LA City Council Pulls the Plug … Street Tax of $4.5 Billion Hits too Many Pot Holes

Finally the Los Angeles government has overreached. Phony Tony, the former Mayor of LA convinced voters to tax themselves one billion dollars for more cops. He got the money the city, did not get the cops. In government, money is fungible. Now the new radical Mayor, Eric Garcetti, wanted $4.5 billion to fill potholes—though he did not spend money already in the budget for pothole filling, money is fungible. The people have caught on, know that LA City Hall is less truthful than the Obama White House. The tax increase would have been defeated—the poor and middle class of LA could not afford this massive tax increase.

“In March of 2013, 55% of the City’s voters rejected Proposition A, the permanent half cent increase in our sales tax because the electorate did not trust City Hall to live within its means.

This represented a dramatic 25% swing from four months earlier when over 70% of the City’s voters approved Governor Brown’s Proposition 30, a $6 billion increase in our sales and income taxes.”

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Council Pulls the Plug … Street Tax Hits too Many Pot Holes

Written by Jack Humphreville, City Watch, 6/10/14

The City Council will not place the half cent, $4.5 billion increase in our sales tax on the November ballot because the lack of trust in City Hall makes the odds of a majority of voters approving this measure slim. And achieving the necessary two-thirds approval is even more of long shot.

Under the “Save Our Streets – LA” program to repair our lunar cratered streets, the City would increase our regressive sales tax by a half cent to a job killing 9 ½ %, one of the highest rates in the country. Over the next fifteen years, this tax would funnel $4.5 billion into the city’s coffers to fund a twenty year street reconstruction program.

But the City Council is fighting an uphill battle as it is holding our streets hostage for a princely ransom.

In March of 2013, 55% of the City’s voters rejected Proposition A, the permanent half cent increase in our sales tax because the electorate did not trust City Hall to live within its means.

This represented a dramatic 25% swing from four months earlier when over 70% of the City’s voters approved Governor Brown’s Proposition 30, a $6 billion increase in our sales and income taxes.

Any trust or confidence was further eroded when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced shortly after the vote that the City had miraculously found $375 million in new revenue and pension savings, an amount considerably in excess of the proceeds from the increase in the sales tax.  As a result, the City did not have to downsize the police force, a threat that had been broadcasted through a multimillion dollar advertising campaign financed by City Hall supplicants designed to persuade voters to approve this one off tax which would pay for even more increases in salaries, pensions, and benefits.

The proposed Street Tax measure is also fatally flawed as the “pavement preservation program” will not have the resources to maintain and repair our existing inventory of good streets.  Nor is there any provision that requires the City to have “good to excellent” streets at the end of twenty years, putting the next generation of Angelenos in the same fix we are in today.

SOS – LA also does not provide for adequate oversight of this program, the largest infrastructure project in the City’s history.  Under the proposed plan, the Citizens Oversight Committee would consist of nine political appointees.  But what is the likelihood that these people would have the necessary expertise and experience to oversee such a complicated undertaking or that they would be provided with the resources to hire independent consultants to provide expert advice?

And even if this Oversight Committee had the necessary expertise and adequate resources, would it have any enforcement powers? Doubtful, meaning we have to rely on the judgment of the fiscally irresponsible City Council.

There is also considerable infighting at City Hall as County transportation proponents believe that if the City’s half cent increase in the sales to 9 ½ % is successful, it will jeopardize the County’s efforts to increase the sales tax in November of 2016.  A 10% sales tax would be tough for two-thirds of the voters to swallow.

The environmental community also wants the City to address a number of its initiatives, including devoting resources to help fund the County’s Stormwater Master Plan designed to control urban runoff from our streets that pollutes the Santa Monica Bay.

There is also a slugfest over the proposed use of qualified third party contractors as the City’s unions are demanding a major piece of the action.

But the use of City street repair work crews has come under intense scrutiny as a result of CBS 2 News investigative reporter David Goldstein’s on air expose about work crews goofing off on company time and then falsifying their work logs.

