Jew-Hatred in the Democratic Party By Eileen F. Toplansky

The Democrat Party is clearly the hate party—they hate Jews and Israel—yet Pelosi continues to get money from the Jewish community—money used to elect Democrats that fly the Palestinian flag.

“It is really time for the liberal American Jewish Democrat to acknowledge that blatant anti-Semitism has infected the Democratic Party.

Nancy Pelosi has appointed Ilhan Omar to the House Foreign Relations Committee.  Omar is viciously anti-Israel and is in favor of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.  Omar has long been a harsh critic of Israel.  In fact, in 2012 – just “a few days after Gaza-based Hamas terrorists had launched more than 150 deadly rockets into the Jewish state, prompting an Israeli military response – she tweeted that ‘the apartheid Israeli regime’ had ‘hypnotized the world’ in order to conceal its own ‘evil doings.’”

In fact, the only apartheid in the Middle East comes from Arab countries and is clearly documented by Muslim reporter Khaled Abu Toameh, who regularly highlights the Arab apartheid against Palestinians.”

Backs do not give money to the KKK.  Why do Jews continue to give money to the Democrat Party?  Obama was clear—he wanted Israel gone and Palestine in control of the State of Israel.

Photo Courtesy of Rusty Stewart, Flickr

Jew-Hatred in the Democratic Party By Eileen F. Toplansky

Posted By Ruth King, Ruthfully Yours, 1/20/19

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/01/jewhatred_in_the_democratic_party.html

It is really time for the liberal American Jewish Democrat to acknowledge that blatant anti-Semitism has infected the Democratic Party.

Nancy Pelosi has appointed Ilhan Omar to the House Foreign Relations Committee.  Omar is viciously anti-Israel and is in favor of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.  Omar has long been a harsh critic of Israel.  In fact, in 2012 – just “a few days after Gaza-based Hamas terrorists had launched more than 150 deadly rockets into the Jewish state, prompting an Israeli military response – she tweeted that ‘the apartheid Israeli regime’ had ‘hypnotized the world’ in order to conceal its own ‘evil doings.’”

In fact, the only apartheid in the Middle East comes from Arab countries and is clearly documented by Muslim reporter Khaled Abu Toameh, who regularly highlights the Arab apartheid against Palestinians.

Furthermore, “in 2016, Omar stated that she was in favor of completely divesting the University of Minnesota of its Israel bonds.  The following year, she opposed a bill designed to counter economic boycotts targeting the Jewish state.”  In addition, “in 2018, Omar ran for the U.S. House of Representatives seat formerly held by Keith Ellison.  Her campaign was supported by … the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which  held three fundraising events on Omar’s behalf[.]”

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asserts that “the Democratic Party is increasingly anti-Israel and flirts, to be charitable, with anti-Semitism. Today we see the latest evidence of the character of what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls the ‘New party.’”

Omar is not an anomaly.  To wit, the Palestinian Rashida Tlaib is another newly elected Democrat who harbors intense hatred for Jews and Israel.  Like Omar, Tlaib supports the BDS movement.  Moreover,

[S]upporters of Tlaib’s congressional bid included J Street, Michael Moore, and Linda Sarsour[.]  By August 2018, Tlaib had raised more than $30,000 from Islamists affiliated with CAIR, MPAC, MSA, and MAS [all offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood].

After Tlaib narrowly won the Democratic primary on August 7, she draped herself in a Palestinian flag while celebrating with her supporters.  In her victory speech, she promised to ‘fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled.’

This is code for dismembering America and Israel and any Western country that wants to maintain basic freedoms.

If she is to be judged by the company she keeps, it should be noted that “CAIR founder and CEO Nihad Awad congratulated Tlaib on her historic victory of becoming the first Muslim and Palestinian woman in the U.S. Congress.”  Moreover, “[a] notable attendee at Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony was the executive director and co-founder of Al-Awda, Abbas Hamideh, who has repeatedly: (a) stated his belief that ‘Israel does not have a right to exist’; (b) equated Zionism with Nazism and the genocidal ideology of ISIS; and (c) voiced support for Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, whom he regards as ‘the most honorable Arab-Muslim leader of our lifetime.’  Following the swearing-in ceremony, Hamideh posted to his Twitter account a photo of himself and Tlaib holding up a large painting of the newly elected congresswoman.  He also attended a private dinner with Tlaib, her family, and a number of her friends and activists.”

Not surprisingly, “[t]he press … has not showed much interest in reporting on the attitude of either [woman] toward Jews.”  David Harsanyi writes, “Tlaib … wants to cut aid to the Jewish state because supporting it ‘doesn’t fit the values of our country.’”

Let’s be frank.  It doesn’t support the values of a jihadist-loving individual who seeks to demolish fundamental American values.  Harsanyi further explains:

The writer David Steinberg identified 105 news stories written in the immediate aftermath of Omar’s victory, and not a single one mentioned her belief that Jewry possessed mind-control abilities or that Israel was ‘evil.’  No one called on the Democratic party to distance itself from this rhetoric.

Now, it isn’t inherently anti-Semitic to be critical of Israeli political leadership or policies. … But Omar used a well-worn anti-Semitic trope about the preternatural ability of a nefarious Jewish cabal to deceive the world. … Omar had a chance to retract, or at least refine, her statement.  Instead, she doubled down.  ‘These accusations [of anti-Semitism] are without merit,’ she claimed, blaming Jewish Islamophobia for the backlash.  Omar even wants the U.S. to normalize relations with the Holocaust-denying terror-state of Iran[.] … Omar’s defenders will claim she’s anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish.  ‘Anti-Zionism has been the preferred justification for hatred of Jews in institutions of education and within progressive activism for a long time. Now it’s coming for politics. Democrats can either [refuse to accept it], or they can remain silent.’

It has become clear that many American Jews have substituted liberalism for their religion, and, as Raymond Domanico writes, “American Jews are fervent proselytizers for every “ism” – feminism, environmentalism, pacifism, redistributionism[.]  It’s not just that Jews can’t distinguish their political friends from their enemies, or that Jews consistently promote non-Jewish values.  Far worse, this reflex liberalism compels them to take positions adverse to their best interests.”

But the handwriting has been on the wall, unconcealed and unashamed.  There are Congressional representatives who are working to undermine the country and in the process use the powerful and dangerous prejudice of anti-Semitism.  There is no disputing this; their words and their associations speak for themselves.

Ari Lieberman asks, “[W]hy have Democrats remained silent?  Why have they not issued a full-throated condemnation of Tlaib’s vile comments?”  He maintains:

First, many Democrats suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, which prevents them from assessing serious matters, such as anti-Semitism, in rational terms.  Tlaib is anti-Semitic to her core but because she is a Trump hater, she’s given a free pass.

Second, fear is a powerful motivator and is effective at curbing dissent.  Many within the Democratic Party are fearful of speaking their minds and challenging the new up and coming but still relatively small socialist contingent within the Democratic Party.  The fascist left has been successful in drowning out voices of moderation.

Finally, the Democratic Party itself is metastasizing into an anti-Semitic body much the same way that Britain’s Labour Party has.  The British Labour Party, taking its cues from its party boss, Jeremy Corbyn, is rife with Judeophobia and hatred of Israel.

