Disabled Need to Sue California to Save Lives From Cal MediConnect

The State of California has decided to violate the Supreme Court decision Hobby Lobby and mandate the killing of babies’ health care programs. Democrats have decided that it is OK for those that violate our immigration laws to take the university seats of honest American students. Our confused Guv Brown has decided that water to fish is more important than water for people.

Now you can add government harassment, and physical harm to disabled California citizens. Giving them NO choice, the disabled are forced into a time consuming, frustrating process and paper heavy procedure instead of providing health care.

State of California gives a 68 year old quadriplegic patient a doctor—a pediatrician at a Children’s Hospital. That is sick

“When Rockwell showed up for a health visit in July, he was told he couldn’t see the neurologist without authorization from a new primary-care physician that he had unknowingly been assigned. Further emphasizing the error was the fact that his new primary-care doctor was a pediatrician at a children’s hospital.

Critics of Cal MediConnect, including some health care providers and patients, are concerned that errors such as these may be impacting thousands of elderly and disabled California residents. They fear that the state has rushed the implementation of the new program in the hopes of saving money.” Saves money by killing off the disabled.

734px-Paloaltoveteransaffairshospital

Despite Errors, State Continues Enrolling Adults With Disabilities and the Elderly in New Health Program

Angela Woodall, HealthyCal, 8/22/14

Ben Rockwell is a 68-year-old retired nurse with Parkinson’s disease and a long list of other health problems. He has to juggle two government health plans to make sure he gets the care he needs, but over the past two decades, he’s gotten good at it.

That’s why when he became eligible to join a new state health program, called Cal MediConnect, he decided he would pass. Because he knew how complicated coordinating his health care was, he didn’t want to hand off the process to a managed-care plan.

But despite California regulations stating that he had the right to keep his existing coverage — and his best efforts to do just that — it was changed anyway.

When Rockwell showed up for a health visit in July, he was told he couldn’t see the neurologist without authorization from a new primary-care physician that he had unknowingly been assigned. Further emphasizing the error was the fact that his new primary-care doctor was a pediatrician at a children’s hospital.

Critics of Cal MediConnect, including some health care providers and patients, are concerned that errors such as these may be impacting thousands of elderly and disabled California residents. They fear that the state has rushed the implementation of the new program in the hopes of saving money.

Implementation mistakes may put people like Rockwell at risk of losing access to supports and services they have spent decades carefully constructing.

“If this can happen to me it’s definitely going to happen to someone of lesser capabilities,” said Rockwell, who lives in Long Beach.

The Department of Health Care Services, meanwhile, says that patients have been adequately notified of the new program and that it’s designed to help them by streamlining their care.

Mistakes could hurt most vulnerable

Two patients, a doctor, the Los Angeles County Medical Association and three independent living centers banded together to sue the state over the implementation of Cal MediConnect.

The lawsuit, filed July 2 in the Superior Court of Sacramento, asked a judge to halt the program. But on Aug. 1, Judge Shellyanne Chang sided against the group behind the lawsuit. Rather than scrap the entire program, the state should remedy the issues, she wrote in the 13-page ruling.

Lynn Carman, chief counsel for the Medicaid Defense Fund and an attorney in the case, called the ruling “contrary to law and the evidence” and is preparing to challenge the decision.

In the meantime, stories similar to Rockwell’s continue to surface as the state tries to expand Cal MediConnect to as many as 456,000 people in eight counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo and Santa Clara. Ultimately 1.1 million people could be affected despite a record of fines and lawsuits against many of the managed-care plans selected by the state to coordinate care for a group that is elderly or disabled, with multiple chronic diseases and cognitive impairments.

They’re called “dual eligibles” because they rely on health insurance coverage from Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health program, and Medicare, a federal health program for those 65 and older, as well as people with disabilities.

Enrollment process confusing

A snapshot from July 1 showed the state had enrolled 39,731 people in the program in five counties. Their Medi-Cal and Medicare coverage will be combined under Cal MediConnect and administered by a health maintenance organization, or HMO.

Another 38,428 people had opted out as of July 1.

Nancy Becker Kennedy joined the lawsuit because she did not want to lose access to her Medicare services and physicians.

“It took us ages to find a team of people who understand our problems,” she said. “You have the right to stay with the doctors who kept you alive.”

Not all advocates are in favor of freezing Cal MediConnect because the program has the potential to improve care. But like Kennedy Becker, they worry that people won’t realize they have a choice to not enroll because the Cal MediConnect forms may be confusing to them. Advocates say the forms do not clearly explain how to opt out of the new program.

If they take no action, the state enrolls them automatically into Cal MediConnect, a move that advocates called a violation of legal protections for people with disabilities.

The Department of Health Care Services would not respond directly because the case is ongoing but defended Cal MediConnect in a statement.

“We think the enrollment numbers reflect a wide desire among beneficiaries to get better coordinated care,” according to the statement.

The program was designed to inform beneficiaries and provide them with resources, including multiple notices and booklets that were revised numerous times at the request of advocates, according to the agency.

However, persistent confusion was evident on July 17 during the most recent of multiple teleconferences on the program with the agency’s deputy director Jane Ogle. In addition, a May 2014 survey by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that most of those eligible for Cal MediConnect in Los Angeles County incorrectly believed their benefits would remain the same if they took no action.

