McClintock Opponent Wants Hamas and Hezbollah to Have “Stake” in Future of Middle East

Congressman Tom McClintock, of the 4th District has been a strong supporter of Israel and an opponent of terrorist organizations, like Hamas and Hezbollah.  His opponent, Jessica Morse, is an admirer of the terrorist organizations and actually believes they are heroes—creating jobs, giving food and assistance to the victims of the totalitarian/terrorist governments—controlled by Hamas and Hezbollah.

She said this in a recent interview:  “Jessica: Yeah, they’re very well-funded, they know how to fund raise and they have budget spreadsheets, you know, ISIS is on Excel, and they are sort of this morphed version of Saddam’s military because we didn’t give them a stake in the new Iraq, they found people that would give them a stake in a future. I mean, not that I’m sympathizing with them at all, but we created this Frankenstein.

Interviewer: You can see the logic, of why they did what they did?

Jessica: yeah

Interviewer: and we demonize these groups, Hezbollah, we paint them one “dimensionally”, but we forget that there very much populists in Lebanon in the sense that they do good things for the community, they build highways, they gain popularity and so we see it one way, it’s hard to convince a nation that their the bad guys.

Jessica: oh, absolutely, a lot of these groups that use foreign aid tactics, they use micro credit, they offer people jobs, they offer people security, so they come in as a stabilizing influence in the communities, and this is a model were seeing used over and over again. The concept that they have a micro lending branch in Hezbollah, or Hamas, sorry, is astounding to me,

Interviewer: its sophisticated, and they know how to use the internet to recruit and ah I don’t know how were going to remedy the situation, I’ve said on the air a few times as far as Israel’s concerned, I feel strongly that Palestine needs to have an independent state, but Israel is surrounded by a sea of hatred and when Castro dies we ought to move all the Cubans in Florida back to Cuba and turn Florida into Israel, and move all the Israelis there. They have their relatives there and they’ll turn into an economic powerhouse. Nobodies listening to me on that.

Jessica: I know it’s always ironic to me, Ethiopia actually volunteered to be Israel.” 

mcclintock_subpage_photos_2

McClintock Opponent Wants Hamas and Hezbollah to Have “Stake” in Future of Middle East

 

Stephen Frank, Editorial California Political News and Views,  8/21/18

 

As my good friend Jon Fleishman likes to say, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

We know the Democrat Party has moved to the lunatic Left—socialist policy, open borders, preference for law breakers over innocent American citizens.  The Democrats love high taxes, an even higher cost of living and demand government control every aspect of our lives.  The latest craziness from the Sacramento Democrats:  They want government to determine the drink of choice of children if they go to a fast food joint—parents not allowed to make the decision for their children.

But, Jessica Morse, the Progressive—left of Bernie Sanders—candidate against McClintock—shows why the Democrat Party may be on the verge of collapse.  Morse is a promoter of terrorist organizations and sees them as heroes.  In her own words:

Jessica: Yeah, there very well-funded, they know how to fund raise and they have budget spreadsheets, you know, ISIS is on Excel, and they are sort of this morphed version of Saddam’s military because we didn’t give them a stake in the new Iraq, they found people that would give them a stake in a future. I mean, not that I’m sympathizing with them at all, but we created this Frankenstein.

While claiming not to sympathize with them, she wants these terrorist organizations to have a stake in the future of the Middle East.  Why would any civilized person want those that kill gays, subjugate women, and kill Jews and Christians, to have a part of any government?  That is how far the Democrats have gone.  Candidates like Morse do not want to destroy terrorists, they want to assimilate them into polite, civil society.

This race between McClintock and Morse is not about Republican vs. Democrat.  It is about sanity, a civil society and support or opposition to terrorism.  Seriously, can we afford to have a member of Congress that accommodates terrorists?  Can we have a political party that wants to give terrorists a role in government, any government?

I’ve attached the section of the interview of the podcast (mp3) and also added the link to the entire podcast for you:

https://www.kx935.com/podcasts/laguna-talks-with-true-crime-novelist-jessica-morse/

She is not convinced Hamas and Hezbollah are the bad guys, “, it’s hard to convince a nation that their bad guys.”  At a time when we are fighting terrorists, protecting our own lives, can we afford an office holder that does not immediately see terrorists as bad?

Years ago a racist, Tom Metzger, won the Republican nomination to Congress from a District in San Diego.  The Republican Party joined with the Democrats to defeat him in the General Election.  That election was not about a Republican or Democrat, it was about ending racism.

This race between McClintock and Morse is no longer about Republican and Democrat—it is about American values, principles and public safety.  I would hope the Democrats in the 4th District will do what the Republicans did in the San Diego District years ago, and vote based on what is best of America, not just a political Party.

 

THE FALLACY AND FALSE HOPE OF CALIFORNIA’S SENATE BILL 10–Ending of Bail

If SB 10 passes, basically ending bail, will you find more minorities stuck in jail for years and months before trial?  While some thugs, assault artists and others get out of jail and go into the shadows—under the bill if you are accused of a major crime, there is no bail and NO leaving of jail.  At the end of the day, the accusation could cost your 1-2 years in jail till the trial.

“A key issue in the discussion of bail reform is the ability of courts to specify the terms of bail.  State courts around the country are split on whether or not they can specify the method of posting the amount of the bail.  Does “bailable by sufficient sureties” allow a judge to require the posting of cash, thereby restricting access to a bail company?  Or, could a court require posting of real estate of a particular value, even if a defendant would otherwise choose to post cash or hire a bail company?   This could occur conceivably if particular facts and circumstances warrant it in a given case.

No matter what, courts are in agreement on one thing — “sufficient sureties” means an amount of money.  There is little debate on that point and has been generally accepted law since 1641 when the Massachusetts Body of Liberties codified it.”

The purpose of the Justice system is the protection of the innocent citizens.  Bail protects the accused from the abuse of power by the system.  Ending bail makes more victim s, limits reasons for the accused to show up for trial while keeping the innocent in jail for lengthy periods of time.  SB 10 is a loser, all the way around.

Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

THE FALLACY AND FALSE HOPE OF CALIFORNIA’S SENATE BILL 10

By Jeffrey J. Clayton, Executive Director, American Bail Coalition, 8/21/18

Proponents of bail reform in California recently touted the virtues of Senate Bill 10, holding a press conference in which they claimed the measure would eliminate money bail, once and for all.  Like it or not, if passed in its current amended state, it would mean that having a friend or relative post bail, posting bail for yourself, or calling a local bail bondsmen would be completely eliminated as options.

Despite all the chest-pounding and rhetoric, there is a fundamental and important reason that this ill-conceived bill will never kill money bail in California: it would be against the state’s constitution.  Yes, pro-bail reformers have conveniently forgotten that the right to bail has been a part of the California Constitution since 1879.

In fact, New Jersey ran into an identical situation when it tried to implement a no-money bail system in 2017.  It made the extremely unfortunate decision to change its constitution and eliminated the right to bail.  In its place, they created a bi-polar system in which defendants would be released without the need for any form of financial security.  Or else they would be detained with no possibility of bail at all.  If this sounds ridiculous, you’re right.  The results have been a disaster.

The California Constitution states, “All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties…”  There are exceptions for capital cases and a few other narrow exceptions where a prosecutor can seek preventative detention.  However, it requires providing proof of danger to the community or the strong possibility of flight risk.  These instances necessitate the establishment of a heightened burden of proof, clear and convincing evidence.

