Unions Kills Jobs/Steal From Workers—Now Trying to Raise Gas Prices

Thanks to a union, California oil refineries have a major strike caused by the unions. The members have no choice—either go on strike or they lose their jobs—they will lose their union membership (which they did not want in the first place) and the oil company will be forced to fire them—for refusing to pay a bribe. The consumer is going to be harmed. Notice the rise in the cost of gas the last few days? In part because of the union decided the companies would not collapse in the face of the threat of a strike. Now the strike is on and the American public is the collateral damage of extortionist unions.

“National strikes have been rare in the refining business. The last one happened in 1980, and it took three months to resolve. If this dispute lasts that long, analysts say gas prices could rise.

“It’s very possible we may have seen the last of two dollar gasoline in the near term,” said Carl Larry director of oil and gas at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. “Without production from these refineries, we’re going to see tighter supply and higher prices.”

Making matters worse, many refineries are switching over to summer blend gas, which is cleaner burning, but also more expensive.”

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Refinery strike could mean higher gas prices

by Ben Bergman, KPCC, 2/2/15

Tesoro says it’s been planning for a strike and will continue operating two of the effected refineries, including one in Carson. Getty Images

More than 800 workers walked off the job early Sunday at an oil refinery in Carson because of a labor dispute, joining workers at eight other refineries around the country.

National strikes have been rare in the refining business. The last one happened in 1980, and it took three months to resolve. If this dispute lasts that long, analysts say gas prices could rise.

“It’s very possible we may have seen the last of two dollar gasoline in the near term,” said Carl Larry director of oil and gas at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. “Without production from these refineries, we’re going to see tighter supply and higher prices.”

Making matters worse, many refineries are switching over to summer blend gas, which is cleaner burning, but also more expensive.

Jim Burkhard, Managing Director at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, cautions that it is too soon to know what the effect of the strike will be, and even though the steelworkers have 64 percent of U.S. oil output in their hands, there’s still a lot of other supply.

“Remember the oil market overall is very well supplied right now,” said Burkhard. “There’s plenty of refining capacity around the world, you would just have some modification of trade flows.”

The Carson refinery processes 363,000 barrels per day at peak capacity and employs 1,450 workers. Tesoro Corporation, which operates the plant, says it’s been planning for a strike and will continue operations.

“Tesoro is confident that the Company can continue to safely operate the refineries and meet customer commitments until resolution is reached with the [United Steel Workers],” Tesoro said in a written statement.

The USW represents workers at 65 U.S. refineries. It says the facilities where workers have not walked out will continue operating under a rolling 24-hour contract extension.

“This work stoppage is about onerous overtime; unsafe staffing levels; dangerous conditions the industry continues to ignore; the daily occurrences of fires, emissions, leaks and explosions that threaten local communities without the industry doing much about it; the industry’s refusal to make opportunities for workers in the trade crafts; the flagrant contracting out that impacts health and safety on the job; and the erosion of our workplace, where qualified and experienced union workers are replaced by contractors when they leave or retire,” USW International Vice President Gary Beevers said in a written statement.

Obama Redefines Smog Levels to Make More of California Out of Compliance—Will Cost Jobs

No one, except the Luddites, are concerned about the quality of the air in California. Almost all Californians feel comfortable breathing the air and the length of life continues to grow in the former Golden State. Now Obama has decided to make the air BAD—not by pollution, but by changing the definition of bad air. By government fiat Californians will have clean air one day and bad air the next day.

Why would Obama do this? He will be able to limit the use of oil, coal and other energy sources. By doing this, he will raise the cost of energy and cost jobs.—and the air will stay the same. Now we know how he will close does the production of oil in the United States—the good news is that you will have plenty of time to think about this, because of the massive closing of firms priced out of business—by the simple action of changing a definition.

“But Ted Striechen with the American Petroleum Institute says toughening the ozone limit would harm the economy because too many parts of the country can’t meet the current standard.

“Decreasing the ozone standards could put almost the entire country out of compliance,”says Striechen.”

U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the door of Air Force One as he departs from Ngurah Rai international airport in Denpasar, Bali

More Areas In California Would Likely Exceed Smog Standards Under Proposal

Amy Quinton, Capradio, 2/2/15

Protestors called for cleaner air at a rally outside CAL-EPA’s headquarters. Inside, the US-EPA held a day-long hearing on strengthening the limits on ozone pollution from the current 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 parts per billion.