“They threw this together and dropped it on top of us,” said Blane Beckwith, a quadriplegic plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Life is too difficult as it is.”

Beckwith is suing the state Health Care Services Department because he fears its new program will prevent him from accessing his network of specialists and in-home caregivers, like Michael Carter (standing).

A record of problems

Beckwith planned to opt out of Cal MediConnect. But the launch is on hold in Alameda County, where he lives, until July 2015 after the state seized control in May 2014 of one of its plans, Alameda Alliance for Health, and appointed a conservator.

Even before the state could fully launch the program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services blocked one of L.A. County’s managed-care plans, L.A. Care, from automatically enrolling patients in Cal MediConnect until January 2015 because it performed poorly on Medicare’s quality assessments.

Implementation by Orange County’s health plan, CalOptima, was pushed back until July 2015 after a federal audit found serious violations that posed a “threat to the health and safety,” according to a letter from CMS.

In addition, eight of the 11 managed care plans chosen by the state have a history of denying medical services and unfair payment and billing practices that has cost them more than $4.5 million in fines since 2009, a review of enforcement actions by the California Health Report has found.

The Department of Managed Health Care, California’s HMO watchdog, fined Care 1st in May 2014 for failing to “provide continuity of care and ready referral of patients.” In 2013, the department also penalized Care 1st, one of Cal MediConnect’s San Diego County HMOs, for outsourcing claim processing to a Chinese business instead of the California company Care 1st reported as its contractor.

Anthem Blue Cross, responsible for the program in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, had the highest number of enforcement actions: just under $5 million including a $2.5 million settlement for billing violations. Also, in 2008 Blue Cross paid the largest fine ever levied by the department, $10 million, for wrongly canceling coverage after enrollees sought treatment or filed a claim. Health Net was also fined for illegally rescinding coverage.

 

Sacramento Democrat: By LAW The People of California WILL Support Illegal Aliens

Democrats finally get it. If they can not get you to support amnesty for illegal aliens, murderers that are illegal aliens, illegal aliens that take jobs and college seats from honest people, they will MAKE you support criminals, by passing a bill in the legislature. Read this carefully, then note where YOU are informed you now support criminal activity, by government fiat.

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the
Assembly declares that all Californians, as residents of the United States, have a civic responsibility to respect the human dignity of immigrants seeking refuge in the United States and to ensure that those immigrants are afforded due process and equal protection under the laws of the United States, including safe passage to medical care, as
well as access to a mode of communication to facilitate their repatriation back to Central America when doing so does not endanger their lives and safety;”

Democrats, “love illegal aliens or leave the State.”

ICE-Immigration-Agents

Amended in Assembly August 14, 2014

California Legislature—2013–14 Regular Session

House ResolutionNo. 51

Introduced by Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez, 8/4/14

House Resolution No. 51—Relative to immigration.

WHEREAS, Inscribed on our nation’s Statue of Liberty are the
words, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming
shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp
beside the golden door!”; and

WHEREAS, The number of unaccompanied Central American
children fleeing violence and entering the United States has resulted
in 52,000 apprehensions by United States Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, with a projected total of 90,000
apprehensions of unaccompanied minors expected by the end of
September 2014; and

WHEREAS, Approximately 28 percent of the children detained
this year have been from Honduras, 24 percent from Guatemala,
and 21 percent from El Salvador, countries whose respective
murder rates are among the top six highest murder rates in the
world; and

WHEREAS, The prevalence of gang violence, sexual assault,
political corruption, as well as poverty in Central American
countries has prompted unaccompanied minors to leave their home
countries and immigrate to the United States; and

WHEREAS, The President of El Salvador and Minister of
Foreign Relations of Guatemala acknowledge that pull factors,
such as family reunification, economic opportunity, and improved
quality of life are driving unaccompanied minors to immigrate to
the United States; and

WHEREAS, The Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees urges the United States to grant
refugee status to Central American children who have crossed the
border, estimating that 60 percent of the children who have fled
into the United States have been forcibly displaced, qualifying
them for asylum under international law; and

WHEREAS, In accordance with the William Wilberforce
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, the
United States must ensure that these unaccompanied children have
access to due process, lawyers, a judge, and justice; and

WHEREAS, Central American governments take full
responsibility for the flow of unaccompanied children to the United
States, recognizing that their respective countries could and should
do more to mitigate the push factors driving so many children to
flee to the United States, including lack of economic development
opportunities, rampant poverty, and political corruption; and

WHEREAS, Central American countries acknowledge their
responsibility to ensure successful integration for the
unaccompanied children who are repatriated back home; and

WHEREAS, Central American countries are working toward
improving their socioeconomic conditions by implementing
0measures that will, over time, help improve the quality of life of
their people and curtail mass immigration. These measures include
increased access to education by implementing longer school days,
access to school uniforms and lunch programs for children, health
clinics, and grants and loans to farmers to develop the agricultural
economy; and

WHEREAS, The Assembly supports both state and federal efforts
to formulate strong partnerships with Central American countries
to promote economic development, education, and the rule of law
as a means to improve, stabilize, and democratize their institutions,
which will in turn help promote public safety and curtail mass
immigration; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the
Assembly declares that all Californians, as residents of the United States, have a civic responsibility to respect the human dignity of immigrants seeking refuge in the United States and to ensure that those immigrants are afforded due process and equal protection under the laws of the United States, including safe passage to medical care, as
well as access to a mode of communication to facilitate their repatriation back to Central America when doing so does not endanger their lives and safety;”

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies
of this resolution to the Governor, the Superintendent of Public
Instruction, the State Library, and the California State Archives.

