Tax $$ Wasted to be “Cool” The Making of the L.A. Metro ‘M’

Did you really think your tax dollars were going for real services? About 80% of the operating funds for government transportation in Los Angeles comes from local taxes, State and Federal government handouts to a failing system that was never built or expected to break even. Here is one example of how the “Metro” waste’s your money.

“The L.A. transit system’s previous logo was a block “M” with soft corners embedded in a circle above the word “METRO” in all-caps (left). The image was simple enough, but the agency used it inconsistently, says Lejeune, recalling one rail station where it appeared in both red and blue variations. A bigger problem was that the word “METRO,” tucked beneath the “M” in such a small font, became hard to read at certain sizes or from far away.

Then there was the letter from the Washington, D.C., transit agency—another system whose logo used a block “M” above the word “metro”—saying (at least by Lejeune’s recollection) that L.A.’s logo came too close to its own copyrighted version. “We needed to basically cease and desist on this logo, because it was too similar to theirs,” he says. “It really opened up the door for us to be able to explore the idea of a new logo.”

Why change the logo—as if logo’s made people use government transportation? Management decided to make riding the bus “cool”—being late, dirty, dangerous and triple the time to het to work compared to driving your own car—that is “cool” to bureaucrats that have government issued cars. Sick. Thought you should know.

SantaMoney

The Making of the L.A. Metro ‘M’

A story of deli counters, legal threats, and hidden meanings—in one letter.

Eric Jaffe, City Lab, 8/26/15

Michael Lejeune, creative director for the Los Angeles Metro, still remembers when the bell tolled for the transit agency’s design jobs. Literally. There was a counter and a bell at the entrance to the graphics department, and when other Metro employees needed a hand with something creative, they’d stop by and make a request like so: Ding! I need a brochure!

“The first thing we did was blow up the bell and remove the counter,” says Lejeune, who arrived at Metro 14 years ago in September. “We’re not a deli.”

So began the rebranding of L.A. Metro, a long-term mandate Lejeune has described as making public transportation in Los Angeles “cool” again. The newly established in-house design team, which included art director Neil Sadler, transformed Metro’s image piece by piece from there. Their first task was infusing the bus fleet with color—“Why would we want to be invisible on our own streets?” says Lejeune—and a few years later they took on an even more ubiquitous symbol of Metro service: the agency’s “M” logo.

After our recent post on 77 different ways metro agencies design their “M” logos, CityLab asked Lejeune to tell us the story of how L.A. made its own little letter unique.

Cease and desist

The L.A. transit system’s previous logo was a block “M” with soft corners embedded in a circle above the word “METRO” in all-caps (left). The image was simple enough, but the agency used it inconsistently, says Lejeune, recalling one rail station where it appeared in both red and blue variations. A bigger problem was that the word “METRO,” tucked beneath the “M” in such a small font, became hard to read at certain sizes or from far away.

Then there was the letter from the Washington, D.C., transit agency—another system whose logo used a block “M” above the word “metro”—saying (at least by Lejeune’s recollection) that L.A.’s logo came too close to its own copyrighted version. “We needed to basically cease and desist on this logo, because it was too similar to theirs,” he says. “It really opened up the door for us to be able to explore the idea of a new logo.”

(A Washington Metro spokesperson tells CityLab that “several years ago” the agency did object to an L.A. transit logo it considered too similar to D.C.’s trademarked version, but never filed a lawsuit.)

So, in 2003, Lejeune and Sadler got to work on a new “M” for L.A. They wanted to keep the basic scheme of the “M” inside a circle, as local surveys showed about an 80 percent recognition of the Metro logo, and of course there’s also some universal appreciation that an “M” stands for Metro. But even with those same basic elements in place, the new logo would still have to distinguish itself from every other “M” out there and become the identity of the new agency brand.

“The purpose of the logo is to say, ‘This is a Metro thing,’” says Lejeune. “Everything you feel about Metro comes into play once you know it’s a Metro thing. That’s what logos for the most part do. They identify who is speaking.”

The L.A. Metro “M” greets riders at the Civic Center Metro Station. (David Wilson / Flickr)

What that notch really means

Lejeune says the team had narrowed in on two options within a couple weeks. The logo that was ultimately approved by the Metro board is a block “M” with hard edges embedded in a circle, with a vertical-diagonal notch splitting the letter in two. (Lejeune describes the one that lost out as “kind of similar” but with the stems of the “M” looking “sort of like popsicle sticks.”)

The notch does separate L.A.’s “M” from other designs, but Lejeune says it isn’t just for show. Rather, the idea was that splitting the letter reflected the agency’s dual mission: on one hand Metro is a transportation provider, and on the other side it’s a planner and visionary for L.A. mobility. “The thought with that ‘M’ was it’s two sides of the house, and they come together, and it’s a holistic circle,” he says.

The decision to deprive the new logo of any color was deliberate, too. “We needed the logo to communicate strength and consistency and always be the same and not be different colors,” says Lejeune. “We were reestablishing reliability and the consistency of our service to our customers.” As a result the logo only appears in black and white.

“The ‘A’ is ‘Authority’: Who needs that in name when you’re talking to customers?”

Then there was the word “Metro”—bumped out in the new design to appear beside the “M” as much more of an visual equal partner. The move reinforced the agency’s preference to go by “Metro” and not by its official name, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or by the acronym MTA. “The ‘A’ is ‘Authority’: Who needs that in name when you’re talking to customers?” says Lejeune. “‘Metro’ tested higher. It also put us in that same league with the big systems around the world.”

95 percent recognition

The new logo now has a 95 percent recognition rating with the city, according to Lejeune. Though the original idea was to keep “M” and “Metro” as a logo pair, the agency has started to uncouple the two elements in the past few years, he says, because both have become “synonymous” with city transit. “There’s enough awareness that we can use one or the other interchangeably,” he says. “Now we tend to use the M in the circle more on its own.”