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen in The Devil that Never Dies wrote that “anti-Semitic expression has exploded in volume and intensity.  It has done so with classical tropes and with new ones, in long familiar forums and in recently invented ones.”

So a shift has begun that does not bode well.  Until the rank and file among Jewish Americans calls out the anti-Semitism of the Democratic Party, things will not improve, since clearly, the Democratic Party leadership remains mute and indifferent.

Jews of all stripes should recall that in April of 2014, Investor’s Business Daily described how the “radical Muslim Brotherhood has built the framework for a political party in America that seeks to turn Muslims into an Islamist voting bloc.”  Consequently, “‘Muslim voters have the potential to be swing voters in 2016,’ said Nihad Awad in launching the benign-sounding U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, (USCMO) whose membership reads like a Who’s Who of Brotherhood front groups.  USCMO also aims to elect Islamists in Washington, with the ultimate objective of ‘institutionalizing policies’ favorable to Islamists – that is, Shariah law.”

Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib’s elections are no mere happenstance.  Their success results from carefully coordinated steps “to wage a ‘civilization jihad’ against America” that explicitly calls for infiltrating the U.S. political system and “destroying [it] from within.”

Court Approves Texas Ending Abortion Payments to Planned Parenthood

Texas just got SpaceX  from Los Angeles.  Hundreds of thousands of Californians have moved to Texas.  That is a State where the GOP has total control, while California has total Democrat control.  The Federal Court has ruled that Texas does not have to fund a private organization providing abortions.  Planned Parenthood can continue giving abortions—but without Texas tax dollars.  Sacramento can’t find enough money to give to Planned Parenthood.

“The unanimous panel ruled that Sparks hadn’t followed proper standard in his decision to issue the injunction and said he should examine more closely whether Planned Parenthood clinic staff members are “qualified” under Medicaid’s medical and ethical standards.

In November 2015, five Planned Parenthood affiliates and seven Jane Doe plaintiffs filed a federal class action seeking to preserve Medicaid coverage for birth control access, cancer screenings and other non-abortion related health services that could affect as many as 12,500 people.

Following the release of the heavily edited fetal tissue videos in 2015, Texas officials claimed Planned Parenthood and its affiliates had misrepresented the services it provides, saying the clinics engage in a “‘policy of agreeing to’ and a ‘willingness to violate medical and ethical standards.’”

They alleged Planned Parenthood alters the type and timing of abortions performed for the purposes of harvesting tissue. “

Babies are now much safer in Texas than in California.  The taxpayers are safer in Texas—for many reasons—than the folks in California.

A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York August 31, 2015. Picture taken August 31, 2015. To match Insight USA-PLANNEDPARENTHOOD/   REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  - RTX1RKFV

Fifth Circuit Slashes Planned Parenthood Medicaid Coverage

SABRINA CANFIELD, Courthousenews,  1/19/19

NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The Fifth Circuit on Thursday overturned a ruling barring Texas from eliminating Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program based on a sting video made by anti-abortion activists supposedly showing clinic representatives bartering the sale of fetal tissue.

The New Orleans-based federal appeals court struck down a February 2017 preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin federal court finding that Texas Health and Human Services Commission “likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause.”

On Thursday, the three-judge Fifth Circuit panel sent the issue back to Sparks for review.

“The record reflects that [the Texas Office of Inspector General] had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited. And the plaintiffs did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage,” according to a footnote in the ruling penned by U.S. Circuit Judge Edith Jones.

The unanimous panel ruled that Sparks hadn’t followed proper standard in his decision to issue the injunction and said he should examine more closely whether Planned Parenthood clinic staff members are “qualified” under Medicaid’s medical and ethical standards.

In November 2015, five Planned Parenthood affiliates and seven Jane Doe plaintiffs filed a federal class action seeking to preserve Medicaid coverage for birth control access, cancer screenings and other non-abortion related health services that could affect as many as 12,500 people.

Following the release of the heavily edited fetal tissue videos in 2015, Texas officials claimed Planned Parenthood and its affiliates had misrepresented the services it provides, saying the clinics engage in a “‘policy of agreeing to’ and a ‘willingness to violate medical and ethical standards.’”

They alleged Planned Parenthood alters the type and timing of abortions performed for the purposes of harvesting tissue.

Judge Sparks’ injunction noted that investigations into the state’s allegations came up empty.

“The investigation found no wrongdoing by [Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast], but the grand jury indicted the two anti-abortion activists who created the videos,” Sparks wrote in his order. Charges against the video makers were later dropped.

The videos in question were made as part of a sting operation by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, which heavily edited footage to make it appear as if Planned Parenthood sells tissue from aborted fetuses for research. Texas law allows donation of tissue for research but prohibits an exchange of money for organs.

Subsequent investigations, led by 13 states, concluded Planned Parenthood was not in the wrong.

Texas was among many states that tried to defund Planned Parenthood based on the videos. In October 2015, the state accused the clinic of violating ethical standards and began a series of attacks aimed at ousting it from the state Medicaid program. Planned Parenthood sued the following month.

Sparks’ 42-page ruling said the state’s claims were as sensational as “a best-selling novel.”

“A secretly recorded video, fake names, a grand jury indictment, congressional investigations,” Sparks’ order said, “these are the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program.”

The Fifth Circuit, however, found that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has sold tissue for outside research and directed Sparks to give greater consideration to state findings on whether clinic staff members are “qualified” under Medicaid’s medical and ethical standards.

The appeals court judges said that in investigating the videos, Texas found that Planned Parenthood had “violated ‘generally accepted medical standards, and thus [was] not qualified to provide medical services.’”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was pleased with Thursday’s ruling.

“Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail,” Paxton said in an emailed statement.

Planned Parenthood did not immediately reply Friday to a request for comment.

 

Los Angeles Passed a Historic Transit Tax. Why Isn’t It Working?

Vote for a tax and you bought unions and special interests.  Think you are buying transportation?  The middle class and the rich vote for higher taxes—then stay in their cars—they would not be caught on a bus, spending three hours on a bus or train that might get them to work, and little else.

“The survey also wove demographic and socioeconomic indicators throughout. Anticipating that the first survey skewed towards white, affluent, and non-immigrant individuals—a slice of the population least likely to ride transit in Los Angeles—Manville followed up a few months later with an shorter survey that intercepted transit users at busy Metro stations.

Few Angelenos viewed transit as an amenity that directly benefited them: They voted for Measure M as an expression of their political beliefs.

The results? The outcome of the election itself made clear that L.A. voters want more trains and buses. But there seemed to be little expectation among most voters that they’d necessarily use them, Manville found. Demographically, the average Measure M supporter resembled someone with a very high likelihood of driving: They owned cars, enjoyed free parking at home and work, and had higher incomes. Voters who reported wishing to drive less were no more likely to vote for the transit tax, and nor were people who thought they lived closer to a station.

Very expensive political vote—another cause for decent people to leave the State, they can not afford to pay for guilty people—Leftists guilty they would never use a bike, bus or train to get to work.  We pay and they feel good.  Do you feel good with the high taxes?

Gas Tax

Los Angeles Passed a Historic Transit Tax. Why Isn’t It Working?