 

O

Chicago crime rate drops as concealed carry applications surge

The Second Amendment saves lives, even in Chicago. Opposition to the Second Amendment kills—especially in Chicago. It took years for the people of Chicago and Illinois to be allowed their Second Amendment rights—Democrats in Illinois are much like Barack the First—the Constitution is a suggestion not a law. Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away, maybe. “An 86-year-old Illinois man with a concealed carry permit fired his weapon at an armed robbery suspect fleeing police last month, stopping the man in his tracks and allowing the police to make an arrest.”

Obama and the Democrats prefer the 86 year old man to become a victim, while protecting the criminals. At a time when Obama directly gave amnesty to 36,000 KNOWN criminal illegal aliens including murderers and rapists. Obama puts criminals and the streets and wants to end Second Amendment rights—who side is he on?

handguns

Chicago crime rate drops as concealed carry applications surge

City sees fewer homicides, robberies, burglaries, car thefts as Illinois residents take arms

Kelley Riddell, Washington Times, 8/24/14

An 86-year-old Illinois man with a concealed carry permit fired his weapon at an armed robbery suspect fleeing police last month, stopping the man in his tracks and allowing the police to make an arrest.

Law enforcement authorities described the man as “a model citizen” who “helped others avoid being victims” at an AT&T store outside Chicago where he witnessed the holdup. The man, whose identity was withheld from the press, prevented others from entering the store during the theft.

Police said the robber harassed customers and pistol-whipped one.

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As of July 29 the state had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses. By the end of the year, Mr. Pearson estimates, 100,000 Illinois citizens will be packing. When Illinois began processing requests in January, gun training and shooting classes — which are required for the application — were filling up before the rifle association was able to schedule them, Mr. Pearson said.

“The temperature would be 40 below, and you’d have these guys out on the range, having to crack off the ice from their guns to see the target,” Mr. Pearson said. “But they’d do it, because they were that passionate about getting their license.”

The demand has slowed this summer, but Mr. Pearson expects the state to issue about 300,000 concealed carry permits when all is said and done.

Illinois became the 50th state in the nation to issue concealed weapons permits. An individual permit costs about $600 and requires at least 16 hours of classes.

The Chicago Police Department has credited better police work as a reason for the lower crime rates this year. Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy noted the confiscation of more than 1,300 illegal guns in the first three months of the year, better police training and “intelligent policing strategies.”

The Chicago Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.

However, the impact of concealed carry can’t be dismissed. Instead of creating more crimes, which many gun control advocates warn, increased concealed carry rates have coincided with lower rates of crime.

A July study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago. Meanwhile, homicide and other violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.

“There’s a lot of academic research that’s been done on this, and if you look at the peer-reviewed studies, the bottom line is a large majority find a benefit of concealed carry on crime rates — and, at worst, there’s no cost,” said John Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center based in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. “You can deter criminals with longer prison sentences and penalties, but arming people with the right to defend themselves with a gun is also a deterrence.”

Within Illinois, Cook County, which encompasses Chicago, has the state’s largest number of concealed carry applications, with 28,552 requests, according to the county’s website. Accounting for population, however, less than 1 percent are carrying.

Mason County has the top per-capita rate in Illinois, with 14 percent of its residents holding concealed carry licenses, followed by Shelby County, with 9 percent.

“When I talk to folks that are supporters of concealed carry here, a lot of them want to get their permits so they can keep a gun in the car just so they have it when they travel to bigger towns and cities,” said Shelby County Sheriff Michael Miller.

Shelby County is in southwestern Illinois, about an hour and 45 minutes driving time from St. Louis. Its crime rate is low, and the majority of charges are domestic-related, Sheriff Miller said. He doesn’t anticipate concealed carry to change the statistics much.

“These are folks who just want to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Sheriff Miller said. “Luckily, we don’t have a gang problem or any serious violent crime. Our types are just rednecks that like to hunt and fish.”

Mason County Sheriff Paul Gann said it’s too early to tell whether an increased carry rate will have an influence on crime rates.

“What I can tell you is we haven’t seen a spike in crime,” said Mr. Gann. “We haven’t seen a spike in anything that’s gun-related — brandishing a firearm, shootings, robberies, nothing. These are law-abiding individuals.”

From a national perspective, Florida has the most active concealed carry permits, at nearly 1.3 million. Texas is second, with just over 708,000. Hawaii, at 183, has the fewest of states whose data were available.

At 300,000 concealed carry licenses, Illinois would compare with Virginia, which has 363,274, and Alabama, with 379,917.

 

San Diego Egg Farmers Work To Improve Conditions For Hens

A few years ago the people of California were convinced to give every chicken in the State a condo—seriously. This will raise the cost of eggs and all foods that have eggs as part of the recipe. We continue to vote for items that raise the cost of living. In the past three months the cost of milk has gone up 20% at the 99Cents store. You have seen the price of bacon go up dramatically, now the rest of breakfast will become a luxury.

