Five issues to watch with high-speed rail in 2015

The Governor, very confused, has told us how he is going to finance the $200 billion for his childhood dream, and our nightmare, the choo choo train from nowhere, to nowhere, for nobody. He expects the Republican Congress and Senate to pay for it, once he starts building it. I know he does not smoke cigarettes, Marlboro or the funny kind, but he needs help.

 The GOP has stopped since 2010 all funding the wasteful choo choo trains nationwide, not just in California.

“High-speed rail construction is behind schedule. State officials acknowledge the lag is due to delays in acquiring land in the Central Valley. Beyond simply delaying the construction timeline, a slow eminent domain process jeopardizes federal grants that must be spent by September 2017.

If state officials were forced to return millions — or billions — of federal dollars for missing a critical deadline, it wouldn’t be a death knell for the bullet train. But detractors, including Republicans in Congress, could seize on the development as a sign that the project is failing — and work to sour public opinion.”

Save the money, stop the special interests, give the money back.

Photo courtesy of Jon Curnow, flickr

Photo courtesy of Jon Curnow, flickr

Five issues to watch with high-speed rail in 2015

Allen Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 12/9/14

Love it or hate it, high-speed rail has given Californians more unpredictable twists than Space Mountain. This year, the nation’s largest single infrastructure project overcame a lawsuit that threatened to shut it down.

Construction crews finally started work in the Central Valley, and rail firms from across the globe stepped up to compete for building the bullet train.

Next year promises to be just as exciting. Here are five critical issues to watch:

1. Acquisition of land

High-speed rail construction is behind schedule. State officials acknowledge the lag is due to delays in acquiring land in the Central Valley. Beyond simply delaying the construction timeline, a slow eminent domain process jeopardizes federal grants that must be spent by September 2017.

If state officials were forced to return millions — or billions — of federal dollars for missing a critical deadline, it wouldn’t be a death knell for the bullet train. But detractors, including Republicans in Congress, could seize on the development as a sign that the project is failing — and work to sour public opinion.

2. Train contracts

Sometime next year, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will accept bids for building trains and maintenance facilities. Nine global train manufacturers have expressed interest. One of them is Siemens Industry Inc., which has said it would build everything in its south Sacramento plant, bringing hundreds of jobs to the capital region.

3. Cap-and-trade funding

The introduction of cap-and-trade dollars marked a change for high-speed rail in 2014, shifting the conversation about the project’s long term financing from an academic exercise to a practical discussion, rail authority CEO Jeff Morales has said.

In January, Gov. Jerry Brown will propose a state budget with fresh projections about how much cap-and-trade — the anti-pollution program — will yield for high-speed rail. Whatever the total is, it will be a small fraction of what the authority expects it will need to spend on construction over the next few years (approximately $31 billion is needed for the first 300-mile construction segment from Merced to the San Fernando Valley).

But the cap-and-trade money will be used to leverage private financing. And if private firms begin investing in high-speed rail, critics will have a much harder time arguing that the whole system is pie in the sky.

4. Lawsuits

The authority has multiple lawsuits pending against it, but perhaps the most formidable is one that challenges a fundamental assertion by the rail authority: That the train will zip passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just more than two and a half hours.

The Central Valley residents bringing suit say the advertised travel time is impossible given the mountainous terrain and the fact that the system includes up to 24 stations. A hearing date in Sacramento Superior Court is expected in early 2015. Losing that case could cost the authority billions in voter-approved state bonds –a critical blow.

5. Passing the Tehachapis

The rail authority has not determined how it will transport passengers from Bakersfield to Palmdale. Going through the Grapevine in Southern California is no longer an option for a number of reasons. But the alternatives either add too much travel time, increase environmental relief costs by up to $1 billion, or are impossible given the steepness of the Tehachapis mountains, critics contend.

Passing the Tehachapi’s presents a “difficult, complex engineering problem,” said Louis Thompson, chair of the high speed rail peer review group, the project’s accountability arm.

“I’m not saying they can’t do it, but I’m saying obviously it’s a challenge,” Thompson said.

 

CalTrans Begs for NEW Taxes for Roads—Spends Available Money on Bike and Walking Trails Instead

A few months ago our confused Guv Brown ordered that $350 million of funds meant to expand and fix our roads and streets instead go to horse trails and walking and bike lanes. Now CalTrans has decided that roads are not enough for them to organize—now they want to go the whole route—horse, bike, car and walking—the only item left out is planes and trains.

“Caltran’s most recent household survey found Californians are walking and bicycling twice as much as they did 10 years ago. The department’s Mark Dinger says the days of simply creating wider freeways are over.

“That was our grandfather’s Caltrans, where we thought about pouring more concrete all the time. Well, pouring more concrete is not the answer,” he says. “We need a sustainable transportation system that’s going to be good for our environment and good for our health too.”