These tested and proven principles reinforce what the California Court of Appeals has previously noted: that preventative detention is rarely used — and that the state’s constitution and traditions regarding the right to bail are largely sacrosanct.

A key issue in the discussion of bail reform is the ability of courts to specify the terms of bail.  State courts around the country are split on whether or not they can specify the method of posting the amount of the bail.  Does “bailable by sufficient sureties” allow a judge to require the posting of cash, thereby restricting access to a bail company?  Or, could a court require posting of real estate of a particular value, even if a defendant would otherwise choose to post cash or hire a bail company?   This could occur conceivably if particular facts and circumstances warrant it in a given case.

No matter what, courts are in agreement on one thing — “sufficient sureties” means an amount of money.  There is little debate on that point and has been generally accepted law since 1641 when the Massachusetts Body of Liberties codified it.

Notwithstanding interpretations of how the terms of bail are spelled out, one thing is clear — Californians on all sides of the issue are assuming Senate Bill 10 will eliminate monetary bail if it becomes law.  However, they’re dead wrong and the legislation is already doomed.  Grandstanding aside, the legislature could pass the bill and the governor could sign it — and any number of other bills — declaring money bail to be illegal to no effect.  Without a change to the state constitution, bail cannot be eliminated by merely passing new statutes.

As someone intimately involved in the bail reform issue in California and nationally for quite some time, I’ve had lengthy conversations with lawmakers and stakeholders regarding its complexities long before Senate Bill 10 was ever presented.  I specifically warned advocates that the state constitution would have to be changed if they were to implement the Washington, D.C. system, which they saw as model for California.  I also advised them that opening the Pandora’s Box of state constitutional provisions on bail would require addressing some very sticky details.  This included dealing with the scope of when preventative detention (jail without the possibility of bail) would be allowed and under what circumstances.  If not properly dealt with, anyone in California would be immediately released after their arrest.

Unfortunately, no one listened.  The legislation has now been haphazardly amended at the eleventh hour, ignoring the constitutional elephant in the room.  The sad truth is, after all the bombast and pomp, Senate Bill 10 is a completely worthless attempt at lawmaking.  By itself, it cannot change the California Constitution, and even if it voted into law, it would be immediately struck down.

It should be maddening to all Californians that paid and elected officials on all sides of the issue are going to waste enormous amounts of time, resources and effort to engage in public policy debates on this poorly conceived piece of legislation that will do nothing to benefit their constituents.

# # #

 

About Jeffrey Clayton, Executive Director of the American Bail Coalition:

Jeff Clayton joined the American Bail Coalition as Policy Director in May 2015. He has worked in various capacities as a public policy and government relations professional for fifteen years, and also as a licensed attorney for the past twelve years. Most recently, he worked as the General Counsel for the Professional Bail Agents of Colorado, in addition to serving other clients in legal, legislative, and policy matters. Jeff spent six years in government service, representing the Colorado State Courts and Probation Department, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and the United States Secretary of Transportation. He is also a prior Presidential Management Fellow and Finalist for the U.S. Supreme Court fellows program. Mr. Clayton holds a B.B.A. from Baylor University, a M.S. (Public Policy) from the University of Rochester, N.Y., and a J.D. from the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver.

Leaving Silicon Valley: A case study in Nashville as a viable tech town

Another venture capitalist, an investor, is moving from Silicon Valley and moving to Tennessee.  North Face is taking 650 jobs from San Fran and moving them to Tennessee—not minimum wage jobs—average $187,000 per year.  Add to that a new start up, going from Silicon Valley to the low tax, no income tax State of Tennessee.

“”I saw where Nashville consistently was figuring in the top 10 cities in the country to live and work and grow,” Purighalla said. “I happened to make some quick sales here, so people seemed to adapt to this new thought process. It seemed pretty progressive. I love the culture, love the weather, love the food, love the Southern feel. Why not here?”

Local investors in Purighalla’s BOS Framework include Clint Smith, co-founder of one of Nashville’s biggest tech successes, Emma, and Andrew Goldner, a tech investor with San Francisco-based fund GrowthX. Goldner moved to Nashville in 2016 to live by his fund’s philosophy that companies shouldn’t have to move to the coasts to attract investment. They should be able to prosper where their founders want to live.”

Los cost housing, responsible government, education that works for the children—a great quality of life—a decent place for families—streets are not smeared with feces from the homeless.  This is the continuation of the depopulation of the middle class from the Confederate State of California.

Silicon Valley

Leaving Silicon Valley: A case study in Nashville as a viable tech town

Jamie McGee, Nashville Tennessean,  8/16/18

Tech entrepreneur and business owner Sashank Purighalla had developed software in Australia, India, Alabama and Philadelphia. When it came to launching a new tech company that adds efficiency to software development, he chose Nashville.

“I saw where Nashville consistently was figuring in the top 10 cities in the country to live and work and grow,” Purighalla said. “I happened to make some quick sales here, so people seemed to adapt to this new thought process. It seemed pretty progressive. I love the culture, love the weather, love the food, love the Southern feel. Why not here?”

Local investors in Purighalla’s BOS Framework include Clint Smith, co-founder of one of Nashville’s biggest tech successes, Emma, and Andrew Goldner, a tech investor with San Francisco-based fund GrowthX. Goldner moved to Nashville in 2016 to live by his fund’s philosophy that companies shouldn’t have to move to the coasts to attract investment. They should be able to prosper where their founders want to live.

It’s a story that startup leaders in Nashville and in Tennessee have been trying to tell for several years — that entrepreneurs can come to Nashville and connect with veteran tech founders and sophisticated investors to build a transformative software company.

The new crop of promising tech companies across the state is benefiting from the success of established entrepreneurs, both in investor awareness and in the access to area mentors, Nashville tech and health care investor Sid Chambless said.

The city’s tech entrepreneurs and business leaders will gather this month at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, in conjunction with the health-focused Health:Further event. The festival is meant to spotlight growing businesses in the Southeast and make connections between regional entrepreneurs and investors nationwide.

Nashville’s history as an industry hub

Nashville has long been known as a city for health care and music entrepreneurs. Health care successes date back 50 years to the origination of HCA and as recently as May, when Aspire Health, a palliative care company co-founded by former Sen. Bill Frist and backed by Google Ventures, sold to health insurer Anthem.

The pure tech successes have been more rare. Emma, the email marketing company that Smith co-founded in 2003 and sold to a New York investment group last year, is among the most significant tech exits for the city. Other standouts include Franklin-based software firm LeanKit, which sold last year to an Austin company, and Digital Reasoning in Franklin, a cognitive computing company has raised $106 million from investors including Goldman Sachs. Several other tech startups have launched in Nashville in recent years, including XOi Technologies, Takl, Made In Network and Built.

“You are seeing some successful financings drawing attention to Nashville as a tech marketplace,” Chambless said. “You are seeing those entrepreneurs who have had success investing in the next generation of businesses and helping these companies be successful quicker.”

While much of the city’s entrepreneurial focus has been around music and health techology, Goldner is among Nashville investors looking at other sectors. GrowthX has invested in machine learning company Preteckt, content syndication company RootsRated, both in Chattanooga, and clinical trial logistics company Slope.io in Memphis.

With BOS Framework, Goldner said he was intentional about finding local co-investors, even asking investment groups from other cities to wait to join until later investment rounds.

“We have a fairly concentrated investment community here around the obvious things. We need to diversify that,” Goldner said. “Having venture-style, big wins is going to be really important here. There is nothing that will propel our ecosystem quicker and more effectively than having massive exits with local funds and local people (investing).”