Looking back, Lejeune appreciates that the creative team didn’t spend an eternity crafting the logo. Once in a while a logo can take on a life of its own (Lejeune offers the Nike swoosh or the Coca-Cola letterform as examples) but he says that’s rare in general and even more so in transportation (the Transport for London roundel and the FedEx logo being exceptions in his mind). That time was better spent reimagining the rest of the agency in the new Metro spirit.

The Metro “M” has become recognizable enough for ads to play off the letter. (biofriendly / Flickr)

“Let’s lock that down and move onto what matters—our message, our story, our voice—and reengage Los Angeles,” he says. “That’s what we’ve done.”

He’s also pleased that design is no longer an afterthought at Metro. Recently asked during a staff meeting what he’s most proud of during his time on the job, Lejeune says his reply was that “we built design into the DNA of this agency.” Creativity is now part of Metro’s public persona from the logo on down. “Everything is designed,” he says. “We’re now generally at the table at the beginning of the project and all the way through.”

No bell required.

Workers/Consumers Lose if SB 465 Passes—Lawyer’s BIG Winners $$$

AB 465 is the Democrat bill to assure attorney can pay their mortgage and buy the newest Mercedes. This is a bill that takes away the rights of workers and employers to arbitrate differences. Instead lawsuits have to be filed, discovery made, court hearings and maybe a trial. Everyone loses except for the attorneys, they make out like bandits—and it is legal by making arbitration illegal.

“One of their top priorities is getting Gov. Brown to sign AB 465 (Hernandez), which seeks to eliminate pre-dispute employment arbitration agreements. Put simply, this is a terrible idea. AB 465 would only drive up litigation costs by increasing individual claims and class action lawsuits against California employers.  Who stands to profit from all this additional litigation? That’s right, trial lawyers.

Arbitration has many advantages for both businesses and consumers, including being a faster, simpler and less expensive alternative to litigation. It helps California’s small businesses by cutting down on their legal expenses. And it helps consumers by allowing legal disputes to be fairly and efficiently resolved without incurring the cost, stress and often lengthy ordeal of a lawsuit.

Another reason for California firms and jobs to move to Texas—Texas likes workers and jobs.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image16423634

AB 465: Trial Lawyers’ Attempt to Enrich Themselves

Maryann Marino, Californians Against Lawsuit Abuse, 8/25/15

The final weeks of the legislative session have arrived, and that means it is silly season in the State Capitol. At this time of year, trial lawyers use every trick they have to expand litigation and make sure our state’s lawsuit system continues to mainly serve the interests of lawyers rather than ordinary people.

One of their top priorities is getting Gov. Brown to sign AB 465 (Hernandez), which seeks to eliminate pre-dispute employment arbitration agreements. Put simply, this is a terrible idea. AB 465 would only drive up litigation costs by increasing individual claims and class action lawsuits against California employers.  Who stands to profit from all this additional litigation? That’s right, trial lawyers.

Arbitration has many advantages for both businesses and consumers, including being a faster, simpler and less expensive alternative to litigation. It helps California’s small businesses by cutting down on their legal expenses. And it helps consumers by allowing legal disputes to be fairly and efficiently resolved without incurring the cost, stress and often lengthy ordeal of a lawsuit.

The only ones who don’t benefit from using arbitration are the trial lawyers. When a dispute is resolved quickly and efficiently using arbitration, it means lower legal fees for lawyers. This is, of course, why they support AB 465 – at the end of the day, it means more money in their pockets.

AB 465 has been passed by the legislature, and if it is signed by Gov. Brown, it will create more lawsuits in California – a state that is known nationally as a “Judicial Hellhole” and has ranked dead last for 11 straight years in CEO Magazine’s annual “Best and Worst States for Business” survey. That’s why the California Chamber of Commerce has labeled it a “job killer” and it is opposed by a vast coalition of organizations.

If AB 465 is signed by the Governor, all Californians will pay the price.

 

Worst Bill of the Week: SB 358—Allows Courts and Government to Decide Wage Rates

Did you think that Republicans and the California Chamber of Commerce would oppose a bill giving the courts and government the final say on wage rates? If you did you are wrong. SB 357 would use the force of government to determine whether pay rates for “similar” work by men and women are equal. To get to that point, government and the courts, not the workers or employers, will make the determination of “similar” work.

The good news is that the Leftists in Hollywood and the media should be the first to feel the effect of government control of wages and work.

Oh, this bill is about to be approved and signed by Guv Brown. It will be the law—one that will make attorneys rich, unions happy and those in the GOP and the Chamber questioned about their thought process. ADA, EPA and numerous government agencies and regulations were based on doing good—in fact, the attorneys and courts have done well, while the public screams about the crazy regulations. Watch folks denounce SB 358 in the future. Could the unintended consequence be the LOWERING of wages for men? Do not be surprised by that result.

Photo Courtesy of DB's travels, Flickr.

Photo Courtesy of DB’s travels, Flickr.

Jackson’s Bill to Close the Wage Gap Passes Out of Committee

Senator Hannah Jackson, 7/8/15

SB 358 Would Be the Strongest Equal Pay Law in the Nation; CA Women Make 84 Cents to Every Dollar a Man Earns

SACRAMENTO – A bill by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to close the wage gap that women face at work passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support today.

Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, would ensure that women are paid equally for work that is substantially similar to the work of their male colleagues, and do not face retaliation if they discuss or ask how much their male colleagues are paid. If signed into law, it would be the strongest equal pay law in the nation.