“I spend more time inside than I do outside,” says Jimmy Slover, a Sacramento resident with emphysema.  “Not fair. Not Fair to me or the millions who are suffering like me,” says Slover. He told EPA officials that strengthening the standard is a matter of public health.

But Ted Striechen with the American Petroleum Institute says toughening the ozone limit would harm the economy because too many parts of the country can’t meet the current standard.

“Decreasing the ozone standards could put almost the entire country out of compliance,”says Striechen.

The California Air Resources Board says the state has 16 regions that are not meeting the current standard. More rural, mountainous and less populated areas of California would likely exceed federal limits if the new standard is approved. States that fail to provide a clean air plan risk losing federal transportation dollars.

It could take six to ten years before final implementation.

 

Obama Using Illegal Alien Criminals to Victimize Americans

Thanks to Obama at least 1,000 criminal illegal aliens, convicted of crimes were put back on the streets. The number is probably much more, but the Administration has consistently lied about what they have done and the effect on honest Americans.

“According to the Homeland Security Department (DHS), 36,007 criminal aliens were released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in Fiscal Year 2013, and of that total, 1,000 have since been convicted of new crimes, ranging from assault with a deadly weapon and lewd acts with a child to aggravated assault, robbery, and hit-and-run.”

The 1,000 is just those Obama admits were convicted—how many evaded arrest or went back to Mexico before being caught? Imagine how many Americans are direct victims of Barack Obama.

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1,000 Criminal Aliens Convicted of New Crimes After ICE Released Them in FY 2013

By Susan Jones, CNSNews, 2/2/15

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, at a Jan. 28, 2015 hearing on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) – When President Obama announced his expanded executive amnesty last November, he said he would prioritize the deportation people who threaten national security and public safety. “Felons, not families — criminals, not children” would be deported, Obama said on Nov. 20.

But under Obama’s prosecutorial discretion policy, illegal aliens who commit lesser crimes are allowed to stay in the country — free to re-offend, as it turns out.

According to the Homeland Security Department (DHS), 36,007 criminal aliens were released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in Fiscal Year 2013, and of that total, 1,000 have since been convicted of new crimes, ranging from assault with a deadly weapon and lewd acts with a child to aggravated assault, robbery, and hit-and-run.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced on Friday that he has received a 38-page document from DHS listing the crimes committed by the one-thousand re-offenders released from ICE custody in FY 2013.

Many of the subsequent convictions were for drugs or drunken driving, but others were for sex offenses, theft, burglary, assault, making threats, and fraud.

“The Obama Administration claims that it is using ‘prosecutorial discretion’ to prioritize the removal of criminal aliens from this country,” Grassley said in a news release on Friday. “But this report shows the disturbing truth: 1,000 undocumented aliens previously convicted of crimes who the Administration released in 2013 have gone on to commit further crimes in our communities.”

Grassley said he will continue working to ensure that immigration officials are taking criminal aliens off the streets and sending them out of the country.

Meanwhile, the senator is still waiting to hear how many of the 1,000 re-offending aliens have been deported; how many have been released again from ICE custody; and how many of the 1,000 are not priorities for removal under Obama’s policy.

 

Assemblyman Patterson: We Can Help the Middle Class Pay for College

While the Democrats are looking at ways of increasing the cost of a college education, a Republican wants to provide a State solution to the financing of a degree. The Feds have a “529” account to allow parents to save tax free money to pay for college. Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson wants to create a similar State program. In this way parents will be able to save tax free money. Government needs to stand out of the way for the potential of our students.

“Current state and federal law allows students to withdraw money from 529 accounts to pay for college without any tax penalties. Unfortunately there is no tax relief for families or parents who deposit funds into the ScholarShare 529 accounts.”

With all the effort by government to make life more difficult for honest folks, the Patterson measure is a great step in the right direction.

graduation college debt

 

Patterson Bill Would Give Tax Breaks to Families Saving for College

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, 2/2/15

 

SACRAMENTO – California families saving for college with a 529 savings plan would receive a tax break on the money they put away for their child’s education if a bill introduced in Sacramento becomes law.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) and others introduced AB 209 – The College Savings Tax Relief Act to give families a tax deduction for contributions made to a 529 account of up to $3,000 for individual tax filers and up to $6,000 for married individuals filing a joint return.