To Goldner, BOS Framework has potential to join the list of significant tech companies in the Nashville area.  The company provides other businesses with the software foundations that developers often spend months building for each project they work on, such as payment systems and calendars. It increases efficiency and cuts costs for businesses, much in the way that payroll services help them concentrate on their more important functions.

Connecting through the Tennessee entrepreneurial network

When Goldner moved to Nashville, he had no expectations of how many Tennessee companies might end up in the GrowthX portfolio and he had no obligations to invest in Tennessee businesses. His experience so far in Tennessee has helped validate the GrowthX theory that strong companies are not limited to coastal regions.

“Founders shouldn’t have to leave their home to build great companies,” Goldner said. “Founders shouldn’t uproot themselves and move away from their friends and family and away from their customers and move away from the relatively low cost of their state to sit themselves down in the most expensive rat race in America, just so they can be close to their capitalists.”

For Goldner, becoming involved in the investment and entrepreneur community is what connected him to companies he would invest in through GrowthX. A local health care investor reached out to him about BOS Framework, and the three other Tennessee companies he found participated in Tennessee entrepreneurship programs, Dynamo in Chattanooga, Start Co. in Memphis, and LaunchTN’s TENN program.

Venture capital investments in Tennessee reached $322 million in 2017, climbing to $194 million in the first half of 2018. Tennessee ranked 21st for venture capital vesting in the second quarter of the year, according to PwC/ CB Insights MoneyTree report.

“There is a larger pool of really quality companies across a range of industries, not just health care,” said Charlie Brock, CEO of LaunchTN, the state-funded nonprofit that leads entrepreneurship efforts across Tennessee. “On the supply side, Tennessee has become much more well known as a place for investors to look for quality deal flow.”

The state’s focus on entrepreneurship is an effort to create jobs and drive economic growth. While there have been numerous examples of successful businesses created in Tennessee, company founders often wrestle with the decision to stay in Nashville or move to more entrepreneurial-focused areas, such as Silicon Valley, Boston and New York.

TenantBase, a company that helps businesses find office space, launched in Nashville in 2014 but moved its headquarters to Santa Monica this year. The company had participated in a business incubator program in Southern California, whose main sponsor was the Irvine Company, a large commercial landlord, and TenantBase founders saw greater opportunity by moving to that area. In the last year, the company has doubled in size to 55 people and raised more than $10 million from investors.

“Some of our most incredible, supportive early-stage investors came from the Nashville market,” TenantBase co-founder and CEO Bennett Washabaugh said in an emailed statement. “We would probably still be headquartered in Nashville if not for the opportunity that was presented in 2015 with the EvoNexus incubator and our team having such admiration for the Irvine Company.”

For Goldner, who splits his time between Nashville and Palo Alto, Calif., the reasons to be in a city like Nashville are growing. The vast wealth gap between Silicon Valley’s tech community and others, the inflated costs for rent, the overblown salaries paid to young tech talent and the attitudes it promulgates are among his concerns. Meanwhile, he has come to appreciate the quality of life Nashville provides, where spending time with family and friends is valued more, he said.

“Silicon Valley is what everyone thinks it is, it is the center of the universe for venture-capable founders,” Goldner said. “It empirically has the largest concentration of developers and talent is flocking there, but that is all surface.”

Matt Hertz, a former logistics director at New York-based BirchBox, moved to Nashville in August from San Francisco. Like Purighalla and Goldner, he had no strong Nashville ties, but saw great potential for launching a business in the city and appreciated the contrast to San Francisco, where most people he met were in software or product management. Nashville seemed more professionally diverse and culturally rich with its heavy music presence, he said.

“What I have seen evolve in the last 5 to 7 years, since I first started visiting Nashville, it is just exceptional,” Hertz, 32, said.

For Purighalla, the decision to build his company in Nashville has been beneficial so far, he said. He has raised $2 million in his first funding round, hired six new local employees joining his 16 person team in India and is generating revenue. His engineering and product director are both Nashville natives.

“Nashville offers everything we need,” Purighalla said. “We have the kind of investment we needed, the kind of guidance we need from someone like Clint, who has already built a company the size of Emma. We are finding the right customer base. There is the right awareness and  tremendous talent pool coming here. With everything the city offers, people feel they are not going to be lost… Nashville offers the comfort of being somebody who can create an impact.”

How to Make California’s Southland Water Independent for $30 Billion

California has a drought.  BUT, the lack of water is due to government policy, not nature.

“Meanwhile, the state mandated water requirements for California’s ecosystems continue to increase. The California State Water Board is finalizing “frameworks” that will increase the minimum amount of flow required to be maintained in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers order to better protect fish habitat and reduce salinity in the Delta. And, of course, these rivers, along with the Owens and Colorado rivers, are susceptible to droughts which periodically put severe strain on water users in California.

At about the same time, in 2015, California’s legislature began regulating groundwater withdrawals. This measure, while long overdue, puts additional pressure on urban and agricultural users.

California’s water requirements for healthy ecosystems, a robust and growing farm economy, as well as a growing urban population, are set to exceed available supply. Conservation cannot return enough water to the system to fix the problem.”

Until we change the policy, Guv Brown and the Democrats will continue the weaponization of water as part of  the real policy, to depopulate California, by making it too expensive for the middle class.  These policies are not about water, they are about forcing decent people to move to Texas and Tennessee.

The Tehama-Colusa Canal transports water to irrigate northern California agriculture and communities.

How to Make California’s Southland Water Independent for $30 Billion

by Edward Ring, California Policy Center,  8/15/18

The megapolis on California’s southern coast stretches from Ventura County on the northern end, through Los Angeles County, Orange County, down to San Diego County on the border with Mexico. It also includes the western portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Altogether these six counties have a population of 20.5 million residents. According to the California Department of Water Resources, urban users consume 3.7 million acre feet of water per year, and the remaining agricultural users in this region consume an additional 700,000 acre feet.

Much of this water is imported. In an average year, 2.6 million acre feet of water is imported by the water districts serving the residents and businesses in these Southland counties. The 701 mile long California Aqueduct, mainly conveying water from the Sacramento River, contributes 1.4 million acre feet. The 242 mile long Colorado River Aqueduct adds another 1.0 million acre feet. Finally, the Owens River on the east side of the Sierras contributes 250,000 acre feet via the 419 mile long Los Angeles Aqueduct.

California’s Plumbing System
The major interbasin systems of water conveyance, commonly known as aqueducts
California’s Overall Water Supplies Must Increase

Californians have already made tremendous strides conserving water, and the potential savings from more stringent conservation mandates may not yield significant additional savings. Population growth is likely to offset whatever remaining savings that may be achievable via additional conservation.

Meanwhile, the state mandated water requirements for California’s ecosystems continue to increase. The California State Water Board is finalizing “frameworks” that will increase the minimum amount of flow required to be maintained in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers order to better protect fish habitat and reduce salinity in the Delta. And, of course, these rivers, along with the Owens and Colorado rivers, are susceptible to droughts which periodically put severe strain on water users in California.

At about the same time, in 2015, California’s legislature began regulating groundwater withdrawals. This measure, while long overdue, puts additional pressure on urban and agricultural users.

California’s water requirements for healthy ecosystems, a robust and growing farm economy, as well as a growing urban population, are set to exceed available supply. Conservation cannot return enough water to the system to fix the problem.

How Can Water Supplies Increase?

