Secret California Water Agreements: What is Government and Special Interests Hiding?

Why do people distrust and disrespect government? Because in important matters significant decisions are made in private, with no public debate or disclosure. For years the Central Valley Wetlands water has been an issue. It affects the farmers of the area—and the consumers of food nationwide. This involves billions of tax dollars and in the agreement, 100,000 of PRIME farmland is to be “retired”. Who pays for the loss of property taxes on that property—the rest of us!

Government in secret is not government; it is corruption, approved by government. This proves government can not be trusted—but we did it to ourselves—we vote for the office holders that allow this. When will the people revolt against a government that operates in back rooms?

““The idea that the Westlands Water District can secretly negotiate a settlement with the Federal Government that secures Westlands’ water rights, by circumventing state water rights, and that lets Westlands walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars of debt that they owe to U.S. taxpayers is incomprehensible,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta.” 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image13843987

Environmental group opposes secret settlement with Westlands

Central Valley Business Times, 1/12/15

•  Deal still to be formalized

•  Critic calls it “incomprehensible”
An environmental group Monday came out against a secret agreement being hammered out between Westland Water District and the federal government. The San Francisco Chronicle says Westlands will not have to repay $342 million in remaining costs to build the vast Central Valley Project irrigation system if they promise to clean up toxic farm water runoff.

“The idea that the Westlands Water District can secretly negotiate a settlement with the Federal Government that secures Westlands’ water rights, by circumventing state water rights, and that lets Westlands walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars of debt that they owe to U.S. taxpayers is incomprehensible,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta.

Irrigation water runoff from the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, where Westlands is located, is tainted with selenium, boron and other elements that are toxic to wildlife

The newspaper says under the deal, taxpayers would not have to pay for a way to get rid of the polluted water and in return Westlands would be off the hook for paying for the rest of the CVP.

Taxpayers are involved because Congress said the federal government would build a “drain” for the waste water.

“Westlands is not being required to document how they will continue to farm without belching polluted discharge water back into the watershed, or how their farmers will pay for the approximate $2 billion that it will cost to fix their drainage issues,” says Ms. Barrigan-Parrilla. “American taxpayers should not be on the hook to subsidize water profits for 600 rich farming corporations.”

She says the Bureau of Reclamation and the Obama Administration should make public the details of the secret negotiations, and “bring all impacted parties to the table to work on California’s water challenges in a manner that supports the enforcement of existing laws.”

NFL BILLIONAIRE Wants $100 Million From Taxpayers—For His Play Toy Stadium

Once again, the billionaires that own professional sports teams are demanding the taxpayers fund their operations. In this case, the billionaire owner of the St. Louis Rams wants California and Los Angeles taxpayers to reimburse them $100 million or give tax breaks. The claim is that government will benefit from the Rams being in Inglewood. Yes, so will the billionaire owners of the Team.

This potential move is the decision of the billionaires, not the taxpayers. Can we afford the $100 million? Worse, is this just the start of the public financing of another play toy for billionaires? Just say NO—fund your business with your money, not ours.

“The developers promised at the time that the project that wouldn’t suck millions of dollars from taxpayer pockets, but it turns out that claim was a generous spin on the actual truth. While the group is not requesting any taxpayer money up front, they want to recoup $100 million in reimbursements or tax breaks in the stadium’s first five years, according to the AP.

The developers claim that Inglewood stands to benefit a lot from the stadium, saying the city could generate more than $1 billion in taxes over 25 years. But the developers only want to promise the first $25 million a year to the city, after which they’d like to be reimbursed for “eligible costs,” and then any surplus would go back to the city. “Eligible costs” could include infrastructure around the stadium site, such as sidewalks, roads, and utilities, and landscaping.”

Taxpayers can not afford the Rams.

Photo courtesy of kenteegardin, flickr

Photo courtesy of kenteegardin, flickr

The High Public Cost of the Proposed Inglewood NFL Stadium

by Benjamin Gross, LA Curbed, 1/12/15

Last week, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the developers of the huge mixed-use project underway at Inglewood’s Hollywood Park site announced a plan to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue along with the rest of the megaproject. The developers promised at the time that the project that wouldn’t suck millions of dollars from taxpayer pockets, but it turns out that claim was a generous spin on the actual truth. While the group is not requesting any taxpayer money up front, they want to recoup $100 million in reimbursements or tax breaks in the stadium’s first five years, according to the AP.

The developers claim that Inglewood stands to benefit a lot from the stadium, saying the city could generate more than $1 billion in taxes over 25 years. But the developers only want to promise the first $25 million a year to the city, after which they’d like to be reimbursed for “eligible costs,” and then any surplus would go back to the city. “Eligible costs” could include infrastructure around the stadium site, such as sidewalks, roads, and utilities, and landscaping.

The reimbursements would not be limited to infrastructure and other sunk costs, though: “developers can be reimbursed by the city for costs on event days for police, emergency medical crews and shuttle bus services from off-site parking.” Those payments could end being as high as “$8 million annually, or $40 million for a five-year period.” The developer group has good reason to downplay the reimbursement scheme, as Inglewood residents could petition to vote on the proposal, fast-tracking the entire process.

 

Special Interests Promote School Bond—For Themsleves NOT Education

As expected, the special interests are promoting a $9 billion school bond. Not for education purposes, but to “create jobs and stabilize economy”. Of course the bond is a transfer of funds from families and businesses to the special interests involved.