Current state and federal law allows students to withdraw money from 529 accounts to pay for college without any tax penalties. Unfortunately there is no tax relief for families or parents who deposit funds into the ScholarShare 529 accounts.

“This is California’s opportunity to help parents already saving their own hard-earned money for college to keep more of it. This will be a great tool for middle-class families who are planning for their children’s future.” Assemblyman Patterson said.

Currently 35 states including New York, Colorado, New Mexico, South Carolina and West Virginia allow deductions for hard earned money deposited into 529 accounts.

The bill’s joint authors include Assemblymembers Frank Bigelow (R-Madera), Melissa Melendez (R- Lake Elsinore) and Bill Brough (R- Dana Point).

 

Obama Wants People in Maine to Pay for Trolley on San Diego Coast

A few years ago my wife and I had the opportunity of visiting Bar Harbour, Maine and other cities in that beautiful State. They talk a little different, have strange ways of saying things, many of the homes, unlike here in California, flew American flags from their porch. A wonderful place. In the new proposed budget President Obama has decided to take $150 million from the people of Maine, Montana, Georgia and a little from folks in Fresno, to help the people of San Diego, ur, I mean the bureaucrats of San Diego pay for a 12 mile trolley—from Old Town San Diego to the UC and then to a MALL. (not a typo).

“The next step is to negotiate a “full funding agreement” with federal officials. Gallegos said if such an agreement is in place by the end of the year that would allow construction of the mid-coast line to begin in 2016.

The good news is that the open boondoggle will probably not get passed by Congress. This is another reason to oppose all taxes and bonds—and to elect only those to office that do not steal from the nice people in Maine.

Obama the listener

Obama Budget Has $150 Million For Mid-Coast Trolley Line

By Tom Fudge, KPBS, 2/3/15

 

There is something for San Diego transit in President Barack Obama’s new budget, and it’s $150 million for the proposed Mid-Coast Trolley Line.

The line will be 12 miles long and connect the Old Town Transit Station to UC San Diego and the Westfield UTC mall.

While the line item in Obama’s budget may seem like a lot, it is only a fraction of the $1.7 billion needed for the new trolley line.

Federal funds are expected to cover half of the cost, with the rest provided by local revenue generated by the TransNet sales tax.

Gary Gallegos, executive director of the San Diego Association of Governments, said having the trolley money in the proposed federal budget is a very good sign.

“I think being included in the president’s budget is a strong signal that the federal government has looked at our project,” Gallegos said. “They think it’s a good project.”

The next step is to negotiate a “full funding agreement” with federal officials. Gallegos said if such an agreement is in place by the end of the year, that would allow construction of the mid-coast line to begin in 2016.

“These big projects are never easy to get going on and this is a very important first step,” he said.

 

Prop. 14 Assures End of Third Parties—and the Democrat and GOP in Many Districts

Thanks to the November 2014 elections there are three State Senate elections in March. In two of them there is only one Party on the ballot.  In the third race, in the Bay Area, a Republican did file against several Democrats—yesterday she dropped out and endorsed a Demcorat. Three races, one Party.

In November there were 25 legislative races with only one Party on the ballot. Democracy? Yes, says a court. If your voter support is MINIMAL, the court believes you have no right to be on the General Election ballot.

“Third parties argue that their rights and the rights of their voters are violated because third-party candidates are not guaranteed a spot on the general election ballot. Because third-party support in California is minimal, these candidates are typically eliminated in the primary stage, where all candidates and voters, regardless of party affiliation, participate on a single ballot and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.”

That is why in 150 races the Third Parties were only on three ballots—and the GOP and Democrats found 25 races with only one Party. In March, we will have two more races—why run if you can’t be on the runoff ballot? Shame on us for ending choice in elections.

vote initiative

Calif. Court: Top-Two Primary Protects Individual Voters AND Third-Party Rights

By Shawn M. Griffiths, Independent Voter Network, 2/3/15

On Thursday, January 29, the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of the case, Rubin v. Padilla (formally Rubin v. Bowen). Third parties in the state are challenging the constitutionality of the nonpartisan, top-two primary, claiming it places a severe burden on associational and voting rights guaranteed by the state and federal Constitutions.