Dinger says Caltrans is awarding millions of dollars to cities and counties for projects that encourage biking and walking. And he says the agency has become more flexible with street designs to allow for better bike lanes and crosswalks.”

At the same time CalTrans and the confused Guv are complaining of not having enough money for the roads—so are looking at creating a mileage tax, on top of the other.

los-angeles-freeway-helicopter-1

Caltrans Expanding Its Focus

Katie Orr, Capitol Radio, 12/8/14

Californians have a reputation for loving their cars. But an increasing number of us are choosing other modes of transportation. And Caltrans is trying to keep up.

Caltran’s most recent household survey found Californians are walking and bicycling twice as much as they did 10 years ago. The department’s Mark Dinger says the days of simply creating wider freeways are over.

“That was our grandfather’s Caltrans, where we thought about pouring more concrete all the time. Well, pouring more concrete is not the answer,” he says. “We need a sustainable transportation system that’s going to be good for our environment and good for our health too.”

Dinger says Caltrans is awarding millions of dollars to cities and counties for projects that encourage biking and walking. And he says the agency has become more flexible with street designs to allow for better bike lanes and crosswalks.

Dinger says Caltrans has also gone through internal reforms to more accurately reflect its broader mission.

 

 

 

 

Hell Froze Over! Left Wing Berkeley Mayor Says Violent Protests Going Too Far

In 1919 Cal Berkeley had riots because the U. S. Attorney General Palmer was rounding up communists—and the students wanted to protect them. In 1964 the campus had riots for “free speech”—actually it was just the opposite—if you spoke for freedom you were shut down. Now we have a Mayor, Tom Bates who is upset with the violent nature of the protestors—the same Bates who as an Assemblyman had a fistfight on the floor of the State Assembly. You know the rioters are out of hand when a fist fighting Berkeley Mayor thinks enough is enough.

“As Breitbart news reported, the city of Berkeley has been overrun by rabble-rousers and demonstrators who have been encouraged by protest leaders to create chaos. Claiming that “a riot is the voice of the unheard,” the leaders of a group called “By Any Means Necessary” gave their blessing to the Berkeley rioters, stating that “We do not condemn the forms of protest that are required to win justice.”

According to an Associated Press article, a large group of demonstrators destroyed highway perimeter fencing, flooded lanes, and threw rocks and other objects at officers. As the night wore on, the protesters broke up into smaller groups, wreaking more mayhem by interrupting traffic and harassing train passengers.”

Check the weather reports, looks like Hell froze over.

0811-riot

Left Wing Berkeley Mayor Says Violent Protests Going Too Far

by Robert Wilde, Breitbart CA,   12/9/14

You know that the “Ferguson rulingEric Garner”-inspired protest movement is getting out of hand when one of the most progressive mayors in the United States says it has gone too far.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates condemned protesters for looting and vandalizing the city over the last three days. “The people in the Bay Area are sensitive to worldwide issues,” Bates said. “Unfortunately, there is a small element that uses violence at times to make their point.”

As Breitbart news reported, the city of Berkeley has been overrun by rabble-rousers and demonstrators who have been encouraged by protest leaders to create chaos. Claiming that “a riot is the voice of the unheard,” the leaders of a group called “By Any Means Necessary” gave their blessing to the Berkeley rioters, stating that “We do not condemn the forms of protest that are required to win justice.”

According to an Associated Press article, a large group of demonstrators destroyed highway perimeter fencing, flooded lanes, and threw rocks and other objects at officers. As the night wore on, the protesters broke up into smaller groups, wreaking more mayhem by interrupting traffic and harassing train passengers.

Mayor Bates, who told the Daily Californian that he has devoted his life to global warming, said that a fraction of the Berkeley protesters, by resorting to violence, are obscuring the wider message that policing polices nationwide need to be reformed.

 

LA/San Fran DA’s Sue Uber—Crime? People Want FREE Choices—Government/Special Interests Oppose Freedom

The unions and the monopoly taxi cab owners in LA and San Fran got their District Attorneys to sue Uber for the crime of giving consumers a choice—and for consumers making a choice that was not approved by government, the monopolies or the unions.

“The lawsuit alleges various violations of law, including that San Francisco-based Uber falsely charged consumers $1 per ride for “industry leading” background checks it claimed it performed on UberX drivers; that Uber uses a non-government certified system for measuring time and distances on which fares are calculated; that Uber fraudulently charged a $4 “Airport Fee Toll” when drivers were not paying anything to serve San Francisco International Airport; and finally, that Uber was operating illegally at the airport.”

The airport is owned by the public—the government SELLS monopolies to public property—that is the crime.