While this San Diego based farm is spending hundreds of thousands to meet the new requirements, you know the cost of eggs will go up. Looks like California is about to lose another industry—we did not need cheap eggs and jobs?

“Hilliker grew up on the family farm and says he was against the cage-free idea for 40 years. He has invested $200,000 to upgrade one hen house and has four more to go. The hens in the new house produce about 8,000 eggs a day.

“The good news is that for the age of the flock, they are where they need to be in production and even a little bit higher than what I thought they would be,” Hilliker said.”

Photo courtesy of pietroizzo, flickr

Photo courtesy of pietroizzo, flickr

San Diego Egg Farmers Work To Improve Conditions For Hens

By Dwane Brown, KPBS, 8/25/14

Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs has been serving San Diego consumers since 1942. Currently, the third-generation family farm produces 15,000 eggs every day. Hilliker’s in the process of replacing their standard industry hen cages — which house up to 12 birds per cage — to a wide-open hen house that gives the birds room to roam.

“Are they happier? I think ultimately, yeah, they could be,” Frank Hilliker said.

Hilliker grew up on the family farm and says he was against the cage-free idea for 40 years. He has invested $200,000 to upgrade one hen house and has four more to go. The hens in the new house produce about 8,000 eggs a day.

“The good news is that for the age of the flock, they are where they need to be in production and even a little bit higher than what I thought they would be,” Hilliker said.

Due to Proposition 2, farmers across the state are also scrambling to meet the 2015 deadline.

Julie Walker with the San Diego County Farm Bureau says local farmers, and Hilliker, will need the public’s support to offset the cost of improved new hen houses.

“He’s willing to do it because he has faced his challenge and he’s made a triumph out of it. But he needs business, the purchases of the eggs. He needs the cooperation of the same public who voted in these changes to make his business a success,” Walker said.

Hilliker says he already has funding to upgrade a second barn, though funding for the final three depends on revenue generation.

 

New California EPA Rules: Cities CAN Create Auto Gridlock for Hiking, Bikes, Horses and Government Transportation

The proposed rules of the California Environmental Agency is too CREATE auto gridlock and to make it harder for you to drive your car. Read this section carefully. The bottom line is that instead of adding lanes for cars, they want to TAKE AWAY car lanes, to be replaced with lanes for bikes, walking and government buses. This will crowd the cars into one lane, force longer commute times in an effort to frustrate drivers out of their cars.

“Typical mitigation for automobile delay involves adding roadway capacity by increasing the size or width of intersections – a wholly automobile-focused solution which tended to disincentive increased adoption of alternate modes of transportation. SB 743, and as a result of OPR’s new proposal, seeks to eliminate this disincentive, with the legislative intent of “more appropriately balanc[ing] the needs of congestion management with statewide goals related to infill development, promotion of public health through active transportation, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

carquinez_bridge

California Proposes Overhaul of Standards for Transportation-related Environmental Impact Analysis

Kristina Daniel Lawson, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Earlier this month Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released for public review and debate a draft of proposed amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act’s implementing guidelines (CEQA Guidelines). If ultimately approved, the guidelines will fundamentally change the way transportation-related environmental impacts are analyzed and mitigated throughout California.

While the proposed amendments are currently in draft form and therefore remain subject to change or even withdrawal, if the proposal advances, automobile delay will generally no longer be considered a significant impact on the environment for CEQA purposes. Once approved, the provisions will take effect immediately in California’s transit priority areas, and then statewide in 2016, unless adopted earlier by a local community.

Today CEQA’s transportation analyses focus on the delay experienced by an individual automobile driver at a study intersection or on a roadway segment. Traffic engineers quantify this delay through a metric known as “level of service” or LOS.

Targeting the LOS standard, last year Senate Bill 743 was approved and signed into law requiring OPR to prepare revisions to the CEQA Guidelines that establishes criteria for determining the significance of transportation impacts within transit priority areas. SB 743 followed on the heels of the implementation of SB 375 and AB 32, which together placed a heightened focus on the link between land use and transportation planning decisions and greenhouse gas emissions in California. In addition to the increased need for local governments to focus on greenhouse gas emissions reductions through land use and transportation planning, the California Complete Streets Act of 2008 had required local governments to plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways for safe and convenient travel.

Taken together, these mandates present a sometimes conflicting challenge: under the traditional methods of analyzing transportation-related environmental impacts, automobile delay (expressed in LOS standards) was the key metric. Typical mitigation for automobile delay involves adding roadway capacity by increasing the size or width of intersections – a wholly automobile-focused solution which tended to disincentive increased adoption of alternate modes of transportation. SB 743, and as a result of OPR’s new proposal, seeks to eliminate this disincentive, with the legislative intent of “more appropriately balanc[ing] the needs of congestion management with statewide goals related to infill development, promotion of public health through active transportation, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

OPR’s proposal is not a light-read and I predict CEQA practitioners will universally agree it will not be without controversy. At 45 pages, the proposal reads more like a whitepaper than an administrative rulemaking. For the specifics, the OPR proposal includes one new CEQA Guideline and a variety of other amendments to CEQA’s appendices. The new guideline is where the rubber meets the road. In general, the proposal includes the following:

  • The amount and distance of automobile travel associated with a project will become the key metrics for CEQA transportation analyses;
  • Additional considerations in CEQA transportation analyses will include the effects of a project on transit and non-motorized travel, and the safety of all travelers;
  • Indirect transportation-related environmental effects (such as noise and air quality) must still be considered;
  • Automobile delay will no longer be considered a potentially significant environmental effect requiring mitigation.