The three-judge panel maintained the trial court’s ruling that such a burden does not exist. The ruling comes only two weeks after oral arguments were made — well ahead of the 90-day deadline.

Third parties argue that their rights and the rights of their voters are violated because third-party candidates are not guaranteed a spot on the general election ballot. Because third-party support in California is minimal, these candidates are typically eliminated in the primary stage, where all candidates and voters, regardless of party affiliation, participate on a single ballot and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Plaintiffs further argue that not guaranteeing a spot for third parties on the general election ballot violates their right to equal protection. Yet the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right of any organization to be on the ballot — major or minor. The Constitution does, however, protect the right all eligible voters have to equal access to the public election process.

The defenders of California’s top-two primary, which includes the Independent Voter Project (a publisher of this news website), argue that nonpartisan election reform enhances the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law because it treats all voters and candidates exactly the same, unlike most partisan-based systems.

The top-two primary, they argue, actually changes the purpose of the primary from a private purpose (to elect party nominees), to a public one (to narrow the field of candidates, regardless of the voter or candidate’s party).

In the court’s opinion, the Honorable Lawrence John Appel writes:

“We find no support for plaintiffs’ claim of a constitutional right to have their candidates appear on the general election ballot upon the showing of a modicum of support, as the term “general election” is used in California’s top-two system. The minor parties unquestionably have a right to fair and equal participation in the process by which officeholders are selected, but this right is satisfied by participation in an open nonpartisan primary election in which every candidate has an equal opportunity, regardless of party affiliation, to advance to the general election.”

“Detractors of a top-two primary system argue that the new system essentially disenfranchises the minority party in a given state or district, because it deprives some voters the opportunity to vote for the party of their choice in November,” David Wasserman, U.S. House editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, observes in an article published on FiveThirtyEight. “But in most of today’s lopsided states and districts, the minority party is no longer viable or relevant. A top-two system can instead empower a minority party by making its voters the critical swing bloc in a general election.”

For the first time in California, the election rules for all candidates, parties, and voters are the same. The nonpartisan system, supporters argue, forces representatives to broaden their appeal to voters outside their party’s base to not only advance to the general election, but win in November.

The plaintiffs in Rubin v. Padilla have 40 days to seek review in the California Supreme Court if they wish to appeal the ruling even higher.

Caltrans will swallow extra $5.5M tab to protect birds at Highway 101 widening

Birds can be expensive—California is going to use $5.5 million meant for road repair to protect some birds off the 101   Like building a bridge for wild animals to use instead of going on a freeway, I do not know of any birds that read or can reason. Do you?

“The birds for years have made their conical mud nests under the Petaluma River Bridge, which consists of two 907-foot parallel spans. When Caltrans in 2013 embarked on a $130 million project to replace the structure with a wider, six-lane bridge, workers installed nets under the two existing spans to keep the birds from nesting. The nets actually trapped and killed dozens of birds, prompting a lawsuit from a coalition of wildlife advocates.

As part of a settlement agreement, Caltrans took down the nets during the 2014 nesting season and replaced them with hard plastic siding that discourages nesting under the bridge. Caltrans also agreed to pay for biologists to monitor the work site and ensure bird safety, and agreed to demolish the old bridge outside of nesting season, which runs from Feb. 15 to Aug. 15”

Are you suggesting that the hard plastic sidings and their placement cost $5.5 million? Oh, it is the biologists monitoring the process that cost the $5.5 million—this is a classic rip off by the environmentalist community—millions to pay off worthless efforts. Now you know why our roads are so bad—we pay off environmentalists.

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Caltrans will swallow extra $5.5M tab to protect birds at Highway 101 widening

By Matt Brown, The Press Democrat, 2/1/15 http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_27439147/caltrans-will-swallow-extra-5-5m-tab-protect?source=rss

TO SEE COMPLETE STORY CLICK ON BLUE HEADLINE

 

A cliff swallow peeks out of a mud nest in West Marin. The migratory birds, which nest in the mud…

Caltrans will spend an additional $5.5 million to keep federally protected birds away from its construction site on the Highway 101 bridge over the Petaluma River.

