Electric-Car Owners Hard Hit by Massive California Power Shutdown

We know that Guv Brown, Guv Newsom and the Sacramento Politburo wants to take away your gun and your car.  Newsom signed 15 bills to limit your Second Amendment rights.  The Democrats have made the cost of gas in California 50.5% higher than the national average—cares are to be for the rich and elite—the rest of us can walk, bike or use unreliable, dirty government transportation.  Now, for the past several years that have given massive tax credits and incentives for people to buy electric vehicles.  Now we know why.

We are starting a period of time when electricity will be as reliable in Chico as it is in Cuba.  The goal is to force people to rely on government.  After you make your massive investment I nan electric car, government is forcing the utilities to shut down, for days at a time—meaning your electric vehicle is best used as a door stop.  

Only the rich will be able to own both an electric vehicle and a gas fueled car.  Buy an electric vehicle at your own risk—realize there is no guarantee you will be able to charge your car!  Angry yet?

Electric-Car Owners Hard Hit by Massive California Power Shutdown

Tesla’s Elon Musk promises battery and solar solutions for the many EV owners who can’t charge their cars.

By John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver,  10/10/19   

  • Nearly a million Californians are now without power as the electric company deliberately shut it off this week, fearing high winds would spark wildfire.
  • The affected area in Northern California surrounds Fremont, home of Tesla, and a great many electric-car owners who can’t charge their vehicles as usual.
  • Tesla’s Elon Musk is swapping in battery Powerpacks and solar power for Superchargers in the region as fast as he can get permits, he claims on Twitter.

Nature built California to burn. And there’s only so much Elon Musk, Pacific Gas & Electric, or anyone else can do to diminish that.

“All Tesla Supercharger stations in regions affected by California power outages will have Tesla Powerpacks within next few weeks,” Elon Musk tweeted this morning in response to PG&E’s shutoff of power to several California regions in order to minimize the risk of wildfire from high winds. “Just waiting on permits.”

“Waiting on permits” may as well be California’s state motto. And there’s never any guarantee they’ll actually come.

Weeks can be a long wait if you’re looking at a Model 3 in your garage with a drained battery, no electrical power to charge it, and the closest grocery store with power 80 miles away. But such is life in the Golden State, where forests and chaparral are all on hair triggers ready to ignite with slightest transformer malfunction or transmission line break. And the political environment demands minimal risk after the 2018 fire season produced 8527 conflagrations burning an astonishing 1,893,913 acres of wild lands and more than 18,000 structures. Those fires also took the lives of 97 civilians and six firefighters.

The logic behind the planned power outages is explained on PG&E’s special website dedicated to tracking and preparing for them. “To protect public safety, PG&E has turned off power due to gusty winds and dry conditions combined with a heightened fire risk,” the site explains. “Once the weather subsides and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will begin patrolling power lines, repairing damaged equipment, and restoring customers.”

These aren’t short-term outages where the major consequence is missing the morning’s episode of The Price Is Right. “Outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer than 48 hours,” the company warns. “For planning purposes, PG&E suggests customers prepare for outages that could last several days.”

On the second day of the outages, the Wall Street Journal reports 700,000-plus customers are without power in Northern California, including areas such as the East Bay abutting Berkeley and Oakland.

And if there’s one place where Tesla sells a lot of cars, it’s the East Bay. Not only does the area contain Fremont, the city where the Tesla assembly plant is located, it’s also maybe the place most politically attuned to the idea and aspirations of electric-car ownership. And there’s plenty of money there to purchase such vehicles.

Tesla owners may, in many instances, be better prepared for such outages than those without electric vehicles. The Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery can provide power for a home for up to seven days, claims Tesla. For Californians with solar power installations and the horsepower to afford $14,100 for the batteries plus a few grand more for installation, they may never have to experience a single sip of warm kombucha.

Fire is a natural part of the California ecosystem. What’s not so natural is running high-tension power lines across a populous state that’s often done a brilliant job putting out fires to protect property and lives. But those efforts leave behind growth and brush that is still prepared to burn—making the next fire there even more intense.

It’s also the state with mandated solar installations for new construction, another mandating the sale of zero-emission vehicles, and yet one more planning to replace conventional electricity generation with renewable technologies many doubt can reliably handle the demand.

California is experimenting with its power-generation future. And right now, that experiment is hurting. Particularly those electric-car owners with dead batteries.

Eber: Local Communities and CalPERS

Simi Valley, my home town, needs to pay $12 million to CalPERS  this year—they only have $500,000 to cover it.  So where are they going to get $11.5 million?  Easy, they are going to raise the sewer/waste rates by 47%–on the pretense the money is going to meet a State mandate to upgrade the systems.  It is mandatory.  But, when you go into the numbers, we find that $11.5 million of the increase is going to CalPERS.  In other words, like the gas tax, this is bait and switch.

“A couple weeks ago at the Curmudgeons Saturday morning Political Coffee Club, Concord City Councilman Edi Birsan presented an argument for a half cent sales tax increase in next year’s election. I argued against this proposal saying that the additional revenue was intended to fund additional contributions the city was scheduled to fork over to CalPERS for pensions of present and past employees

As it turned out we were both right.  The new sales tax revenue is going to CalPERS but what choice does Concord have in this matter?  With current revenues they are obligated to fund pensions first. Law enforcement, which takes up half the budget, street repair, recreation, senior services, and a host of other programs are optional.”

City after city is using bait and switch on the public with tax increases for sewers, cops, libraries—then giving the money to CalPERS, leaving the real needs of the community uncared for.  Bait and switch is illegal—except when practiced by government.

Local Communities and CalPERS by Richard Eber

Richard Eber, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views  10/15/19  

A couple weeks ago at the Curmudgeons Saturday morning Political Coffee Club, Concord City Councilman Edi Birsan presented an argument for a half cent sales tax increase in next year’s election. I argued against this proposal saying that the additional revenue was intended to fund additional contributions the city was scheduled to fork over to CalPERS for pensions of present and past employees

As it turned out we were both right.  The new sales tax revenue is going to CalPERS but what choice does Concord have in this matter?  With current revenues they are obligated to fund pensions first. Law enforcement, which takes up half the budget, street repair, recreation, senior services, and a host of other programs are optional.

Birsan argued “”The fact is that there are certain expenses that increase beyond our control that we are committed too much like those households on an adjustable mortgage. The single largest is the reassessment of pension contributions.”