Aileen Rizo, a Fresno resident and math consultant at the Fresno County Office of Education, testified in support of the bill. She has a complaint pending in court over pay inequity she discovered while working at the Fresno County Office of Education in 2012. She discovered a male colleague was being paid $12,000 more per year for the same work, even though he was hired four years after she was, and had less experience, education and seniority. Next month, the court will decide whether Rizo’s case goes to trial. For more about her story, go to http://www.equalpay.me/

“This bill will give women more tools to fight pay discrimination, and close loopholes that hold women back,” said Rizo.

“Equal pay isn’t just the right thing for women, it’s the right thing for our economy and for California. And it is long overdue. Families rely on women’s income more than ever before. Because of the wage gap, our state and families are missing out on $33.6 billion dollars a year, “ said Jackson. “That money could be flowing into families’ pocketbooks, into our businesses and our economy. After years of dealing with a persistent wage gap, and an equal pay law that has been on the books since 1949 but that is not as strong as it should be, the time is now for women’s paychecks to finally reflect their hard work and true value. It is time that we fix the wage gap that women face at work and lead the nation in showing how it can be done.”

“Women are critical to building a strong and vibrant economy in this state and have played a pivotal role in the economic recovery of the past few years. They are also breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children. Yet women, especially women of color and mothers, continue to lose precious income to a pervasive, gender-based wage gap. SB 358 will make California’s equal pay law clearer, stronger, and more effective,” said Jennifer Reisch, legal director for Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization.

The bill has the support of dozens of organizations, including a broad spectrum of labor groups, women’s and legal advocacy organizations, and local government. Although they were initially opposed, the bill also now has the support of the California Chamber of Commerce and is unopposed by the California business community.

The bill would go further than the federal Equal Pay Act in a number of ways:

  • It would prohibit retaliation against employees who discuss or ask about pay at work.
  • It would allow employees to challenge pay discrimination based on wages paid to other workers at different worksites of the same employer. For example, a female grocery store clerk who works at a store could challenge higher wages being made by male grocery store clerks at a store owned by the same employer just a few miles away.
  • Employees could challenge pay discrimination based on wages paid to those doing substantially similar work. For example, a female housekeeper who cleans rooms in a hotel could challenge the higher wages being paid to a male janitor who cleans the lobby and banquet halls.
  • It would require employers to show that differences in wages are due to factors other than gender, that the factor is job-related and reasonable, and that these factors – rather than discrimination – account for the difference in pay. For example, if a male chef is making more money than a female chef because he works weekend shifts, the employer would have to show that the weekend shifts are busier and require more work and account for the difference in wages. In addition, the employer would have to prove that the weekend shift position was open to all chefs, and that the employer hired the male chef because he was the most qualified or willing to work the shifts.

In 2013, a woman in California working full-time made a median 84 cents to every dollar a man earned, according to the Equal Rights Advocates, co-sponsors of the bill. The gap is significantly greater for women of color. Latinas in California make only 44 cents for every dollar a white man makes, the most significant Latina wage gap in the nation. African-American women are only paid 64 cents on the dollar. As a group, women who are employed full-time in California lose approximately $33.6 billion every year due to the wage gap.

Jackson is chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. SB 358 is one of the bills prioritized by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus this year as part of a package entitled, “A Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunity for All Women,” designed to advance women’s economic opportunities as the state rebounds from the economic downturn.

SB 358 now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

 

$278,442 In Federal Taxes Spent so “Obese” People Can Text Their “Feelings”—NOT A JOKE

The government knows how to waste your money. Previously Elizabeth Harrington has exposed studies on why fat girls can’t get dates, what boys think of drunk girls, the dating habits of senior. Now, we have “obese” people texting government to tell how they feel about daily living being fat. This is not a joke, except on the people of the United States.

“The five-year study theorizes that there is a vicious cycle where obese people eat to deal with weight stigma, gain more weight, and then face more weight stigma.

“Understanding societal stigma is foundational to the science of social psychology,” according to the grant for the project. “In an era of historically high obesity prevalence rates, one of the most pervasive and socially acceptable forms of societal stigma is weight stigma.”

Fat people know they are fat—they either accept it or try to change it. Why are tax dollars being used to get some of these folks to TEXT government, letting them know they feel bad? This is another Obama sick study. Maybe Michelle will text them back with “healthy” recipes?

price cost expensive money

Feds Spend $278,442 to Study ‘Weight Stigma’

5 year NSF project will involve obese people texting researchers about their feelings

BY: Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon, 8/25/15
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending nearly $300,000 to study weight stigma, a project where obese people will text researchers to report when they have been mocked because of their size.

The head researcher on the project previously published a scientific paper that assumed Republicans are mean to fat people.

“What happens to an individual who experiences such stigma?” the project asks.

The grant explains that the researchers will investigate a “comprehensive trio of consequences: increases in psychological stress, increases in comfort eating, and increases in cortisol, a stress hormone that itself can cause eating and fat storage.”

“One crucial implication of this research is that these consequences could hinder weight loss efforts, or even result in weight gain – thereby sustaining the originally stigmatized condition,” the grant said. “The proposed research will test this premise, and investigate weight outcomes as they relate to experiencing weight stigma.”

The project gets underway on Sept. 1, and has cost taxpayers $278,442 so far. Research will continue until August 2020.

The study involves developing a “text-messaging platform” for obese people to “report real-life instances of weight stigma as they experience them in daily life.”

“They will then provide cortisol samples and report on their eating behaviors,” the grant said. “Over the course of one year, the second study will test whether experiences of weight stigma are followed by increases in stress and cortisol, whether those increases in turn predict unsuccessful weight loss efforts or weight gain, and finally whether those weight outcomes are followed by ever more experiences of weight stigma.”

Janet Tomiyama, an assistant professor in the department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is leading the study.