  1. Laura Bliss, City Lab,  1/17/19

Voters who supported L.A.’s Measure M may like transit, but they don’t seem to want a city that’s built for it.

In November 2016, Los Angeles County made history. A whopping 72 percent of voters approved Measure M, a sales tax measure set to generate $120 billion over 40 years to expand rail, rapid bus, and bike networks. With it, the L.A. Metropolitan Transportation Authority promised to “ease traffic congestion” and “transform transportation” across the region.

But that promise is likely to remain unmet, judging by history. Between 1980 and 2016, L.A. passed three major transit sales tax measures and built 110 miles of rail. Yet ridership on L.A.’s transit system has been slipping for years, while the number of miles traveled in private cars is rising. Other American cities that have passed major transit measures are facing the same conundrum.

Which is? Voters might love transit, but that doesn’t mean they plan to ride it. And transit agencies that appeal to voters with pledges to solve traffic woes might be digging themselves into a hole.

Those basic disconnects at the heart of a landmark sales tax measure are the subject of new research by Michael Manville, an urban planning professor at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. His research is full of wisdom and warnings for other cities keen to replicate L.A.’s superficial success.

Trends in transit ridership, rail ridership, traffic congestion and ballot successes in Los Angeles County, 1980-2016. The brief spike in transit ridership in the 1980s was driven by significant, temporary fare cuts. (Michael Manville/Institute of Transportation Studies, UCLA)

When Measure M hit the ballots, Manville suspected that there’d be divergence between Angelenos’ choices at the ballots and on their commutes. He wanted to find out who actually planned to ride L.A.’s shiny new rail system, now that the money was there to expand it. “What I was trying to get at is, how invested are people in the idea of moving around differently?” he told me.

So Manville surveyed 1,450 adults online and by phone one week after election day. The questions touched on attitudes towards transit, congestion, and Measure M, along with a host of other policies that could affect transportation in the region. In particular, he wanted to know who respondents imagined would be most affected by the success of the transit measure.

The survey also wove demographic and socioeconomic indicators throughout. Anticipating that the first survey skewed towards white, affluent, and non-immigrant individuals—a slice of the population least likely to ride transit in Los Angeles—Manville followed up a few months later with an shorter survey that intercepted transit users at busy Metro stations.

Few Angelenos viewed transit as an amenity that directly benefited them: They voted for Measure M as an expression of their political beliefs.

The results? The outcome of the election itself made clear that L.A. voters want more trains and buses. But there seemed to be little expectation among most voters that they’d necessarily use them, Manville found. Demographically, the average Measure M supporter resembled someone with a very high likelihood of driving: They owned cars, enjoyed free parking at home and work, and had higher incomes. Voters who reported wishing to drive less were no more likely to vote for the transit tax, and nor were people who thought they lived closer to a station.

Instead, the top predictors of whether a voter supported Measure M were their political party and their frustration with congestion. Liberals and especially Democrats were more apt to cast a pro-transit ballot than conservatives and Republicans; the more strongly a respondent identified as a Democrat, the more likely she was to vote for Measure M. This isn’t surprising: The demographics of left-leaning voters more closely align with riders, who generally live in urban areas and fall under a certain income bracket. And the modern GOP’s antipathy toward public transportation is legendary. But in Manville was surprised to find that, in his analysis, “when you control for all of those factors, it’s the partisanship that stands out,” he said.

So party identity strongly swayed voters. Support for the sales tax measure (which was strongly tied to positive feelings about public transit in general) was also driven by the belief that building trains and buses would help address congestion and emissions, just as the campaign promised. Almost 70 percent of Measure M supporters saw solving either of these problems as transit’s main objectives.

In truth, taming traffic isn’t what transit does best—done right, it brings low-cost, efficient mobility to the masses, even when the roads are jammed. But only 20 percent of L.A. voters believed that the point of Measure M was to improve mobility for lower-income Angelenos. That was striking, but not necessarily unexpected, since ads and political rhetoric around the sales tax increase had barely mentioned the benefits to people who currently ride the system.

Moreover, when Manville surveyed folks at train and bus stops, he found a lot of unhappy captives: 70 percent of riders did not own a vehicle to make their trip; 40 percent would have chosen to drive if they could have. This was consistent with Manville’s last piece of headline-grabbing research for UCLA: Part of the reason transit use has been steadily declining in L.A. seems to be that lower-income immigrants—historically, the people who have been L.A.’s transit riders—are buying and driving more cars.

Thus, few Angelenos viewed transit as an amenity that directly benefited them. People voted for Measure M as an expression of their political beliefs, and in support of a broader social good—someone else will use this public service and improve congestion, just not me. There’s nothing wrong with that winning a $120 billion sales tax measure on the basis of that mentality, Manville told me, if the goal is to achieve political victory. But L.A.’s transportation presiders are also hoping people will ride the trains they’re spending billions to build. That’s where the problem lies: “The campaign strategy that delivers funding doesn’t offer an obvious path to the transportation outcomes you actually want,” Manville said. “You have the money, but it’s not clear how that gets you more ridership.”

Or even less congestion. Measure M’s central promise to reduce L.A.’s infamous traffic delays contained a contradiction, Manville notes. “People who vote for transit because they believe it reduces congestion are often voting for transit because they want driving to be easier,” he writes in the analysis. “But transit works best in places where driving is harder.”

And, in a final set of survey questions, Manville found that Measure M proponents weren’t nearly as keen on the types of land-use and structural changes that could actually make driving less appealing in L.A., such as more paid parking, highway tolls, increased housing density, and narrower streets for bus and bike lanes. L.A. voters like the idea of transit, but they don’t seem to want a city that’s actually built for it.

The lesson should be a sobering one for transit agencies around the country, many of which have banged the gong of traffic relief to rally car-driving voters for transit plans. (Denver comes to mind.) This tactic may be politically expedient, but it fails to map a clear path towards increased ridership. On the other hand, Manville said, the recipe for transit success is not mysterious: Build good service, and make driving hard. The second part is politically difficult. But failing to rise to the challenge is limiting L.A.’s potential as a real transit town.

Transportation agencies should learn from L.A. and pick their fights now to take the necessary steps to price driving and make room for buses and bikes, Manville told me. In sprawling, congested, liberal-leaning cities, he said, “getting voters to the polls is the easy part.” Breaking old habits: much tougher.

About the Author

Laura Bliss is a staff writer at CityLab, covering transportation and technology. She also authors MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles magazine, and beyond.

LAUSD is going Belly-Up—Strike Makes it Worse

You would think this would be the big story—not the strike.  Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools has sent the process up to take over the finances of LAUSD.  Without the demands of the unions, the District is running a $300 million a year deficit.  It will get worse.  The union does not care who runs the District, as long as they get the money and control of the schools.

““We would not have the authority to stop an agreement, just provide feedback,” Duardo said.

Under state law, county offices of education have the job of monitoring school finances to make sure districts don’t run out of money; if it looks like they might, county offices become involved to varying degrees.

That’s why Duardo sent in a team of experts this week to work with L.A. Unified on a “fiscal stabilization plan” to try to steady its wobbly finances. Leading the county’s team is Jim Morris, the former chief operating officer for L.A. Unified.