UberStockholm-039

San Francisco, Los Angeles prosecutors sue Uber for “unlawful” business practices

Patrick Hoge, San Francisco Business Times, 12/9/14

The San Francisco and Los Angeles District Attorney’s offices announced today that they have filed a civil consumer protection and unlawful business practices lawsuit against Uber Technologies, but have settled a similar dispute with Lyft that required the company to pay up to $500,000 in civil penalties.

The lawsuit alleges various violations of law, including that San Francisco-based Uber falsely charged consumers $1 per ride for “industry leading” background checks it claimed it performed on UberX drivers; that Uber uses a non-government certified system for measuring time and distances on which fares are calculated; that Uber fraudulently charged a $4 “Airport Fee Toll” when drivers were not paying anything to serve San Francisco International Airport; and finally, that Uber was operating illegally at the airport.

Uber recently did get approval from the airport to operate under permit conditions, which require, among other things, that drivers pay nearly $4 per trip to the airport. UberX is Uber’s smartphone application service for connecting passengers with people who drive for hire in their own vehicles.

 

Elias: New Democrat advantage in later vote deadline

Democrats have all the advantages. Notice how on election night Republicans are winning. Then in a few days the absentee ballots are counted and they lost. The Democrats have moved the time for people to register from 15 days before an election to, after January 1, 2015—same day as voting registration. Imagine the fraud. We already have fraud since a poll watcher is not allowed to ask for any proof of identity—how many fraudulent votes are cast based on this Democrat law?

“This makes the post-Election Day results no accident. And it also means it was no accident when an obscure new law was passed earlier this year by Democrats who control the Legislature, then signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

This measure requires county voting officials to count absentee ballots postmarked by the end of Election Day, a change from past practice when no ballots were counted if received after that day.

The deadline for receipt of ballots will now be moved back three days, too.

Anyone who’s been around vote-counting on Election Night and beyond has likely seen how trays full of absentee ballots often go completely uncounted because they were received a day or two late. That will change.”

Fraud—the American election way of voting.

vote count election

Elias: New Demo advantage in later vote deadline

Tom Elias, The Union, 12/6/14

It pays to read between the lines whenever the state Legislature or a city council makes changes to longstanding election routines. One example: almost all cities that have lately switched local elections to even years so they coincide with federal and state voting feature Democrat-dominated city councils whose members know both that higher turnouts favor Democrats and that turnout is always higher in general elections than off-year municipal votes.

It also pays to note what’s happened just after each of the last several Election Days, with California Democrats winning every contest decided by a narrow margin, the votes counted after Election Night providing their margins.

A new law now promises to make this trend even more pronounced than it has been.

Late-counted votes decided the issue in 2010, when Democrat Kamala Harris was elected state attorney general over Republican Steve Cooley, then district attorney of Los Angeles County, by about 40,000 votes.

It happened again this fall, with defeats for all four Republicans running in ultra-tight races for Congress that were too close to call on Election Night.

The most striking turnaround came in the suburbs of Sacramento, where incumbent Democrat Ami Bera trailed former Republican Congressman Doug Ose by more than 3,000 the morning after the election, but almost a month later – after an additional 60,000-odd late-arriving absentee and provisional ballots had been counted – Bera won by 1,300.

In the Fresno area, Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra led incumbent Democrat Jim Costa by almost 1,000 votes the day after the election, but Costa also won by just over 1,300 votes.

In the San Diego area, incumbent Democrat Scott Peters found himself behind by about 800 votes the morning after the election, but three weeks and 55,000 votes later defeated Republican Carl DeMaio by just over 6,000.

And in Ventura County, where Democratic incumbent Julia Brownley held a slim lead of barely 500 votes just after the election, she turned out to be a clear winner by about 4,400 votes.

So while Republicans appear to have some advantage among votes counted earliest (usually absentee ballots received by county voting registrars days before the election), Democrats have a consistent edge among those counted after Election Day.

That may be partly due to demographics. Democrats dominate among several ethnic minorities with less voting experience than the white voters who form most of the Republican base. They are sometimes unclear on how to file absentee ballots or where to cast Election Day votes. So they tend to mail in ballots later than Republicans, they tend to turn in more absentee ballots at precincts and they tend to vote more provisional ballots.

This makes the post-Election Day results no accident. And it also means it was no accident when an obscure new law  was passed earlier this year by Democrats who control the Legislature, then signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

This measure requires county voting officials to count absentee ballots postmarked by the end of Election Day, a change from past practice when no ballots were counted if received after that day.

The deadline for receipt of ballots will now be moved back three days, too.

Anyone who’s been around vote-counting on Election Night and beyond has likely seen how trays full of absentee ballots often go completely uncounted because they were received a day or two late. That will change.

There will likely be no major effects from the new rules in 2015, when municipal elections in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco figured to be dominated by Democrats anyway.