Tomiyama has previously hypothesized that conservatives are prejudiced towards fat people. Her research did not find that to be the case.

In a research paper “It’s not you, it’s me: Self-perceptions, antifat attitudes and stereotyping of obese individuals,” Tomiyama premised her research on the idea that white Republicans hold “anti-fat attitudes” with a flow chart.

“Control beliefs in antifat attitudes usually reflect the mutability of weight and perceived lack of willpower in obese targets—the belief that obese individuals became obese through diet-related choices and can control their weight,” the paper, co-authored by Tomiyama said. “Because our model focused on self-perceptions, we examined the role of self-based control beliefs (degree to which an individual perceives control over their behavior) in antifat attitudes.”

Based on the “personality literature on prejudice,” the paper suggested that conservatives would think obese people are “stupid” and “unpleasant.”

“The personality literature on prejudice suggests a strong relationship between self-based control beliefs encompassed in Right-Wing Authoritarianism and out-group prejudice,” the paper said. “Thus, we hypothesized a positive relationship between self-control beliefs and antifat attitudes.”

“Likewise, conservative ideals, beliefs about personal responsibility, and personal control appear interrelated in regard to antifat attitudes, so we included political orientation in our model as a means to separate control beliefs from conservative ideology related to personal responsibility,” Tomiyama added. “We hypothesized identifying as conservative (Republican) would be positively predictive of antifat attitudes.”

However, science disproved the claim.

“We found no association between identifying as a Republican (a proxy for conservative political ideology) and antifat attitudes,” the paper said. “We note our sample of students identifying as Republican was relatively small (11 percent) and political orientation, in this sample, may be particularly subject to parental influence.”

“Interpretations of this finding should be made with caution,” Tomiyama warned. “We similarly found no association between identifying as White and holding antifat attitudes.”

Tomiyama did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Other publications by Tomiyama include: “What does weight stigma smell like?” and “If shaming reduced obesity, there would be no fat people.”

 

Report: Every Deported Illegal Household Saves Taxpayers More than $700,000

It costs government at all levels in California approximately $21 billion a year for the housing, health care, education, crimes and jobs stolen by illegal aliens. The Heritage Foundation did a study and taxpayers would save $719,000 a year for every family deported. Unlike others I do not want to deport any illegal aliens other than criminals.

 

Instead, let us arrest and jail employers that hire illegal aliens, even if it is the Mayor of Los Angeles or the CEO of a major corporation. Obey and enforce current laws and you will not need to deport illegal aliens—they will have no work, no car (since a drivers license helps them get a job—which is illegal)—let the cops impound the cars and bikes used by illegal aliens. No need to deport. Also, I would not break up a single family.

Instead let the illegal aliens make the choice of breaking up their family—they chose to break our laws—they can decide if they will keep their family intact, government should not make that decision.

“The lifetime savings accrued from one deported illegal household would provide funds for 125 low-income inner city students to receive the maximum Pell Grant award in 2015-2016 ($5,775); it could cover the cost of pre-kindergarten for 90 at-risk children (around $8,000 per child); or it could cover the one year cost of Medicaid for 124 enrollees ($5,790 based on FY2011 data).

Your choice—support illegal aliens or law abiding Americans? What is your choice?

Immigration Obama

Report: Every Deported Illegal Household Saves Taxpayers More than $700,000

by Julia Hahn, Breitbart, 8/24/15

Advocates for mass-migration are using skewed financial claims to smear Donald Trump’s popular border proposals, which actually would help revive the near-bankrupt Social Security and Medicare programs.

For every illegal migrant household that leaves the United States under Trump’s plan, Americans would recoup nearly three-quarters of a million dollars ($719,350), according to 2010 data collected by Heritage scholar Robert Rector.

The lifetime savings accrued from one deported illegal household would provide funds for 125 low-income inner city students to receive the maximum Pell Grant award in 2015-2016 ($5,775); it could cover the cost of pre-kindergarten for 90 at-risk children (around $8,000 per child); or it could cover the one year cost of Medicaid for 124 enrollees ($5,790 based on FY2011 data).

But business interests want the migrants to stay. That’s because migrants help lower the cost of Americans’ wages, but also because the migrants spend their wages — plus taxpayer aid — at retail stories and rental agencies.

For example, the American Action Forum (AAF), a business-backed pro-amnesty group, claims that legal costs and forced migration would spike the cost of Trump’s plan up to $300 billion to arrest and remove all illegal immigrants living in the United States. The AAF was founded by Fred Malek, who co-founded and chairs a hospitality investment company whose hotels employ many low skilled migrants.

AAF’s cost projections have been trumpeted by many in the mainstream media such as NBC and Fox News.

In reality, “a modest increase in enforcement (such as E-verify or visa tracking) would cause significant attrition in the illegal population– sending millions of illegals home on their own at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.” said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies.

There’s good evidence for Vaughan’s argument. “Arizona’s population of unauthorized immigrants of working age fell by about 17 percent” in the course of a single year, after the state began to enforce E-verify, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

The claim from Malek’s AAF also ignores the financial savings caused by the return of migrants to their home countries.

Illegal migrants cost U.S. taxpayers a net total of nearly $100 billion annually, concluded a 2010 investigation by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The 2010 report calculated the total contributions (mainly taxes) generated by the illegal migrants, and then subtracted the cost of taxpayer aid to those migrants. The aid includes education, subsidized housing, food stamps, tax credits, medical expenses. Overall, the report found illegal migrants cost taxpayers a total of $113 billion a year. The report then “accounts for taxes paid by illegal aliens [which is] about $13 billion a year, resulting in a net cost to taxpayers of about $100 billion.”