For Concord this has meant rising costs which have gone in the past ten years from $10,831 million in the 2013/14 budget to over 25 million anticipated figure for the 2024-25 period.  Such increases put tremendous pressure on limited economic resources for this community of 129,688 people.

I responded to Birsan that it is CalPERS and the States fault that cities, counties, and other regional agencies have been screwed by having to take on such high burdens.  However, in the big picture this fact is irrelevant as local government needs to address immediate problems.

Governor Jerry Brown and his successor Gavin Newsom have tried to help in the past couple years granting back door loans and transferring funds to assist public employee pension funds. But this has been a drop in the bucket for dealing with long term issues

It is a losing battle as former Assemblyman Joe Nation currently a Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at Stanford University has recently pointed out. He has estimated all public pension funds in California together are almost a trillion in the hole.  Even worse, this deficit has been increasing each year by approximately 50 billion dollars.

No one seems to care.  Governor Newsom contends that the State has a budget surplus and continues to spend money like a drunken sailor. At the same time Instead of formulating sound investment strategies, CalPERS brags about their new policy of divesting themselves of companies that deal in producing petroleum and energy sources that leave a carbon footprint on the environment.

This is great but who pays for subsidizing the agencies Polyanish Green New Deal fantasies?  Why it’s local communities who have to spring for additional funds each year to subsidize this inefficient and incompetent organization whose rate of return  of 6.1% for the last twenty years is much less than Wall Street offers investors who buy off the shelf mutual funds. 

Even when they lost almost a billion dollars ten years ago on loan made to Lennar subsidiary LandSource on military properties, barely a whimper could be heard from CalPERS management.  Under such circumstances in private enterprises, heads would role.  With a state agency, nothing but a collective yawn was evident. Tax Payers can always be counted on to bail out government incompetence.

Unfortunately, Democratic Progressive leadership in Sacramento had shown no interest in making substantive change to allow local governments to reduce their pension obligations by trimming benefits which far surpass what is offered in the private sector.  Because of this, almost every community facing shortage of funds has had to resort to sales tax increases to balance their books.

Should they bite the bullet like my friend Edi Birsan suggests, and pass a new sales tax in order to preserve the quality of existing local services?  Do he and other City Council members around the state have a choice?  With no way to influence the legislature and governor to reduce pension expenses, what options are available to them?

Basically it comes down to three alternatives

  1. Raise additional revenue with a new  non progressive sales tax
  • Reduce city services and face the ire of voters in the next election cycle
  • Have the city declare bankruptcy and hope the State bales them out

None of these choices appears to be very inviting.  Most of the time raising taxes is less stressful than slashing budgets, especially when law enforcement, is involved. Usually getting these measures passed involves politicians lying to their constituents saying the extra money they need is for road maintenance, continuing senior services and/or closing libraries.  Seldom are pension deficits mentioned as voters don’t like increasing their taxes for this purpose.

Going the bankruptcy route in most cases is even worse because it is more costly than staying afloat.  In addition Draconian cost cutting done by the Bankruptcy referees provides a long term hardship in communities.  Just ask Vallejo, Stockton and San Bernardino their experiences?  Unfortunately it is estimated in California there are at least 50 cities and agencies that are currently threatened with Chapter 9 proceedings because of their increasing pension obligations.

The ultimate arbitrator of the pension crisis in California is voters.  Will there ever be a day when they have a Chief Joseph “From where the sun now stands” moment and refuse to keep passing new sales taxes or overturning  Proposition  13 to pay for bloated government employee benefit packages.  Will they cry Uncle and elect legislators and judges that will overcome “The California Rule” that the State Supreme Court decided once a benefit is bestowed on a State worker; it can never be taken away.

These are all good questions that will be answered in the near future.  The biggest problem is for voter education on rising pension costs.  In most cases the liberal media, who staunchly support their brothers and sisters in labor unions, are reluctant to advocate taking away any of their victories at the bargaining table.  The same goes for politicians in Sacramento who receive overwhelming campaign contributions from the SIEU and other unions involved with government contracts and Project Labor Agreements.

In the future will a grass roots movement, similar to what former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has tried to create, ever get a pension reform initiative placed on the ballot?   For that matter at any point can the Republican Party in California gain enough strength to become a political force to change the existing system?

Does anyone in Sacramento have enough courage to get the Edi Birsan’s of the world off the hook for a change?

What if we’ve had carbon taxes backwards all along? Instead Raise them by $100 TRILLION!!

Socialists demand families, businesses and government go bankrupt and the globe reverts to the Middle ages.  The United Nations want us to bankrupt the nation, so we can “help” underdeveloped countries—which we will become without resources.  All we have to do is have high carbon tax, get rid of energy sources and pretend we live 700 years ago.

“Conventional climate-economy models used for the last quarter-century don’t represent risk and uncertainty very well. People have known these concepts are important, but have struggled to incorporate them into models because it is so complicated and often requires outsized computing power to do so.

The new model pulls off this feat while keeping things simple by making use of an approach common in financial economics. The researchers treated carbon pollution as an “asset” – but one expected to yield negative returns rather than increasing in value over time.

“Unlike most modeled CO2 price paths, ours typically rise briefly before declining over time,” the researchers write.

How much do they want to charge?  “Wagner and his colleagues calculated that putting off a carbon tax by just one year results in additional climate change impacts costing $1 trillion. The cost of delay accelerates over time, so dragging our feet for 5 years results in a cost of $24 trillion, and 10 years a whopping $100 trillion.

First month the U.S. goes bankrupt.  That is the Gore/Warren/Sanders approach.

What if we’ve had carbon taxes backwards all along?

by Sarah DeWeerdt, Anthropocene, 10/8/19 

 |

The best way to use a carbon tax to fight climate change would be to set the initial carbon price high, increase it modestly for about a decade, and then let it fall slowly over the next few centuries, researchers reported last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That’s opposite to the conclusions of conventional climate-economy models, which generally suggest that carbon taxes should start fairly low and increase gradually over time.

The reason for the difference is that the new model, dubbed EZ-Climate, incorporates the costs of uncertainty and the value of avoiding climate risks.

Conventional climate-economy models used for the last quarter-century don’t represent risk and uncertainty very well. People have known these concepts are important, but have struggled to incorporate them into models because it is so complicated and often requires outsized computing power to do so.

The new model pulls off this feat while keeping things simple by making use of an approach common in financial economics. The researchers treated carbon pollution as an “asset” – but one expected to yield negative returns rather than increasing in value over time.

“Unlike most modeled CO2 price paths, ours typically rise briefly before declining over time,” the researchers write.