The California Transportation Commission last week approved the amount, acknowledging for the first time the extent of the project’s budget overrun because of measures taken to date — and those that will be needed going forward — to assure birds are not harmed by construction.

The allocation comes as construction crews are busy preparing to demolish a part of the old highway bridge before the migratory cliff swallows return next month from their winter grounds in South America.

“I’m very skeptical that it should cost $5.5 million to exclude birds from a bridge. That’s ridiculous,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Overruns are part of how Caltrans does business. If they had done the project right in the first place, it would have saved millions in taxpayer money,” Miller said. “I hope no one is going to scapegoat the birds.”

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Caltrans included local Audubon Society chapters and Veronica Bowers, who runs a songbird rescue center in Sebastopol.

“We want to have these activities done before the start of migratory bird season,” Amsk said.

The overall project, planned for completion in August 2016, is six months behind schedule because of what Caltrans says are delays due to the bird settlement agreement.

 

CA Insurance Dept. ADMITS to Approving Health Care Insurance That Lacks Doctors and Hospitals

The Democrat, Dave Jones, elected to head the California Department of Insurance has proven that he takes no responsibility for his own actions. Worse, he tried to blame others for the incompetent, health care system his agency over sees.

The Insurance Department approves the right of insurance companies to operate in the State. They look at the information, data and statistics, then approve the. Products sold. Yesterday his office put out a press release demanding that insurers have sufficient medical providers for their customers. As if the Department just found out there was a problem. In fact, they APPROVED the problem and have known about it for years. Now, with ObamaCare and Medicaid collapsing the system, Jones is trying to protect himself from the facts—he is the key part of the destruction of quality care in California.

“”Some consumers have been forced to pay huge out-of-network charges when their health insurer fails to provide adequate medical providers in their network or when care is provided by out-of-network providers without even informing or asking the consent of the patient. This emergency regulation is necessary to make sure that health insurers establish and maintain adequate medical provider networks to meet the health care needs of their policyholders, to make sure medical provider directories are accurate, and to stop the practice of surprising consumers with huge charges for out-of-network providers who provide care without first informing the patient and getting their consent,” Jones added.”

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Emergency regulation requiring health insurers to have sufficient medical providers goes into effect immediately

California Department of Insurance, 2/2/15

News: 2015 Press Release

For Release: February 2, 2015

Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566

Emergency regulation requiring health insurers to have sufficient medical providers goes into effect immediately

Prevents surprise bills by requiring notice to patients of our-of-network doctors before treatment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -Emergency regulations issued by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones establishing stronger requirements for health insurers to create and maintain medical provider networks to provide timely access to medical care were approved by the Office of Administrative Law and go into effect today. Commissioner Jones issued the emergency regulations at his inauguration last month, after pledging to continue in his second term his first term commitment to take action on behalf of consumers.

The Emergency Medical Provider Network Adequacy Regulation addresses the problems identified with access to primary care doctors, specialists and hospitals in 2014, as many health insurers reduced or narrowed their medical provider networks and/or shifted to offering Exclusive Provider Organization health insurance products with no out-of-network benefits. Consumers complained of having trouble getting appointments with doctors, traveling long distances to receive in-network medical care, or seeking care from doctors who appeared in their health insurer’s provider directory but who were not actually in the health insurer’s medical provider network.

“When patients need medical care, it is critically important that there are sufficient primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals and surgical centers in the health insurer’s network to provide timely access to medical care,” said Commissioner Jones. “Getting more Californians signed up for health insurance is critically important, but it’s not enough just to get people an insurance card, there have to be sufficient numbers of doctors, hospitals and clinics behind the insurance.”

Patients have been surprised by huge bills from out-of-network doctors who were included in their treatment without notice or consent of the patient. Commissioner Jones’ emergency regulation is one of the first in the nation to address these surprise bills.

“Some consumers have been forced to pay huge out-of-network charges when their health insurer fails to provide adequate medical providers in their network or when care is provided by out-of-network providers without even informing or asking the consent of the patient. This emergency regulation is necessary to make sure that health insurers establish and maintain adequate medical provider networks to meet the health care needs of their policyholders, to make sure medical provider directories are accurate, and to stop the practice of surprising consumers with huge charges for out-of-network providers who provide care without first informing the patient and getting their consent,” Jones added.

