. Robbins, acting executive associate director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that’s just one city in a state where sanctuary policies are now a law state wide.

He said before the law took effect in 2018 the Los Angeles area turned over 75 to 100 criminal aliens each day. Now, he said ICE gets fewer than five.

Sadly, Mayor Garcetti and Guv Newsom are proud of their support of criminals. If you visit L.A. be careful—illegal aliens are running our streets, with the protection of LAPD.  Feel safe?  Not in L.A. or the rest of California.

LA’s sanctuary policy releases 100 criminals a day: ICE

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times, 10/22/19 

California’s sanctuary city policies are causing as many as 100 illegal immigrants with criminal records to be released out into the communities every day in the Los Angeles area alone, a top ICE official told Congress on Tuesday.

Timothy S. Robbins, acting executive associate director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that’s just one city in a state where sanctuary policies are now a law state wide.

He said before the law took effect in 2018 the Los Angeles area turned over 75 to 100 criminal aliens each day. Now, he said ICE gets fewer than five.

“All things being equal, there are 70 to 100 criminal aliens hitting the streets in Los Angeles alone. That is one city within the United States. This is a significant problem that has been overlooked for too long,” he said

His comments came during a hearing in the Senate, called to examine the dangers of the growing sanctuary movement.


Republicans have vowed to move legislation to crack down on sanctuaries.

Sen. Thom Tillis, is proposing a bill that would still allow sanctuary cities to refuse cooperation, as many of them want to do, but would then make them liable to a civil lawsuit from anyone who was victimized by a migrant released under a sanctuary policy.