As is always the case with any regulation, the devil is in the details, and like most of the recent CEQA proposals, this proposal includes a lot of language. To start, “…A development project that is not exempt and that results in vehicle miles traveled greater than regional average for the land use type (e.g., residential, employment, commercial) may indicate a significant impact.” This section immediately raises a variety of questions including whether “employment” is properly classified as a land use type, and how analysis or evaluation of an employment land use would differ from analysis or evaluation of a commercial land use. This lack of clarity is a red flag for future CEQA problems and litigation.

A variety of options are given for measuring the benchmark “regional average” including per capita, per employee, per trip, per person-trip, or other appropriate measures. The draft guideline is unclear as to what might occur if you choose one standard over another.

If your project results in a net decrease in vehicle miles traveled compared to existing conditions the proposed guideline tells us it may be considered to have a less than significant transportation impact. If your project is a “land use plan” that is either consistent with a sustainable communities strategy or that achieves at least an equivalent reduction in vehicle miles traveled as projected to result from the implementation of a sustainable communities strategy, then your transportation impacts may also generally be considered less than significant. Development projects that locate within one-half mile of an existing major transit stop or a stop along an existing “high-quality” transit corridor “generally may be considered to have a less than significant transportation impact.”

The use of the word “generally” throughout the draft guideline, and the lack of defined terms is also likely to raise a lot of questions and comment.

For purposes of the proposed guideline, “region” apparently means a metropolitan planning organization or the regional transportation planning agency in which a project is located. A valid question here is how a region can be a public agency. Did OPR mean within the boundaries of a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA)? The proposal makes clear that a lead agency generally should not confine its transportation impact evaluation to its own political boundary.

One of the most interesting parts of the proposal is the section that requires any transportation project that increases roadway capacity for automobiles in a congested area, or adds a new roadway to the network, to analyze whether the project will induce additional automobile travel compared to existing conditions. Under this new “traffic-inducing” analysis, if you are increasing roadway capacity by the addition of a general purpose highway or arterial land then you may have a significant impact (or you may not), unless you are a rural roadway where the primary purpose is to improve safety and where speeds are not significantly altered (in that case, the guideline doesn’t indicate what happens).

If your transportation project does not add physical roadway capacity but instead is for the purpose of improving safety or operations, that would not generally result in a significant transportation impact. The draft guideline proposes the same result for new managed lanes, short auxiliary lanes, and other projects consistent with a Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy “for which induced travel was already adequately analyzed.”

Transportation projects (including lane priority for transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects) that lead to net decreases in vehicle miles traveled, compared to existing conditions, may also be considered to have a less than significant transportation impact.

To say that OPR’s proposal is an overhaul is an understatement – if adopted, the draft guideline will fundamentally change how California thinks about transportation and traffic. Because of the sweeping nature of the proposed changes to California’s standards for transportation-related environmental impact analysis, we can expect significant comments to be received by OPR. If you wish to weigh in, do so by October 10, 2014 to [email protected]

Kristina Daniel Lawson is a partner in the Land, Environment & Natural Resources Division in the San Francisco office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Her broad advisory and advocacy practice focuses on all aspects of California entitlement, land use, environmental, and municipal law and policy matters. Lawson is widely recognized for her work in matters involving California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance and strategy, and is an active participant in statewide CEQA modernization efforts. She can be reached at (415) 291-7555 or [email protected].

This column is part of a series of articles by law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP’s Energy, Environment & Natural Resources practice. Earlier columns in the fourth edition of this series discussed the CPUC’s Energy Storage Rulemaking, EPA’s Proposed Rule for Reducing Carbon Emissions from Power Plants, Nanomaterial Safety Research Plans, the Obama Administration’s Plans to Reduce Methane Emissions, US Ban on Oil Exports and Environmental Risks in Buying Contaminated Properties.

Sacramento Sets Rules for Poor to Lose Homes—With NO Notice

Government in Washington and Sacramento forced all citizens to buy health care through “approved” programs. If you are poor and can not afford to pay much, taxpayers are forced to subsidize most of your premiums. If you are totally incapable of paying, government will automatically give you “free” health care called Medi-Cal. What they do not tell you is that your assets, including you car and home NOW belongs to the State, you no longer own your home—when you die, Sacramento takes your home, not your children.

Photo courtesy of DB's travels, Flickr.

Photo courtesy of DB’s travels, Flickr.

There is no such thing as a free lunch or free health care—if you have assets but little income and no cash, government will take care of you—but not tell you all of the facts.

“Vernon (a citizen abused by Sacramento) signed up for Medi-Cal on the phone from her home in Campbell. But months later, she learned online about a state law that allows California to take assets of people who die if they received health care through Medi-Cal after the age of 55.

“So I called Medi-Cal and asked specifically, ‘Does this mean what I think it means?’” she says.

It means Medi-Cal managers can take part of her estate later for health care costs she’s accruing now. A 1993 federal law requires states to recoup Medicaid money spent on institutional care, such as nursing homes, and it gives states the option to recover all health costs from people 55 and over. California took that option.”