One reason for this is that a higher initial tax will result in faster decarbonization. As technology advances and it becomes cheaper and easier to reduce emissions, the carbon tax can also be reduced.

In addition, the high initial price of carbon reflects uncertainty: What will the effects of climate change be? Are there catastrophic tipping points? What are the best adaptation strategies?

Those high-stakes questions mean that early on, decarbonization is valuable “insurance,” a hedge against disaster. As time goes on – and, hopefully, those climate tipping points are avoided – uncertainty resolves and the price on carbon can also fall.

The analysis doesn’t yield a firm answer as to what the initial price of carbon should be. That depends on the assumptions used to calibrate the model. But it could be up to $200 per ton of CO2 – much higher than most of the policies in place or under consideration around the world today.

“None of the uncertainty around the ‘right’ price per ton of CO2 means we should delay implementing much stronger climate policy — a much higher price than we currently have,” says study team member Gernot Wagner, associate professor of environmental studies at New York University. “The costs of delay are indeed enormous.”

Wagner and his colleagues calculated that putting off a carbon tax by just one year results in additional climate change impacts costing $1 trillion. The cost of delay accelerates over time, so dragging our feet for 5 years results in a cost of $24 trillion, and 10 years a whopping $100 trillion.

“Of course, I’m under no illusion here,” Wagner says. Carbon tax advocates have struggled to put – or keep – in place much lower carbon prices. In that context, the feasibility of imposing a carbon price of $100 per ton or even more looks pretty grim.

But, Wagner points out, the analysis suggests that policies that are often dismissed as “too expensive,” including Green New Deal policies in the U.S., could in fact be right on the money.

Source: Daniel K.D.. et al.Declining CO2 price paths.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019.

Beto basically wants to bankrupt churches who don’t believe in gay marriage

This is the values of one of the nation’s leading Democrats.  If your church teaches that marriage is between a biological man and a woman is Biblical, they the church should lose its tax exempt status.  What if the church believes that a snip here and an addition there does not change DNA?  Your tax exempt status is gone.  Going a little further, what if a church teaches that killing a 60 year old man or a baby in the womb is wrong, the tax exempt status can be gone.  What if your church supports science—like DNA or historical facts about the climate—Robert Francis O’Rourke (calls himself Beto) wants your church close.

Robert  O’Rourke and the  Democrats believe GOVERNMENT IS YOUR CHURCH.  That is how Russia, China and Cuba operates, why not the United States?  What type of country do you want?  Being told what to think from Sacramento and Washington, or praying in a Church with values.

“At Thursday night’s CNN LGBT town hall, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the Texas Democrat and mediocre presidential candidate went beyond his usual snipes at Christians to declare all-out war on religious freedom. Churches and religious organizations that don’t support same-sex marriage, he said, should be stripped of the tax-exempt status that allows them to stay afloat financially.

Obviously he is not a supporter of the First Amendment.

Beto basically wants to bankrupt churches who don’t believe in gay marriage

by Brad Polumbo, Wshington Examiner,  10/10/19 

Beto O’Rourke wants the government to punish anyone who has the wrong beliefs. That is, if you’re a church that doesn’t subscribe to liberal orthodoxy on same-sex marriage, why should you have nonprofit, tax-exempt status?

At Thursday night’s CNN LGBT town hall, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the Texas Democrat and mediocre presidential candidate went beyond his usual snipes at Christians to declare all-out war on religious freedom. Churches and religious organizations that don’t support same-sex marriage, he said, should be stripped of the tax-exempt status that allows them to stay afloat financially.

The candidate just spit in the face of the First Amendment. Whether you support gay marriage or not (I certainly do) this amounts to a pernicious form of government viewpoint discrimination. O’Rourke wants to use the weight of the government to punish religious groups he disagrees with.

It’s bizarre, immoral, and shameful.

Tax-exempt status is supposed to go to groups and organizations based on their nonprofit status, not based on whether or not politicians of the day approve of their beliefs. O’Rourke should really reconsider: After all, if he opens this Pandora’s Box, when conservative politicians eventually gain power, it could be the American Civil Liberties Union or Planned Parenthood whose nonprofit status is in jeopardy

For many of these organizations and churches, losing tax-exempt status would amount to a financial death sentence. There’s little doubt that if every church that followed biblical teachings on homosexuality lost tax-exempt status, thousands upon thousands of churches would likely have to shut their doors.

This includes many Catholic churches, and O’Rourke says he’s a Catholic!

His own stated policy would have the government effectively shut down many churches he supposedly aligns with, all because they disagree with liberals on one moral issue.

This is insane, unconstitutional, and authoritarian. For Beto O’Rourke, it’s pretty on-brand.

San Jose: Three Evergreen elementary schools could close due to deficit

Enrollment is government schools are declining in California.  Little by little even the educrats, who are economic illiterates—just give us the money and shut up, as kids get worthless diploma’s.  San Jose is becoming childless, just like San Fran.  The cost of a home and living is so expensive in San Jose that families don’t live there.  When they do, they are rich enough to send their child to a private school to get a real education, not a union/politically correct education.

“According to officials, the district is expected to lose 443 students in the 2020-21 school year and 314 the following year, tripling a $5.6 million deficit it currently faces to $16.6 million by 2022.

The five trustees during the meeting Thursday stressed the importance of moving forward with the long-discussed plan to close three schools to save money and boost withering student enrollment in existing schools. Zito voted against the superintendent’s proposal because he wants the district to have more time to thoughtfully execute the plan — suggesting the decision to close the three schools be moved to the 2021-22 year.

Of the 15 schools in the district they have to close 3—a closing of 20%of the schools.  This is just the start.  How is your district doing?  Are families with kids fleeing the area and the State?  Another reason to vote NO on the $27 billion State education bond next March.

Teachers in the nation’s second-largest school district will go on strike as soon as Jan. 10 if there’s no settlement of its long-running contract dispute, union leaders said Wednesday, Dec. 19. The announcement by United Teachers Los Angeles threatens the first strike against the Los Angeles Unified School District in nearly 30 years and follows about 20 months of negotiations. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) ORG XMIT: CADD303

San Jose: Three Evergreen elementary schools could close due to deficit

by Carina Woudenberg, Sam Jose Spotlight,  10/12/19   

Citing low enrollment across its 15 elementary schools in East San Jose, the Evergreen School District Board of Trustees voted 4-1 this week to embark on a plan that would potentially close or consolidate two schools next year and a third school the following year.

After roughly 45 minutes of discussion during a meeting Thursday, Trustee Jim Zito cast the lone dissenting vote.