But this change could have major impact at every level of the next general election, when all 53 California congressional seats and 100 legislative spots will again be at stake, along with a U.S. Senate seat.

Democrats figure the formerly invalid late-arriving votes that will now count should tend to favor them more than votes cast earlier.

It’s yet another change designed to tighten their 15-year hold on California.

 

Obama Provides Major TAXES/TARRIFFS on Foreign Solar Panel to “Save” American Firms—at Expense of Consumers

Americans deserve the best quality goods at the lowest possible prices. That is why the people want. Barack Obama prefers high priced, inferior goods, as long as his donors get the business.

“Executives from Solyndra and Abound blamed China for their financial woes. They argued a flood of cheap solar panels from China were undercutting their ability to compete, since Chinese panels could be made more cheaply than U.S.-produced panels.

“With over $30 billion in reported government subsidies, Chinese panel makers were able to sell below cost and put Abound out of business before we were big enough to pose a real competitive threat to China’s rapidly growing market share,” Abound Solar CEO Craig Witsoe told Congress in 2012 after his company had declared bankruptcy.

In the years following the demise of Solyndra and Abound, U.S. solar panel producers successfully lobbied the Obama administration to slap tariffs on panels imported from China. In July, imposed tariffs between “26% and 42% on equipment made by several Chinese solar-panel makers,” The Wall Street Journal reports.”

So American pay high prices for solar—while the rest of the world only has to pay low prices. Why does Obama hate Americans so much?

SolarFactory

Solar Eclipse: 112 Solar Companies Have Closed Their Doors In 5 Years 

Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 12/8/14

Since 2009, 112 solar energy companies in the United States and European Union have declared bankruptcy, closed their doors or been acquired by competitors under suboptimal conditions, according to a list put together by Greentech Media.

To date, 76 solar companies have “closed, gone bankrupt, become insolvent” and another 36 have “ended up in assignment for benefit of creditors, or have been acquired in less than positive circumstances,” according to Greentech’s Eric Wesoff.

Greentech has been monitoring solar company closures since 2009, when only some five companies went bankrupt or closed and 5 more were acquired by other companies. But the number of bankruptcies and closures shot up dramatically by 2012 and 2013 to 38 and 20, respectively.

“That was when solar manufacturing overcapacity and price pressure brutally culled the field,” writes Wesoff. “The 2014 dead pool is much smaller and much less painful to view.”

So far in 2014, only eight solar companies have closed their doors while another four have “ended up in assignment for benefit of creditors, or have been acquired in less than positive circumstances,” according to Wesoff.

Wesoff argues, however, that while the list is somewhat “macabre” it’s a good sign for the industry as “solar companies left standing in 2015 are the firms with effective business plans and value to add to the marketplace.”

Solar industry bankruptcies became a hot-button issue in 2011 after Solyndra declared bankruptcy. The company went broke after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees from the Obama administration.

Solyndra was quickly followed by Abound Solar and other green energy companies backed by the federal government. Abound got a $400 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration, but only used $68 million before the government cut off funding in the wake of Solyndra’s scandalous bankruptcy.

Executives from Solyndra and Abound blamed China for their financial woes. They argued a flood of cheap solar panels from China were undercutting their ability to compete, since Chinese panels could be made more cheaply than U.S.-produced panels.

“With over $30 billion in reported government subsidies, Chinese panel makers were able to sell below cost and put Abound out of business before we were big enough to pose a real competitive threat to China’s rapidly growing market share,” Abound Solar CEO Craig Witsoe told Congress in 2012 after his company had declared bankruptcy.

In the years following the demise of Solyndra and Abound, U.S. solar panel producers successfully lobbied the Obama administration to slap tariffs on panels imported from China. In July, imposed tariffs between “26% and 42% on equipment made by several Chinese solar-panel makers,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The move has helped spur domestic solar manufacturing by making their more costly panels more economically viable. WSJ notes that Chinese panels “have been far cheaper than those produced in other countries, driving down overall prices in the U.S. by about two-thirds since 2010.”

Chinese panels now cost about “68 to 73 cents a watt, compared with an average of 83 cents for panels made in Europe, Japan and the U.S.,” WSJ reports.

In 2013, the EU came to an agreement with China on solar panel exports, but companies, led by German-based SolarWorld (which also led the tariff fight in the U.S.), are already accusing Chinese companies of selling panels below the minimum-allowed price.

Aside from high tariffs, solar panel producers benefit from a slew of federal, state and local subsidies and mandates aimed at increasing green energy production.

For example, solar panel users can get a 30 percent federal tax credit for “qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer,” according to the Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

Most states also have what are called Renewable Portfolio Standards. These are mandates that utilities get a certain amount of their power from green energy sources, like solar and wind, each year. California currently has the most aggressive RPS, requiring utilities to get 33 percent of their power from green energy by 2020.