Controller Ron Galperin is also expected to issue an unflattering audit of the Bureau of Street Services that includes over twenty recommendations to improve its operations, its control systems, and its leadership.

The proposed Street Tax is just another one off deal from our City Council, the same wizards who raided the Reserve Fund for $129 million to “balance” this year’s budget despite record revenues.  It is also same Council that has refused to address real budget reform despite having liabilities for unfunded pensions, deferred maintenance, and outstanding debt of over $30 billion. They are content to dump this burden on the next generation of Angelenos.

No wonder the voters do not trust the City Council.

Now is the time to drop the proposed half cent increase in our sales tax.

Rather, the City needs to develop a transparent street repair plan in a partnership with the Neighborhood Councils, the business community, homeowners, renters, and other interested parties who are not affiliated with the City.

And any plan must address financial reform which will require the City to engage in long term planning, pass two year balanced budgets, and over the next twenty years, repair our streets and sidewalks and fully fund its two underwater pension plans.

In other words, like the rest of us, the City must be required to Live Within its Means.

 

Denham Plans to Block High Speed Rail Funding with Amendment

The choo choo train to nowhere, for nobody (except the unions and special interests) is having problems finding funding. Brown wants to use a massive gas tax increase in January to pay for it, use cap and trade money for it, and money found behind the cushions. At the same time he claims a surplus while the Controller announced we have a $8.5 billion cash deficit. Happily our congressional delegation is also working to stop the Feds from funding this boondoggle.

“California’s high speed rail project comes nowhere close to what voters supported with Prop 1A in 2008,” said Rep. Denham (R-CA). “Ridership numbers have decreased, ride times have slowed and estimated costs have skyrocketed. The CA HSR Authority has no viable plan to secure state funds or private money and in the meantime has spent billions in taxpayer dollars. Congress cannot authorize spending any more money on a project without a future.”

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Denham Plans to Block High Speed Rail Funding with Amendment

Written by  Noel Daniel, Turlock City News, 6/9/14 

 

On June 6, U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) announced his intention to prevent appropriated funds from being used for the High Speed Rail (HSR) in the state of California.

Denham stated he would introduce an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, H.R. 4745 on June 9 in order to achieve these ends.

“California’s high speed rail project comes nowhere close to what voters supported with Prop 1A in 2008,” said Rep. Denham. “Ridership numbers have decreased, ride times have slowed and estimated costs have skyrocketed. The CA HSR Authority has no viable plan to secure state funds or private money and in the meantime has spent billions in taxpayer dollars. Congress cannot authorize spending any more money on a project without a future.”
According to the California High-Speed Rail Authority website, Governor Edmund G. Brown highlighted the benefits of the HSR in his State of the State address, even declaring that it was a priority for his Administration.

“Electrified trains are part of the future,” Gov. Brown said in his address. “China already has 5000 miles of high speed rail and intends to double that. Spain has 1600 miles and is building more. More than a dozen other countries have their own successful high speed rail systems. Even Morocco is building one.”

Also in 2012, the Legislature approved the Budget Act of 2012 which would approve nearly $8 billion in federal and state funds for the construction of the first HSR in the Central Valley, according to the California HSR Authority website.

In January, Rep. Denham introduced the Responsible Rail and Deterring Deficiency Act (H.R. 3893), which was supported by every member of the California Republican delegation. The aim of the Act was to suspend all federal funding to California’s HSR project.

Rep. Denham also added an amendment to the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7) in February 2012. This amendment was to ensure that highway bill income could not be spent on the California HSR.

 

 

Hidden tax will mean double-digit increase in gas tax costs

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Hidden tax will mean double-digit increase in gas costs

By Senator Mike Morrell, 5/23/14

Summer travel season is right around the corner, and we’re already seeing gas prices at more than four dollars a gallon. But perhaps this time next year, we may be reminiscing about “the good old days” when gas was so “cheap,” as another new regulation coming out of Sacramento is about to raise the cost at the pump even higher.