Any agreement signed by the District will assure that LAUSD will be run by the County or the State, not the people of Los Angeles.  Some districts go years without being run by the community—expect that for LAUSD.  No elections needed for a few  years,  other than for officials to talk to the PTA and cry about lack of control.

preschool

County oversight will add wrinkle to LA Unified’s teacher contract talks

District’s budget must preserve a minimum level of reserves

 

John Fensterwald, EdSource,  1/17/19

Debra Duardo won’t be in the room during the negotiations between Los Angeles Unified officials and striking teachers that resumed on Thursday. But the district may feel like she’s casting a shadow on the wall.

Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of  Schools, won’t have a say in whatever the final deal looks like. Her role is to make sure the district can pay for it without breaking the bank. The Los Angeles County Office of Education, which she heads,  will study the financial impact of a proposed contract and present an assessment before the Los Angeles Unified board votes on the contract.

“We would not have the authority to stop an agreement, just provide feedback,” Duardo said.

Under state law, county offices of education have the job of monitoring school finances to make sure districts don’t run out of money; if it looks like they might, county offices become involved to varying degrees.

That’s why Duardo sent in a team of experts this week to work with L.A. Unified on a “fiscal stabilization plan” to try to steady its wobbly finances. Leading the county’s team is Jim Morris, the former chief operating officer for L.A. Unified.

“The county has been concerned for a long time about the district’s solvency,” Duardo said.

The 30,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles went on strike Monday for more pay, more counselors, librarians and support staff and smaller class sizes than the district said it could afford, along with demands for curbs on the growth of charter schools. UTLA also disputes how much of a nearly $1.8 billion current surplus the district has to bargain with for next year. The district says 60 percent is already claimed, divided among anticipated salary increases, mandated student equity programs and principals’ discretionary funding. Rising expenses will eat up the remaining 40 percent, it argues.

The county isn’t disputing L.A. Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner’s contention that meeting UTLA’s demands would drive the district into bankruptcy. In a 9-page letter to L.A. Unified Board President Monica Garcia, Duardo wrote that she was concerned about how fast L.A. Unified was burning through the surplus.

“We continue to be alarmed” that the school board “is failing to recognize the long-term impact of the district’s structural deficit spending,” she wrote, and the board hasn’t acted on “time-sensitive financial decisions.”

Duardo was reacting to a mid-December financial update that L.A. Unified and all districts must file with county offices under a 1991 law, commonly referred to by its bill number, AB 1200. The law requires districts to certify that not only the current fiscal year will end in the black but also two years into the future — and include a cushion for financial emergencies. Other districts must include at least a 2 percent financial reserve; because it’s so big, L.A. Unified’s reserve must be 1 percent of its general fund. The county offices intervene if it’s projected to be below that level.

Duardo’s letter noted that the district’s forecast of a 10 percent reserve of $755 million in 2018-19 would drop to $429 million in 2019-20. The following year it would fall to $70.8 million, or 0.96 percent, as the district builds in anticipated expenses. These include pay increases the district has already agreed to with service workers and other district unions and a 6 percent raise over two years it anticipates for teachers in current negotiations. That figure doesn’t include the additional year’s raise UTLA wants.

It also doesn’t include hiring more teachers to lower class sizes, which the district has offered since the report was filed, Duardo said. The district would pay for that in part by cutting a central office bureaucracy so large that the state fined the district $35 million for exceeding administrator-to-teacher ratios set by the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom brought the district unexpected good news by proposing to pay down part of districts’ increase in contributions to teachers’ pensions — for L.A. Unified that is about $30 million each of the next two years. And the district can expect tens of millions in additional money for special education next year from Newsom’s budget. UTLA says the total increase from the proposed state budget is $140 million more than the district had expected.

This week, Los Angeles County supervisors approved $10 million for the district to hire more mental health counselors — another demand by UTLA. And the strike succeeded in drawing widespread support from the state’s Democratic leaders, the labor movement nationwide and a wide majority of Los Angeles County residents according to a poll by Loyola Marymount University.

But the bad news is very low student attendance during the strike could wipe out much of the added district revenue. After four days, the district estimates it has lost more than $50 million in revenue from student absences, after deducting savings from not paying teachers on the picket line. State law permits reimbursing districts for revenue lost because of emergencies like floods and the wildfire in Paradise. But there’s no provision for money lost when schools are open during a strike.

Like other districts in the county, Los Angeles Unified faces rising staff pension and health care costs, special education expenses and a loss of revenue from declining enrollment. The impact of the latter has been acute in L.A. Unified, where families are fleeing a high cost of living and 20 percent of students are attending independently run charter schools. In its financial forecast, the district is projecting a decline of 5.7 percent — 27,000 students — over three years.

“All districts face the same dilemma,” Duardo said. With L.A. it’s “just adding more zeros to the budget” because of its size, she said.

Although the district’s projected 2020-21 reserve is only a few million dollars shy of the mandated 1 percent, Duardo implied in the letter that even if the district reached that minimum level, the county isn’t confident it would be maintained. It cited among its areas of concern an “inability” to consider the impact of long-term bargaining agreements and “inattention” to unfunded long-term liabilities, the biggest of which is 100 percent coverage of retirees’ health benefits, which very few districts provide.

Duardo would have no authority to reject a labor contract at this stage of intervention. But if a contract would cause higher deficit spending, she said she would expect the district to show in its next financial report in March how it could balance the budget. It could do so through additional budget cuts or new sources of revenue, like bringing a parcel tax to voters, which the school board may now reconsider after dropping the idea last year.

And if the fiscal picture worsened, Duardo could move to the next level of intervention, which is sending in an adviser with the power to veto spending decisions of the school board and administration.

For all but one of the last 11 filing periods, L.A. Unified has certified its finances as “qualified.” That’s a mid-level certification, between a positive certification, which most districts have, and a negative certification, signaling a district may run out of cash and need a state loan to pay its bills. That has happened only a half-dozen times since AB 1200 went into effect, including with Oakland Unified and a district next door to Los Angeles, Inglewood Unified.

 

Democrat Mayors Want STATE to Have Responsibility for Zoning, Permits and Density

The Democrat Mayors of Stockton, San Fran, Stockton, Los Angeles and San Jose all want to give to Sacramento the responsibility of setting zoning and permits for housing in their city.  They do not want to create a quality of life for the people of their city—they all want their towns to look like New York City.

“According to Wiener’s office, the bill “eliminates hyper-low-density zoning near transit and job centers.”

The text of the proposed law specifies that it applies to “sites within one-half mile of fixed rail and one-quarter mile of high-frequency bus stops and in job-rich areas.”

On Thursday, Liccardo praised the proposal as a potential antidote to long commutes.

“Too many children go to bed at night without seeing parents who are stuck in crippling commutes,” Liccardo said in an emailed statement.

The mayor predicts that “SB 50 will spur more affordable housing near transit and job centers so that people can live close to where they work.”