According to officials, the district is expected to lose 443 students in the 2020-21 school year and 314 the following year, tripling a $5.6 million deficit it currently faces to $16.6 million by 2022.

The five trustees during the meeting Thursday stressed the importance of moving forward with the long-discussed plan to close three schools to save money and boost withering student enrollment in existing schools. Zito voted against the superintendent’s proposal because he wants the district to have more time to thoughtfully execute the plan — suggesting the decision to close the three schools be moved to the 2021-22 year.

While Superintendent Emy Flores said administrators have not decided which East San Jose schools to shutter, Zito mentioned that Dove Hill and Laurelwood Elementary schools had been singled out as potential contenders.

“I’m asking, considering the gravity of what we’re doing, that we do this process correctly,” Zito said Thursday.

Zito also suggested the district consider the timing of the school closures as it coincides with a $125 million bond measure for technology and safety upgrades headed to the ballot in March 2020. He noted that asking taxpayers for money just months before closing the schools might not sit well with the public.

The other board members — along with most residents who attended the meeting  — said the school closures aren’t ideal, but necessary to make ends meet and reel in soaring costs in the district.

Tami Compton, a first grade teacher at Carolyn A. Clark Elementary School, said enrollment numbers districtwide have dipped below where they were 10 years ago — forcing some schools to combine grade levels into one classroom.

“This does not make sense and it is definitely not in the best interest of our students,” Compton said. “If the tough choice had been made a few years ago to repurpose two of our schools, the budget deficit would be much smaller and we would be having a different conversation right now.”

Compton’s sentiment to act quickly was echoed by many of the board members.

“This discussion has been going on quite a while and long-term Evergreen folks know that,” added Trustee Christopher Corpus. “It is now time to fish or cut bait.”

Corpus said that the move isn’t just about saving money — but rather better efficiency for students.

Board President Bonnie Mace said moving forward with the closures would demonstrate that the district is being responsible, but cautioned that the process be done smartly.

Mace questioned what would happen to the vacant school sites, and wondered whether the district had another use for them or if they could be leased out.

“I’m going to vote for the motion but with the strong recommendation that now is the time to consider the how which is just as important as the when,” Mace said.

Following the vote, officials said the board president and superintendent will meet again to discuss a transition plan and timeline for the school closures. It’s unclear when the schools will be selected. District leaders plan to bring more information to a future board meeting.

Community groups, homeowners not sold on ‘Green’ tax district proposed for Mission Dolores (San Fran)

The people of San Fran deserve to go bankrupt.  They deserve the rising crime rate, the Third World attitude of government.  Elections are being held and no serious candidates is supporting the families or small businesses—all want higher taxes, special taxes, want money for the greedy, the hacks and the crony capitalists.  Homelessness?  That money goes to agencies where the AVERAGE pay is $175,000 a year, to organizations that front as non-profits, but are actually political operations for the Socialist government.  A special tax for a district of San Fran is to made bureaucrats richer and the people poorer.

“The proposed Mission Dolores Green Benefit District would impose an additional tax on some 4,000 property owners within its boundaries to tackle quality of life, pedestrian and public safety issues in a neighborhood where its proponents — a self-described group of “residents and local business owners who love our neighborhood and are motivated to make a difference” — say The City has failed.

But neighborhood groups and some homeowners wary of the proposal contend that “green” stands for city and taxpayer dollars that would go toward increased privatization of public space, rather than additional investments in greening or the creation of more public parks, as its name may suggest.”

These projects should be in the General Fund budget of the City.  Instead City hall sees this as a way to steal more money from the public.  That tax could force more businesses to close and jobs lost.  What do you think?

Community groups, homeowners not sold on ‘Green’ tax district proposed for Mission Dolores

Laura Waxmann, San Francisco Examiner,  10/13/19 

Property owners seeking to create a special tax district in a roughly 90-block area surrounding Mission Dolores Park to pay for additional cleaning and security efforts have run into stark opposition from neighborhood groups.

The proposed Mission Dolores Green Benefit District would impose an additional tax on some 4,000 property owners within its boundaries to tackle quality of life, pedestrian and public safety issues in a neighborhood where its proponents — a self-described group of “residents and local business owners who love our neighborhood and are motivated to make a difference” — say The City has failed.

But neighborhood groups and some homeowners wary of the proposal contend that “green” stands for city and taxpayer dollars that would go toward increased privatization of public space, rather than additional investments in greening or the creation of more public parks, as its name may suggest.

The green district would assess property owners with a formula based on building size and lot square footage. City properties, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations that own property within the district’s bounds would also be assessed, albeit at a discounted rate.

Mission High School, which is located directly across from Dolores Park along 18th Street, would be charged about $10,628 annually, according to Carolyn Thomas, a homeowner who is on the proposed green district’s steering committee.

“One of the reasons why I am supporting the benefit district is because I know how many volunteer hours I’ve put in trying to negotiate with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Public Utilities Commission, PG&E or Recreation and Parks,” said Thomas.

Thomas said that an established green district would add a layer of legitimacy to residents’ complaints to city agencies about piles of trash or sidewalk graffiti.

“It’s a larger aggregation of people speaking with one voice,” she said.

Thomas said that green districts “may not use funds” for any city baseline services, but “will be equipped to hold The City accountable for maintaining those services.”

The proposed green district’s steering committee launched a petition drive earlier this year to begin the formation process. Thomas said that while the committee failed to gather the necessary signatures to move the green district proposal forward this year, the petition drive will remain “open until right before [The City’s] budget process of 2020-2021.”

The SF Parks Alliance, a non-profit that is contracted by The City’s Office of Economic Workforce Development, is supporting the green district’s formation at Mission Dolores. SF Parks Alliance representatives did not return requests for comment by press time.

To create the green district, at least 30 percent of all property owners within its proposed boundaries must sign a petition favoring it, which is then forwarded to the Board of Supervisors. The board can introduce legislation calling for a special ballot election for those within the district.

Of the property owners participating in the election, 50 percent or more must sanction the green district.

So far though, two neighborhood groups — the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association (MDNA) and Duboce Triangle Association — have formally announced their opposition to the effort.

MDNA President Peter Lewis said that the green district is sidelining the investments made by neighborhood groups to maintain and revitalize the area.

“One of the things that’s really disturbing about this group is that they are trying to put together a new neighborhood that ignores all of our survey work,” said Lewis, who added that MDNA has secured over $150,000 from the Mayor’s Office for land use and preservation, as well as quality of life improvements.