If this was such a great deal—and needed—I would make a proposal. NONE of the special interest donors behind this canard need to make clear, “If the bond passes we will NOT bid on any project involved.” In other words, this is an investment for the firms, not the education of our children. If this was an honest need, they would agree—no bids if we donate.

““Dave Cogdill, a former Modesto lawmaker who leads the California Building Industry Association, another member of the quality schools group, said the bond would ‘be a stabilizing force in our fragile economic recovery.’ He predicted that 13,000 jobs would be created for every $1 billion spent.”

money surplus budget bank

Builders to gather signatures for $9 billion school bond

Allen Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/13/15

A coalition of school builders and construction officials submitted a $9 billion statewide school bond proposal to the state Monday. The move comes just days after the governor proposed only minor fixes to a statewide school construction account that is far in the red.

If supporters successfully gather upwards of 366,000 signatures, the measure will qualify for the November 2016 statewide ballot, said David Walrath, a consultant from the Coalition for Adequate School Housing, a school facilities interest group.

  • “We are looking to expand our coalition. We have every expectation we will qualify,” Walrath said.

The state of California has run out of voter-approved bonds for building new schools, a development that builders worry will lead to an automatic hike in developer fees. When facility coffers run dry, the state is authorized to force developers to pick up the entire cost of building new schools. That change could to raise home prices by up to $10,000 in some areas, according to the California Building Industry Association, a joint partner of the bond effort.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said he wants to get the state out of the school facility funding business. In his 2015-16 budget proposal, the administration proposed higher developer fees — though not to the greatest extent possible — while lowering caps on the amount of debt schools can take on. Brown also wants to prioritize future state construction funding on lower income areas where districts have fewer options to borrow.

According to the California Department of Finance, the current facilities program doesn’t force school district managers to weigh facilities funding with other education costs and priorities. But most school districts can and do pass local school construction measures, Brown has said, and the state has more pressing budget priorities.

“There’s a point where there is finite amount of resources, and considering the debt that the state has taken over last 20 years, we need a new approach,” said H.D Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, when asked about school construction changes in the budget proposal.

Since 1998, voters have approved approximately $35 billion in statewide construction bonds. The last statewide bond was approved in 2006.

San Diego Sheriff’s Dept. Is Trying to Arrest People Before They Commit Major Crimes

In New York, cops are not arresting as many people as possible—fear of law suits, Al Sharpton, Eric Holder and looters looking for an excuse to riot and steal. This is going on all over the nation. But, in San Diego the police are LOOKING for criminals before they commit significant crimes.

“Its four-month “Operation Lemon Drop” was really about targeting a handful of the county’s 1,175 ex-inmates released early from prison — “the worst of the worst,” as Commander Dave Myers calls them.

The department combs available information to determine which ex-inmates are “prolific offenders” and sets up dragnets in public places they might pass through, like the Lemon Grove trolley station.”

What a concept, stopping crime before it begins. Of course AB 109 and Prop. 47 make it harder to keep the criminals in jail—but at least the San Diego Sheriffs’ office is trying, not giving up.

Brazilian_Federal_Highway_Police

San Diego Sheriff’s Dept. Is Trying to Arrest People Before They Commit Major Crimes

By Andrew Keatts. Public CEO, 1/13/15

Three dozen sheriff’s officers and Metropolitan Transit System security officers board the trolley as it pulls into Lemon Grove station. They go car to car, person to person, checking that everyone paid a fare.

If you don’t have one, you’re asked to step off the train for more questioning. In the next few hours, they’ll write a bunch of citations, but the Sheriff’s Department isn’t actually concerned with $2.50 fares.

Its four-month “Operation Lemon Drop” was really about targeting a handful of the county’s 1,175 ex-inmates released early from prison — “the worst of the worst,” as Commander Dave Myers calls them.

The department combs available information to determine which ex-inmates are “prolific offenders” and sets up dragnets in public places they might pass through, like the Lemon Grove trolley station.

It’s an example of intelligence-led policing — analyzing data to direct police resources — but it’s also a major part of the county’s response to realignment, the 2011 law that shifted the burden of incarcerating low-level felons from the state to counties.

The idea is to identify people likely to commit serious crimes, and create an opportunity to arrest them for something else before that happens.

“Let’s say I’m a gangster who likes to steal cars and I’ve done armed robberies before, but on this day I’m just in possession of meth,” Myers said. “I’m going to use that against them. I’m going to arrest them, go after them and use their vulnerability because I know they’re a drug user or something, and I’ve probably prevented another robbery, another stolen car or something like that. That’s kind of the basic formula.”

But the effort to track and target people who’ve been released from jail raises concerns in concept and in practice. There’s the creepy “Minority Report”-esque “pre-crime” element. Plus, Operation Lemon Drop’s final numbers show that only 1 percent of people contacted by law enforcement were ultimately arrested, including some for misdemeanors.

And while the Sheriff’s Department says it’s using data to identify likely offenders, what if the guy with a joint in his pocket is just a guy with a joint in his pocket, not a future violent criminal at all?

Realignment created a specific group of ex-inmates released without “a tail,” meaning parole or probation – arrangements that allow law enforcement to screen released inmates for drugs, search their homes and otherwise monitor their behavior.