The Coastal Commission is going to use affordable housing money for low cost VACATIONS near the beach.  Money to be used for transportation is going to be withheld by Guv Newsom if the cities do not agree to look like New York.  That is called extortion.  Why are people leaving?  They do not want to live in New York.  They do not want high taxes and the highest cost of living in the nation.  They want local control, not Sacramento mandates and bullying.

affordable housing

San Jose and Stockton mayors boost transit-housing plan

 “Too many children go to bed at night without seeing parents who are stuck in crippling commutes”

By Adam Brinklow, SF Curbed,  1/18/19

On Thursday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo endorsed SB 50, the proposed new law that aims to create more dense housing near major transit lines in California, as did the mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs.

Introduced in December, the bill, written by SF-based State Sen. Scott Wiener, is a follow-up to the very similar but unsuccessful SB 827.

According to Wiener’s office, the bill “eliminates hyper-low-density zoning near transit and job centers.”

The text of the proposed law specifies that it applies to “sites within one-half mile of fixed rail and one-quarter mile of high-frequency bus stops and in job-rich areas.”

On Thursday, Liccardo praised the proposal as a potential antidote to long commutes.

“Too many children go to bed at night without seeing parents who are stuck in crippling commutes,” Liccardo said in an emailed statement.

The mayor predicts that “SB 50 will spur more affordable housing near transit and job centers so that people can live close to where they work.”

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs endorsed the measure this week too, promoting it as a way to encourage more housing and keep prices down.

“As we force individuals to pay more for their rent, we also push them into poverty,” said Tubbs. “This is a policy failure that we must address.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and the mayors of Sacramento and Los Angeles are also among those who endorsed the measure or “made positive statements regarding the direction of the bill” previously, according to Wiener’s office.

Wiener is quick to promote local endorsements as anxiety about state laws whittling away at local zoning control is one of the things that helped sink the previous version of the bill.

Though seemingly less divisive than his former effort, Wiener’s new bill has attracted some of the same criticisms, including Marin Independent columnist Dick Spotswood’s declaration that the bill us “designed to end local control of planning,” comparing it to “war on suburbia.”

The LA-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation—which has lately become a loud voice in California housing politics after spending vast sums promoting rent control during the last election—also criticizes SB 50, alleging that it “benefits corporate, luxury-housing developers” and “will worsen gentrification and displacement throughout California.”

Though introduced by Wiener, SB 50 now has 11 cosponsors in the state senate and assembly, including San Francisco Rep. Phil Ting and East Bay Rep. Nancy Skinner.

 

State Makes it EASIER for Illegal Marijuana Sales—Loss of Revenues

We were told that each community would be allowed to make its owns rules and regulations on the sale of recreational marijuana.  Like other ballot measures, they lied.  The State of California seeing many cities banning the home delivery of marijuana is now outlawing those rules and setting up statewide rules.

The delivery service for marijuana will now be able to deliver legal and illegal marijuana.  Marijuana that is taxed and marijuana that has no tax and nor brick and mortar building, high permit fees, etc.  The delivery person will have legal and illegal marijuana—one very expensive and the other fairly cheap—which do you think the customers will buy?

The Governor is extorting your city to create high rise, high density housing, even when the local community votes against it.  Now, the State has decided to really help the drug cartels by selling non taxed marijuana and the cops will have no way of knowing the difference.  Corruption?  Sacramento has learned how to abuse the taxpayers and legal businesses in so many ways.  Ready to call yourself a Texan?

Marijuana Store

Home Cannabis Delivery Now Legal Anywhere In California, Even Areas That Ban Sales

 Julia Mitric, Capitol Public Radio,  1/18/19

Getting legal cannabis delivered in California is now only a phone call away, even if you live in a city or county that banned commercial cannabis businesses after voters approved Prop 64.

State lawyers gave final approval Wednesday to a regulation allowing home cannabis deliveries statewide, regardless of local bans on sales. The rule by the Bureau of Cannabis Control was welcomed by Kimberly Cargile, a longtime medical cannabis advocate and Sacramento dispensary owner.

When California voters approved the legalization of medical cannabis and later recreational cannabis in 2016, “they anticipated that they would have safe and legal access to cannabis,” Cargile said.

She argued that local governments that banned legal cannabis didn’t deter patients and recreational consumers from accessing it elsewhere.

“They’re going to access it off the streets,” she said. “They’re going to be accessing herbs and products that aren’t regulated, aren’t taxed, aren’t part of the licensed system and aren’t necessarily shown to be safe.”

Cities that banned commercial cannabis opposed the rule.

“Voters approved Prop. 64 with the understanding that local authority to regulate cannabis in a way that is best for their communities would be preserved,” said Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director of the League of California Cities.

Chief David Swing, president of the California Police Chiefs Association said allowing home deliveries anywhere in California will make enforcement of the complex industry more difficult.

Lawmakers asked to consider anti-price gouging laws to slow rising rents

There are many ways to tax people, without passing a tax.  The Democrats, by majority vote in the legislature want to limit what a private property owner can charge for rent in an apartment complex.  That is a tax on the property owner.  It is also a tax on the tenants, since the owner will not have the money to maintain the property properly and rent control lowers the value of property—hence it will cause fewer investors in apartments—and fewer affordable apartments to meet our crisis—cause by government policy.

“That may change. Talk is underway about putting a law on the books that would bar California landlords from raising rent beyond a certain percentage. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in November the rule would mimic limits on what businesses can charge during natural disasters.

“When there’s a fire, you pass an anti-rent gouging ordinance,” Schaaf said. “The state has a fire. It’s called the housing crisis.”

Rents are surging in some California cities where there is no rent control by double, even triple digits, according to mayors and tenants rights advocates.

And more than half of the state’s renters pay more than a third of their income on housing, according to the California Budget & Policy Center.  A third of renters spend more than half of their paycheck on a place to live. The real estate firm Zillow reported last month that communities where people pay more than a third of their salary on rent, see a faster rise in homelessness.

In reality, government mandates are a major cause of rising rents—and government is looking at ways to make the crisis worse—how soon before the poor join the middle class and leave the State?

ShakingHandsWithMoney

Lawmakers asked to consider anti-price gouging laws to slow rising rents

By Amita Sharma, KPBS, 1/14/19

Crooning in the shower is not Chad Regeczi’s thing. That’s why when he learned last year his monthly rent would go up $300 so the new owners of his La Mesa apartment could upgrade his bathroom with a sound system, he was bemused.

“300 bucks!” he said. “I mean an iPod costs less than that. Everybody has got a phone now. Who needs a bluetooth speaker in a bathroom apartment? It’s just weird.”

Regeczi, a VA employee, said the 30 percent rent increase didn’t match the condition of his apartment. But he felt powerless to challenge his landlords on the hike.

“Who’s gonna tell them no?” he asked. “There are no rules to how much your rent can go up.”

That may change. Talk is underway about putting a law on the books that would bar California landlords from raising rent beyond a certain percentage. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in November the rule would mimic limits on what businesses can charge during natural disasters.

“When there’s a fire, you pass an anti-rent gouging ordinance,” Schaaf said. “The state has a fire. It’s called the housing crisis.”

Rents are surging in some California cities where there is no rent control by double, even triple digits, according to mayors and tenants rights advocates.

And more than half of the state’s renters pay more than a third of their income on housing, according to the California Budget & Policy Center.  A third of renters spend more than half of their paycheck on a place to live. The real estate firm Zillow reported last month that communities where people pay more than a third of their salary on rent, see a faster rise in homelessness.