For Some, Medi-Cal Might Mean Ultimately Losing Their Homes

By Pauline Bartolone, Kaiser Health News, 8/25/14

Anne-Louise Vernon had been looking forward to signing up for health insurance under Covered California. She was hoping to save hundreds of dollars a month. But when she called to enroll, she was told her income wasn’t high enough to purchase a subsidized plan.

“It never even occurred to me I might be on Medi-Cal,” she said, in reference to the state’s version of Medicaid, “and I didn’t know anything about it.”

She says she asked whether there were any strings attached.

“And the woman said very cheerfully, “Oh no, no, it’s all free. There’s nothing you have to worry about, this is your lucky day.’” she recounts.

Vernon signed up for Medi-Cal on the phone from her home in Campbell. But months later, she learned online about a state law that allows California to take assets of people who die if they received health care through Medi-Cal after the age of 55.

“So I called Medi-Cal and asked specifically, ‘Does this mean what I think it means?’” she says.

It means Medi-Cal managers can take part of her estate later for health care costs she’s accruing now. A 1993 federal law requires states to recoup Medicaid money spent on institutional care, such as nursing homes, and it gives states the option to recover all health costs from people 55 and over. California took that option.

Vernon says she’s panicked and worried. She doesn’t get a monthly bill –- so she’s not sure what she’ll be accountable for.

“I feel as though right now, if I could go to do the doctor and I felt I knew where I stood, there are a number of appointments that I’d be making right now,” says Vernon. “But I feel so unsettled about this whole estate recovery thing, that I’m afraid to go to the doctor.”

The California law has now been on the books for two decades. Elizabeth Landsberg of the Western Center on Law and Poverty says it turns what was intended to be a safety net program into a long-term loan program. It undermines the security that families might pass on to the next generation.

“So in most cases it’s modest family homes that we’re talking about, and so the state will most often come back and put a lien on that home, and unfortunately it does force the kids to sell the homes sometimes, ” says Landsberg.

Landsberg says the law is complicating Medi-Cal enrollment. Some people have refused to sign up, or have terminated enrollment for fear of losing their estate. She says it’s unfair because people buying insurance through Covered California aren’t subject to the same rules.

“For the first time people have to have health coverage. So it’s created an inequity where the lowest income people could lose their assets, and other higher income people who are also getting publicly-subsidized health coverage have no worries, ” says Landsberg.

Over the past 20 years, the state of California has recovered almost a billion dollars that paid for long-term care and basic health services through Medi-Cal.

Norman Williams of the California Department of Health Care Services says that’s just a very small fraction of the overall Medi-Cal budget during that time.

“The funds are collected and returned to the state general fund and along with federal matching funds, that’s used to provide care for members beyond what we have now,” says Williams.

Williams says the average claim is about $95,000.

“But the average amount collected is about $15,000,” he says. “There are many exceptions available. Hardship exemptions for instance. If there are children who are living and under 21, there is no claim against the Medi-Cal member’s estate.”

A bill in the California legislature would eliminate state recovery for basic Medi-Cal services for older Californians. It would also require the state to provide health claim information for free, so enrollees can keep track of their expenses.

That’s something Anne-Louise Vernon is advocating for.

“I don’t understand why someone my age, in my situation has been singled out to be a cash cow for the state of California, when this is not required by the federal government,” says Vernon.

If the measure is approved by lawmakers, it might have a tough time getting the governor’s signature. The California Department of Finance says it would remove $30 million in revenue that helps pay for the health care of other low-income Californians.

Did Obama Falsify Existance of 43,000 Illegal Aliens for the $$?

Based on the Obama Administration own records, there were 43,000 FEWER unaccompanied illegal aliens in the past two years.

While the Border Patrol claims the capture of over 85,000 unaccompanied illegal alien children in the past two years, they turned over only 41,592 to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the agency responsible for the deportation procedures. Did the 43,000 disappear? Or did they ever exist? Why the open fraud and crisis? Easy, Obama wanted to pass “comprehensive immigration reform”, the buzz term for amnesty. He thought by creating a phony crisis he could get Congress to pass amnesty and get another $3.7 billion to pass along to radical groups to promote more illegal aliens sneaking into our nation.

“EOIR has recorded 20,814 receipts marked as juvenile in fiscal year 2014 as of June 30, but Border Patrol recorded 57,525 apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during the same time frame. This means immigration courts have receipts for fewer than four out of every ten unaccompanied alien children apprehended by Border Patrol this fiscal year.”

20111111 immigration

Government Has No Receipts for Thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children
Government records show a discrepancy in apprehensions and court receipts.

By Ryan Lovelace . National Review Online, 8/8/14

The Department of Justice does not have receipts for more than half of the unaccompanied alien children apprehended at the southwest border by Border Patrol since the start of fiscal year 2013, government records show.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data show more than 85,000 total apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014 through June. Information from the same time period provided to National Review Online by the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review shows 41,592 total receipts marked as juvenile in immigration courts. Kathryn Mattingly, spokesperson for EOIR, tells NRO the receipts refer to new Notices to Appear (NTA) — the document the Department of Homeland Security uses to charge an illegal immigrant with being removable from the United States.