So the department uses government databases to reverse-engineer a tail. That’s the basis for Operation Lemon Drop. Checking for fares and other nuisance infractions on the trolley is just a reason for officers to establish contact for further questioning.

“Seventy percent of crimes are committed by repeat criminals,” Myers said. “That’s the state’s own statistic. So that’s who we’re targeting. We’re actually looking to prevent crimes. I mean, in theory, if this all works — and I think it does — we’re actually preventing crimes from happening.”

Steven Zeidman, director of the criminal defense clinic at the CUNY School of Law, wonders whether targeting inmates released under realignment cuts against the spirit of the law in the first place.

“You have an officer who says let’s go after the ‘worst of worst,’” he said. “Well if that’s what they are, why are they out? Someone has made a determination that they should be released without stipulation.”

Information-led policing is common nationwide, with many touting it as an effective way to reduce crime, but San Diego’s use of data to track inmates released under realignment is one of a kind, said Myers and Robert Weisberg, co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, which tracks local responses to realignment.

By using fare violations to generate probable cause, the operation also borrows from the so-called broken windows theory, made famous in early ‘90s New York City. Cracking down on minor crimes, the theory goes, prevents more serious crimes from happening. Its application spawned New York’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy, which was eventually killed off.

“This is a modernization of early ’90s policing,” Weisberg said. “You’ve got (information-led policing) mixed with broken windows, and it’s also a creative and enabling way of putting people under supervision even if realignment made them bereft of supervision.”

Myers says efforts like Operation Lemon Drop are part of why the county’s crime rate is declining.

But the sort of massive show of force that results from 30-plus officers taking over a public place isn’t always a great way to build trust between law enforcement and communities in which they operate.

Not to mention, Operation Lemon Drop’s final stats raise questions about its overall efficacy.

During its five days, from July through October, the department contacted 16,631 residents during the operation. Usually a “contact” meant asking for proof of fare.

From that, officers pulled aside 624 people for further questioning and issued 451 citations. But it turned up just 186 misdemeanor or felony arrests, or a total of 1.1 percent of the people contacted by an officer throughout the operation.

The bottom line: Thousands of citizens were stopped by law enforcement in order to arrest fewer than 200 people, including some for simple misdemeanor offenses.

“If there are 180 cases or arrests out of 16,000 people contacted, at what point do we talk about efficacy, that you can point to some 10 or 20 specific arrests and say this justifies all that you’ve done?” said Zeidman, who worked as a public defender in New York during the dawn of the city’s broken windows efforts.

“It raises all kinds of red flags,” he said. “You give departments all the credit in the world when they marshal their resources and innovate. But we need to step back and say, ‘This will have a disproportionate impact in some communities.”

In other words, when does smart policing become a police state?

Born Out of Realignment

Prison populations exploded all over the country through the 1990s, but things were even worse in California, where a third felony sent a criminal to prison for life.

In 2011, a federal judge ruled prison overcrowding violated inmates’ civil rights. The state Legislature passed a law that kept serious offenders in state prisons but transferred the responsibility to incarcerate, supervise and rehabilitate low-level offenders to the counties.

The move was intended to put the cost of incarceration on the same people making decisions about whom to arrest and how to charge them, Weisberg said.

“The people who really control who goes to prison are police and prosecutors,” Weisberg said. “Turns out, it’s mostly a result of prosecutorial discretion, rather than crime rates.”

Together, San Diego’s law enforcement agencies created the regional realignment intelligence unit, a group that does data analysis on ex-inmates and provides the results to each agency.

Law enforcement refers to the group of ex-inmates tracked in Operation Lemon Drop as “1170s,” based on the section of the realignment law. They’re non-violent, non-sexual, non-serious offenders who would have still been in prison if not for realignment and have no formal government supervision.

“How do we in law enforcement ensure that 1170s that don’t have a tail are doing or being what or where they’re supposed to be?” Myers said. “How do we ensure those people that are in our neighborhoods, that we all have a stake in, ensuring that they’re successful, and how do we share information if they’re not being successful, because that leads to quality-of-life issues that affect communities, which is: crime.”

How It Works

The data analysts comb for clues in available information — gang affiliation, prior arrest records, DMV files, any information from traffic stops or other police interactions that didn’t lead to an arrest, prior probation records, anything at their disposal.

In the case of Lemon Drop, that meant checking against factors like “suspected gang association,” whether they’ve ever had a police interaction in a specific area or prior arrests for burglary or robbery.

If an ex-inmate checks enough of those boxes, he or she is categorized as a “prolific offender.”

LAPD: Homicide, rape and aggravated assaults increased in 2014–Expected

Thanks to Arnold, Jerry, AB 109 and Prop. 47, criminals understand the chances of real penalties are minimal. Thanks to the ACLU, criminals know that if arrested the cop could be the one in trouble. So, is it a surprise that crime is going up in Los Angeles? The LAPD is NOT a law enforcement agency, it is a political operation—note the Chief of Police, Beck, has informed his officers that they are NOT allowed to arrest illegal aliens—violators of the law—for violating our immigration laws.

Is it the role of police to determine which laws to enforce and which to ignore—what if Beck decides to stop enforcing traffic violators—why not? In New York that is what they are doing? Beck either needs to be a Police Chief, or be indicted for corruption.

“There were 260 murders last year, compared to 251 in 2013. Rapes increased more significantly – from 764 in 2013 to 924 in 2014.