The California Air Resources Board has been working to implement regulations that create a new “hidden” gas tax, which will take effect January 1, 2015. If you’re wondering why you’re just now hearing about it, you’re not alone. Legislators passed AB 32, the legislation at the root of this hidden tax, back in 2006. While the law has affected other industries over the past few years, you may not have been impacted. However, when transportation fuels come under the cap-and-trade regulations created by AB 32 this January, we expect at least a 12-cents per gallon increase or more!

The fuels market can be volatile, so it’s difficult to predict what the exact increase will be. Some, including Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, have suggested we could see the new regulation lead to increases in the 40-cents per gallon range in the near future.

This increase will be in addition to the 70-cents per gallon we already pay in gas taxes, which means next year, we’ll be paying nearly a dollar per gallon in taxes and fees!

What’s worse, not a penny of the money from this new hidden tax will go to improving our freeways and roads. Instead this money goes back to Sacramento for politicians in the majority party and political appointees to do with as they please. Ironically, although AB 32’s intent is to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions, the governor and like-minded legislative leaders want to use the money from this new hidden tax to pay for the high-speed rail boondoggle and myriad other pet projects that won’t help our air quality at all.

Those of us who live here in the Inland Empire know that the recession is far from over. Our unemployment rate is still high and empty storefronts and foreclosed homes still permeate our neighborhoods.

Increases in the cost of gas, approximately 40-cents per gallon or more, are extremely regressive. Those who can afford it the least are always hurt the most. For families struggling to make ends meet, transportation costs already take up as much as 40 percent of the household budget. Imagine what this new increase in the cost of fuel will do?

Californians are being punished for using a car to drive to and from work, drive their kids’ carpool and run errands in their neighborhoods. This new tax would only make things worse for those of us who live in regions without viable transportation alternatives and who just want to provide for our families.

We should all be concerned about the absolute power and authority this one out-of-touch agency has over our lives and our pocketbooks.

If this tax goes into full effect, it will be another big hit to our economy, just as our friends and neighbors are finally getting back on their feet. The tax will also put more strain on our state’s shrinking middle class. It’s the last thing our region – or frankly any region in this state – needs.

 

Arnold Hired First Time Bridge Builder to Fix Bay Bridge—Still NOT Fixed

Arnold was an amateur governor but a professional fondler. In so many ways he harmed the State of California. The Bay Bridge in San Fran had to be fixed. Instead of using an American company or at least a company that had experience in bridge making and fixing, he gave the contract to a Chinese firm, with NO experience. Since then welds have been wrong, questions about the steel used have arisen, it is an expensive mess, eight years later still not completed.

Behind schedule, the criteria for the work was loosened. Every time you go across the bridge remember the government decided NOT to fix it with modern standards and even allowed cracks to stay. Feel safe driving across the bridge?

“Caltrans even eased U.S. standards because ZPMC was not getting the job done quickly enough, overriding bridge-welding codes and normal requirements for new bridge construction. Caltrans said some of the cracks in the welds left by ZPMC were unimportant “and left them in place to hurry construction along, Caltrans documents show,” according to the Sacramento Bee.”

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Chinese Company Hired to Fix Bay Bridge ‘Had Never Built a Bridge’

by William Bigelow. Breitbart LA, 6/8/14

In a burgeoning scandal that has been reported by the Sacramento Bee regarding the repair of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a new fact has come to light: the Chinese company hired to fix the bridge, Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. Ltd., (ZPMC), had never built a bridge.

The Chinese company was, in fact, a manufacturer of giant cranes for container ports.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) hired ZPMC in 2006 because its bid was $250 million less than the competing bidder.

Caltrans feared that the bridge might collapse from an earthquake, and so it chose a company known for its speed. Caltrans asked Jim Merrill, a senior materials contractor, to evaluate ZPMC’s capability, and Merrill gave ZPMC a “contingent pass,” calling the company “high risk.” He pointed out that ZPMC lacked the requisite number of qualified welders or inspectors and often welded in the rain, which could cause defects.