EOIR has recorded 20,814 receipts marked as juvenile in fiscal year 2014 as of June 30, but Border Patrol recorded 57,525 apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during the same time frame. This means immigration courts have receipts for fewer than four out of every ten unaccompanied alien children apprehended by Border Patrol this fiscal year. Mattingly said EOIR stands behind the numbers of receipts it has recorded, but would not speak about the difference between the number of juvenile receipts and CBP’s apprehension data.

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Within DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have the authority to charge unaccompanied alien children. An ICE spokesperson declined to comment on this story, and a USCIS spokesperson referred questions to DHS, which did not respond to requests for comment. A CBP spokesperson responded to NRO’s requests in an e-mail with a link to apprehension data publicly available on CBP’s website but did not provide comment about the number of NTAs issued to illegal-immigrant children.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, tells NRO it is difficult to determine how much of the discrepancy in apprehensions and receipts appears deliberate and how much resulted because federal officials were overwhelmed with work. “But I think it’s really willful negligence on the part of DHS leadership to allow this already dysfunctional system to become even more overwhelmed,” she says. “It’s just like deliberate chaos.”

Immigration courts have completed only 9,630 cases marked as juvenile in fiscal year 2014, government data show, despite more than 20,000 juvenile receipts recorded and more than 57,000 UAC apprehensions made in fiscal year 2014 as of June 30, 2014. Mattingly tells NRO it’s important to remember that some of the juvenile cases completed this year may have been first brought in previous years. Not all of the cases completed in fiscal year 2014 were brought in fiscal year 2014.

Part of the discrepancy between the numbers of apprehensions and receipts in the month of June 2014 may be attributable to a new policy implemented by ICE that same month. The policy makes ICE attorneys wait to file immigration-court proceedings until after the Department of Health and Human Services notifies ICE that the unaccompanied juvenile has been placed with a sponsor, or 60 days elapse, ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice has previously told NRO. She said the policy is intended to free up immigration courts’ dockets by eliminating the need for change of venue hearings. While the new policy could explain some of the discrepancy for June 2014, it does not apply to the discrepancy for the previous months of fiscal year 2014 and for the entirety of fiscal year 2013.

No federal official whom NRO contacted or spoke with provided an explanation as to why the discrepancy exists among apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children and receipts for juveniles.

 

Cal State San Bernardino: Illegal Aliens Get Scholarships and Seats Meant for Americans

Honest California parents work hard, pay taxes, so their children can attend a State College in the former Golden State. Students work hard to get the grades they need, stay out of trouble abide by the laws so they may qualify for a State College. The Administrators that run our State colleges are actively recruiting illegal aliens to take the seats paid for by California parents. Instead of abiding by the law, and giving qualified honest Americans a seat, our confused Guv Brown is pushing honest kids out of college and dishonest kids WITH SCHOLARSHIPS into our colleges.

Why abide by the law if those that break it are rewarded and those that play by the rules are punished?

“This program offers a wonderful opportunity for students who would be shut out of higher education despite their academic successes, qualifications and financial needs,” said Cal State San Bernardino President Tomas D. Morales in a news release. “This initiative will help our university provide our students with the opportunity to achieve their academic and career goals, and in turn benefit our society as they become contributing members of the work force in their communities.”

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Cal State San Bernardino taps into program for immigrants

San Bernardino Sun, 8/23/14

Cal State San Bernardino has become part of the TheDream.US, a national program launched earlier this year to provide scholarships to more than 2,000 undocumented students around the country.

The program is the result of business and education leaders, along with former elected leaders from around the country, who gave input on ways to best enable so-called “DREAMers” to succeeded in academics.

DREAM stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, said Candy Marshall, president of TheDREAM.US.

So far, about 300 scholarships have been granted from TheDream.US program, which started with $25 million in scholarship funds from leaders across the country.

The scholarships will cover up to 100 percent of tuition, fees and books to a maximum of $25,000.

“This program offers a wonderful opportunity for students who would be shut out of higher education despite their academic successes, qualifications and financial needs,” said Cal State San Bernardino President Tomas D. Morales in a news release. “This initiative will help our university provide our students with the opportunity to achieve their academic and career goals, and in turn benefit our society as they become contributing members of the work force in their communities.”

 

San Fran Giving Residents the BIRDS: Another Jay Leno Joke Created by Environmentalists

During World War II, most Americans blacked out their windows so the Nazi aircraft could not see any light. In war time, that was the right decision. Now, the radicals running San Fran in conjunction with environmentalists are making the case that picture windows in apartments (and eventually high rise businesses) are killing birds. To protect the birds, the City will eventually pass an ordinance to force apartment owners to black out their windows so birds stop flying into the windows thinking they are part of the landscape.

Even Jay Leno could not make this stuff up. California is a national joke while San Fran is a comedians dream.

They either don’t see the glass, or see a reflection and try to fly through it. “They may mistake it for a habitat [or] may see their own reflection and think it’s a rival and try to attack,” said Pynn, a resident of the Outer Sunset in San Francisco. She said a bird flew into a window in her home a few months ago. Pynn suspects that the window’s reflection of a nearby tree may have lured the bird to its death. “It’s a real hazard,” she said.”

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San Francisco Wants to Know: Is Your Living Room Window Killing Migratory Birds?