 

Shock: California Drought NOT Caused by Al Gore Hot Air or “Climate Change”

Finally a government agency with the ability and desire to tell the truth. I am sure the leaders of this agency will find themselves either without a job or moved to an agency office in Nome, Alaska. Truth telling is obviously not allowed in the Obama Adminsitration or by the radical leaders of the Democrat Party.

“The preponderance of evidence is that the events of the last three winters was primarily due to the natural variability of the atmosphere ocean system,” said Richard Seager, professor with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of the report released on Monday.

Seager said that though ocean temperatures are rising, global warming did not play a significant role in the lack of rain plaguing the state. In fact, he said that as a result of warming, Californians can expect an increase in mid-winter rainfall.”

Someone needs to tell the Times (any variety) the Chronicle, the BEE, the Post, CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN. Sadly only Fox and a few blog sites will report on this—and the Jon Grubers will lie about the science and Obama will use tax dollars to promote the lies.

220px-Al_Gore

Drought’s cause more natural, less human-induced, NOAA finds

by Jed Kim, KPCC, 12/8/14

California’s drought is mostly the result of naturally occurring oceanic and atmospheric patterns, according to a report released Monday by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA

The current drought that has gripped California for the past three years is mainly the result of naturally occurring phenomena, according to a study sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The preponderance of evidence is that the events of the last three winters was primarily due to the natural variability of the atmosphere ocean system,” said Richard Seager, professor with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of the report released on Monday.

Seager said that though ocean temperatures are rising, global warming did not play a significant role in the lack of rain plaguing the state. In fact, he said that as a result of warming, Californians can expect an increase in mid-winter rainfall.

“The models are actually projecting, not overall drier conditions as a result of rising greenhouse gases, but a shorter, sharper rainy season,” Seager said.

Scientists with NOAA pointed out, though, that the resulting increased precipitation could be less beneficial, because warmer temperatures would lessen the amount that falls as snow.

Winter snow accumulation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is important for California, because it stores water for distribution as runoff later in the year.

As for the cause of the current drought, scientists said that a ridge of high pressure over the Western Pacific Ocean has kept most storms from California during the past three years. Its longevity led many to dub it the “ridiculously resilient ridge.”

Marty Hoerling, a researcher with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, said that the ridge of high pressure has dissipated and been replaced with a low-pressure system. Hoerling attributed that with recent rainstorms and ones forecast to hit the state later this week.

That new system appears to have gained its own alliterative name.

“Now we seem to be getting into what seems to be a lingering lousy low,” Hoerling said.

 

With Harvest Season, ‘Trimmigrants’ Flock To California’s Pot Capital

We need as many illegal aliens as possible for the harvest. We need college students and the homeless, for the harvest. One of the major California industries, the growing of marijuana, needs folks to trim the buds to help the growth of pot in the northern California forests. Illegal-but Obama, Brown and government pick and choose what laws they uphold—usually protecting their friends and harming their enemies.

The cops know of 100,000 pot plants—good. Now why don’t they start cutting them down—if they know the number they know the location. For some reason law enforcement is protecting growers. Where is Obama—he can protect illegal aliens, give billions to phony solar panel firms, wants to create racial harmony by using racist language and policies—if he really wanted to kill off the California pot growers he could (though he is unable to stop the terrorists attacking our consulates, citizens or property)

“Trimmers are paid by the pound, and fast trimmers can make $300-$500 a day, in cash and under the table — but of course if the place where you’re trimming gets busted, it could also land you in jail.

Some trimmigrants, like Fermin, give the impression they’re here to work. But the scene is also attracting drifters who hang around looking pretty drugged out. Locals say European youths often get hired over Americans, who are stereotyped as hippie kids.”

Cannabis marijuana weed pot

With Harvest Season, ‘Trimmigrants’ Flock To California’s Pot Capital

By Olivia Cueva, KQED–Youth Radio via NPR, 12/7/14

Northern California’s Humboldt County is known for its towering redwoods. But the region, about 200 miles north of San Francisco, has another claim to fame. Humboldt is to weed what Napa is to fine wine — it’s the heart of marijuana production in the United States.

Every fall, young people, mostly in their 20s, come from all over the world to work the marijuana harvest. They come seeking jobs as “trimmers” — workers who manicure the buds to get them ready for market. The locals have a name for these young migrant workers: “trimmigrants.”

There are more than 100,000 marijuana plants growing in the hills around Humboldt, the county sheriff’s office estimates. They all need to be harvested around the same time and processed quickly to avoid mold and other problems. So, from September through November, it’s all hands on deck. That’s where trimmigrants, also called scissor drifters, come in.

To understand this story, you need to know what trimming is. Marijuana grows like a huge bush, and the flower it produces is the marijuana bud. Trimmers manicure the buds, snipping off the leaves and stems and then shaping them with their scissors.