In Southern California, runoff capture is an option that appears to have great potential. Despite its arid climate and perennial low rainfall, nearly every year a few storm systems bring torrential rains to the South Coast, inundating the landscape. Until the Los Angeles River was turned into a gigantic culvert starting in 1938, it would routinely flood, with the overflow filling huge aquifers beneath the city. Those aquifers remain, although many are contaminated and require mitigation. Runoff harvesting for aquifer storage represents one tremendous opportunity for Southern Californians to increase their supply of water.

The other possibilities are sewage recycling and desalination. In both cases, Southern California already boasts some of the most advanced plants in the world. The potential for these two technologies to deliver massive quantities of potable water, over a million acre feet per year each, is now predicated more on political and financial considerations than technological challenges.

Recycling Waste Water

Orange County leads the United States in recycling waste water. The Orange County Sanitation District treats 145,000 acre feet per year (130 million gallons per day – “MGD”), sending all of it to the Orange County Water District’s “Ground Water Replenishment System” plant for advanced treatment. The GWRS plant is the biggest of its kind in the world. After being treated to potable standards, 124,000 acre feet per year (110 million GPD), or 85 percent of the waste water, is then injected into aquifers to be stored and pumped back up and reused by residents as potable water. The remainder, containing no toxins and with fewer total dissolved solids than seawater, is discharged harmlessly into the ocean.

Currently the combined water districts in California’s Southland discharge about 1.5 million acre feet (1.3 billion GPD) of treated wastewater each year into the Pacific Ocean. Only a small percentage of this discharge is the treated brine from recycled water. But by using the advanced treatment methods as are employed in Orange County, 85% of wastewater can be recycled to potable standards. This means that merely through water reuse, there is the potential to recycle up to another 1.2 million acre feet per year.

Needless to say, implementing a solution at this scale would require major challenges to be overcome. Currently California’s water districts are only permitted to engage in “indirect potable reuse,” which means the recycled water must be stored in an aquifer or a reservoir prior to being processed as drinking water and entering the water supply. By 2023, it is expected the California Water Board will have completed regulations governing “direct potable reuse,” which would allow recycled water to be immediately returned to the water supply without the intermediate step of being stored in an aquifer or reservoir. In the meantime, it is unlikely that there are enough uncontaminated aquifers or available reservoirs to store the amount of recycled water that could be produced.

Desalinating Seawater

The other source of new water for Southern California, desalination, is already realized in an operating plant, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County. This plant produces 56,000 acre feet per year (50 MGD) of fresh water by processing twice that amount of seawater. It is the largest and most technologically advanced desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. It is co-located with the Encina Power Station, a facility that uses far more seawater per year, roughly ten times as much, for its cooling systems. The Carlsbad facility diverts a portion of that water for desalination treatment, then returns the saltier “brine” to the much larger outflow of cooling water at the power plant.

Objections to desalination are many, but none of them are insurmountable. The desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach, for example, will not have the benefit of being co-located with a power plant that consumes far more seawater for its cooling system. Instead, this proposed plant – which will have the same capacity as the Carlsbad plant – will use a large array of “wet filters” situated about 1,500 feet offshore, on the seabed about 40 feet below the surface, to gently intake seawater that can be pumped back to the plant without disrupting marine life. The outgoing brine containing 6 percent salt (compared to 3% in seawater) will be discharged under pressure from an underwater pipe extending about 1,800 feet offshore. By discharging the brine under pressure, it will be instantly disbursed and immediately dissipated in the powerful California current.

While desalination is considered to be energy intensive, a careful comparison of the energy cost to desalinate seawater reveals an interesting fact. It takes a roughly equivalent amount of electricity to power the pumps on the California aqueduct, where six pumping stations lift the water repeatedly as it flows from north to south. To guarantee the water flows south, the California aqueduct is sloped downward by roughly one foot per mile of length, meaning pump stations are essential. The big lift, of course, is over the Tehachapi Mountains, which is the only way to import water into the Los Angeles basin.

Barriers to Implementation – Permitting & Lawsuits

The technological barriers to large scale implementation of water recycling and desalination, while significant, are not the primary impediments. Permitting and financing are far bigger challenges. Moreover, financing costs for these mega projects become more prohibitive because of the difficulties in permitting.

The process necessary to construct the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Plant is illustrative of just how difficult, if not impossible, it is to get construction permits. The contractor has been involved in the permitting process for 16 years already, and despite significant progress to-date, still expects approval, if it comes, to take another 2-3 years.

One of the problems with permitting most infrastructure in California is that several agencies are involved. These agencies can actually have conflicting requirements. Applicants also end up having to answer the same questions over and over, because the agencies don’t share information. And over the course of decades or more, the regulations change, meaning the applicant has to start the process over again. Compounding the difficulties for applicants are endless rounds of litigation, primarily from well-funded environmentalist organizations. The failure to-date of California’s lawmakers to reform CEQA make these lawsuits potentially endless.

Barriers to Implementation – Financing

Even if permitting were streamlined, and all technical challenges were overcome, it would be a mistake to be glib about financing costs. Based on the actual total cost for the Carlsbad desalination plant, just under $1.0 billion for a capacity of 56,000 acre feet per year, the capital costs to desalinate a million acre feet of seawater would be a daunting $18.0 billion. On the other hand, with permitting reforms, such as creating a one-stop ombudsman agency to adjudicate conflicting regulations and exercise real clout among the dozens of agencies with a stake in the permitting process, billions could be shaved off that total. Similarly, CEQA reforms could shave additional billions off the total. How much could be saved?

The Sorek desalination plant, commissioned in Israel in 2015, cost $500 million to build and desalinates 185,000 acre feet of water per year. Compared to Carlsbad, Sorek came online for an astonishing one-sixth the capital cost per unit of capacity. While there’s undoubtedly more to this story, it is also undeniable that other developed nations are able to deploy large scale desalination plants at far lower costs than here in California.

Financing costs for water recycling, while still staggering, are (at least in California) not comparable to those for desalination. The GWRS water recycling plant in Orange County was built at a capital cost of $905 million – $481 million was the initial cost, the first expansion cost $142 million, and the final expansion cost $282 million. This equates to a capital cost of $7,300 per acre foot of annual yield. If that price were to apply for new facilities to be constructed elsewhere in the southland, one million acre feet of recycling capacity could be built for $7.3 billion. Until there is direct potable reuse, however, it would be necessary to add to that cost the expense of either constructing storage reservoirs, or decontaminating aquifers for underground storage.

It’s anybody’s guess, but with reasonable reforms to contain costs, and taking into account additional investments in aquifer mitigation, a budget to make California’s Southland water independent might look like this:

  • 1.0 million acre feet from water recycling – $7.5 billion
  • 1.0 million acre feet from desalination – $15.0 billion
  • 0.5 million acre feet from runoff capture and aquifer mitigation – $7.5 billion

Total – $30 billion.
How much again is that bullet train? Water abundance in California vs. high speed rail

While runoff capture, water recycling, and desalination have the potential to make Southern California’s coastal megapolis water independent, it will take extraordinary political will and innovative financing to make it happen. The first step is for California’s voters and policymakers alike to recognize that conservation is not enough, that water supplies must be increased. Once the political will is established, it will be necessary to streamline the regulatory process, so cities, water agencies, and private contractors can pursue supply oriented solutions, at realistic prices, with a reasonable certainty that their applications will be approved.

 

Researchers ask: ‘Can there be capitalism without racism?’