Chief Charlie Beck said despite those jumps in crime, Los Angeles is safer on a per capita basis than at any time in the past 65 years. Overall crime dropped 1.6 percent last year due to a dip in property crimes. Those went down 4.6 percent.”

PoliceRiot

LAPD: Homicide, rape and aggravated assaults increased in 2014

by Alice Walton, KPCC, 1/13/15

Violent crime, including murder and rape, was up last year in Los Angeles, the LAPD said Monday.

After more than a decade of plummeting violent crime rates, Los Angeles had more murders and rapes in 2014 than it did the previous year, and violent crime overall increased 14 percent – due in large part to a jump in aggravated assaults, according to LAPD crime statistics released Monday.

There were 260 murders last year, compared to 251 in 2013. Rapes increased more significantly – from 764 in 2013 to 924 in 2014.

Chief Charlie Beck said despite those jumps in crime, Los Angeles is safer on a per capita basis than at any time in the past 65 years. Overall crime dropped 1.6 percent last year due to a dip in property crimes. Those went down 4.6 percent.

“We are safer than we have been since 1949 when this city had no freeways and a population that barely exceeded 2 million,” Beck said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti attributed that jump to the reclassification of aggravated assaults last year – many had been misclassified as simple assaults, a lower level crime. As a result, those crimes were up 28 percent last year. That’s because of how the LAPD reclassified some crimes.

Another part of the increase: alcohol-related brawls and domestic violence reports.

To address the rise in domestic violence cases, the mayor announced an expansion of the city’s Domestic Abuse Response Teams, which are made up of volunteers who can connect victims with services. Those teams will be in 21 LAPD divisions by the end of the year.

“The survivor of domestic violence may often feel isolated, alone, go back to that home because they feel that there is no person reaching out a hand to help them get that job that they might not have, find the shelter that they need, take care of their children and the schooling,” Garcetti said, noting the important role DART teams can play in ending the cycle of violence.

 

National Education Association Opposes Businesses and Quality Education

The president of the National Education Association is upset that businesses want quality education. One way to see the quality of the education is a single, standardized test—rather than anecdotal information from teachers. What is the reason the union does not want a standardized test? Because then the information would be used as part of the evaluation of the teachers. Unions want NO evaluation of teachers, just a pro forma statement everything is OK, based on nothing. This is why government education is a failure—bad teachers have no reason to get better—and the children suffer.

“García went on to explain,

The business community relies on evidence and reliable data. Bad data should be avoided at all costs because it can destroy a business. But communities across the country have been force-fed privatization plans and ‘test and punish’ regimes that have not produced the desired results and have decimated many schools. … ideologues are committed to doubling down on bad ideas, regardless of the evidence.

What García means by “bad data” in conjunction with “test and punish” is a reference to the fact that some reformers actually want to use student performance on standardized tests as a part of a teacher’s evaluation. But what really catches the eye in the quote is “force-fed privatization plans.”

chicago teacher strike

Teacher Union Monopolist’s Monkey Business

ByLarry Sand, Union Watch, 1/13/15

NEA president praises Finland, Singapore and Canada, conveniently omitting facts about school choice and competition.

The “global education reform movement has failed” … or at least that’s what National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García told a group of businessmen in Detroit last month. Spouting the usual edubabble, the union president told the Detroit Economic Club that the system should serve the “whole child” and that education should be “humanized.”

García went on to explain,

The business community relies on evidence and reliable data. Bad data should be avoided at all costs because it can destroy a business. But communities across the country have been force-fed privatization plans and ‘test and punish’ regimes that have not produced the desired results and have decimated many schools. … ideologues are committed to doubling down on bad ideas, regardless of the evidence.

What García means by “bad data” in conjunction with “test and punish” is a reference to the fact that some reformers actually want to use student performance on standardized tests as a part of a teacher’s evaluation. But what really catches the eye in the quote is “force-fed privatization plans.”

Huh? Just where is this “force-feeding” going on and who are the force-feeders? García didn’t elaborate, of course, because it’s a lie. A lie of whopper magnitude. Surely Ms. García knows that just about every (non-push) poll taken recently shows that the public strongly favors vouchers and other types of school choice. (I wonder if she gave any thought to spilling her anti-privatization/competition bilge to a group of businessmen who are undoubtedly well-aware of public education’s failures.)

Parents, especially those in need, embrace vouchers because with them, their kids are given an opportunity to get out of a failing public school and attend a superior private school without having to foot the entire bill. In fact, according to a 17-year study in New York City, “Minority students who received a school voucher to attend private elementary schools in 1997 were, as of 2013, 10 percent more likely to enroll in college and 35 percent more likely than their peers in public school to obtain a bachelor’s degree.” (Emphasis added.) Sadly 20,000 applications for vouchers were received, but the program could only accommodate 1,300. I wonder how many of the 20,000 families felt as if they had been “force-fed.”

García also engaged in other dubious affirmations. She extolled the virtues of Finland, Canada and Singapore, informing us that the evidence and data tell us that their school systems are superior. But she picks and chooses her spots, and anywhere competition and choice of any sort are in play, she is MIA.

While cooing that Finland “threw practically every standardized test away to focus on time to teach, classroom assessments, and professional collaboration,” she failed to acknowledge that Finland has a highly competitive system for students who want to become educators. In fact, those who become teachers are selected from the top 10 percent of college graduates, unlike in the United States, where, sadly, education majors are at the bottom of the academic barrel after four years of college. (She also didn’t mention that kids in Finland don’t start school until age 7, starting teachers make 20 percentless than ours and the country spends 30 percent less on education than we do.)