The idea is to make the weed stand out, so it sells well at medical marijuana dispensaries and on the street.

Garberville, a tiny town of about 900 residents in Humboldt, swarms with trimmigrants during the season — girls and guys with big, bulky backpacks and pit bulls. Many of them look like modern-day hobos.

I meet Fermin, a 24-year-old artist from Tennessee, at the far end of town. Like all the trimmers I spoke with, Fermin would use only his first name. Trimming for an illegal operation could make him an accessory to a drug crime.

“I heard you could get work pretty easy,” Fermin says. “The reality is it’s taking a little bit longer than I expected.”

Fermin has been here for about a month and hasn’t found any work yet. It’s getting colder and the rains are coming. He sleeps in the woods just outside town and dumpster-dives for food. Until he finds a job trimming weed, he gets by on selling his art and playing music on the street.

‘We Cannot House These People’

Trimmers are paid by the pound, and fast trimmers can make $300-$500 a day, in cash and under the table — but of course if the place where you’re trimming gets busted, it could also land you in jail.

Some trimmigrants, like Fermin, give the impression they’re here to work. But the scene is also attracting drifters who hang around looking pretty drugged out. Locals say European youths often get hired over Americans, who are stereotyped as hippie kids.

Kristin Nevedal says migrant trimmers are everywhere, obstructing local businesses and damaging the river with their squatter camps. Nevedal is a local resident and co-founder of the Emerald Growers Association, a group of 400 marijuana farmers all over California.

“This is not the fun vacation thing to do, right? To like, show up in Garberville in the fall and see if you can get a job,” Nevedal says. “We cannot house these people. Like, don’t come unless you have a job.”

According to the county sheriffs, the majority of growers in Humboldt are operating illegally. So hiring strangers from the side of the road, they say, puts the growers at risk.

There is risk for trimmers, too. Every year, some go missing, and trimmers have even been killed. They often work in remote areas with no cellphone service or running water, sleeping in tents. Sometimes they don’t even know where they are.

Tim Blake has been growing marijuana since the ’70s. His collective, Healing Harvest Farms, is just south, in Mendocino County. Blake’s is a small farm, and it’s legal. He grows 25 plants — the county limit for medicinal marijuana — but the plants are huge.

“Look at the different colors,” Blake says, showing off his plants. “You got the purples, then you got the dark greens, the light greens.”

Blake’s marijuana plants look almost like small trees. They’re 10 feet high and he says each one will produce about 8 pounds of weed.

“As soon as you squeeze it, you can feel the resin on it,” says Blake, handling a plant. “It gets right on your fingers. It’s like, all over it.”

Good Pay — At Least For Now

Blake brings me to the trimming room where six people, most in their 20s, are sitting and snipping away. Out of concern that a stranger could steal his entire harvest, which is worth almost a quarter-million dollars, Blake hires only trimmers he knows.

“You’re sitting here all day long,” says a trimmer named Bishma, a local who does catering work that mostly supports his wife and two kids. But during the fall harvest, he lives on the farm full time.

“Some people think I sit eight hours at a job,” says Bishma, “[but] it’s like we’re sitting here 14 hours. And it’s the same repetitive motion over and over and over again, so people just go to town and just, like, listen to every kind of music they can.”

Music is a big part of trimming, and the faster the music, the faster the trimmers snip. I watch as their scissors sync with the beat.

Lots of locals depend on marijuana for part of their livelihood. For young people who manage to get into the trimmigrant workforce, it’s a job so lucrative that some can make all of their money for the year during the three-month harvest.

But as laws around the country change — making marijuana legal — analysts say the pay scale is bound to go down, making trimming more like any other low-paid farmwork.

And, like farmwork across the country, marijuana production is already becoming mechanized — gradually making trimmigrants a thing of the past.

California Considering “Earned Income Tax” Payment to Illegal Aliens

 The Feds, since Nixon, have given money to criminals, illegal aliens and the lazy. All they have to do is file a tax form, legitimate or not, and under a formula instead of paying taxes, get money from hard working taxpayers.

Now that Obama is going to make sure over five million criminals from foreign nations are given amnesty, one million or more in California can be given amnesty AND paid for breaking our law. Democrats in Sacramento are now looking at creating a California version of the Earned Income Tax—so not only will it cost us more than $21 billion a year in California to protect and make comfortable illegal aliens, we could start PAYING them for breaking the law! Makes you want to earn more so you can be taxed more so more illegal aliens can get paid! LOL

“As our report outlines, there are plenty of reasons to pass a state EITC. Not only would it give more than 3 million households additional economic support, it would also help rebalance California’s tax system, which currently asks the lowest-income households to pay the largest share of their income in taxes. Further, a state EITC would help strengthen California’s safety net. It’s a smart approach to the crisis of poverty in California.”