Under the Trump plan, that spending could be used to reduce taxpayer spending. The resulting savings could fund the entire federal cost of major proposals by liberal Democrats, such as a Universal Pre-Kindergarten program. President Obama’s original 2013 proposal was projected to cost $75 billion over a decade.

Or the government could allocate 60 percent more resources and benefits for returning American soldiers and veterans (increasing the President’s 2016 budget request for the VA from its current $168.8 billion to $268.8 billion)

Alternatively, public schools could have the funds to employ an additional 1.9 million elementary school teachers to help teach young Americans in already-overcrowded schools.

State and local governments could employ 1.6 million more police officers in to reduce crime in gang-besieged neighborhoods.

These savings could the expand the government’s allotment for Emergency Shelter Grants, which provide support for the homeless or victims of domestic violence, by than 400 times its 2014 budget ($250 million).

Upon first hearing the costs illegal migrants impose upon U.S. taxpayers, many find the figure difficult to believe, says Heritage’s Robert Rector:

“The debate about the fiscal consequences of unlawful and low-skill immigration is hampered by a number of misconceptions. Few lawmakers really understand the current size of government and the scope of redistribution… Unlawful immigrants, on average, are always tax consumers; they never once generate a ‘fiscal surplus’ that can be used to pay for government benefits elsewhere in society.”

Nations that are more serious about enforcing their immigration laws, however, are aware of the fiscal burdens mass migration places on its citizenry and have taken measures to combat economic strains. Israel, for example, has begun offering migrants $3,500 in cash and a one-way airplane ticket home in order to encourage repatriation.

Sand: Planned Persecution–by Planned Profithood

If you are a teacher in a mandatory union membership District, you are financing and support the selling of body parts by Planned Parenthood. Worse, you are having your money used by the union to elect public officials to give tax dollars, promotion, support and protection to these body part sellers.

“In another case of defending evil, spreading falsehoods and/or selling ignorance, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten tweeted “More than 50% of Planned Parenthood patients are enrolled in Medicaid. Defunding @PPFA would take their coverage away. #StandWithPP” Wrong again. Defunding PP won’t take anyone’s Medicaid coverage away.

But for sheer misdirection nothing beats United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew who back in 2012 announced a $125,000 gift to PP. “As a union with a large female membership, we know the importance of the kind of health care that Planned Parenthood provides, including breast cancer screening.” Well, actually, despite what many think, PP does not perform mammograms or even possess the necessary equipment to do so. Its clinics do provide referrals, but the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society readily provide them as well.”

Another reason to stop the extortion of union on professional teachers—professionals should not be extorted by thugs. Taking money without permission in the real world is called a mugging. In government it is called “the right of unionism”. Can you tell the difference?

planned parenthood

Planned Persecution

By Larry Sand, Union Watch, 8/25/15

NEA claims to be for religious freedom, but Catholics and other right-to-lifers need not apply.

“The National Education Association believes that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. The Association also believes that choice of religion is an intensely personal decision.” These high-minded words are from NEA Resolution I-33, which was passed at its recent convention. Nothing really new here; the NEA passed other similar resolutions this year, and in fact it does so every year. There is also nothing new about the union’s raving hypocrisy on the issue.

As we learned recently via several secretly recorded videos, Planned Parenthood (PP) not only performs an ungodly number of abortions every year, but is in the dead baby body parts sales biz too. One would think that the unions, which have donated millions to PP over the years, might have shown some reticence. But they have doubled down instead. Over at AFL-CIO, Boss Trumka asserted that calls to defund PP “based on doctored undercover recordings are politically motivated and wrong.” Actually, he’s wrong. The videos weren’t “doctored” at all; they were available in their entirety on the internet. SEIU president Mary Kay Henry stood her ground and affirmed in a tweet, “Extremists stoop to new low attacking women & access to preventive care.” (Henry has a familial stake in this in that SEIU VP Kirk Adams is married to PP president Cecile Richards.)

In another case of defending evil, spreading falsehoods and/or selling ignorance, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten tweeted “More than 50% of Planned Parenthood patients are enrolled in Medicaid. Defunding @PPFA would take their coverage away. #StandWithPP” Wrong again. Defunding PP won’t take anyone’s Medicaid coverage away.

But for sheer misdirection nothing beats United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew who back in 2012 announced a $125,000 gift to PP. “As a union with a large female membership, we know the importance of the kind of health care that Planned Parenthood provides, including breast cancer screening.” Well, actually, despite what many think, PP does not perform mammograms or even possess the necessary equipment to do so. Its clinics do provide referrals, but the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society readily provide them as well.

It’s important to note that UFT’s $125,000 gift (and all union largess) is comprised of dues money the union collects from its teachers regardless of their religious/moral convictions. So what can a pro-life teacher do knowing that part of his/her union dues is going to fund PP, one of whose raisons-d’être is killing (and now selling body parts of) the unborn? In non-right-to-work states, these teachers have two options. They can become agency fee payers in which case they must still pay for things like collective bargaining but don’t have to support the unions’ progressive political agenda. Or a teacher can become a religious objector and pay absolutely no money to the union, but instead pay a full dues share to a charity agreed on by the teachers union and the school district. This is a difficult status to achieve because the union just can’t bear to have what it considers a freeloader in its midst. As such, a dissenting teacher must usually seek out legal assistance and go to great lengths to prove their religiosity.

Enter Linda Misja, a high school language teacher in western Pennsylvania. Ms. Misja, a devout Roman Catholic, and her union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), just can’t seem to agree on a mutually acceptable charity. According to Watchdog.org’s Evan Grossman, Misja initially requested that her money to go to People Concerned for the Unborn Child, a pro-life group which is opposed to artificial contraception, in-vitro fertilization and birth control. The union, which either has a dark sense of humor or is seriously delusional, came back with an offer to send her dues money to an abortion clinic.