Caltrans hired ZPMC anyway, even stating later in a news release that the repairs showed “zero defects.” Brian Maroney, chief engineer for the bridge, recently defended the hiring of ZPMC, saying the audit’s “contingent pass” made ZPMC more aware that it had to be careful.

Caltrans even eased U.S. standards because ZPMC was not getting the job done quickly enough, overriding bridge-welding codes and normal requirements for new bridge construction. Caltrans said some of the cracks in the welds left by ZPMC were unimportant “and left them in place to hurry construction along, Caltrans documents show,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

Maroney claimed ZPMC’s automated welding process had results that were first-rate, even though Caltrans documents reveal hundreds of millions of dollars were shelled out to fix problems ZPMC left behind. Doug Coe, a high-level Caltrans engineer, told a California Senate committee hearing in January that if ZPMC couldn’t handle the job, “it should have been taken away from them and built someplace else… there’s no excuse for building something defective like that because we are in a race for time.”

The Sacramento Bee has been reporting for years about the problems with the bridge, including weak foundation concrete, broken anchor rods, and rust on the suspension span’s main cable. The state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and the California Highway Patrol are investigating the problems with the welds on the bridge, but Caltrans officials are rigidly defending their actions before the Senate. Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said, “It has been a winding road to get here, but we are here. We have achieved seismic safety for the bridge.”

Committee chair Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) harshly disagreed, saying Caltrans had made “a deliberate and willful… attempt to obfuscate.” Coe admitted, “If you have to go up on the decks and start taking lane closures and scrape off all the asphalt and do deck repairs for months and months and months, that certainly could affect public welfare,” but added that professional engineers must report such things, which Coe and his colleagues did. He concluded by pointing out that after the report is made, Caltrans is free to accept cracks and defects if the structure is still “fit for purpose.”

 

Who is bigger lawbreaker—Barack Obama or Jerry Brown?

President Obama illegal traded 5 terrorists’ leaders for an alleged deserter/traitor. He did that without asking Congress per the law. His EPA has issued rules to kill over 500,000 energy industry jobs and explode the cost of energy to hard working citizens. Guv Brown claims a budget surplus while the State Controller says we have a $10 billion cash deficit. Both claim unemployment has dropped, while the actual number is 6-7% higher—when you count ALL the unemployed that want jobs.

Both believe criminals, people who by law should be deported should instead receive driver’s licenses. To me the question of who is the bigger liar is a tie. Oh, since when does the Federal government tell a State how to design a drivers license? Since when does a State give criminals driver’s licenses and does not turn the people into the Feds for deportation?

“Since Department of Homeland Security issued its critical memo, immigration advocates have worried the DMV would change the licenses to look so distinctive that immigrants would feel like targets using them, and perhaps avoid applying for them.

But it appears the state is standing firm even as it seeks DHS approval under the federal Real ID Act. Legal experts say California has some leverage in getting its way, given Real ID’s relative unpopularity.”

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DMV pushes plan for immigrant driver’s license, despite federal reproach

Josie Huang, KPCC, 6/9/14

Lizette Mata of the California DMV addresses meeting-goers at the Dolores Mission in Boyle Heights.

In May, federal officials told California that its proposed driver’s license for immigrants in the country illegally had a major design flaw: it looked too much like a regular license.

But instead of coming back with changes, state officials have spent the last month making the case for the original design.

“It’s totally around the initial design,” said Armando Botello, spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles. “It is our intent to try to persuade them to approve that model. ”

Since Department of Homeland Security issued its critical memo, immigration advocates have worried the DMV would change the licenses to look so distinctive that immigrants would feel like targets using them, and perhaps avoid applying for them.

But it appears the state is standing firm even as it seeks DHS approval under the federal Real ID Act. Legal experts say California has some leverage in getting its way, given Real ID’s relative unpopularity.