Is capitalism racist—or is it socialism that is racist.  Just ask the people of Cuba, China or Venezuela about the effects of socialism on their lives—people of all colors.  In the United States almost everybody has a car, TV’s, microwaves, cell phones, computers and more—this in a capitalist society, not a socialist society.  Thanks to the Republicans and President Trump we have historically low unemployment for blacks, women, Hispanics and now even teens.  It was not the socialist policies of Obama, but the capitalist policies of trump that created this American miracle.

“The University of California-Davis Humanities Institute is running a multi-year research initiative regarding “Racial Capitalism,” but has yet to actually define the term.

The program is one of four ongoing “Mellon Research Initiatives” at UC-Davis sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, each of which receives “a generous multi-year funding package that supports a two-year postdoctoral fellow, three years of event programming, and recruitment and research awards for graduate students,” according to the university.

“This initiative brings UC Davis faculty and graduate students together with outside scholars and activists to advance a research agenda that focuses on racial capitalism.”

Capitalism frees people of all races.  Socialism enslaves everybody, regardless of race.

Pension money

Researchers ask: ‘Can there be capitalism without racism?’

Celine Ryan, Campus Reform,  8/16/18

  • The University of California-Davis is in the midst of a multi-year research initiative that aims to advance the theory of “racial capitalism.”
  • The initiative’s website indicates that the researchers have yet to settle upon a formal definition of “racial capitalism,” but last year they hosted an event asking questions like “Can there be capitalism without racism?”

The University of California-Davis Humanities Institute is running a multi-year research initiative regarding “Racial Capitalism,” but has yet to actually define the term.

The program is one of four ongoing “Mellon Research Initiatives” at UC-Davis sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, each of which receives “a generous multi-year funding package that supports a two-year postdoctoral fellow, three years of event programming, and recruitment and research awards for graduate students,” according to the university.

“This initiative brings UC Davis faculty and graduate students together with outside scholars and activists to advance a research agenda that focuses on racial capitalism.”

The initiative was originally launched in Fall of 2017, but the UC-Davis Humanities Institute has highlighted it as a main focus of research this year.

“The historical relationship between race and capitalism is one of the most enduring and controversial debates in U.S. historiography,” according to the initiative’s website.

“Sometimes explicitly, often only implicitly acknowledged, it shapes fundamental questions about inequality, value, life, bondage, and freedom, among others, across the disciplines of race and ethnic studies, history, literary studies, law, economics, sociology, and anthropology,” the description continues.

The initiative’s launch event last year sought to define the term “racial capitalism,” posing questions such as “Can there be capitalism without racism?” “Which came first, capitalism or racism?” “Is capitalism always racial?” and “Why is thinking about race and capitalism together important today?”

Other events hosted or scheduled by the initiative so far focus on topics such as “Asian Socialism, Magical Realism,” “Anthropology of Marxism,” “Dispossession by Administration: The Open Secret of Racial Capitalist Violence,” and “Racial Capitalism and U.S. Empire.”

Notably, however, the “What is racial capitalism?” section of the initiative’s website remains completely blank.

The initiative’s website also links to a related collaboration called “The Race and Capitalism Project,” which seeks to “deepen scholarship on how processes of racialization within the U.S. shaped capitalist society and economy and how capitalism has simultaneously shaped processes of racialization.”

While the project “is currently in the formation stage,” its website boasts that scholars from the University of Washington, the University of California-Berkeley, Occidental University, MIT, The New School, Princeton University, Marquette University, Harvard University, New York University, CUNY, the University of Chicago, UCLA, and John Hopkins University have all agreed to participate.

Campus Reform reached out to the UC-Davis Humanities Institute for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

 

Yard crimes in Clairemont blamed on Prop 47

In 2017 San Fran has over 34,000 car break ins—arrests were made in 1.7% of the crimes—not a typo.  Thanks to Prop. 47 the theft of under $950 worth of goods warrants a ticket, like spitting on the sidewalk—and no ability to force folks to go to courts.  That is why almost no arrest are made, a total waste of time for the police.  California makes the theft of $950 worth of good s a career move—and no taxes to be paid.

“Thieves are targeting whatever isn’t nailed down in Clairemont’s front yards. It’s a big problem in Pacific Beach, too, according to one resident, “Yards are being picked clean of outdoor furniture, surfboards, and bikes. If it’s not nailed down, it’s getting stolen.”

Remains of items thieves didn’t want from vehicle break-ins in Clairemont.

Over the past year, Clairemont and Bay Park residents (next door to Clairemont) have reported thefts on social media of furniture, shoes, expensive planters and plants, trees and flowers, bird baths, lawn ornaments (gnomes, gargoyles, etc), surfboards, skateboards, construction materials, laundry, hubcaps and driver side mirrors, holiday decorations, expensive packages, and anything thieves find breaking into cars.

California is tolerant of drug use, rapists, felons from foreign countries—and now those that steal under $950 worth of goods—we are the Wild West, with no Marshall Matt Dillon to protect us.

Police tape

Yard crimes in Clairemont blamed on Prop 47

“Mass incarceration is bad but so is the jerk that ransacked my car”

By Julie Stalmer, San Diego Reader,  8/17/18

 

Thieves are targeting whatever isn’t nailed down in Clairemont’s front yards. It’s a big problem in Pacific Beach, too, according to one resident, “Yards are being picked clean of outdoor furniture, surfboards, and bikes. If it’s not nailed down, it’s getting stolen.”

Remains of items thieves didn’t want from vehicle break-ins in Clairemont.

Over the past year, Clairemont and Bay Park residents (next door to Clairemont) have reported thefts on social media of furniture, shoes, expensive planters and plants, trees and flowers, bird baths, lawn ornaments (gnomes, gargoyles, etc), surfboards, skateboards, construction materials, laundry, hubcaps and driver side mirrors, holiday decorations, expensive packages, and anything thieves find breaking into cars.

When thieves don’t find what they’re looking for out front, they sometimes venture into backyards and garages. Thieves have been making their way through the area using bolt cutters to steal bikes.

As of March 2018, San Diego had the highest number of Prop 47 resentencing petitions.

The most unique item stolen recently was a large metal sculpture of a Triceratops (30-40 pounds, 5-feet tall). About 68 million years ago, this three-horned parrot-beaked palm-tree-eating dinosaur likely roamed San Diego for real. While dinosaur fossils are hard to find locally, the stolen sculpture was easily spotted at Lindbergh Park. A neighbor saw two males unloading it from a white truck on July 23, just 36 hours after it was stolen.

The “Keep California Safe” initiative has enough signatures for the 2020 ballot. It aims to roll back Prop 47 reforms and make key changes to criminal penalties. (SD Sheriff)

Victoria and Patrick Border own the triceratops they affectionately call Trixie. They got her three years ago from Ricardo Breceda — the artist that created all those Anza Borrego dinosaur sculptures. They dress Trixie up for the holidays and neighbors see her as a beloved mascot. So much so, they rallied together to find Trixie when she went missing.

Trixie is back in Victoria and Patrick’s front yard, ready for two- and four-legged visitors. This time, Trixie has extra security features.

Victoria and Patrick were lucky. Most residents I spoke with had no hope of ever seeing their stolen items again.

Residents like Lisa that saved up for some very nice large planters that were stolen. “I purchased two large $80 kangaroo paw plants and had them planted in the pots. Both sets were stolen in broad daylight.” She filed a police report but never heard anything back.