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,500 a month, in Los Angeles it’s $2,420 and in San Diego it’s $1,950, according to the real estate search site Zumper. And Attom Data Solutions found the average rent on a three-bedroom apartment in California has risen 20 percent since 2014.

The state’s affordable housing crisis has downgraded the California Dream, that once included almost guaranteed homeownership, to a point where even renting an apartment is becoming out of reach.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said politicians should not interpret voter rejection of the rent control initiative Proposition 10 in November to mean they’re off the hook.

“It is not going to be good enough to say, `Well the voters spoke,’” Garcetti said. “We have a problem we have to confront.”

Garcetti wants the state Legislature to approve an anti-price gouging rent cap. Support of such a cap may be building.

Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco said legislators are mulling whether to pitch a bill as one way to deal with the state’s 3.5 million housing unit shortage over the next decade.

“That shortage is leading to displacement, evictions, people becoming homeless, working families leaving, young people not having stable housing,” he said. Wiener sees a cap as an interim measure until more housing is built.

“Until we get there, and it’s going to take a while to get there because housing doesn’t get built overnight; and it is a huge hole that we have to fill until we get there, we need to take action to keep people stable in the housing that they have.” he said.

David Garcia, policy director at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, said the cap would protect tenants from the most egregious rent increases aimed at removing them from an apartment.

“Tenants receiving increases 25, 30, 40 percent which we read about all the time, those increases would be illegal,” Garcia said.

Landlords don’t like the idea.

“It’s a form of tenant welfare, paid only by a small number of people,” Dan Faller, president of the Apartment Owners Association of California. “If this is a society problem, then society ought to solve it. But this will make the crisis worse.”

Tenants advocates, like Rafael Bautista of San Diego’s Tenants United, worry for another reason. He said the state needs rent control that restricts annual increases to 2 percent. He believes that the proposed anti-gouging cap is a ruse for mayors to punt the housing affordability issue to the state Legislature.

“It’s basically a watered-down version so that we don’t pursue rent control because they’ll point to that and say, `Well, you know we have these measures in place. Why do you still need rent control?’” Bautista said.

But La Mesa resident Chad Regeczi called the cap a good start. “This is America,” he said. “People want to make money. But at the same time they can’t be crushing people. It’s about what’s acceptable, what’s doable, what’s fair.”

Regeczi moved out of his apartment following the $300 rent increase. He’s in a larger place now. “This place is way nicer than that and it’s just 200 bucks more than what I was paying there,” he said. “It doesn’t even make sense.”

But deja vu could be setting in. Regeczi’s new place just got new owners and that may mean a new rent increase.

 

Air board’s plan to raise fees threatens our economy and climate goals

Great news!!  An unelected body the Air Resources Board is going to raise fee to protect us from the Al Gore money making scam.  Of course, jobs will be lost, property values will go down and the Guv Brown goal of depopulating California will accelerate.

“Nonetheless, the Air Resources Board has adopted an aggressive regulation, baking in higher consumer and industry costs in the hope of squeezing out more emission reductions. This approach not only flouts the express will of the Legislature, but undermines the moral authority for engaging in state-level greenhouse gas regulation.

Instead of benchmarking a price ceiling and letting it rise with inflation, the California Air Resources Board has proposed compounding each annual increase by another 5 percent. The effect would be that by 2030, the price ceiling would increase by an additional 60 percent.

The difference in 2018 dollars is a 2030 price ceiling of about $100 per ton of greenhouse emissions, compared to $60 without this adder.

A $40 difference is the equivalent of a 36-cent increase in a gallon of gasoline and double-digit increases in natural gas and electricity rates.”

Please note that besides the 13 cents gas tax increase last year, the 7 cents increase starting July 1, 2019 and the up to 72 cents increase on January 1, 2020, the Air Resources Board is looking—without a legislative vote, to raise our gas taxes by 36 cents.  In a two year period, a total of about $1.25 in increased gas taxes per gallon.  Any wonder the middle class is fleeing the State?

California Capitol Money

Air board’s plan to raise fees threatens our economy and climate goals

 

By Allan Zaremberg, Special to CALmatters, 1/18/19  

 

California produces just 1 percent of atmospheric carbon emissions, yet global leaders and activists care about California regulations. Why is this?

It’s the same reason that California politicos insist on our unique climate regulations. Governors and legislators–here and globally–count on California’s leadership to translate into solutions applicable around the world. If it can work in California, then maybe it can transform global climate policy.

Govs. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger staked their climate policies on the belief that a cost-effective and gradual approach will not upset consumers, destabilize markets or shock voters, but will reduce greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere consistent with projected recommendations for global carbon emission reductions.

This has been the guiding principle of California’s go-it-alone approach. Otherwise, we are simply volunteering our economy and lifestyles for underperformance and discomfort.

The Legislature memorialized this approach in 2017 when it adopted the cap-and-trade system as the state’s central approach to greenhouse gas regulation, rejecting specific command-and-control mandates.

The Legislature directed the California Air Resources Board to “avoid adverse impacts on households, businesses and the state’s economy” and consider the “potential for environmental and economic leakage.”

Right policy, but the Legislature will spend the taxes generated by cap-and-trade on programs that may or may not affect taxpayers’ daily lives.

Rather than allowing regulators to hide the true costs from the public by rolling cap-and-trade taxes into fuel and utility bills, the Legislature should review the goals and impacts of cap-and-trade, and how the increased revenue from motorists and ratepayers will be spent.

For example, the Legislature insisted that cap-and-trade include a price ceiling to prevent shocks to consumers and the loss of economic activity from California to other states.

Setting the price ceiling is tricky because it requires balancing the state’s interests in containing costs for businesses and households with the certainty of reaching targeted greenhouse gas emission levels.

Nonetheless, the Air Resources Board has adopted an aggressive regulation, baking in higher consumer and industry costs in the hope of squeezing out more emission reductions. This approach not only flouts the express will of the Legislature, but undermines the moral authority for engaging in state-level greenhouse gas regulation.

Instead of benchmarking a price ceiling and letting it rise with inflation, the California Air Resources Board has proposed compounding each annual increase by another 5 percent. The effect would be that by 2030, the price ceiling would increase by an additional 60 percent.

The difference in 2018 dollars is a 2030 price ceiling of about $100 per ton of greenhouse emissions, compared to $60 without this adder.

A $40 difference is the equivalent of a 36-cent increase in a gallon of gasoline and double-digit increases in natural gas and electricity rates.

These increases are on top of the costs already assumed under an unadorned cap-and-trade regime, which already anticipates, by 2030, adding more than 50 cents a gallon to gasoline, and hiking utility bills by more than 25 percent.

These will create unavoidable costs to all Californians, especially residents who must commute long distances for work or school, and Californians who live in the interior of the state where temperatures are more extreme. As usual, low-income Californians will pay a larger portion of their income for higher energy prices.

Economic researchers have found that higher compliance costs for industry are directly proportional to higher emission allowance prices. This means that the incentive to move economic activity (and emissions) outside of California will increase along with allowance prices. Limiting allowance prices will limit the flight of jobs and excess emissions.

Cap-and-trade is clearly the superior policy choice to control carbon emissions, costing a third to a half as much as command-and-control policies. But how state officials implement this new pricing regime matters.