“We have a close relationship with the police department and Public Works. They are hired professionals [that are] trying to do their jobs,” said Lewis. “There’s a small group of people who claim they know better than The City.”

Privatization of public services

The emergence of green districts some five years ago inspired a website urging property owners to vote them down.

Critics have pointed out that there are no deadlines on the petition drives, allowing a green district to be revived at any time. They also described the formation process as inequitable, as property owners’ votes are weighted according to the size of their properties, and renters are ineligible to participate.

“The bigger your property, the bigger your vote,” said John Hooper, a property owner in the Haight neighborhood who described the green district taxation model as “feudal.”

“If you are the king that lives on the hill, then you get a bigger vote than the peasants in the valley,” said Hooper, who is a member of the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association, which successfully opposed the formation of a green district around Buena Vista Park last year.

Efforts to establish other green districts in the Inner Sunset and Golden Gate Heights have also tanked due to strong neighborhood opposition.

“Most neighbors really reacted by saying, ‘Wait a second — The City has a budget of over $12 billion. Why should property owners have to pay more when we have a city that is outrageously badly run?”’ said Hooper.

While the green district program is a relatively new idea in San Francisco — so far, just one exists in the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill neighborhoods — designating public areas for the preservation of a neighborhood’s cultural, historic and artistic assets by way of cultural districts, as well as levying extra taxes along business corridors, is not.

A total of 16 business improvement districts, also known as community benefit districts (benefit districts), are currently operating in San Francisco. Like green districts, they operate on property-based assessments, according to Department of Public Works Spokesperson Rachel Gordon.

Two more benefit districts, the Moscone Expansion District and the Tourism Improvement District, are business-based, said Gordon. She added that Public Works is charged with ensuring that the green district’s management plan is properly implemented.

The idea of spending private dollars on additional resources to augment The City’s services has sparked pushback from community advocates and some of the park’s neighbors.

“They are trying to take the

[benefit district]

model and apply it to neighborhoods,” said Paul Boden, director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, a homeless advocacy group that has long opposed benefit districts on the grounds that many implement private security guards or volunteers to enforce anti-homeless policies.

The San Francisco Examiner reported previously on a study by the Policy Advocacy Clinic of UC Berkeley’s School of Law that found that benefit districts often exclude homeless people from public spaces within their boundaries “through policy advocacy and policing practices.”

Boden pointed out that 60 percent of San Franciscans are renters. “Even most of the people that live where this thing will be created have no say in it whatsoever,” he said.

“It’s targeting people who don’t have homes and youth in particular — in my opinion it will increase the level of harassment of students at Mission High School, who are already harassed [by police] for being [at the park],” said Claude Marks, director of the Freedom Archives at 522 Valenica St.

Marks shared concerns about the green district “increasing private security”and “surveillance to control public spaces” in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

“The general demographic shift that is a part of the gentrification of San Francisco has already made a lot of poor, Latinx families a lot less welcome in the park,” he said.

Mission District community organizer Eva Mas shared those concerns, and pointed out that a majority of the green district’s projected 1.1 million budget — some 86 percent — will go towards “cleaning, safety and beautification” efforts.

“There is very little we [can do to] control how they are implementing safety and for whom,” said Mas. “At the moment I don’t see any indicator that this is really for the community that spends time in that space. It seems like it’s further gentrifying an already gentrifying area, and making Dolores Park less and less for the people who used to use it.”

Thomas questioned criticism over policing of youth within the green district, and said that in the end, the effort would improve safety for young people and others using Dolores Park.

She said that the green district’s formation is supported by some $100,386 allocated to improvements at Dolores Park by former District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who set aside the funding following a 2017 shooting there.

“One of the things we are trying to do is create an environment that is safe for them, including less drug dealing right on the steps [of Mission High School],” she said. “There are several crosswalk and traffic issues we would like to address that would make it safer for young people walking to and from their homes and schools.”

While Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who now oversees the area, said that the decision to create a green district is up to “the people that live there,” he added: “If I lived in that area, I would probably go for it.”

“This is the area between the Mission and the Castro — there are safety issues. A lot of blocks are hiring private security guards or patrol specials. There are home invasions, car break ins…a lot of drug sales and drug use,” he said, adding that “kids at Mission High are being impacted negatively by conditions in the area.”

State School Bond Funds Mostly Paid for Projects Finished Before the Bond Passed

The education scam is trying to rip us off again.  In 2016 we passed an $18 billion school bond (interest plus principal) and instead of fixing education, it has gotten worse.  Plus they lied to us about how the money is being used.

“Voters agreed, and San Diego County schools have received nearly $206 million so far, state data shows. But a Voice of San Diego review found most of the money that ended up in the county – about 81 percent – has gone toward school construction projects completed months or even years before Prop. 51 was approved, and millions have gone toward building new schools in affluent neighborhoods.

In fact, state data shows five of the six largest Prop. 51 allocations in the region went toward the construction of new schools built before Prop. 51 passed in neighborhoods with less than 30 percent of students eligible for free or reduced priced meals, a program primarily available to lower income families, as well as homeless and foster children. Participation rates in reduced-price meals programs is often used as a proxy for poverty.

They spent the money, but did not have it.  They claimed it would go to future needs—instead of paying for their deficit spending of the past.  It is like Guv Newsom telling us not to repeal the gas tax, we need it for ther streets and roads.  Then he steals that money for failed government transportation systems and traffic clogging, dangerous, bike lanes.  Give money have no idea how it will be spent.  Government lies.

State School Bond Funds Mostly Paid for Projects Finished Before the Bond Passed

Local allocations from Prop. 51, a state school bond passed in 2016, appear to confirm the fears of former Gov. Jerry Brown and those who have studied inequities in public school facility funding – that wealthy schools benefit the most under the current system.

Ashly McGlone, Voice of San Diego,  10/14/19 

In 2016, California voters were told a statewide $9 billion bond measure called Proposition 51 was needed to fix and improve dilapidated schools.

Voters agreed, and San Diego County schools have received nearly $206 million so far, state data shows. But a Voice of San Diego review found most of the money that ended up in the county – about 81 percent – has gone toward school construction projects completed months or even years before Prop. 51 was approved, and millions have gone toward building new schools in affluent neighborhoods.

In fact, state data shows five of the six largest Prop. 51 allocations in the region went toward the construction of new schools built before Prop. 51 passed in neighborhoods with less than 30 percent of students eligible for free or reduced priced meals, a program primarily available to lower income families, as well as homeless and foster children. Participation rates in reduced-price meals programs is often used as a proxy for poverty.