Misja countered with an alternative: a charity arm of the National Rifle Association which works with public schools to teach gun safety. But the union nixed this idea also on the grounds that it was “too political.” As Misja and the union duke it out, $2,000 she earned as a teacher is sitting in an escrow account.

What all this points to is that the teachers unions – PSEA is but one example – put their far left agenda above all else. The high-minded assertion about religious liberty in NEA Resolution I-33 is a canard. If the union really believed in religious freedom, it would direct PSEA, an NEA affiliate, to honor Misja’s request to have her money donated to an entity that supports her Catholic beliefs. And just as ridiculous is PSEA’s claim that donating to the NRA is “too political.” Since 1989, NEA has spent $92,972,656 on candidates, PACs, etc. while the American Federation of Teachers spent $69,757,113 during the same 26 year period. (In 2014 alone, PSEA spent $2,711,333 on politics) But Ms. Misja is laughably being denied the option to donate to the NRA because it’s “too political.”

Tolerance is a buzzword the teachers unions use with great abandon. But when it only goes one way, it becomes dictatorial, which is a perfect word to describe many teacher union policies.

Surprise! Sacramento Wants More Gas and Tobacco Tax from Us

On June 15 the very confused Guv Brown announced we had a balanced budget and a couple of billion to put into a reserve fund. The next day he announced he needed to spend billions more for roads and to get the money for 170,000 illegal aliens to get free Medi-Cal. Do we have a balanced budget, did he lie or is he so confused he does not know the difference?

“Because transportation is always bandied about as the first thing we need more money for, but always the first thing that’s robbed by education, safety/security, social welfare and other priorities.

And if we complain about that, then we’re labeled anti-education, anti-safety/security, anti-social welfare, and anti-anything-else-that-Sacramento-and-Governor-Brown-can-come-up-with-to-shut-us-up-into-submission.”

We will spend north of $170 billion in Sacramento this year—Brown wants to take up to $7 billion MORE. This, while the stock market is crashing, lots of low wage jobs and ObamaCare killing off good paying jobs. Jerry Brown needs to determine is he the Governor for the people or the special interests? His tax proposals show he prefers the rich and powerful.

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Surprise! Sacramento Wants More Gas and Tobacco Tax from Us

Written by Ken Alpern, city Watch LA, 8/25/15

GETTING THERE FROM HERE–Isn’t this a “surprise”?  Sacramento wants to tax us some more!  And it’s more gas taxes and tobacco taxes! Well, ain’t that special, and taxing both financially and emotionally to Californians, because our recovery isn’t that great and new taxes might stop the recovery in its tracks.

And in case you haven’t heard, the worldwide recovery ain’t doin’ so hot, so presuming that the wealthy or the middle class is in great shape for a gas tax (or any other tax) isn’t too wise.  The “great fall of China” may have explosive worldwide consequences, which means that our Wall Street earnings will tumble and place us into another pension/budget crisis.

Which may infuriate many readers, but hey, don’t blame the messenger–I didn’t make up this economic nightmare!

And nightmare it is.  If we don’t have enough money to balance our budget, then any new taxes for transportation will end up being the sole source of income for transportation while the rest of the funds get backhoed into the General Fund.

Because transportation is always bandied about as the first thing we need more money for, but always the first thing that’s robbed by education, safety/security, social welfare and other priorities.

And if we complain about that, then we’re labeled anti-education, anti-safety/security, anti-social welfare, and anti-anything-else-that-Sacramento-and-Governor-Brown-can-come-up-with-to-shut-us-up-into-submission.

The problem with our budget, pure and simple, is that we’re devoting too much for ex-employees and not enough for currently-needed services (which could be fixed, in part, by taxing any windfall profits from highly-compensated, six-digit-figure retirees…but will that ever happen?).

Another problem with our budget, pure and simple, is that Governor Brown and the Legislative leadership has conflated being more cost-effective with being against the priority where prudence is being asked for altogether. For example, spending smart and carefully on K-12 or college education is conflated with lowering education funding altogether rather than stretching our education dollars more for better education services without having to raise taxes.

My personal favorite of raising taxes for transportation would be to do what LA County did with its Measure R–increase sales taxes on everyone.  Everyone!  That means the rich, the middle class and the poor in order to have everyone pay for something we all benefit from:  transportation.

That also means the increasing number of workers being paid under the table and those here illegally (which happens a lot, by the way, when we choose to selectively and inconsistently obey and enforce the law).

Gas taxes are something that many believe were highly overdue, and to some degree still feel that way, but discriminating against some Californians who commute long distances, while paying for projects and road repairs that all want and need, doesn’t seem to be fair.

And do we WANT another Proposition 13 by taxpayers angry with how they feel Sacramento is spending money?

So sales taxes are something to be considered…but would it result in an increase in transportation spending or just an indirect switch to more established transportation funding being shifted to the general fund?

And just what EXACTLY would get funded?  The California High-Speed Rail Line, or more Metrolink and Caltrain upgrades?  Which freeways would be repaired and upgraded, and which would be left off the priority list?

Yes, this proposed tax from Sacramento is one that will be both fiscally and psychologically taxing for all Californians.

But if we must do more taxing, then the problems of how we spend our current budget, and the implications of the new Wall Street meltdown, and the assurance that more transportation money will ACTUALLY go to an INCREASED transportation budget must be resolved first.

In other words, Governor Brown and Sacramento:  we’ll do OUR job…but you better do YOUR job first.

 

California Farm “Margins” Down 8.3%

Farmers are losing their profits, while the cost of water, energy, stock feed, pesticides and regulations go up. Yes, farmers have record gross earning—and record spending. They also know that government, not their own work will determine their survival. Into all of this Brown is about to steal land from 300 farmers, to build his Delta Tunnel—the effort to move water from north to south, without creating a drop of new water.

“Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita stresses to point out that the figures she annually reports are gross values and in no way reflect net revenue for farmers. In some commodities, there was little or no profit, while in others farmers did fairly well.

The margin between making a profit and losing money is thin and getting thinner every year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported farm income forecast for this year is down 32 percent nationwide and 8.3 percent in California. That would be the lowest margin of profit since 2009.”

Are we entering a recession? Will banks continue to loan money to farmers, not knowing if the farms will get water or be allowed to use groundwater. Thanks to a lack of positive water policy, farmers and city folks are in economic trouble—watch the price of food go up as the number of farms and land farmed go down.

Corn Field

Farm values do not translate into farm profits

Losses such as this walnut orchard cut down because of a lack of water offset any profits local growers had last year. Despite a record crop value in Tulare County, the cost of farming also went up tremendously.

By RICK ELKINS, Porterville Recorder, 8/24/15

Despite good prices, farmers struggling

Tulare County’s record farm values reported earlier this month probably raised a lot of eyebrows. Many probably wondered how farmers can complain about the lack of irrigation water yet still produce a record crop.

The answer is not simple.

Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita stresses to point out that the figures she annually reports are gross values and in no way reflect net revenue for farmers. In some commodities, there was little or no profit, while in others farmers did fairly well.

The margin between making a profit and losing money is thin and getting thinner every year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported farm income forecast for this year is down 32 percent nationwide and 8.3 percent in California. That would be the lowest margin of profit since 2009.

“Yes, we have higher prices, but that doesn’t translate into higher profits,” said Porterville farmer Eric Borba, who has dairy, walnuts, corn and plums.

“We spent a record number in repairing and drilling wells,” he pointed out.

Tulare County Farm Bureau Executive Director Tricia Stever Blattler said the report is always misleading when it comes to how financially healthy the farming community might be.

She said the costs for farmers continue to skyrocket while at the same time surface irrigation water is being taken away. This is the second year in a row the federal Bureau of Reclamation did not send water to growers down the Friant-Kern Canal.

“The Delta smelt is affecting people in East Porterville. What’s going on in the Delta is affecting everybody in Porterville,” said Borba.

Stever Blattler noted that everything is more expensive. “Labor costs, fuel and water increased 200 to 500 percent,” she said.

Dairy farmers did well in 2014 because the average price paid for milk was $22 per hundredweight, about $4 better than 2013. However, this year, said Borba, the price is around $14.50. He said break even, on average, is $17.

If those prices hold, then not only will the county’s position as being the No. 1 ag county in the nation go down the tube, some dairy farmers may go down the tube as well.

“Our input prices (cost of doing business) have more than doubled in 10 years,” said Stever Blattler. She and Borba said right now dairymen are surviving on selling cows because the cattle price is way up. Borba said he replaces a third of his herd every year.

Generally, surface water allocated by the Bureau costs a grower about $60 an acre-foot — 326,000 gallons. The cost of pumping groundwater for irrigation doubles or triples that cost, depending on the depth of the well and purchasing water right now runs between $1,000 to $1,600 an acre-foot. Many growers this summer either pay that — if they can find the water — or watch their trees die. Others are finding costs to maintain wells are going up, and the cost of drilling a well is in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the well.

Having a good water supply, said Borba, is the difference between producing a crop or not.

“Most yields are off (this summer) because we’re just not having the amount of water at the right time,” he said.

Citrus growers, who saw good prices and are still seeing good prices, have the added costs associated with the Asian citrus psyllid to deal with. The pest has necessitated more spraying and other restrictions. Should the disease the psyllid carries, huanglongbing, show up here, then some citrus growers won’t survive, officials said.

Everyone agrees the impacts of the drought will be much more evident in the 2015 crop report. In 2014, farmers fallowed 274,000 acres in Tulare County and more than that is being let go this summer. Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida and Kinoshita both said the number of productive acres for citrus is likely to drop next year as farmers have let groves die, or have pulled them out and replaced them with new trees that will not produce a crop for a few more years.

And, if the rain and snow does not return, and the government continues to hold back on water deliveries, then the situation can only get worse.

“My concern is if the Bureau continues to send water to the Delta we’ll continue to be in an artificial drought,” said Borba.

Despite all the obstacles, Stever Blattler praised farmers for the crops they produced in 2014.

“It (record report) is a testament to the resiliency of our industry,” she said. “We just keep persevering.”

Texas Stops Funding Planned Parenthood: Abortions and Birth Rates DECLINE

Good things happened when the State of Texas stopped funding Planned Profithood, ur, Parenthood. Since then the rate of births went down and the number of abortions declined. Oh, when you hear that PP give mammography exams, that is not true—they REFER clients to places that do.

We also have Planned Profithood defrauding the Feds, “Another possibility is that Planned Parenthood was fraudulently billing the state for contraceptives that it did not actually provide. In fact, in 2013 Planned Parenthood agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle a federal civil suit over claims it fraudulently billed Medicaid for women’s health services provided by some of its Texas clinics from 2003 to 2009. Specifically, there were claims that Planned Parenthood billed Medicaid for services that were not provided, including birth-control counseling and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

They did this in California as well. As I remember it they snookered the State into paying them $12 million for services NOT rendered. This is an agency that seems to be as honest as Bernie Madoff or Lois Lerner. Yet, yesterday a legislative committee, controlled by Democrats in Sacramento, refuse to order an audit of this out of control agency.