It isn’t leadership if nobody follows.

Air regulators and their masters in the legislative and executive branches cannot inspire international replication of these ideas unless they design regulations to contain costs, enhance competition, and minimize pain to ordinary Californians.

Allan Zaremberg is president and chief executive officer of the California Chamber of Commerce, az@calchamber.com. He wrote this commentary for CALmatters.

 

San Fran gives kindergartners free money for college. Could it work statewide?

How dumb is this—San Fran taxpayers give each kid $50 toward college.  That is not even enough money to buy one science textbook.  But, it makes the politicians feel good—and they can tell the voters they are “financing” college for the poor.  Sadly, the poor buy this scam.

Now Guv Newsom is thinking of doing this statewide!  No, that is not a joke.  It is the worse form of vote buying—using the taxpayers money to do nothing real, to buy the votes of the poor.

“Jerónimo’s nest egg is part of a first-of-its-kind program that automatically sets up college savings accounts for every kindergartner in San Francisco’s public schools, each seeded with $50 from the city treasury. And if Gov. Gavin Newsom gets his way, the model could soon roll out to other cities across California.

Newsom launched Kindergarten to College as mayor of San Francisco in 2010, and last week proposed spending $50 million on similar pilot projects around the state as part of what he’s calling a cradle-to-career education strategy.”

This is the worst form of vote buying—will the media expose it?

School-education-learning-1750587-h

San Francisco gives kindergartners free money for college. Could it work statewide?

By Felicia Mello, CalMatters, , 1/20/19

 

Emelyn Jerónimo is only 12 years old, but she already has $3,000 saved towards college. Socked away by her mother in chunks of $100 or less since Jerónimo was in kindergarten, the money may not seem like much, but it’s helped fuel the San Francisco sixth-grader’s dreams of becoming a pediatrician.

Jerónimo’s nest egg is part of a first-of-its-kind program that automatically sets up college savings accounts for every kindergartner in San Francisco’s public schools, each seeded with $50 from the city treasury. And if Gov. Gavin Newsom gets his way, the model could soon roll out to other cities across California.

Newsom launched Kindergarten to College as mayor of San Francisco in 2010, and last week proposed spending $50 million on similar pilot projects around the state as part of what he’s calling a cradle-to-career education strategy.

“You want to address the stresses, the costs of education?” Newsom said at a press conference unveiling his 2019-20 budget. “Let’s start funding those costs when people enter into kindergarten.”

Fans of so-called child savings accounts say they help children envision themselves attending college from a young age. Families of San Francisco public school students, many of whom are low-income, have saved a total of $3.4 million of their own money in the Kindergarten to College accounts, according to city Treasurer José Cisneros.

Only about one in five students have contributed money beyond what the city supplies. That still outpaces the percentage of U.S. families contributing to 529 plans, tax-deferred accounts that provide another option for college savings—as Cisneros is quick to point out.

“To me, when you have millions of dollars saved for college and it’s coming in part from the poorest families in the city, that’s a huge win,” argues Cisneros, who said Newsom has told him he wants to model the California program on San Francisco’s approach. “This is sending a signal to thousands of kids in our city that college is something that’s going to be part of your future.”

While individual 529 accounts can require savers to fill out complex paperwork, pay fees, or navigate online management tools, parents learn about the Kindergarten to College accounts through a letter from their children’s school. They can make deposits in cash at bank branches or school campuses, and because the program is universal, don’t have to provide proof of income or citizenship status to participate.

A number of other states and cities have also established child savings accounts, funded with either public or philanthropic dollars. It’s a relatively new idea, so most accounts haven’t been around long enough for researchers to study long-term outcomes.

Still, there are some signs the programs may be working. Researchers in Oklahoma studied 2,700 families with children born in 2007, randomly selecting half of them to receive $1,000 in a college savings account at the child’s birth. They found that children with accounts scored higher on measures of social and emotional development than those in the control group. Their mothers were more likely to report higher educational expectations for their children, the researchers found, and even exhibited less depression than those in the control group.

One reason the accounts may appeal to policymakers: They’re relatively simple to supply when compared with addressing systemic inequities that affect educational success, such as access to social networks and family wealth.

“Social capital is really important for people but hard to give to them,” said William Elliott, director of the Center for Assets, Education and Inclusion at the University of Michigan. “But we can give them money in their account.”

Getting parents to trust the process can pose a challenge. Jerónimo’s mother, Erika Sierra—an immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico—was unnerved when a bank teller in her Mission District neighborhood asked for her Social Security number in order to deposit money in her daughter’s account. For months, she stopped saving, only resuming when an outreach worker from a local non-profit, Mission Graduates, explained that she could use a different form of identification.

Now, she and her two daughters gather up cash from birthday presents and bring it to the bank—her daughters filling up the envelopes themselves.

“It’s a good option for teaching them the habit of saving,” she said. But she said many parents at her daughters’ school opt out of using the accounts, whether out of fear or because they don’t understand how. The city tries to combat those doubts by taking kindergartners and their parents on field trips to local bank branches.

Cost is another hurdle, especially in cities less flush with tech industry cash than San Francisco. In Lansing, Mich., city leaders decided to offer child savings accounts—modeled on San Francisco’s—with just a $5 initial deposit.

A state investment in college savings accounts could support places like Oakland and Long Beach that are developing their own programs. But those dollars could also be spent shoring up California’s financial aid system. More than 200,000 eligible students applied for the state’s Cal Grant scholarships last year and didn’t receive one. Newsom has called for a modest increase in the number of those grants, along with boosting the amounts awarded to student parents.

Advocates for the savings accounts, however, argue that investments in financial aid are better made earlier in a child’s educational career. Some even say that federal Pell Grants—need-based scholarships for higher education—should be divided into two chunks, with one given out during childhood.

“Financial aid is in many ways kind of too late,” said Cisneros, the city treasurer in San Francisco. “It’s not there early enough to send a message to five-, six- or seven-year-olds that college is something you have every right to have access to.”

Researchers are also studying whether rewards cards could help parents who are living paycheck to paycheck save for college by giving them cash back on grocery purchases, and whether universal child savings accounts counteract implicit bias among teachers by encouraging them to see all students as college-bound. California could become a laboratory to test those ideas if the legislature signs off on Newsom’s plan later this spring.

Meanwhile, Sierra, a stay-at-home mom who never went to college herself, says her daughters’ savings accounts have given her an excuse to talk to them about higher education.

“I tell them, ‘Don’t worry about what we have or what we don’t have,’ ” she said. “Just keep studying, and you’ll get to college.”

Ring: Are LAUSD Teachers Underpaid, or Does it Cost Too Much to Live in California?

This is an interesting question.  LAUSD teachers are claiming it is too expensive to live in Los Angeles, hence they want a raise.  Yet, could it be that they do not need a raise, but a government that does not cause unemployment, force well paying jobs from the L.A. area to Texas (SpaceX is moving soon) and  creating a magnet for illegal aliens—and the very wealthy.