The local Prop. 51 allocations appear to confirm the fears of former Gov. Jerry Brown and those who have studied inequities in public school facility funding – that wealthy schools benefit the most under the current system.

Combined, the five newer San Diego County schools will receive $99 million, almost half of all Prop. 51 funds doled out to the county so far, with some payments still forthcoming in the form of reimbursements. Unless a district can demonstrate a financial hardship, new construction projects typically require a 50-50 cost split between the state and district. For modernization projects, it’s a 60-40 split.

In order of magnitude, those local schools were:

Double Peak School in San Marcos (San Marcos Unified) 

Will receive $31.3 million Prop. 51 dollars, more than any other school in the county. The new K-8 school opened in August 2016, months before ballots were cast for Prop. 51. Just 11.1 percent of Double Peak’s student population in 2017-18 qualified for free or reduced priced meals.

Design 39 Campus in San Diego (Poway Unified)

Received nearly $27.7 million Prop. 51 dollars. The K-8 school opened in late 2014, years before Prop. 51 was put before voters. Just 11.6 percent of students are eligible for subsidized meals.

Pacific Trails Middle School in San Diego (San Dieguito Union High School District)

Will receive more than $15.6 million Prop. 51 dollars. The school opened in February 2016. Just 10.3 percent of students are eligible for subsidized meals.

Camarena Elementary School in Chula Vista (Chula Vista Elementary School District)

Received nearly $13 million Prop. 51 dollars. The Otay Ranch campus opened in July 2013. About 28.8 percent of students are eligible for subsidized meals.

Solana Ranch Elementary School in San Diego (Solana Beach Elementary School District)

Received nearly $11.6 million Prop. 51 dollars. The school opened in 2014. Just 4.5 percent of students are eligible for subsidized meals.

California law permits Prop. 51 money to be spent for project reimbursement, and projects are funded “in the order they are received,” said Jennifer Iida, spokeswoman for the state Department of General Services, which oversees the Office of Public School Construction handling the Prop. 51 payouts.

“For modernization, school districts may receive reimbursement back to August 1998. For new construction, they may apply for reimbursement as long as an application for funding is received before occupancy of the new buildings,” Iida wrote in an email.

School officials locally say their funding applications have been in the state pipeline for years.

Even though California voters may have thought new bond money would pay for existing needs, rather than old ones, Amy Li, fiscal and policy analyst for the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, said, “Due to a variety of factors, a significant portion of school facility projects have been funded on a reimbursement basis, with the state providing its share after the project has been completed.”

Li said the state’s large backlog of unfunded projects that existed prior to Prop. 51 has contributed to the phenomenon. So has the slow release of state funds and the ability of some local districts to proceed with projects while waiting for state funds to come in.

The first round of Prop. 51 money was released in June 2017, Iida said.

For local school district officials, late state money is better than no money. And lower poverty rates just don’t factor into the equation.

“The district’s free and reduced lunch percentage is not a factor OPSC (the state) uses to determine eligibility,” wrote Christine Paik, spokeswoman for Poway Unified. Paik said the Prop. 51 money for the Design 39 school that arrived in July this year was first sought in 2014, two years before the school opened.

When previous state bond money approved in 2006 ran out, districts were left in limbo, Paik said. “With the passage of Prop. 51 in 2018, most school districts — high on the list — are now receiving funding for projects that they locally funded in the past.”

With the schools already paid for, though, districts must decide what to do with the state funds when they do finally arrive. State law allows the reimbursement money to be spent on repaying old local bond money, other projects approved in local bond language or other high-priority capital projects.

Poway board members voted earlier this year to spend roughly $6 million of the Prop. 51 money on old bond debt, and use the rest on other yet-to-be-identified high-priority capital projects, district records show.

Mark Schiel, assistant superintendent of business services at San Marcos Unified, said the district hasn’t yet received the funds for Double Peak, and staff are working on proposals to bring to the board for how the money will be spent.

“In my experience, most projects operate on a reimbursement basis… Double Peak is a perfect example,” Schiel said, adding that the district “has been consistently growing for at least the last two decades. Due to this growth, it was necessary to construct a new school in order to accommodate the growth in our enrollment. We couldn’t wait for State funding in order to build the school.”

San Dieguito Superintendent Robert Haley said they too have yet to receive the funds for Pacific Trails, and when they do, “we will reimburse our Prop AA Bond Fund and use the dollars to fund projects at other school sites we hope to get underway.”

Anthony Millican, spokesman for Chula Vista Elementary School District, said the state money for Camarena Elementary arrived in June 2018 and helped replenish the district’s Mello-Roos account. It will be used to pay for the next new school, slated to open in Otay Ranch as soon as the 2021-22 school year.

“It would have been irresponsible not to have applied for that reimbursement,” Millican wrote in an email. “It took our District and others about two years to receive the funding. I don’t think that voters expected it would take so long to pay out.”

“During the recession years, the state construction funds were not available. All that school districts could do at the time was build new schools at their own expense, such as 100 percent through special local tax assessments (CFDs),” Millican said. With the return of state funding thanks to Prop. 51, new schools can “be built on a more timely basis.”

Solana Beach district officials did not answer questions about their Prop. 51 money.

The state’s existing school facility funding protocols – including a first-come, first-serve policy – have attracted criticism in the past, notably from Brown, who opposed Prop. 51 as California governor in 2016 arguing it favored wealthier and larger districts at the expense of poorer ones.

“It’s a blunderbuss effort that promotes sprawl and squanders money that would be far better spent in low-income communities,” Brown said at the time.

A 2018 study co-produced by Stanford University and the nonprofit PACE found the state’s funding program for new construction projects didn’t systematically favor wealthy districts, but “higher wealth districts are substantially more likely to receive funding” for modernization projects.

Researchers concluded the state’s school facility funding program “does little to dampen inequality except at the very bottom of the wealth distribution. As a result, California’s current system of school facility finance is relatively regressive.”

They noted: “Districts with higher income and districts with higher assessed value per-pupil have significantly higher facility revenues,” and, “districts with larger shares of disadvantaged or nonwhite students tend to have significantly lower revenue for school facility investments.”

State data shows some Prop. 51 money has gone toward improving older facilities in more impoverished neighborhoods, though, where 75 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

But only seven such schools in San Diego County have seen any Prop. 51 funds so far, and their combined payments make up less than 6 percent of all county Prop. 51 funds to date.