Last month, Brooke had her car cover stolen. Years ago, a more terrifying incident: “A Mexican man [drove 1984 beige Buick with California plates] followed me home at 10 o’clock at night and demanded that I give the chrome on my car to him. He returned four days [later] and took what he wanted.” She reported it to the police but the man was never found. “We now have a lovely house on the block that is running drugs and prostitution. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our street.”

A few weeks ago, Melodie had a package with $250 worth of skin care products stolen from her front porch. “I do not have anything in my front yard that can be removed at this point.”

A friend brought Rick a gargoyle from Mexico. It only lasted a few days out front before it disappeared forever. Though this disappearance was preceded by a strange encounter with a deeply religious neighbor that told him his gargoyle “looked evil.”

I checked in with the police department about yard thefts. Sergeant Michael Stirk said they don’t track thefts that occur in front yards. They are instead categorized as either petty theft ($950 or less) or grand theft (above $950).

While the police won’t speculate, some residents did speculate that Proposition 47, drugs, and homeless people have led to the jump in vehicle break-ins and front yard thefts.

“The criminals know the law,” said North Clairemont resident Karen. “I’ve seen homeless, druggies, and teenagers opening up car doors in broad daylight. They don’t care that I’m watching. When I call the police to report it, if they aren’t doing it at that exact moment, the police won’t come out, even if the criminal is still there.”

Passed by voters in November 2014, Proposition 47 (The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act) reduced penalties for certain lower-level drug possession and property offenses like vehicle break-ins and other petty thefts, shoplifting, forgery, and receiving stolen property. This was done to leave prison and jail space open for more violent offenders. The proposition was spearheaded by Californians for Safety and Justice, an arm of the Tide Center, a high-powered progressive policy sponsor.

The pitch to voters for Prop 47 was that by reducing some felonies to misdemeanors, more money could go toward prevention instead of incarceration, eventually reducing the prison population organically. It was estimated $150 to $250 million annually could be funneled into prevention and support programs for K-12 schools (25 percent), victim services (10 percent), and mental health and substance abuse treatment programs (65 percent). Calculated savings are dispersed every August 15 toward these programs.

There have been other attempts to divert prison funding to schools. One assembly bill (AB 2303) introduced in February proposes a 10 percent tax on private prison contracts with the state to fund pre-school and after school programs. Currently, contracts total $200 million. As of August 14, this bill is on hold.

When it comes to spending on education versus incarceration, the state’s budget approved in June shows schools are a priority with the K-12 school budget at $97.2 billion and the corrections system’s budget at $12.1 billion. When looking at monies spent per individual, a different picture emerges. K-12 students (6.8 million) juxtaposed next to projected inmate population (126,890), average daily parolee population (48,535) and juvenile population (646) show that six times more is budgeted per offender ($68,722) versus each student ($11,470).

Proposition 47 is similar to 2012s Proposition 36 that softened sentencing of 1990s “Three Strikes” legislation for habitual offenders. Prison population reduction measures such as Proposition 47, 36, and 57 (2016 Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act) were in response to a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring reductions in prisons beyond capacity. Kick-started under President Nixon’s 1970s drug war, incarcerations were spurred on by President Reagan’s 1980s tough-on-crime private-prison-boom, and finally exploded under President Clinton’s three strikes legislation, making the U.S. number one in incarcerations world-wide.

 

LAUSD is now diverting $2,300 per student to cover health insurance costs — 36% more than just five years ago.

Did you really think that LAUSD was spending $16,000 per student on education?  Actually, for that money you can get a quality education, at a private school—with safety for the children.  Nope, $2300 goes just for health care coverage.  Add to that about the same amount of money for CalSTRS—and fully 30% of the cost of education is really health care and pensions—not a dime for education.  When you see the State adding money to government education, which money is not going to the classroom—going into benefits, mandated by State law and union contract.

“LA Unified has one of the most generous health care benefits packages in the state. But that means a big chunk has to come out of the money the district gets to educate each child — $2,300, to be exact.

That’s 14 percent of the $16,000 the district gets annually per student. Five years ago, health benefits cost $1,689 per student. If health costs continue to increase at the same rate — nearly five percent annually — when this year’s kindergartners start college, that cost will be $5,123 per child.”

When voting for more taxes and bonds, or for a legislator that promises more money for education remember this:  At least one third of the money does NOT go to education, it goes to benefits.  For what we pay for government education, that is a failure, we could get quality education based on the needs of the student, not ideological special interests.

Los-Angeles-Unified-School-District-LAUSD

LAUSD is now diverting $2,300 per student to cover health insurance costs — 36 percent more than just five years ago. Now the school board is rushing to avert a ‘fiscal cliff’

Esmeralda Fabián Romero, Los Angeles School Report,  8/19/18

LA Unified has one of the most generous health care benefits packages in the state. But that means a big chunk has to come out of the money the district gets to educate each child — $2,300, to be exact.

That’s 14 percent of the $16,000 the district gets annually per student. Five years ago, health benefits cost $1,689 per student. If health costs continue to increase at the same rate — nearly five percent annually — when this year’s kindergartners start college, that cost will be $5,123 per child.

The higher the cost, the less money there is for education in the classroom, unless state funding also increases at the same rate. LA Unified, like most other employers and school districts, has to provide health care and other benefits to its employees. But LA’s costs are higher than in similar school districts. “We’re spending more per pupil than the other districts because we do some things here that some of the other districts have already limited. For example, we give lifetime benefits to retirees if they are eligible,” Chief Financial Officer Scott Price said Friday.

All eligible active and retired employees — plus their dependents — get full health care coverage including dental, vision, and other benefits, but they pay no premiums or co-payments.

And the steady increase in those costs is one of the main forces driving LA Unified toward the proverbial fiscal cliff. Two school years from now, the district projects it will be spending $450 million more than it takes in.

LA Unified actually would be running a deficit this year if it didn’t have reserves to plug the gap. In a statement released Sunday on the district’s finances and the impasse in contract negotiations with United Teachers Los Angeles, the district stated that without tapping its reserves, it would have a deficit of $504 million for the current school year. If the district accepted UTLA’s “final offer,” the district’s reserves “would be exhausted this school year.”

Price laid out the ways LA Unified’s health benefits differ from other school districts in a presentation last Wednesday to the school board.

LA Unified has the highest cost per pupil for health benefits among similar districts in California: San Francisco, Long Beach, San Jose, Oakland, and San Diego Unified. For the fiscal year 2016-17, LA Unified’s health care costs were $1,968 per student, while Long Beach Unified spent $1,561 per pupil. San Francisco Unified spent $450 less per student than LA Unified; if LA Unified could pare that amount off its health costs, it would save $224 million a year.

The presentation showed that the five school districts’ “savings strategies” include limited eligibility for part-time employees and coverage contributions made by current and retired employees. San Francisco Unified offers a less costly employee plan, and Oakland Unified doesn’t offer lifetime retiree benefits.

Only one of the proposed changes that Price outlined would make up for a $450 million deficit. And that option would mean dropping all spouses and dependents, leaving only employees and retirees with health benefits.

Price said some cost-savings can be made now by the Health Benefits Committee. Its nine members include one representing each of the eight employee unions and one district representative. That committee has already achieved some savings, such as in prescription drug costs. But bigger changes, like changing who is eligible for benefits, would have to be negotiated separately with each of the district’s eight labor partners.

This spring the school board approved a three-year health benefits contract, so negotiations on the next contract won’t start until 2021 — when the district is expected to already be running a deficit. About 95 percent of the district’s 60,240 employees are in unions, but all employees who qualify receive the district’s health benefits package.