Sally Schilling, KQED Science, 8/22/14

Birds collected after colliding with buildings in Toronto 2009. (Kenneth Herdy/FLAP Canada)

Tourists aren’t the only out-of-towners that flock to the city by the bay. Each year, more than 250 species of birds stop in San Francisco during their fall and spring migrations, said Judith Pynn of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. But birds passing through the big city on the Pacific Flyway can be thrown off by unfamiliar terrain, particularly windows.

They either don’t see the glass, or see a reflection and try to fly through it. “They may mistake it for a habitat [or] may see their own reflection and think it’s a rival and try to attack,” said Pynn, a resident of the Outer Sunset in San Francisco. She said a bird flew into a window in her home a few months ago. Pynn suspects that the window’s reflection of a nearby tree may have lured the bird to its death. “It’s a real hazard,” she said.

Hundreds of species of migrant birds fly through San Francisco on the Pacific Flyway migration corridor. (US Fish and Wildlife Service)

According to the National Bird Conservatory, between 100 million and one billion birds die each year from colliding with glass windows of commercial or residential buildings.

In 2011, San Francisco passed the first standards in the country aimed at reducing the hazards of commercial buildings by requiring window film or lighting adjustments. Now, the San Francisco Planning Department is enlisting the help of volunteers like Pynn to measure the damage caused by residential windows.

Once a week during the fall, Pynn will walk around the perimeter of her home in search of dead or injured birds. If she finds anything, she’ll report it to the Planning Department.

“We’re hoping to get people excited and involved and be able to collect some really great data,” said Andrew Perry with the San Francisco Planning Department’s Bird-Safe Buildings Project. “Citizen science is a very powerful tool.” He added that participants don’t need to be hardcore birders. Residents can take pictures of birds and upload them to the web for someone else to identify.

The city already has anecdotal evidence of residential bird collisions, Perry said, but this project will be the most extensive study of residential collisions on the West Coast.

“The city sending a clear message that it takes bird-safe buildings seriously, and it’s not just about commercial property owners,” said Cindy Margulis, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. This study will better inform the city’s policymakers on the hazards of residential windows, she said. “We need more science.”

The citywide project will be ongoing, and participants are being asked to commit to monitoring for at least one migration period. Residents who live near parks are of particular interest to the study, as birds are more likely to be concentrated in those areas. This fall’s migration period began August 15 and runs through November.

Those interested in monitoring their own homes can email Andrew Perry with the San Francisco Planning Department: [email protected]

 

Failure: ‘Cash For Clunkers’ Cost America $6 Billion in Wasted Money

We now know why Barack Obama has been reluctant to release his college records. It appears that he was not a good economics student. His policies have caused millions to leave the work force, millions to be pushed from full time to part time jobs and he thought ObamaCare would CUT the cost of health care by $2500 per year, instead has increased the cost while bringing inferior care for the high price.

His “cash for clunkers” was also based on failed economic theory—steal money from the productive, allow people to get government to subsidize the purchase of new cars and jobs will be created and the economy will grow. Actually, it worked out just the opposite.

“A new study written by Mark Hoekstra, Steven L. Puller and Jeremy West and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that the program caused buyers to spend about $4,600 less per purchase. Totaled that is about a $3 billion loss in revenue to the auto industry.

Then you add the other 3 billion Obama lavished onto the auto industry and we get $6 in federal waste.

For instance, as I noted in August of 2010, the program actually hurt those Americans with the least to spend on a used car causing used car prices to soar at least 16 percent in only a few months time.”

car ford

Failure: ‘Cash For Clunkers’ Cost America $6 Billion in Wasted Money

-By Warner Todd Huston, Publius Forum, 8/23/14

Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program was his idea to save American auto buyers money and help “green” the roads at the same time. But the program was a monumental failure. It was so bad it has now been determined that it didn’t save anyone anything. In fact, it cost America 6 billion in wasted dollars!

Along with the obvious problems with the program that showed up right at the beginning, now that the long term effects are starting to be quantified, it has become clear that the program forced auto buyer to spend less on their autos tan they would have costing the auto industry some $3 billion in sales.

A new study written by Mark Hoekstra, Steven L. Puller and Jeremy West and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that the program caused buyers to spend about $4,600 less per purchase. Totaled that is about a $3 billion loss in revenue to the auto industry.

Then you add the other 3 billion Obama lavished onto the auto industry and we get $6 in federal waste.

Of course, this is all on top of the other negative effects this clunker of a program had on America.

For instance, as I noted in August of 2010, the program actually hurt those Americans with the least to spend on a used car causing used car prices to soar at least 16 percent in only a few months time.

It also didn’t spur people to buy cars even though they hadn’t planned to. In fact it only pushed plans forward a short time for those who already intended to buy another car. As a “stimulus” plan it failed.

Worse, the program hurt everyone who used it because the $4,500 the program doled out for each used car destroyed became declarable income and participants in the program had to pay income taxes on that “free” money!

Eventually, even one of Obama’s own appointees said that the program was a bad idea.

So, there you have it. Yet another Obama failure.

On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t a failure. Obama never cared if his program made economic sense. His goal was to destroy millions of perfectly good cars so that he could push his “greenist” ideas on the nation.

His goal is to destroy the auto industry, really, to drive people out of cars not into them. So, in that way he succeeded in more ways that we can imagine.

Obama’s promise that he’d “remake” the nation is really proceeding at a rollicking pace. His ultimate goal is to make of the USA a lesser place than he found it and he is succeeding beyond his wildest dreams.