The really smart Californians will start the trek to Texas—Go Cowboys.

Obama immigration Thanksgiving

Top Things to Know About a State EITC for California

California Budget Bites, Luke Reidenbach, 12/8/12

As policymakers grapple with how to ensure economic security for the 5.6 million Californians living in poverty, one option needs to be part of the discussion: a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). A state EITC could give millions of Californians a much-needed economic boost by building on the successful federal EITC, a tax credit that has been instrumental in lifting families out of poverty and helping them make ends meet.

How would a state EITC work in California? And what should policymakers consider when designing one? Last week, we released a report answering these questions. Here are some of the most important things to know about a state EITC:

  • To be effective, a state EITC must be refundable. While Californians pay a variety of state and local taxes — and low-income households on average pay a larger share of their income on taxes than do higher-income households — many low-income households do not pay income tax because of its graduated structure. If a tax credit is refundable, then a taxpayer receives the credit even if they do not owe any income tax. This is key if policymakers want a state EITC to reach those who would most benefit from it. A refundable state EITC would reach about one in five California families, while a nonrefundable state EITC would reach less than 0.5 percent of California families.
  • A state EITC is typically set as a percentage of the federal credit. Generally, a state EITC is directly based off the federal EITC and will simply “add on” to what the federal credit provides. (For additional detail on how the federal EITC works, see this useful summary.) This means that the main features of a state EITC — who is eligible for a credit and how the size of the credit varies for different types of households — are already established. If California were to pursue this path, one of the most important decisions is at what percentage of the federal EITC to set the California credit. The higher this percentage, the larger the credit to families. For example, a refundable, 15 percent state credit would provide, on average, a $321 tax credit to families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution, while a 30 percent credit would provide an average tax credit worth $638 to these families.
  • A state EITC structured as a simple add-on to the federal credit would primarily benefit families with children. Under this model, a larger share of families with children than without children would receive a credit, and the credit would be, on average, substantially larger for families with children. For example, if California had a refundable state EITC that was 15 percent of the federal credit, a little more than one-third of families with at least one child (36 percent) would receive a credit, compared to just 7 percent of households without children (see table). Moreover, the average credit for families with at least one child would be $481, compared to just $61 for childless adults.

As our report outlines, there are plenty of reasons to pass a state EITC. Not only would it give more than 3 million households additional economic support, it would also help rebalance California’s tax system, which currently asks the lowest-income households to pay the largest share of their income in taxes. Further, a state EITC would help strengthen California’s safety net. It’s a smart approach to the crisis of poverty in California. In the coming weeks, additional posts on this blog will look in depth at different aspects of a state EITC.

Fleischman: Top 10 Tips For Newly-Elected Republican State Legislators in CA

Thanks to the results of the November election the Democrats will no longer be able to pass tax increases, without a couple of Republicans in the Assembly and Senate voting with Guv Brown. Also, emergency legislation will not be able to be passed without a couple of GOP’ers vote with the Democrats. But the budget can pass without a single Republican vote. Giving illegal aliens benefits like “Earned Income Tax” credits can be passed without GOP assistance. Appointments, environmental law, continuation of funding the choo choo train, nothing the GOP can do in the Capitol will make a difference.

All Republicans can do is set the record for some more victories in 2016. They can show that the low paying jobs, the part time jobs, the failed schools, the lack of quality health care, is because of Democrat policies. We need to get the public angry at the power hungry Democrats that have made the former Golden State a Third World State instead.

My good friend Job Fleischman has written a primer on how the legislative GOP should operate, to make their case in the least controversial way.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE — It is important to remember that at every single meeting that you take, or participate in, the taxpayers have a representative in the room: YOU. The people don’t hire lobbyists–YOU are their advocate in the Capitol. Last year I had a conversation with a GOP legislator after they cast a disappointing vote to extend a very regressive tax. One comment they made that I will always remember was, “But I heard from so many articulate policy experts about why extending the tax as a good idea–and no one came to my office to lobby against it.” Stay grounded, and remember that YOU are that lobbyist for the taxpaying citizens of California.”

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Top 10 Tips For Newly-Elected Republican State Legislators in CA

by Jon Fleischman, Breitbart CA,   12/3/14

With the dust from the November election now settling, Republicans managed to pick up a handful of legislative seats, but head into the coming session almost hopelessly outnumbered by their Democrat colleagues. This year finds a large number of newly elected GOP members, to whom I offer some constructive words of wisdom.

10. OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE — Humility is a quality for which you should constantly strive. You will be offered goodies and inducements from influence-seekers. These will be offers of free trips to Hawaii or other international locales; fancy dinners; golf at fancy resorts–all of which leads to voter cynicism. It’s okay to reject stuff!