To help parents better understand the health care costs, LA School Report on Friday talked with Price, the district’s chief financial officer. His answers have been lightly edited for length.

Are these costs for all LA Unified employees or just unionized employees?

Health care benefits are for all full-time employees or any part-time – over four hours a day – employees and retirees that are eligible — all eligible active and retired employees. It doesn’t matter if they are unionized or not.

What is LAUSD’s per-pupil allotment from the state this year, and is the $2,300 taken from the per-pupil state funding?

Yes. If we put all the monies together we receive from the state, federal government, and other sources, it averages about $16,000 per pupil per year, so those are revenues overall. And, yes, about $2,300 per student goes to health care benefits in the 2018-19 year.

What does this mean for students in the classroom?

Let me step back and say that providing benefit plans for employees is pretty much done across most districts. There’s always a cost for employee health care for school districts in general, so what it does is that limits the amount of funds that can be spent on other types of interventions or materials, or extra support in the classroom. So you have that finite amount of dollars, so as you spend that finite amount of dollars on things such as health care and others, then you only have a finite amount to spend on student-directed activities.

Why are the other five districts spending less?

We’re spending more per pupil than the other districts because we do some things here that some of the other districts have already limited. For example, we give lifetime benefits to retirees if they are eligible, so there’s an eligibility criteria. Over the years, we’ve changed those eligibility rules, making them a little more difficult to reach, but if you’re eligible, we provide retirees benefits for life. That is a benefit that other districts don’t have in general.

So there’s a combination of things that other districts have done, so one may be that they limit retiree benefits to a certain age, for example 67 (years old), but we provide them for life. They ask a contribution to employees for a portion of their health care, whether active or retirees. We don’t ask our retirees to provide any portion of what their health care benefits cost.

The main thing that they use that we haven’t used is requiring employee contribution whether active or retiree, limiting up to what age we provide retiree benefits or even provide retiree benefits at all. And we also provide a more generous eligibility in regards to some of the part-time employees than other districts do. If they work over four hours a day, they are eligible for full-time benefits. Decisions like this were made by the board four or five years ago.

Do other districts offer benefits to part-time employees?

They offer different combinations. Some offer a portion of health care benefits or a certain amount, or they may offer to pay for half of the cost.

When could changes be made, and what has to happen?

We’re all in the same health care plan whether unionized or not, so the changes made to the plan would be for all employees. We have the HBC (Health Benefits Committee) made up of the bargaining organizations, and the district is represented too, and that committee is always looking for savings in the healthcare plan. Recently, the HBC agreed together to shift one of our retiree plans over and create savings. That was great and has the potential to save up to $50 million a year. We are looking for opportunities like that. We’ve worked with our health care providers to work on our prescription plan. They did this two years ago in order to save $25 to $30 million a year. They are looking at ways all the time in which we can save funds on health care costs.

Some of the hardest choices that we’re looking at though, we would have to work through with HBC and that agreement is until 2021, in three years. If we came to the HBC with a proposal, we would be able to make some of the hard choice changes. We don’t have to wait for a new agreement to be made, but it’s most likely that some of the hardest choices that would have to be made would be possibly part of the new agreement, but it doesn’t exclude that.

The board would have to vote on that.

What is the possibility of making substantial changes to push back falling off the fiscal cliff?

Any proposal that we have, we would have to take to HBC before this contract terminates. We would go to them and make the proposal, but they don’t have to come back and bargain bigger changes like that until the three years are up. But in the past, they have been willing to listen to whatever proposal we have.

 

The North Face is leaving the Bay Area

California continues to lose jobs.  In this case the bay Area, one of the most expensive in the nation, will lose about 650 jobs.  They are NOT minimum wage jobs either—“ One other thing: Denver certainly made it worth the company’s while. Parent company VF received $27 million in tax incentives from the state of Colorado, the second largest such package in state history. State information says there will be 800 people at the new headquarters with an average salary of about $186,000.”

That is REAL money.  Plus, with lower taxes and lower cost of living that $186,000 will go even further—without a pay raise.  How soon will the next company make its move and tell the Bay Area to smoke its pot, hate free speech and destroy the future for the middle class?

“Besides the corporate statement, one thing is crystal clear: The Bay Area is a lot more expensive of a place to live than the Denver area is. According to Bestplaces.net, a salary of $100,000 in Denver, Colorado buys what $214,000 buys here. Median Home Cost is 215 percent more expensive in San Francisco. Sales Taxes are 1 percent lower in Denver and Income taxes are 3.25% lower.”

leaving california

The North Face is leaving the Bay Area

By: Tom Vacar, KTVU,  8/15/18

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KTVU) – The North Face, an iconic, worldwide brand, is beginning to close its doors to leave the Bay Area by 2020, putting some 650 local jobs at risk on its home island of Alameda. Realistically, it was bound to happen, because it makes economic sense in the internet retailing age.

The iconic outdoor active wear maker was founded in San Leandro 42 years ago and has been headquartered in Alameda for the past eight years. No they’re is picking up their stakes and moving to Denver.

“They’re a great company. It’s been wonderful to have them here. They support our runs, non-profits,” said Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer.   

But, said the Mayor, clothing makers of all sorts are under intense pressure from Amazon and other online retailers. “I’m not surprised that they’re consolidating, as I understand, with a unit that they already have,” said the Mayor.

In a pre-recorded, corporate video, the CEO of the company’s conglomerate owner, VF Corporation, is relocating several of its brands to the Mile High City.

“We believe grouping our outdoor brands together in the Denver area will help us to unlock collaboration across brands and functions, attract and retain talent, and better connect with consumers resulting in accelerated innovation,” said VF Corporation CEO Steve Rendle.

Besides the corporate statement, one thing is crystal clear: The Bay Area is a lot more expensive of a place to live than the Denver area is. According to Bestplaces.net, a salary of $100,000 in Denver, Colorado buys what $214,000 buys here. Median Home Cost is 215 percent more expensive in San Francisco. Sales Taxes are 1 percent lower in Denver and Income taxes are 3.25% lower.

One other thing: Denver certainly made it worth the company’s while. Parent company VF received $27 million in tax incentives from the state of Colorado, the second largest such package in state history. State information says there will be 800 people at the new headquarters with an average salary of about $186,000.

“To me, we were lucky to have them here as long as we did,” said Alameda’s Mayor.
With the Bay Area’s booming economy, the facility should have little trouble finding new tenants for a modern, five-building facility, here on the Bay, with a fabulous view of the city.

CALPERS sued for withholding complete pension data

Government will fine you and put you in jail if you do not get them every shred of information about yourself when asked.  Even private details are owned by the government.  But, the government has no problem violating the law, lying about information and thumbing their noses at the public if we want information.

“To its credit, and likely in recognition of the fact that the problem extends beyond just those who compete in athletic competitions while on disability, CalPERS encourages the public to report cases of suspected fraud and abuse to its disability fraud tip line.

Yet the fund, which manages over $300 billion in assets and receives nearly $20 billion annually from California taxpayers and public employees, has inexplicably refused to disclose the very information necessary to identify such cases of potential abuse.”

Why do we have to file a lawsuit to get information that should be readily available to the public?  What is CalPERS hiding and why?  Isn’t it time to fire those that violate the law and take a government—taxpayer—paycheck?  CalPERS is corrupt—this is just one example.  What do you think?  Fire them?