She touts Singapore, telling the businessmen that teachers there “analyze data to develop personalized instruction, tutoring, class projects.” She stresses that Singaporeans never set “arbitrary targets for prizes and punishments.” But she didn’t tell the businessmen that parents must pay fees even if their child goes to a public school and that the island nation has vigorous private school options. (She also neglected to acknowledge that the average class size in Singapore is about 40, almost twice that of the U.S.)

The union leader points out that in Canada, officials see to it that teachers are given the necessary training and support to reach every student. But she omits the inconvenient truth that Canada has publicly funded school choice throughout much the country. The province of Alberta has the most interesting set-up, whereby property taxpayers have a choice which type of school system to earmark their education tax dollars – public or private (including religious schools).

García’s omissions are necessary, of course. Had she told the whole truth, she would have had to admit that competition, whether between teachers or schools – or businesses – makes us all better. As a monopolist, of course, that would be the last thing she would ever do.

A dialogue between businessmen and teacher union leaders is a good idea, but it should be the businessmen doing the talking. A union boss’ tired, biased and noxious agenda is not worth listening to.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

California’s Rebound Mostly Slow, Unsteady

Thanks to tens of thousands of people leaving the job force, the unemployment rate in California is down. Thanks to more than 70% of new jobs being part time/low pay/few benefits, the unemployment rate in California is down.

Add to that the doubling of the cost of eggs and beef; the high cost of water and energy (except for gas), the high cost and rising of housing, California is still in a Depression. The Governor claims he is going to put money into a “reserve fund” while forgetting the $340 billion in debt, the over one trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, the just announced secret agreement to take 100,000 prime farm land out of production, ObamaCare and illegal aliens taking $21 billion from the California taxpayers each year, you understand why the California economy is on a stack of cards, in a wind storm.

“Things certainly are better than they were, a few years back but still are far from ideal. Right now, California employment is about 1.1 percent above 2007 levels, slightly below the 1.4 percent growth for the country. In contrast, Texas’ economy has created jobs at roughly 10 times that rate. With a population much smaller than California’s, the Lone Star State added more than 1.2 million jobs, compared with 162,000 for California. No great surprise, then, that California has become, by far, the largest exporter of domestic migrants – more than twice that of any other state – to Texas.”

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California’s Rebound Mostly Slow, Unsteady

by Joel Kotkin, New Geography, 01/13/2015

California, after nearly five years in recession, has made something of a comeback in recent years. Job growth in the state – largely due to the Silicon Valley boom – has even begun to outpace the national average. The state, finally, appears to have finally recovered the jobs lost since 2007.

To some, this makes California what someone called “a beacon of hope for progressives.” Its “comeback” has been dutifully noted and applauded by economist Paul Krugman, high priest of what passes for the American Left.

In reality, however, California’s path back remains slow and treacherous. California Lutheran University economist Bill Watkins, like other economists, is somewhat bullish on the state’s short-run situation, but suggests that the highly unequal recovery, particularly for the middle class, could prove problematic over time.

“It’s very narrow and not broad-based,” he observes. “That is very troubling.”

Things certainly are better than they were, a few years back but still are far from ideal. Right now, California employment is about 1.1 percent above 2007 levels, slightly below the 1.4 percent growth for the country. In contrast, Texas’ economy has created jobs at roughly 10 times that rate. With a population much smaller than California’s, the Lone Star State added more than 1.2 million jobs, compared with 162,000 for California. No great surprise, then, that California has become, by far, the largest exporter of domestic migrants – more than twice that of any other state – to Texas.

Our unemployment rate, while falling, at 7.3 percent in October was still the nation’s fifth-highest. Even as California has improved, Texas continues to grow as fast, or faster, than the Golden State. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas ranked third in growth over the past year, while California achieved a respectable ninth. It’s possible, though, that with falling oil prices, California might edge out Texas in growth for 2014, but the performance gap – due to the narrowness of the recovery – is likely to remain huge for the foreseeable future.

Regional Disparities

Most of the gains in high-wage jobs in California since 2007 have been in professional and business services – up almost 200,000 – a sector that clusters along the coast. Most strong job gains have been concentrated in the Bay Area, primarily along the 50-mile strip from San Francisco to San Jose. At the same time, conditions have remained sluggish both in less tech-oriented Los Angeles and the Inland economies.

The Sacramento region, for example, remains down 32,000 jobs from 2007 levels; most other Central Valley communities, with the exception of oil-fired Bakersfield, remain stuck at or below their 2007 levels. The Inland Empire may be improving, but remains down 30,000 jobs. Other blue-collar economies, such as Oakland, just across the Bay from booming San Francisco, remains 9,000 jobs below its 2007 level. Los Angeles County, historically the linchpin of the state economy, is down 44,000 jobs.

Improving the economy in these areas may be very difficult as California’s regulatory environment makes it hard for many firms to expand as easily as they can in Nevada, Arizona, Utah or Texas. Under current circumstances, even when Silicon Valley firms expand their middle-management workforce, they are likely to do it in other more business-friendly states – or abroad – than move further east toward the Central Valley.