Congress created the law in 2005 to boost national security by setting minimum standards for state IDs so they can be used with equal confidence at federal facilities and commercial airports around the country. But 10 years later, only 21 states are in compliance.  The rest — including California — are working towards compliance, or have refused to comply altogether.

If the federal government were to persist in rejecting California’s design for immigrant licenses, that would throw California out of conformity with Real ID, said Annie Lai, an assistant law professor at UC Irvine.

“DHS would certainly be taking a strong stand if it wanted to hold up compliance for the largest state and for that reason DHS may want to take another look at California’s driver’s license,” Lai said.

Another scenario — though a remote one, according to Lai —is this: DHS chooses to penalize the state and refuses to recognize all California driver’s licenses.

“Theoretically, that could mean in a couple of years, California residents with their drivers’ licenses would not be able to board commercial airlines. But my sense is that does not seem likely,” Lai said.

A DHS spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

Kevin Johnson, dean of the UC Davis School of Law, did not foresee repercussions for California if state officials went ahead and issued its original design. He doubted that DHS would take any legal action against the state.

“This is not a battle that I think (the Obama) administration wants to engage in at this point in time when they’re trying to get an immigration proposal through Congress,” Johnson said.

Under the current design proposal, the new license would bear a “DP” for driver’s privilege instead of “DL” and the back of the card would indicated it was not to be used as federal ID.

A network of 40 community groups, including the Coalition For Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, restated their support for the current design — as outlined in the law AB 60 — and said they would not stand for more markings on the licenses.

“This is away for people to step out of the shadows,” said Apolonio Morales, CHIRLA’s political director. “It should not be a way to put them in a situation where someone will call (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on them because someone found out they were undocumented.”

Advocates ideally would like licenses for immigrants without legal status to look no different than those for other drivers, as is the case in Washington state. But California has been trying to comply with the Real ID act: it’s one of 21 states that got an extension to meet the law’s requirements (it expires Oct. 10, 2014 but is renewable.) Washington, one the other hand, is one of 12 states considered “noncompliant” by DHS.

The standoff between the state and DHS has to end soon. By state statute, the DMV must start issuing the new type of licenses by January.

 

Nearly 1 Million Californians Without Insurance Because Of Covered California Communication Problems

Guv Brown was so proud of the fact that millions joined government subsidized health care programs in the State. Of course there are no more doctors or hospitals to take care of their needs. He had to add $1.2 billion to the budget to pay for the expansion. Now we learn there are 900,000 that cannot get covered, for months, due to the incompetence of Sacramento. Imagine the costs when these 900,000 are added to the rolls and show up for a shot, a sickness or operation.

Brown/Obama lied and people died.

“CBS13 has received several Facebook posts from viewers like Melissa Young who have been affected.

She wrote, “My son’s coverage has been in limbo since February. He has no case worker yet, and every time I call, they say they have fixed the problem and to wait until the first of the following month. Nothing is fixed and I call again. Repeat.”

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Nearly 1 Million Californians Without Insurance Because Of Covered California Communication Problems

Anjali Hemphill, CBS13, 6/4/14 

Nearly 1 million Californians are still waiting to get insurance after a communication problem between Covered California and the state and county systems.

About 900,000 Californians who enrolled for Medi-Cal this year are still waiting for their official ID card that will give them eligibility.

The Department of Health Care Services says it has 45 days to process applications once they’ve been submitted. Those who enrolled from October to December were told their coverage would start in January.

But instead, some people’s information got stuck in limbo because of communication issues with the Covered California website.

“With the state’s computer system, and the counties’ computer systems, we’ve worked together for years, decades,” said spokesman Norman Williams. “Covered California is new, so we have to have those computer systems talking to each other and exchanging information, and that’s proven to be kind of a difficult task.”

CBS13 has received several Facebook posts from viewers like Melissa Young who have been affected.

She wrote, “My son’s coverage has been in limbo since February. He has no case worker yet, and every time I call, they say they have fixed the problem and to wait until the first of the following month. Nothing is fixed and I call again. Repeat.”