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

CALPERS sued for withholding complete pension data

Robert Fellner, Transparent California,  8/19/18 

 

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is unlawfully withholding information necessary to help safeguard the system from waste, fraud and abuse, a just-filed lawsuit alleges.

The problem of disability fraud has plagued California’s public pension systems for decades, costing taxpayers untold millions.

One of the first documented cases occurred in 1992, when a retired officer drawing a tax-free disability pension was spotted competing in a local rodeo.

As discussed in more detail below, historically lax oversight encouraged such abuses, which continue to this day.

Earlier this year, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported on an allegedly disabled firefighter who had competed in a half-marathon. The Times report ultimately led to an arrest and calls for reform from city councilmembers.

To its credit, and likely in recognition of the fact that the problem extends beyond just those who compete in athletic competitions while on disability, CalPERS encourages the public to report cases of suspected fraud and abuse to its disability fraud tip line.

Yet the fund, which manages over $300 billion in assets and receives nearly $20 billion annually from California taxpayers and public employees, has inexplicably refused to disclose the very information necessary to identify such cases of potential abuse.

Today, the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) has filed a public records lawsuit against CalPERS to obtain this information for its Transparent California website — the state’s largest and most comprehensive public pay and pension database.

Specifically, Transparent California requested the one-word designation of either “regular” or “disability” that would identify the type of pension received by retirees, so that the public could better assist CalPERS in its efforts to identify cases of disability fraud.

Despite the law’s presumption of openness, and binding case law precedent requiring disclosure of the requested information, CalPERS denied the request by citing a statute that makes confidential employees’ personnel and medical files.

“It’s highly unlikely CalPERS actually believes providing the one-word designation of the type of benefit received by its members is equivalent to providing a copy of their medical records, which is properly exempt from disclosure,” said Transparent California Executive Director Robert Fellner.

“Instead, CalPERS is exploiting the lack of any penalties for governments who unlawfully withhold public records, secure in the knowledge that taxpayers will be the ones required to pay all legal fees incurred.

“Sadly, the lack of teeth in California’s Public Records Act has effectively negated the presumption of openness enshrined in state law. The Legislature must amend the law so that those who violate it are held personally liable, just like any other citizen would be.”

Abuses previously uncovered

Public pension disability fraud in California has been an issue since at least 1992, when investigators uncovered an officer who was drawing a tax-free disability benefit competing in a local rodeo. Further investigation revealed the retired officer had won gold and silver medals in a Police Olympics swim competition the very month she filed for disability, according to an Associated Press report.

In 2005, the Sacramento Bee exposed widespread fraud at the California Highway Patrol Department, where over 80 percent of retiring chiefs would claim injury within 2 years of retirement. Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed a task force to investigate the Bee’s findings, which culminated in multiple arrests.

More recently, the Los Angeles Times uncovered abuses taking place in the city pension fund, like a firefighter who competed in a half-marathon while claiming disability for an injured knee. At least one retired officer has since been arrested on suspicion of disability fraud since the Times published their findings earlier this year.

“These types of abuses are naturally much easier to detect when the pension fund distinguishes disability benefits from a regular pension,” Fellner said.

“In addition to both the city and county fund of Los Angeles, nearly two dozen of California’s independent pension funds do disclose this information, further undercutting CalPERS arguments for secrecy.”

As indicated above, CalPERS itself recognizes the importance of the public’s assistance in identifying cases of disability fraud, and encourages the public to report suspected cases of fraud to its disability fraud tip line.

“Refusing to disclose benefit type prevents the public from providing the very oversight CalPERS claims is essential in order to safeguard against waste, fraud and abuse,” Fellner said.

CalPERS refusal to identify benefit type on the grounds of confidentiality is even more perplexing, given the vastly more comprehensive and invasive information disclosed by the agency elsewhere.

“It’s hard to imagine a coherent legal standard that shields benefit type, while simultaneously making public the vastly more comprehensive information found in CalPERS own public hearings and state Workers’ Compensation reports,” Fellner said.

For more information, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.

Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. The website is used by millions of Californians each year, including elected officials and lawmakers, government employees and their unions, government agencies, university researchers, the media, and concerned citizens alike. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

 

Judge halts full DACA restart

A man wanted for murder in Mexico, an illegal alien here 12 years, was caught taking his pregnant wife to the hospital—the Left wanted him released.  The law says we turn him over to Mexico and let them put him on trial.  Previously an illegal alien used a chainsaw to murder his wife—the man had been “extremely vetted according to Barack Obama—but he was wanted for crimes in other countries.  President Trump is trying to protect us—how many people had their lives saved by ICE enforcing the law and taking these murderers off the streets?

“Judge John D. Bates acknowledged the legal mess that’s arisen around the program, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and said he didn’t want to make it worse, so he issued a partial stay of his own ruling.

That means that while “Dreamers” who already have had DACA protections can apply for renewals, no new applicants can seek to start the process.

Judge Bates also delayed part of his previous ruling that would have let those who can stay under DACA also apply for special protections known as advance parole — permission to travel outside the U.S. and then return — which can, in some cases, turn into a pathway to citizenship.

Hundreds of DACA recipients had exploited that loophole under the Obama administration, but the Trump administration had shut it down.”

Obama looked for ways to violate the law and make Americas unsafe.  Trump is looking for ways to enforce the laws, to protect all of us.  The courts have interfered with the safety of all of us and Congress refuses to act.  Thankfully we have a President that took an oath of office and meant it.  What do you think?

Immigration

Judge halts full DACA restart

Court frets over ‘confusion’ of messy legal battles

By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times, 8/19/18

The federal judge who had ordered the government to restart the Obama-era deportation amnesty in full has backed off his decision and said the government does not, after all, have to begin accepting new applications.

Judge John D. Bates acknowledged the legal mess that’s arisen around the program, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and said he didn’t want to make it worse, so he issued a partial stay of his own ruling.

That means that while “Dreamers” who already have had DACA protections can apply for renewals, no new applicants can seek to start the process.

Judge Bates also delayed part of his previous ruling that would have let those who can stay under DACA also apply for special protections known as advance parole — permission to travel outside the U.S. and then return — which can, in some cases, turn into a pathway to citizenship.

Hundreds of DACA recipients had exploited that loophole under the Obama administration, but the Trump administration had shut it down.

He said he realized immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally were being denied rights he said they were entitled to, but said he feared the confusion that would result.

“Because that confusion would only be magnified if the court’s order regarding initial DACA applications were to take effect now and later be reversed on appeal, the court will grant a limited stay of its order and preserve the status quo pending appeal, as plaintiffs themselves suggest,” he said in a short opinion late Friday.

Immigrant-rights advocates, who had originally wanted a full restart, eventually changed their minds and agreed with the split ruling of no new DACA applications, but renewals could be processed.

That decision was based on a legal gamble.

DACA cases are pending in three courts right now. Judge Bates‘ case is likely to be appealed to the circuit court in Washington, D.C., while circuit courts are already handling appeals of similar decisions from California and New York.

Each of those lawsuits challenged the Trump administration’s decision last year to phase out DACA. The judges in those cases ruled that the Trump administration cut too many corners, and so the phaseout is illegal.

But another case in Texas involves a challenge to the original 2012 Obama administration decision to create DACA in the first place. If that judge were to rule against DACA it would create a messy situation where the program itself is illegal — but so is the phaseout.

The activists in the case before Judge Bates figured that they could undercut the anti-DACA Texas case by agreeing not to allow new DACA permits to be granted.