Blue Collar Bust

One of the great success stories in America the past few years has been the growth of the blue-collar economy. Credit goes to, first and foremost, the energy boom that accelerated growth not only in states like Texas, North Dakota and Oklahoma, but also in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where fracking has expanded. This energy boom has also spilled over into the industrial sector, creating new demand for such things as pipes and sparking a recovery in the auto industry, both in the traditional Rust Belt and the newly industrialized zones of the Southeast.

California, sadly, has remained largely on the sidelines during this great boom, which is one reason why its population suffers the highest poverty rate in the country. Since 2007, for example, Texas has added some 54,000 jobs in the natural-resource extraction sector. California, with some of the nation’s largest oil reserves, has added 15,000. Critically, this sector provides high-wage jobs not only to geologists and managers, but also to an assortment of blue-collar workers, who earn wages, according to Economic Modeling International, of roughly $100,000 annually.

A similar pattern can be seen in manufacturing. As the economy has recovered, U.S. industrial expansion has increased, with employment up 2 percent in the past year. Manufacturing in California, meanwhile, has grown at half that rate. Over the past seven years, the Golden State has lost some 200,000 manufacturing jobs, and, with the state’s high energy costs, it’s difficult to see how this pattern will reverse in the foreseeable future.

Wholesale trade and warehousing represents another key blue-collar industry but California has had virtually no growth here since 2007, while Texas has gained well over 100,000 positions. Future growth for the state in this area may be slowed as trade moves away from the chronic congestion, environmental and labor conflicts surrounding California ports, particularly the key Los Angeles-Long Beach complex. Instead, traffic is headed to more business-friendly facilities along the Gulf Coast and Southeast, as well as to the west coasts of Canada and Mexico.

Similarly, construction, a critical blue-collar sector, and the one that employs more Latinos than any other, has been slow to grow in California, where construction employment remains 190,000 jobs below 2007 levels. Even in the past year, with rising home prices, California construction growth has lagged well behind that of Texas. Looking forward, with ever stricter restraints on single-family housing, the prospects for growth are limited.

Silicon Valley a savior?

Today, most of the hope about California centers on Silicon Valley. “Silicon Valley,” notes economist Watkins, “is the last goose laying golden eggs in California.” It’s hard not to be impressed with the massive wealth accumulation around Silicon Valley and its urban annex, San Francisco. This growth has boosted the state’s improved short-term financial position. But it’s highly improbable that the Valley’s information sector – even at today’s often-absurd valuations – can create enough jobs to sustain the rest of the state. Since 2007, notes economist Dan Hamilton, the state has gained less than 11,000 information jobs, hardly sufficient to make up for the massive losses from the recession.

So, in what sectors are the job gains concentrated? Generally, not necessarily the sectors that create middle-class jobs. The biggest winners, outside of business services, have been generally lower-wage sectors such as education and health care, up 24 percent since 2007 – a remarkable 464,000 jobs – as well as leisure and hospitality, which has grown 10 percent, or almost 158,000 positions.

The class implications of this unbalanced growth are profound. Even in Silicon Valley, Latinos and African Americans have seen wages fall, and the area has been home to the nation’s largest homeless encampment. Meanwhile, many solid middle-class employers – Boeing, Chevron, Charles Schwab and Toyota – continue to shift jobs out of state; Occidental Petroleum, a longtime boon to the Southern California economy, pulled up stakes and moved to Houston.

So, rather than break out the organic champagne to toast California’s comeback, as the Jerry Brown administration would have us do, we would do better to address the ever-growing economic divide in the state. And, to be sure, with little prospects for renewed middle-class and blue-collar job growth, California should not be held up as a model for other states, particularly those that lack both California’s innovation economy and its remarkable natural advantages.

In fact, neither is this situation ideal for most Californians – particularly if you are concerned about the state’s middle class and the consequences of an expanding, often undereducated population with little prospect of ascending the economic ladder.

This piece first appeared at the Orange County Register.

Joel Kotkin is executive editor of NewGeography.com and Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University, and a member of the editorial board of the Orange County Register. His newest book, The New Class Conflict is now available at Amazon and Telos Press. He is author of The City: A Global History and The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. His most recent study, The Rise of Postfamilialism, has been widely discussed and distributed internationally. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

 

UC Riverside: Offers course credit for registering pro-union voters

Let’s be honest—the University of California system is now officially corrupt. The new head of the system is the former Democrat Governor of Arizona, the former Secretary of Homeland Security under Barack Obama. The first thing Janet Napolitano did as Secretary was to violate the law and stop the building of the fence between the United States and Mexico. Then, she took the border guards and moved them fifty miles from the borders, so illegal aliens would not have to defend themselves from arrest. For her whole adult life, she has been a Democrat operative. Now as head of the UC system, she works hard for the Democrat Party and those that extort money from workers—the unions.

““In addition to phone banking, volunteers might get involved in mobilizing and registering voters for the fall election in support of pro-union candidates, and in support of ballot propositions regarding the state budget,” the description for the United Domestic Workers internship states.

Students may receive one to four course credits for the internship, depending on the amount of hours dedicated per week.

Giving course creator for the purpose of electing Democrats to office, owned by unions. Why hasn’t the UC system been listed on FPPC reports as giving tax dollars to the Democrat Party?

Janet Napolitano Homeland Security Secretary

Public university offers course credit for registering pro-union voters

Kaitlyn Schallhorn and Maggie Lit , Campus Reform Reporter, 1/7/15

The University of California, Riverside offers college credit to students who participate in labor activism internships.