Williams says some people haven’t been enrolled yet, because they still need to verify their information.

“We’ve mailed letters to them and reached out but we need to get that back before we can enroll them,” he said.

But because of recent technical issues with the Covered California website, he says it’s not clear when anyone still waiting will be officially enrolled.

“We are devoting all the resources we can to make this work and to get them into coverage,” he said. “It’s our top priority right now

 

More Bikes Stolen in San Fran Than Cars? Nope—Just LOTS of Thefts

In 2011 there were 4552 cars stolen in San Fran, but in 2013 there were “only” 2500 bicycles stolen in the city. Of course the bikes are not registered, difficult to find and more difficult to prove ownership. Since the bikes are easy to transport, they can wind up in Oakland or Marin without any problem. Since the city has a policy of discouraging cars and promoting bikes, expect in the long run the numbers to reverse—more bike thefts than cars stolen.

How do they police work to get them back? They use “twitter”. No kidding, this is a modern up to date department using the Internet, as if citizens spend their days looking at the Internet for stolen property. Oh, maybe this technique could save money on murder and robbery investigations—who needs a detective when you have Facebook. Is it possible that San Fran is the wackiest city in the nation? They have my vote.

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Where Bicycles Are Stolen in San Francisco

And these are only the ones that get reported.

John Metcalfe, City Lab, 6/9/14

Where are bike poachers most active in San Francisco? For an answer, try scanning this enlightening map from data outfit Seismograph: It shows the 813 reported bicycle thefts of 2013 laid out as angry-red blotches (much like the ones on your face the last time this happened to you).

Smaller circles represent one purloined bike; the concentric, target-looking circles show the sites of multiple thefts. Write the folks at Seismograph (motto: “To be honest, we’re not entirely sure what Seismograph is yet”):

The trends are somewhat as expected. Market Street between 6th and 4th, the Ferry Building, CCSF, 16th and Mission BART and the general hospital are all popular spots for bike theft. Nonetheless, I still found the dataset interesting.

The largest grouping of thefts, around the Powell Street BART, makes sense: It’s a hub of commuter and tourist activity where stealing might be lost in the bustle of the crowd. (It’s also near a large, open-air drug market, which may or may not influence the numbers of bikes going AWOL.) And the preponderance of stealing in the Mission likely has something to do with the neighborhood’s bike-loving populace: walking there at times can be like navigating through a highly fashion-conscious velodrome.

Seismograph has also put together a crude timeline of bike thefts based on the police statements of the unwillingly bike-deprived:

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition estimates that a bike is stolen in the city every three hours, which if accurate would represent a much larger theft rate than what’s represented in the 2013 data. The local police are well aware of the problem. They run a responsive Twitter account that asks people to send pictures of their missing rides. And this year, they’re experimenting with putting “bait bikes” of various conditions around town; when thieves take one, hidden GPS trackers and RFID tags lead a trail to their doorstep. The cops say this effort has led to several arrests.

Anyone worried about having their bike ganked can also indulge in the police department’s psychological-warfare campaign: It’s flooding the city with thousands of stickers that read, “Is This A Bait Bike?” Head to any district station to get one, then slap it on your frame and have fun messing with the heads of would-be thieves.

 

Government Unions Demanding Bigger Budget Breakers—Prove Control of State Operations

Guv Brown has a $10 billion cash deficit and $340 billion debt for the former Golden State. He is very confused when he claims he has a surplus and a balanced budget. The numbers prove him wrong and too many in the legislature prefer to believe a confused man than the audited numbers of the State.

The unions do not care if we have a surplus or a deficit—they own the State government and demand wages and benefits regardless of the real ability to pay. What can they do? Go to a State government building in July and see if the air conditioning works, the water is running and the buildings are clean.

It will be a long, hot, dirty summer in California government buildings if the unions are not given what they want, with a smile..

“Crouch said last week that the union would need to get a deal done by mid-June to give the Legislature time to act on it before they take their July recess. Right around that same time, members of California Association of Professional Scientists will send out ballots to members who will vote whether to ratify a contract that is very similar to the deal the operating engineers rejected.”