Those are:

  • More than $3 million to the Elite Academy in El Cajon
  • More than $2.6 million to Crawford High in San Diego
  • More than $2.2 million to Hamilton Elementary in San Diego
  • $1.5 million to Kearny High in San Diego
  • About $941,000 to Vallecitos Elementary in Fallbrook
  • Nearly $859,000 to Mt. Miguel High in Spring Valley
  • $536,000 to Mission Middle School in Escondido

Here’s a map of all the Prop. 51 allocations thus far, according to data provided by the state Department of General Services.

It is too late to change Prop. 51, which still has billions to go, but a new statewide $15 billion school and college facility bond measure headed for the March 2020 ballot would prioritize funding based on factors like district financial hardship, a district’s tax base and students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s staff negotiated some of those changes into the latest bond proposal. Newsom tweeted his support Oct. 7, saying, “Millions of students attend school in rundown, unsafe facilities that pose serious obstacles to learning. We’re going straight to the voters to help fix that…”

Like Prop. 51, though, nothing in the 2020 measure prohibits reimbursement of projects completed years ago. Only time will tell just how much money could end up paying for schools and projects already standing – leaving some school facilities in disrepair.

Gascón Is a Reformer on Paper Only

George Gascon is a publicity seeking hack politician.  He was on the LAPD and never allowed a camera to operate with 100 yards without his face and comments being heard.  Thinking being a cop that is anti-police would further his career, he was the Bernie Sanders of law enforcement.  He was so good at it, that when the District Attorney’s office in San Fran was open, they snatched him up.  Imagine any other cop that would qualified as a Progressive anti-victim DA?

“The NY Times points out, “Mr. Gascón has supported several statewide measures to reduce prison populations, some of which Ms. Lacey has opposed. She is also among the prosecutors who have pursued new death penalty cases after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on executions in March. Mr. Gascón’s office has never prosecuted a capital case.”

Mr. Gascón has also supported things like bail reform, Prop. 47, Prop. 64, and other reform measures.

If you stop there, you would think Mr. Gascón is running a progressive DA’s office, and in some ways he has.

But the problem is that we can’t stop there.  In June, the Vanguard opened our court watch program in San Francisco and the truth is ugly.  What we see are some of the worst examples of overcharging, prosecutorial misconduct, and police misconduct you can imagine.

His goal as DA, and using the office to promote Progressive policies is clear—he supported criminals getting out of jail, supporting criminals from foreign countries being protected from deportation.  He is a criminals DA—not a public, victims DA.  Feel safe, not when Gascon has authority—image AOC as your DA—that is George Gascon.  But even the Progressives think he is too conservative.  Guess what they want.

Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

Gascón Is a Reformer on Paper Only

Posted by David Greenwald, Davis Vanguard,   10/7/19   

It is an interesting article in the NY Times, tracking the careers of George Gascón, who resigned last week as San Francisco’s district attorney to consider challenging the incumbent in Los Angeles, Jackie Lacey.  They argue that “such a race could help define criminal justice reform.”

In a way, maybe it has – but not in the way the Times believes.

In a way what Mr. Gascón has done has undermined the progressive prosecution movement rather than emboldened it.  It is not clear why his new move was to resign about a month prior to election, allowing London Breed to name Suzy Loftus, one of the candidates, to be acting DA – giving her an edge as she faces three candidates for what was an open seat, including the most progressive of that bunch, Public Defender Chesa Boudin.

Don’t get me wrong.  Ms. Loftus, a career prosecutor who worked under Kamala Harris in San Francisco, would be considered progressive in many circles – what she is not is cut from the mold of Larry Krasner, Tiffany Caban, Dean Johansson and those who have moved from the public defender’s office to the DA’s office.

The race that is shaping up in Los Angeles figures to be along these lines.  Jackie Lacey, African American, but no reformer.  The Times writes, “As a prosecutor and as the current district attorney of Los Angeles, Ms. Lacey has taken a tough line on crime, sending people to prison at a rate far higher than in San Francisco.”

Mr. Gascón, 66, leaves office on October 18.

He said in his note to staff that he and his wife, Fabiola, “are returning to Los Angeles to rejoin our family and explore a run for district attorney. Making our communities safer and more equitable remains my life’s work, and I’m simply not ready to slow down and put public service behind me.”

This all but assures he will run for the LA DA’s office.

For the NY Times, they see, “A race between Mr. Gascón and Ms. Lacey would be another important test for the criminal justice reform movement, which has swept progressive prosecutors into office in cities from Philadelphia to Chicago to Boston, as well as in Brooklyn. National activists have long eyed the seat in Los Angeles County, calling it the most important campaign in the country, both because Los Angeles has the nation’s largest criminal justice system — it has the largest jail and the biggest prosecutor’s office — and because its incarceration rates are still relatively high.”

On paper they would have a point.  We have often pointed out that Yolo County DA Jeff Reisig has attempted to assume the mantle of progressive prosecutor despite the fact that he doesn’t support any of the progressive reforms – opposed Prop. 64 (cannabis legalization), opposed two death penalty reform bills, opposed Prop. 47 (sentencing reform), opposed Prop. 57, opposed and continues to opposed SB 1437, SB 1421, SB 1391, etc.  You name a major criminal justice reform item – he opposed it.  Even the three strikes reform, Prop. 36 in 2012, he took no position on.

The NY Times points out, “Mr. Gascón has supported several statewide measures to reduce prison populations, some of which Ms. Lacey has opposed. She is also among the prosecutors who have pursued new death penalty cases after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on executions in March. Mr. Gascón’s office has never prosecuted a capital case.”

Mr. Gascón has also supported things like bail reform, Prop. 47, Prop. 64, and other reform measures.

If you stop there, you would think Mr. Gascón is running a progressive DA’s office, and in some ways he has.

But the problem is that we can’t stop there.  In June, the Vanguard opened our court watch program in San Francisco and the truth is ugly.  What we see are some of the worst examples of overcharging, prosecutorial misconduct, and police misconduct you can imagine.

We have seen the prosecutors look the other way at blatant police misconduct on a regular basis.  We have seen prosecutors caught on video coaching impressionable witnesses, attempting to tilt the scale against demonstrably innocent defendants.  We have seen prosecutors look the other way and defend the violation of constitutional rights to due process in major crime cases.

In fact, after spending ten years watching cases in Yolo County, the only thing different about watching cases in San Francisco is that there is more crime and more rampant misconduct on the part of both police and prosecutors.

Mr. Gascón can talk the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk.

The NY Times paints an even more eerie picture in Los Angeles.

They note, “Ms. Lacey has much of the city’s political establishment behind her, with endorsements from Mayor Eric M. Garcetti, four of the five county supervisors, state officials and local congressional representatives.”