During some internships, students register voters who support pro-union candidates.

The University of California, Riverside is offering students course credit to register voters in support of pro-union candidates through labor activism internships.

In a campus-wide email, Ellen Reese, the chair of UC-Riverside’s Labor Studies Program and sociology professor, calls for “upper division students who are in good standing” to apply for local union and workers centers.

According to the email obtained by Campus Reform, the internships serve “[t]o enrich students’ understanding of the issues facing working class people and the labor movement, the program offers internships with local labor and community organizations.”

“In addition to phone banking, volunteers might get involved in mobilizing and registering voters for the fall election in support of pro-union candidates, and in support of ballot propositions regarding the state budget,” the description for the United Domestic Workers internship states.

Students may receive one to four course credits for the internship, depending on the amount of hours dedicated per week.

A UC-Riverside graduate student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Campus Reform that students received “these campus emails about left-wing political activity for college credit.”

According to Kris Lovekin, director of media relations for UC-Riverside, the internship opportunities were on the emailed list by request. Lovekin told Campus Reform that the school is “open to suggestions” for any other community organizations, including conservative options.

“Internships allow students are able [sic] to work alongside professionals who are in the field that the students themselves find interesting,” Lovekin said in an email to Campus Reform. “They learn the realities on the ground, what kind of hours people work, what amount of conflict is typical in a day, what pay levels are typical.”

The email was sent from the address of Ryan Mariano, administrative and event assistant for the multidisciplinary financial and administrative unit at UC-Riverside—a public university. It touts the internships as serving the working class of “low to moderate income” and those who are “in support of ballot propositions regarding the state budget.”

The email encourages students to speak to Reese, who confirmed to Campus Reform that the email was sent to all students, during her office hours for information on internship opportunities.

According to the university’s website, labor studies is an interdisciplinary minor “that focuses on the conditions, activities, and struggles of workers and other members of the working class from an international, contemporary, comparative and historical perspective.”

The minor is designed to prepare UC-Riverside students for careers in community organizing, labor law, or regulatory agencies.

Suggested organizations include: the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, which employs temporary workers and Latino immigrants; United Food and Commercial Workers, which organizes grocery workers subjected to “highly exploitative conditions;” and United Domestic workers, where students will have the opportunity to “mobilize and register voters in support of pro-union candidates.”

Other advocacy organizations and non-profits, such as Habitat for Humanity, are also included as internship options for students.

Fluency in the Spanish language is among the suggested skill sets for some of the internships.

Other UC-System schools also offer labor activism programs and internships such as UC-Berkeley and UCLA.

 

The Glorifying Of Hollywood’s Communists Doesn’t Stop

If you honestly make money and create jobs, Hollywood will make movies painted you as a creep, a goon and the sleaziest of all people. If you use government to create bigoted policies, harm the education of our children and work to import criminals from foreign nations, the media will make you a hero and humanitarian.

Now Hollywood is making a movie about an honest to gosh, proud, Communist, Dalton Trumbo—who used the movies to denounce our freedoms and promote the Soviet Union—and he is made to be a hero, while those that defend free speech, freedom of religion an free enterprise are painted as criminals. Shame on Hollywood—guess I will watch re-runs of Seinfeld instead. I rather be bored than lied to by Hollywood, again.

“Entertainment Weekly magazine spewed the usual leftist apologist narrative: “Trumbo — who had been a member of the Communist Party during World War II when the Soviets were a major American ally — was punished for his principled stand for free speech and the Constitution.”

These deluded people never stop shamelessly declaring that communists were the true libertarians and constitutionalists, no matter how ludicrous it sounds. That 100 million people died at the hands of the communists doesn’t register.”

M_Id_408632_Vladimir_Putin

The Glorifying Of Hollywood’s Communists Doesn’t Stop

By L. BRENT BOZELL AND TIM GRAHAM, Investors.com, 1/10/15

Ask anyone under 40 to identify Paul McCartney or “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and the odds are you’ll get a blank look in return. Ask someone under 30 to describe the Soviet menace, and you may well get the same response.

The first one is harmless ignorance, and some might argue the second one is as well. After all, it’s over and we won, right?

What’s not harmless is a never-ending effort to glorify communist conspirators in Hollywood, like the forthcoming movie “Trumbo,” starring “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Entertainment Weekly magazine spewed the usual leftist apologist narrative: “Trumbo — who had been a member of the Communist Party during World War II when the Soviets were a major American ally — was punished for his principled stand for free speech and the Constitution.”

These deluded people never stop shamelessly declaring that communists were the true libertarians and constitutionalists, no matter how ludicrous it sounds. That 100 million people died at the hands of the communists doesn’t register.

Luckily, there’s a new antidote to this film’s message, a book called “Hollywood Traitors” by longtime Human Events editor Allan Ryskind. His father, screenwriter Morrie Ryskind, was ruined professionally by the post-blacklist backlash against industry conservatives.

Trumbo, like many Stalin-era Communist Party members, was an agent of Stalin’s dictatorship, and for several years he was a mouthpiece for Hitler during the Hitler-Stalin pact.