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Fallout from California state union’s contract rejection ripples through system

By Jon Ortiz, Fresno Bee, 6/9/14

TO SEE COMPLETE STORY CLICK ON HEADLINE

So what’s next, now that the International Union of Operating Engineers’ members in state Bargaining Unit 13 have rejected their contract and authorized their board to call a strike?

• If history is a guide, it’s unlikely that engineers would walk off the job. The law forbids it and no state-employee union under gubernatorial authority has ever staged a strike. But there are plenty of other things the engineers could do.

The 850 employees in the union operate vast heating, cooling and water delivery systems for prisons, state parks and other government-run facilities around the state. Work slowdowns or a sickout could impact operations statewide, including those at the Capitol. Those actions, like striking, also are illegal but can be more difficult to prosecute.

“Those buildings could get awfully hot. And we have 140 water operators in state parks,” IUOE negotiator Steve Crouch said in a telephone interview last week. “Not that I’m trying to leverage tha

Obama to Over Rule Supreme Court Decision on Illegal Aliens—Will Give Them Amnesty Instead of Deportation

Supreme Court rules that if a person has been trying to become “legal” in the United States before they are 21, they must start at the bottom of the list once they hit 21. That means starting all over. Does it really matter? This is just about paperwork, Obama has given almost all illegal aliens, including criminals, amnesty—they can stay here as long as they want, violate our laws, take our services and laugh at the silly Americans that have lost jobs, education opportunities and health care to the criminals—yet still pay for the illegal aliens!

Expect in a short while an Executive Order allowing all illegal aliens, if they have “applied” to stay here, to be given amnesty by President Obama. He has violated so many laws, it would take a volume as large as “War and Peace” to enumerate them all. We have a lawless President, giving up Generals in the terrorist military is but one example.

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Quick take: Court defers to agency on “aged-out” immigrants

Scotusblog, 6/9/14

Today, the Supreme Court issued its five-to-four decision in Scialabba v. Cuellar de Osario (formerly known as Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio).  There was no majority in this much-anticipated immigration case; instead, Justice Kagan announced the Court’s judgment and wrote a plurality opinion that was joined by Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg.  The Chief Justice wrote a separate opinion, joined by Justice Scalia, in which he concurred in the Court’s judgment.  Justice Alito dissented separately, while Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justice Breyer and (for the most part) Justice Thomas.

At issue in the case is the status of a child who “ages out” – that is, turns twenty-one – while her petition for an immigrant visa is pending.  The question is whether the Child Status Protection Act allows the pending visa application to retain its place in the queue for visas only if the “aged-out” applicant would have qualified as the beneficiary of a visa petition in her own right, without needing new sponsors, as opposed to “aged-out” applicants who were merely piggy-backing on their parents’ qualifications for a visa.  The Board of Immigration Appeals had read the statute narrowly, so in many cases the “aged out” applicants lost their place in line and had to begin the visa application process again.  Justice Kagan’s plurality opinion concluded that the key provision of the CSPA “does not speak unambiguously” to the question presented – “or, more precisely, it addresses that issue in divergent ways.”  Even if the provision did not require the BIA to distinguish between the two kinds of “aged-out” beneficiaries, she explained, the BIA’s interpretation was nonetheless reasonable and therefore entitled to deference.

The Chief Justice (joined by Justice Scalia) agreed with Justice Kagan’s result, but not her reasoning; he regarded the key provision of the CSPA as ambiguous for different reasons, but also believed that the BIA’s interpretation was entitled to deference.

In the main dissent, Justice Sotomayor argued that the CSPA provision at issue could have been (and should be) interpreted in a way that would render it unambiguous, with no deference to the BIA then necessary.  Consistent with this interpretation, she contended, all of the categories of aged-out children “are entitled to relief.”