planned parenthood 2

No funding for Planned Parenthood — no problem

By Ashe Schow, Washington Examiner, 8/25/15

There are a variety of reasons why the abortion rate and the birth rate might have both fallen after Texas cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood. One possibility is that women who obtained contraceptives through the state family planning program simply purchased them on their own. Another possibility is that Planned Parenthood was fraudulently billing the state for contraceptives that it did not actually provide. In fact, in 2013 Planned Parenthood agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle a federal civil suit over claims it fraudulently billed Medicaid for women’s health services provided by some of its Texas clinics from 2003 to 2009. Specifically, there were claims that Planned Parenthood billed Medicaid for services that were not provided, including birth-control counseling and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Finally, people’s conduct might have changed. There is an impressive body of academic research showing that sexual activity is affected by the availability of contraception. A 2003 Guttmacher Institute study showed that contraception use and abortion rates rose simultaneously in several countries. A 1996 Quarterly Journal of Economics Study, which was co-authored by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, found that the advent of the birth control pill led to more sexual activity and more unintended pregnancies. Finally, a University of Michigan study analyzed what happened when the 2005 Federal Deficit Reduction Act led to a sharp increase in the price of birth control pills at college health centers. It found that there were statistically significant decreases in both the frequency of sexual intercourse and the number of sex partners. The unintended pregnancy rate remained about the same.

As many states move to defund Planned Parenthood, countless pundits have made shrill predictions of impending public health crises and skyrocketing rates of unintended pregnancies. But these claims lack merit. If Planned Parenthood loses funding, there are many Federally Qualified Health Centers that can provide health care for low income women.

In fact, a recent analysis by Genevieve Plaster of the Charlotte Lozier Institute finds that there are over 13 times as many Federally Qualified Health Centers as there are Planned Parenthood facilities. Additionally, these FQHCs serve 8 times more individuals than Planned Parenthood. More importantly, the Texas experience provides very solid evidence that cutting off state funding for Planned Parenthood failed to result in either more abortions or more unintended pregnancies.

 

Confused Guv Brown Declares WAR on Oil Industry, Affordable Energy and Jobs

Not surprising but the very confused Guv Brown has declared war on affordable energy, jobs and families of California. If he had his way, a form of SB 350 would pass, trying to kill off the oil industry (he and Obama have killed off the coal industry) and forced the doubling or tripling of energy costs.

The dominoes will fall, first jobs will go since energy is too high, then the industry would be gone, since 50% of all energy in the State must be “alternative energy” and then the families will be gone—no jobs and energy too expensive. The good news is that Texas will take us in—leave California to the very rich, the very poor and the illegal aliens.

“He has not taken a position on the Legislature’s most-talked-about bill, Senate Bill 350 by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. But the bill would codify three climate change efforts the governor laid out in his January inaugural: More renewable energy, more energy efficient vehicles, and a cut in vehicle petroleum use by up to 50 percent. The bill is now the target of an intense lobbying and public relations campaign on both sides.

The governor, while not endorsing the specific language, made it clear he’s working behind the scenes to find a bill that will make it through the Legislature and to his desk.

And Brown seemed energized for the fight. “The oil industry is in deep trouble,” he told reporters.”

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Jerry Brown’s Climate Campaign Meshes Well At Tahoe Summit

By John Myers, KQED, 8/24/15

ZEPHYR COVE, Nevada — Perhaps the stunning blue lake waters were the inspiration for Gov. Jerry Brown to offer a crystal-clear message at Lake Tahoe’s annual environmental summit: Opponents in the political fight over climate change better be ready.

“I have no intention of backing down,” said Brown in regard to the current fight over one new hot-button climate change bill at the state Capitol — though his remarks seemed in line with his general viewpoint on the environmental challenges he sees facing California.

“We’re going to intensify our efforts at bringing lower carbon fuels and lower carbon pollution,” he said. And then, to put a fine point on it: “We’re going to attack this problem of climate change in a very positive way.”

The governor joined Nevada officials, as well as regional members of California’s congressional delegation and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, for Monday’s two-hour event on the Tahoe shoreline that emphasized cooperation and collaboration to preserve the alpine lake’s cobalt-blue waters.

But even for a lake whose clarity has improved since the first summit in 1997, there’s a political murkiness to efforts at protection. For almost a decade , efforts have stalled in Washington, D.C., to renew federal funding for a variety of Tahoe lake and regional environmental projects.

This year, two very different visions of new federal help for the Tahoe region have emerged: one from Feinstein and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to allocate $415 million in funding; and a much leaner version from U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, that would spend about $60 million and focus most of the money on forest fire prevention.

McClintock said his proposal was about as good as it gets when it comes to the budget demands of his fellow Republicans in the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Talk without action is just talk,” McClintock told the crowd at the event.

So what does Brown think of the small-is-all-we-can-get approach?

“Smaller versions come from smaller minds,” the governor told reporters after the event. “And Lake Tahoe, and the environment, are big.”

Brown used his own speech at the lakeside summit to urge efforts that help “de-carbonize” the atmosphere. While he’s been a frequent guest at the annual event, the governor seemed eager for a more expansive fight on environmental issues.

He has not taken a position on the Legislature’s most-talked-about bill, Senate Bill 350 by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. But the bill would codify three climate change efforts the governor laid out in his January inaugural: More renewable energy, more energy efficient vehicles, and a cut in vehicle petroleum use by up to 50 percent. The bill is now the target of an intense lobbying and public relations campaign on both sides.

The governor, while not endorsing the specific language, made it clear he’s working behind the scenes to find a bill that will make it through the Legislature and to his desk.

And Brown seemed energized for the fight. “The oil industry is in deep trouble,” he told reporters.

What about the ad campaign launched by an oil industry-funded group that warns of potential gas rationing, or worse, if SB350 becomes law?

“The petroleum boys are making up things,” said the governor. “I don’t want to use the word that is normally used for things when people don’t tell the truth.”