Trumbo has been glorified as a member of the “Hollywood Ten” who refused to tell the truth to the House Un-American Activities Committee about their Communist Party membership. But here’s what Trumbo admitted later (and you can bet it won’t be in the movie):

He told author Bruce Cook in the 1970s that he joined the party in 1943, that some of his “very best friends” were communists and that “I might as well have been a communist 10 years earlier.” He also says about joining the party: “I’ve never regretted it. As a matter of fact, it’s possible to say I would have regretted not having done it.”

Bruce Cook is a screenwriter on this new movie. Now how can Cook regurgitate the lame old concept of a Washington “witch hunt” when he’s published Trumbo’s own words triumphantly proclaiming he was very happily a communist?

Ryskind reports that Trumbo not only supported Stalin (and Hitler when he was a Stalin ally) but also supported North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung after the Korean War. In an unpublished film script, Trumbo had the heroine proclaim that North Korea’s invasion of the South was perfectly justifiable, for this is “Korea’s fight for independence, just as we had to fight for our own independence in 1776.”

Ryskind adds that Trumbo even wrote a poem called “Korean Christmas” which made Christian Americans the killers of Korean children:

“Hear then, little corpse … it had to be

Poor consolation, yet it had to be

The Christian ethic was at stake

And western culture and the American Way

And so, in the midst of pure and holy strife

We had to take your little eastern life.”

Does this sound like a man who was punished for his love of our constitutional rights? It sounds like a man who exploited our freedom and mocked the “American way” as murdering little children for Jesus and “Western culture.” But some Hollywood die-hards dearly love that communist lie and never stop lying.

• Bozell is president of the Media Research Center.

• Graham is director of media analysis at the center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.

SF sees significant increase in revenue from developer impact fees

San Fran is going from a town that accepts all people, has a place for all people, loves all people, to a place that is intolerant, for the very wealthy and trying hard (and succeeding) in squeezing out the middle class and some of the poor. We see that by the flood of money in the city coffers from the developer impact fees for gentrification projects, demolishing of old building and putting up very expensive new apartments that rent for an average of $3100 for a one bedroom apartment. A new building is being erected, rents are $6500 for an 1100 square foot place.

“The new report, which illustrates varying development-impact fees and the revenue generated for city coffers, found that the revenue has more than doubled in the previous two fiscal years. In fiscal year 2013-14 developers paid $96.1 million in combined impact fees, compared with $46 million in the previous fiscal year. In fiscal year 2011-12 impact fees netted just $12.3 million.

The City has required developers to pay impact fees per project as a way to address the impacts of development on infrastructure like roadways, parks and transit, as well as neighborhoods facing challenges of rising rents and evictions.”

taxes

SF sees significant increase in revenue from developer impact fees 

By Joshua Sabatini, SF Examiner,1/10/15

As San Francisco real estate prices have soared like high-rises sprouting across the cityscape, so has the revenue from fees associated with the booming development, a city controller’s report shows.

The new report, which illustrates varying development-impact fees and the revenue generated for city coffers, found that the revenue has more than doubled in the previous two fiscal years. In fiscal year 2013-14 developers paid $96.1 million in combined impact fees, compared with $46 million in the previous fiscal year. In fiscal year 2011-12 impact fees netted just $12.3 million.

The City has required developers to pay impact fees per project as a way to address the impacts of development on infrastructure like roadways, parks and transit, as well as neighborhoods facing challenges of rising rents and evictions.

The report comes as The City is undergoing significant population growth, coupled with a rise in rents and home costs, displacement and neighborhood change. As city officials look to address these pressures, impact fees may get another look.

The City has instituted nine impact fees to pay for citywide needs such as the construction of below-market-rate housing, Muni, child care, street trees, bicycle parking, and water and wastewater infrastructure. And there are seven neighborhoods requiring various development fees of their own, including projects in Rincon Hill, Market-Octavia and the eastern neighborhoods.

An innovative South of Market stabilization fund was created in 2005 to protect the community from the impacts of Rincon Hill development. Controversial at the time, the fund allowed developers to exceed existing height limits — which resulted in two Rincon Hill towers in excess of 500 feet — in exchange for paying a fee. That fee has increased to $13.29 per gross square foot today. Recently $400,000 from the fund was allocated to help the nonprofit anti-violence group United Playaz purchase a building.

Additionally, Muni has received revenue from the Transit Impact Development Fee — established in 1981 and initially imposed on nonresidential development in the downtown area — which expanded citywide in 2004. Muni has received $143.4 million from the fee, which is currently at $12.06 per gross square foot, including last fiscal year’s $12.6 million. Fee revenues for Muni were $7.9 million in 2001.

Another example of a fee fight came in 2012, when Supervisor Scott Wiener unsuccessfully proposed eliminating the transit impact fee exemption for nonprofit development, which includes construction of universities and hospitals. It was estimated that Muni would have received an additional $6 million annually.

There are two impact fees on development for the creation of below-market housing: a job housing-linkage fee for the construction of commercial space like hotels and entertainment, and the inclusionary-housing fee for residential developments that choose not to build onsite or offsite below-market-rate units. Revenues from both go to the Mayor’s Office of Housing, which uses the money to help finance below-market-rate housing projects and fund housing-related programs.

Last fiscal year, the inclusionary housing fee, part of the affordable-housing requirements adopted in 2005, generated $29.9 million. The fee is based on 20 percent of the total units and unit type, such as $191,349 for a studio or $407,890 for a four-bedroom. The fee’s previous high was in fiscal year 2007-08 when $50.6 million was generated, followed by two years of no revenues during the economic downturn.