 

Phony “offset Credits” Create Real Fine and Harm to California Businesses

California allows firms to buy and sell “pollution credits”. So, one company sells “pollution” they cannot use to a company that “needs” to pollute—the air stays “dirty”, but government makes a killing. Guv Brown wants to use this scheme to fund the choo choo train! This is about harming small businesses, helping crony capitalists and making government more powerful—cap and trade has nothing to do with the environment.

Now we find an Arkansas company got in trouble with the EPA and California make have to revoke 1.3 million pollution credits. What a mess, based on nothing, billions involved and the cost of goods goes up for everybody so politicians can buy donations with “pollution credits”.

“The day before the EPA’s latest fine, the air board had already issued a notice to industrial holders and traders of renewable energy certificates from Clean Harbors that their certificates could be invalidated because the facility may been non compliant in 2011. CARB can invalidate credits for up to eight years after implementation of a pollution reduction project.”

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CA air board may invalidate 1.3 million pollution-offset credits
By Wayne Lusvardi, CalWatchdog, 6/9/14 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s repeated punishment of an Arkansas waste disposal firm has led the California Air Resources Board to consider invalidating 1.3 million environmental offset credits bought from the Arkansas company by California firms to offset the effects of air pollution.

On May 30, the U.S. EPA in Dallas ordered the Clean Harbors waste incineration facility in El Dorado, Ark., to pay a $39,900 penalty for manufacturing and using “16 regulated chemicals in excess of established reporting thresholds” in 2011. The EPA had previously fined Clean Harbors $581,236 for other violations of hazardous waste standards.

The day before the EPA’s latest fine, the air board had already issued a notice to industrial holders and traders of renewable energy certificates from Clean Harbors that their certificates could be invalidated because the facility may been non compliant in 2011. CARB can invalidate credits for up to eight years after implementation of a pollution reduction project.

Offset credits are tradable energy commodities that represent one ton of avoided ozone emissions. California industries can buy them to meet air pollution reduction requirements in the Golden State — even if the avoided emissions are in another state. None of the questionable credits were issued under California’s cap-and-trade emissions reduction program.

Retiring refrigerators in Arkansas to comply with CA rules

The credits in question were issued for retiring old refrigerators that contained chlorofluorocarbons (also known as CFCs or Freon) that are believed to contribute to ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere. This kind of credit is called an Ozone Depleting Substance or ODS credit.

The ODS credits sell for $5 to $10 per ton. That means the California firms’ potentially invalidated credits cost from $6.5 million to $13 million. State holders of these credits include EOS Climate, Diversified Pure Chemical, Environmental Credit Corporation, Wilshire Standard Offsets and Pure Chemical Separation.

According to a chemicals and energy trade website, 87 percent of the 5.5 million ozone depletion credits issued by CARB were from the Clean Harbors facility. The 1.3 million credits now being reviewed are for the period that Clean Harbors was deemed potentially non-compliant.

In 2009, Clean Harbors was cited by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for 47 violations of its operating permit.

Among the many problems: chemical clouds and leaks;  explosions and fires; mishandling of waste materials;  failure to respond to a hazardous waste emergency; failure to design, construct, maintain and operate the facility to minimize fire, explosions, releases of materials into the air, soil or water; failure to provide adequate liability insurance; and poor record-keeping.

In December 2012, neighboring residents of the Clean Harbors plant were subject to a voluntary evacuation due to a chemical fire.

Clean Harbors and client defend company’s record

Clean Harbors officials downplayed the actions of regulators. “We have compliantly destroyed hundreds of thousands of kilograms or chlorofluorocarbons at our state-of-the-art hazardous waste incineration facility,” a spokesperson said.

Jeff Cohen of EOS Climate, a San Francisco-based pollution credit brokerage firm that did business with Clean Harbors, also downplayed the penalties. He said the actions that led to the fines against the company had “no impact” on its ozone-reduction operations.

“I expect ARB will ultimately conclude that too and all the credits will remain valid,” Cohen said.

The state air board will issue a determination on whether the credits are acceptable 30 days after officials believe they have received all necessary information on the matter.