The Commissioner’s emergency regulation strengthens and adds new medical provider network requirements, including requiring health insurers to:

  • Include an adequate number of primary care physicians accepting new patients to accommodate recent and ongoing anticipated enrollment growth;
  • Include an adequate number of primary care providers and specialists with admitting and practice privileges at network hospitals;
  • Consider the frequency and type of treatment needed to provide mental health and substance use disorder care when creating the provider network;
  • Adhere to and monitor new appointment wait time standards;
  • Prevent “surprise” bills by requiring medical facilities to inform patients that an out-of-network medical provider will participate in the non-emergency procedure or care, before the care is provided, so that the patient can decline the participation of the out-of-network provider if they so choose;
  • Report information about the networks and changes to the networks to the Department of Insurance on an ongoing basis;
  • Provide accurate provider network directories to the Department and make them available both to policyholders and the public, so that those shopping for health insurance have this information as well;
  • Make arrangements to provide out-of-network care at in-network prices when there are insufficient in-network care providers.

Media Note:

Emergency regulation is available to the public.

Court Approves Ending Voice of California Third Parties—Will GOP and Democrats be Next?

A California Appeals Court has determined that since it is still legal for candidates to “prefer” a Third Party ballot designation, they should have no complaints that due to a top two election (top two vote getters move to November Run-off election) they are not on the November ballot.   As understood, there are no nominees of any Party hence no Republican nominee, or Democrat, ran for governor in 2014—only those with a stated “preference”. Thanks to this new law, the number of Republicans and Democrats registrants are declining, while Decline to State is skyrocketing. In the future, political parties in California will only be found in history textbooks.

“Pointing to the 2012 elections, the minor parties said that their top vote-getter – a Green Party candidate running for a Congressional seat – received nearly 19 percent of the vote in the primary election. But because she didn’t land in the top two – spots held by a Democrat and a Republican, of course – she didn’t make the general election ballot.
Of more than 150 races governed by the top-two system in the 2012 primaries, only three minor-party candidates advanced to the general election runoff. Before Prop. 14 passed, state election laws guaranteed that one candidate from each political party could appear on the general election ballot, the minor parties argued.”

In the end there will be new political parties: Unions, special interests and the very wealthy—each outbidding the other to buy candidates and elections. California, thanks to Prop. 14 put democracy and government on sale to the highest bidder.