“To put LAUSD teacher compensation in even more accurate context, consider how many days per year they actually work. This isn’t to dispute or disparage the long hours many (but not all) teachers put in. A conscientious teacher’s work day doesn’t begin when the students arrive in the classroom, or end when they leave. They prepare lesson plans and grade homework, and many stay after regular school hours to assist individual students or coordinate extracurricular activities. But teachers working for LAUSD work just 182 days per year. The average private-sector professional, who also tends to put in long hours, assuming four weeks of either vacation or holidays, works 240 days per year – 32 percent more. The value of all this time off is incalculable, but simply normalizing pay for a 182 day year to a 240 day year yields an average annual pay of not $100K, but $132K. Taking into account the true cost of pensions and retirement healthcare benefits, that’s much more than $132K.”

How many of you get paid that much?  How many of you are not accountable for the results of your work?  Maybe if taxes were not so high, limited housing built due to regulations and mandates, teachers could afford to live on $132,000 a year!  Can you?

LAUSD school bus

Are LAUSD Teachers Underpaid, or Does it Cost Too Much to Live in California?

by Edward Ring, California Policy Center,  1/16/19

In California, public sector unions pretty much run the state government. Government unions collect and spend over $800 million per year in California. There is no special interest in California both willing and able to mount a sustained challenge to public sector union power. They simply have too much money, too many people on their payroll, too many politicians they can make or break, and too much support from a biased and naive media.

The teachers strike in Los Angeles Unified School District cannot be fully appreciated outside of this overall context: Public sector unions are the most powerful political actor in California, at the state level, in the counties and cities, and on most school boards, certainly including the Los Angeles Unified School District. With all this control and influence, have these unions created the conditions that feed their current grievances?

The grievances leading the United Teachers of Los Angeles to strike center around salary, class sizes, and charter schools. But when the cost of benefits are taken into account, it is hard to argue that LAUSD teachers are underpaid.

According to the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the median salary of a LAUSD teacher is $75,000, but that’s just base pay. A statement by LAUSD in response to a 2014 report on LAUSD salaries challenged the $75,000 figure, claiming it was only around $70,000. They then acknowledged, however, that the district paid $16,432 for each employee’s healthcare in 2013-14, and paid 13.92 percent of each teachers salary to cover pension contributions, workers comp, and Medicare. That came up to $96,176 per year.

The Cost of Benefits is Breaking Education Budgets

This average total pay of nearly $100K per year back in 2013-14 is certainly higher today – even if salaries were not raised, payments for retirement benefits have grown. For their 35,000 employees, LAUSD now carries an unfunded pension liability of $6.8 billion, and their OPEB unfunded liability (OPEB stands for “other post employment benefits,” primarily retirement health insurance) has now reached a staggering $14.9 billion. CalSTRS, the pension system that collects and funds pension benefits for most LAUSD employees, receives funds directly from the state that, in a complete accounting, need to also count towards their total compensation. And CalSTRS, as of June 30, 2017 (the next update, through 6/30/2018, will be available May 2019), was only 62 percent funded. Sixty-two percent!

The reason to belabor these unfunded retirement benefits is to make it very clear: LAUSD paying an amount equivalent to 13.92 percent of each employee’s salary into the pension funds isn’t enough. What LAUSD teachers have been promised in terms of retirement pensions and health insurance benefits requires pre-funding far in excess of 13.92 percent. To accurately estimate how much they really make, you have to add the true amount necessary to pay for these pensions and OPEB. This real total compensation average is well over $100K per year.

To put LAUSD teacher compensation in even more accurate context, consider how many days per year they actually work. This isn’t to dispute or disparage the long hours many (but not all) teachers put in. A conscientious teacher’s work day doesn’t begin when the students arrive in the classroom, or end when they leave. They prepare lesson plans and grade homework, and many stay after regular school hours to assist individual students or coordinate extracurricular activities. But teachers working for LAUSD work just 182 days per year. The average private-sector professional, who also tends to put in long hours, assuming four weeks of either vacation or holidays, works 240 days per year – 32 percent more. The value of all this time off is incalculable, but simply normalizing pay for a 182 day year to a 240 day year yields an average annual pay of not $100K, but $132K. Taking into account the true cost of pensions and retirement healthcare benefits, that’s much more than $132K.

This is what the LAUSD teachers union considers inadequate. If that figure appears concocted, just become an independent contractor. Suddenly the value of employer-paid benefits becomes real, because you have to pay for them yourself.

California’s Ridiculously High Cost-of-Living

If a base salary of over $70,000 per year – plus benefits (far more time off each year, pensions far better than Social Security, and excellent health insurance) worth nearly as much – isn’t enough for someone to financially survive in Los Angeles, maybe the union should examine the role it played, along with other public sector unions, in raising the cost-of-living in California.

Where was the California Teachers Association when restrictive laws such as CEQAAB 32SB 375 were passed, making housing unaffordable by restricting supply? What was the California Teachers Association stance on health coverage for undocumented immigrants, or sanctuary state laws? What did they expect, if laws were passed to make California a magnet for the world’s poor? Don’t they see the connection between 2.6 million undocumented immigrants living in California, and a housing shortage or crowded classrooms? Don’t they see the connection between this migration of largely destitute immigrants who don’t speak English, and the burgeoning costs to LAUSD to provide special instruction and care to these students?

From a moral standpoint, how, exactly, does it make the world a better place when, for every high-needs immigrant student entering LAUSD schools, there are 10,000 high-needs children left behind in the countries they came from, as well as fewer resources for high-needs children whose parents, some of them Latino, may have lived in California for generations?

When you make it nearly impossible to build anything in California, from housing to energy and water infrastructure, and at the same time invite the world to move in, you create an unaffordable state. When California’s state legislature passed laws creating this situation, what was the position of California Teachers Association? Need we ask?

The Union War Against Education Reform

Charter schools, another primary grievance of the UTLA, is one of the few areas where politicians in California’s state legislature – nearly all of them Democrats by now – occasionally stand up to the teachers unions. But why are charter schools so popular? Could it be that the union-controlled traditional public schools are failing students, making charter schools a popular option for parents who want their children to have a better chance at a good education?

Maybe if traditional public schools weren’t held back by union work rules, they would deliver better educational results. The disappointing result in the 2014 Vergara vs. California case provides an example. The plaintiffs sued to modify three work rules, (1) a longer period before granting tenure, (2) changing layoff criteria from seniority to merit, and (3) streamlined dismissal policies for incompetent teachers. These plaintiffs argued the existing work rules had a disproportionately negative impact on minority communities, and proved it – view the closing arguments by the plaintiff’s attorney in this case to see for yourself. But California’s State Supreme Court did not agree, and California’s public schools continue to suffer as a result.

But instead of embracing reforms such as proposed in the Vergara case, which might reduce the demand by parents for charter schools, the teachers union is trying to unionize charter schools. And instead of agreeing to benefits reform – such as contributing more to the costs for their health insurance and retirement pensions – the teachers union has gone on strike.

Financial reality will eventually compel financial reform at LAUSD. But no amount of money will improve the quality of LAUSD’s K-12 education, if union work rules aren’t changed. The saddest thing in this whole imbroglio is the fate of the excellent teacher, who works hard and successfully instructs and inspires their students. Those teachers are not overpaid at all. But the system does not nurture such excellence. How on earth did it come to this, that unions would take over public education, along with virtually every other state and local government agency in California?