9. TALK TO THE PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT MATTERS — Focus your speeches, releases, and social media efforts on challenging what the Democrats, who are in control, are doing. No one cares to hear about your authoring innocuous bills that don’t move the needle. Welcome to the loyal opposition–speak out!

8. FACE IT, YOU’RE GOING TO GET BIG — Of course in the Capitol everyone will treat you like you are the state’s version of royalty. And this could make your head grow big. But as a more practical matter it is a well known fact that newly elected legislators actually get physically larger, putting on the pounds  Someone told me it’s like an average of around 20-25 pounds, which is no laughing matter.  It’s not a complicated formula: MORE SITTING + LESS EXERCISE + CONSTANT ACCESS TO ALCOHOL AND FOOD = GIRTH EXPANSION. So the practical advice–use the stairs in the Capitol, and if you are hitting multiple receptions, save that drink and those munchies for the last one.

7. KNOW YOUR COLLEAGUES — While it may seem like all of your new Democrat colleagues are all the same (the best analogy may be that school of Moonfish in Finding Nemo), you might actually be surprised that they each have their own names.  A number of years ago I was hanging around at a legislator’s home in Sacramento, who was entertaining a bunch of his fellow legislators, and there was a discussion around the backyard fireplace about that day’s floor session. It was kind of painful having a five-year incumbent using physical characteristics to describe one of his Assembly colleagues because he simply did not know his name.  Perhaps have your staff put together flash cards to help you remember. The benefits of knowing all of those Democrats by name may seem unclear, given that they all vote like they are part of the Borg, but there is merit in not looking stupid.

6. SO CALLED BI-PARTISAN COOPERATION IS A ONE WAY STREET — Some of you (especially those that served in local elected office) may be arriving to the Capitol seeking to work with your Democrat colleagues towards mutual policy goals. You will very quickly learn that bipartisanship in Sacramento is really just about the need of the Democrats to get YOUR vote to raise taxes–or getting you to channel your inner liberal and use the power of government to pick winners and losers (such as raising car taxes on the people, unrepresented by lobbyists, to then redistribute that money to businesses, represented by lobbyists, to give them regulatory relief–true example). I can think of no example to share with you of bipartisan cooperation in Sacramento leading to smaller, leaner state government (except maybe when the recession forced cuts).

5. TARGETED TAX CREDIT B.S. — “But as the minority party this is the only tax relief I ever get to vote on”–words I’ve heard too many times from beleaguered GOP legislators. Let’s be sure we all understand what happens with industry-specific special treatment. You are the LAST STOP.  Long before that special treatment legislation gets to the floor, big bucks have been transacted by those seeking the special treatment–such as funding the Speakers Cup, and all of the other big-ticket Democrat Party fundraising events. When the tithing has reached its apex, suddenly the gift of public money takes place, and then Republicans just go along for the ride. Never mind that these “targeted” credits make our state’s woes even worse, created a legislated unfairness in how different people are treated under the law. No offense to those in manufacturing, or aerospace–but where is my blog publisher’s tax credit?

4. THE STATE’S PULIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS HAVE PURCHASED THE LEGISLATURE — Understand that, with just a few exceptions, the CTA, SEIU and their ilk can and will get the votes of Democrat legislators whenever they insist on it. Period.

3. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE — It is important to remember that at every single meeting that you take, or participate in, the taxpayers have a representative in the room:YOU. The people don’t hire lobbyists–YOU are their advocate in the Capitol. Last year I had a conversation with a GOP legislator after they cast a disappointing vote to extend a very regressive tax. One comment they made that I will always remember was, “But I heard from so many articulate policy experts about why extending the tax as a good idea–and no one came to my office to lobby against it.” Stay grounded, and remember that YOU are that lobbyist for the taxpaying citizens of California.

2. GOOD ADVICE ABOUNDS, SEEK IT OUT — Talk to your colleagues, and talk to those who have served and now are back in the private sector. Wisdom is power. Also, follow the Laws Of The Public Policy Process.

1. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS, AND FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS — It doesn’t take a degree in mathematics or physics to understand that if in every game their team puts 78 players on the field and you have 42 players, your team is going to lose over, and over, and over again. Picking up a few legislative seats to go from super-minority status to nearly-super-minority status is an incremental gain, to be sure, but it does not really change the reality of your life as a GOP legislator in California–you are on defense, all of the time (unless you cut some deal and cast your vote to use the coercive power of government to screw over someone). Ignore the lame media spin that you are only effective as a legislator if you pass bills, since any bills of significance that pass pretty much suck. Focus your efforts outside of the Capitol, working to make sure next season more players on the field are wearing your team’s jersey.

Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor of Breitbart California. A longtime participant, observer and chronicler of California politics, Jon is also the publisher at www.flashreport.org. His column appears weekly on this page.