vote count election

‘Top-Two’ General Elections in CA Upheld

By WILLIAM DOTINGA

Courthouse News, 1/31/15  

A voter-approved, “top-two” system of electing statewide and legislative candidates in California’s general elections remains in place, after a state appeals court tossed a challenge by minor political parties who say the system deprives them of their electoral voice.
Members and candidates from the Libertarian, Green, and Peace and Freedom parties sued the California Secretary of State in 2011 after voters approved Proposition 14. The initiative changed the Golden State’s electoral system to an open, nonpartisan primary election followed by a general election runoff between the top two vote-getters in the primary.
The minor parties claimed that the change denied them access to the general election ballot since in all likelihood their candidates would never place in the top two in the primaries. They also argued the authors of Prop. 14 wrote the initiative for exactly that purpose, violating their equal protection rights in the process.
Pointing to the 2012 elections, the minor parties said that their top vote-getter – a Green Party candidate running for a Congressional seat – received nearly 19 percent of the vote in the primary election. But because she didn’t land in the top two – spots held by a Democrat and a Republican, of course – she didn’t make the general election ballot.
Of more than 150 races governed by the top-two system in the 2012 primaries, only three minor-party candidates advanced to the general election runoff. Before Prop. 14 passed, state election laws guaranteed that one candidate from each political party could appear on the general election ballot, the minor parties argued.
A trial court tossed the action, finding that Prop. 14 did not restrict the access of minor parties to the primary ballot and that they had no inherent right to be on the general election ballot – absent a finish in the top two.
On Thursday, a panel for the First Appellate District agreed. Writing for the panel, Judge Sandra Margulies acknowledged that U.S. Supreme Court cases in the last century that established minor-party election rights have featured primary elections that allow voters to select general election candidates, rather than ones that narrow down the list of candidates in a supposedly nonpartisan fashion.
But that doesn’t mean the nation’s highest court intended to give minor parties an absolute right to appear on general election ballots, the judge added.
“The principle concern of these earlier ballot access decisions was to ensure minor parties did not suffer undue barriers to placing their candidates on the ballot, relative to their major-party brethren. In the context of the traditional system, however, the court rejected any absolute right of minor-party candidates to appear on the ballot, finding ‘an important state interest in requiring some preliminary showing of a significant modicum of support before printing the name of a political organization’s candidate on the ballot – the interest, if no other, in avoiding confusion, deception, and even frustration of the democratic process at the general election,'” Margulies wrote, citing the high court’s holding in 1971’s Jenness v. Fortson.
She added: “We find no support for plaintiffs’ claim of a constitutional right to have their candidates appear on the general election ballot upon the showing of a modicum of support, as the term ‘general election’ is used in California’s top-two system. The minor parties unquestionably have a right to fair and equal participation in the process by which officeholders are selected, but this right is satisfied by participation in an open nonpartisan primary election in which every candidate has an equal opportunity, regardless of party affiliation, to advance to the general election.”
The appeals court also found that the top-two system doesn’t limit minor parties’ participation in the electoral process, by barring them from the general election and its higher voter turnout.
“We find any burden placed on plaintiffs’ expressive rights by their alleged relegation to the primary to be modest,” Margulies wrote for the panel. “It is important to recognize that plaintiffs are not excluded from the electoral process altogether. Because minor parties are permitted to promote candidates in the primary election on the same terms as any other party, plaintiffs are fully able to communicate their message through the electoral process at that time.”
She continued: “Further, even at the time of the general election, plaintiffs are in no way excluded from many expressive activities associated with the electoral process. Even without a candidate on the ballot in November, plaintiffs may organize their members, communicate their message through advertising and events, support or oppose candidates who are on the ballot, and engage in any other appropriate political activity. The lack of a candidate in no way prevents plaintiffs from participating in the various election-related political activities at the time of the general election. It merely prevents them from using a candidacy as the vehicle for such activities.”
The minor parties have 40 days to ask the California Supreme Court to review the case.

 

New owners of L.A. Convention Center report profit of $3.3M–Government Lost $$ for a Generation

When the convention center was built by government in Los Angeles it became an immediate money loser. For a generation the taxpayers of Los Angeles have been subsidizing political conventions, rock bands, comic book conventions and a series of organization meetings. Finally, government gave a management contract to a private firm. In the first year the company made a profit of $3.3 million. Imagine what they could do with government owned stadiums, arena’s and theaters.

“Brad Gessner, senior vice president and general manager at the convention center, told the newspaper that AEG cut staffing from about 200 workers to 91 and hired a contractor to manage the 5,400 parking spaces at the center.

“We are running this like a business,” Gessner said, adding that AEG has increased the number of television shows, commercials and movies filming at the center. AEG is now looking at plans to sell advertising in the center’s parking garage, he said. “We are always looking for new entrepreneurial ways to generate more revenues,” he said.”

There is a growing movement of private firms running public libraries—making money, paying taxes, bringing more resources and longer hours, at a lower cost to the taxpayers. With the economics of California government, it is past time to outsource programs and sell property that is no longer part of basic government services.

SantaMoney

New owners of L.A. Convention Center report profit of $3.3M

Posted by Debbie L. Sklar, MyNewsLA, 1/29/15

 

After years of running at a deficit, the Los Angeles Convention Center is reporting profits of $3.3 million for the first year that the facility has been turned over to a private operator, it was reported Thursday.

The operator, a division of AEG, the entertainment group that owns and operates the adjacent Staples Center and L.A. Live,  said it turned the center into a moneymaker by running it more efficiently, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Brad Gessner, senior vice president and general manager at the convention center, told the newspaper that AEG cut staffing from about 200 workers to 91 and hired a contractor to manage the 5,400 parking spaces at the center.

“We are running this like a business,” Gessner said, adding that AEG has increased the number of television shows, commercials and movies filming at the center. AEG is now looking at plans to sell advertising in the center’s parking garage, he said. “We are always looking for new entrepreneurial ways to generate more revenues,” he said.

AEG holds a contract to operate the convention center for another four years.

The convention center had run on a deficit for the previous five years, costing the city more than $48,000 in 2013 and $1.8 million in 2012.