“Time and time again, Jackie Lacey has demonstrated her ability to protect the public, fight crime and ensure justice for all the people of Los Angeles County,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, a Democrat from Los Angeles who is leading the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, said in a statement.

Sound familiar?  That’s the same thing going on in San Francisco.  The establishment in San Francisco is backing Suzy Loftus, just as they are backing Jackie Lacey in Los Angeles.

Suzy Loftus will be a lot closer to where George Gascón is than where Jackie Lacey is, but at the end of the day, neither are likely to be Larry Krasner (Philadelphia), Rachael Rollins (Boston), Wesley Bell (St. Louis), Tiffany Caban, or Chesa Boudin.  None of them are likely to be forces for transformational change.

All this shows us is how far we have left to go in the fight for progressive prosecution.

L.A.’s $1.2 Billion Bond Measure to Combat Homelessness Not Keeping Pace With Growing Need for Housing: Audit

In the past the greedy, the hack politicians and the crony capitalists begged for votes for bonds with the phrase, “do it for the kids”.  Even while the quality of education was decreasing, even while teachers were extorted and money stolen from their paychecks, we had to do it for the kids.  The 2020 election will have a $27 billion education bond (interest plus principal).  And will have a statewide bond of $5.5 billion ($11 billion including principal and interest) for the homeless.  Los Angeles has proven the scam works—beg for money for the crisis of the day create by government policy—homelessness—in this case..  How well did it work in L.A.

“Nearly three years after Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2 billion bond program to build up to 10,000 housing units for the homeless, an audit has found that no units have been made available and there are only 19 projects under construction across the city.

Meanwhile, costs per unit set to be built are rising dramatically…. Measure HHH, which passed with more than 77% of the vote in 2016, was meant to build units that would cost about $350,000 to $414,000 each. But the audit has found 1,000 of the units cost $600,000 or more.”

.Like the Stem Cell research scam that has cost us $6 billion will no results—except new buildings, high paid executives and researchers that can be called on to beg for money for all sorts of causes.

L.A.’s $1.2 Billion Bond Measure to Combat Homelessness Not Keeping Pace With Growing Need for Housing: Audit

by Nouran Salahieh, KTLA,  10/8/19   

Nearly three years after Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2 billion bond program to build up to 10,000 housing units for the homeless, an audit has found that no units have been made available and there are only 19 projects under construction across the city.

Meanwhile, costs per unit set to be built are rising dramatically.

In a report released Tuesday, City Controller Ron Galperin said the 10-year plan under Measure HHH hasn’t lived up to its promise because of the high price of construction, stalled approvals and regulatory barriers.

“While 19 projects are under construction and two are scheduled to open in the coming months, it is clear that the City’s HHH program is not keeping pace with the growing demand for supportive housing and shelter,” the audit stated.

Measure HHH, which passed with more than 77% of the vote in 2016, was meant to build units that would cost about $350,000 to $414,000 each. But the audit has found 1,000 of the units cost $600,000 or more.

The median cost of each unit is $531,000, and now only 7,640 units are set to be funded, according to the audit. All of the funds from the measure have already been allocated to 114 projects, the audit stated.

Many of the units funded by the measure cost more than the median price of a condo in the city, or a single-family home in the county, Galperin said in a news release. Costs are still expected to rise as the projects are expected to take three to six years each to complete.

“The length of time needed to complete these projects does not meet the level of urgency needed to match the magnitude of our homelessness crisis,” the report stated.

The city controller’s office created this graphic to go with its audit of Measure HHH published on Oct. 8, 2019.

Galperin recommended directing more of the HHH money to building temporary shelters.

The report comes amid a homelessness crisis that has left tens of thousands of people living on the streets. Homelessness in the city has jumped some 27% since HHH was approved in 2016 – to more than 36,000 people in 2019.

The audit also found that in fiscal year 2018-2019, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority only moved 167 people to permanent supportive housing, referred 598 people to bridge housing and 39 with with substance abuse problems to treatment, and connected 56 people with mental health conditions to services.

This meant that the group, which received a combined total of $54 million in funding from the city and county in the past two fiscal years, did not achieve most of its city outreach goals, according to the report.

Galperin’s audit also found that Los Angeles sold too many bonds before it was ready to spend the proceeds.

“Even as the city solicited and developed ideas to tackle these issues in more innovative ways, it continued to award Proposition HHH funds before some of the ideas could fully blossom,” the audit read.

The city’s controller criticized management of the bonds and said that the city should rethink its outreach policies and focus on ways to save time and reduce costs while building housing units.

California Warned It Might Not Achieve Its Ambitious Climate Goals

Gov Newsom is  forcing hundreds of California businesses out of the State, raising the cost of energy (on 10/14/19, per Fox Business News the average cost of gas in in the United States was $2.63—in Simi Valley it is over $4.20 and almost $5.000 in parts of Northern California), brownouts statewide due to “wind” and environmental costs raising the cost of living.

“The new goals Next10 are pointing to call for cutting greenhouse gases another40 percent over the next 10 years en route to an 80 percent reduction by 2050. And with the transportation sector belching out more than 40 percent of the state’s emissions, the hard work is still ahead.

“Almost all of the success has been in the electricity sector, and almost all of the low hanging fruit is gone,” said Danny Cullenward, policy director at climate change think tank Near Zero. “Meanwhile, the transportation sector is going in the wrong direction.”

Even observers who think California is in better shape than the Next 10 report suggests say the state will need to do more to hit the 2030 targets.

Guv Newsom already announced his 2020 budget is based on California having a recession—the only State in the nation in recession.  Squeeze some more and it turns into a Depression.  California is already a Third World State, they are digging the hole deeper.

California Warned It Might Not Achieve Its Ambitious Climate Goals

By Rachel Becker | CalMatters, 10/13/19   

A California think tank is sounding the alarm that the state isn’t on track to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals without dramatically picking up the pace.

Complicating the effort, the think tank reported last week that even where the state has found success, climate-warming gases produced by 2018’s wildfires vastly outstripped pollution cuts across the economy the previous year.

It’s a bleak picture outlined in the California Green Innovation Index, an analysis prepared by research consulting firm Beacon Economics and published by Next 10, a non-partisan think tank that has produced 11 editions of the Index. This, however, is the first time Next 10 has warned — in a forward by founder Noel Perry — that at the current pace, “we would meet our 2030 target 30 years late and our 2050 target more than 100 years late.”

Next 10’s blunt warning comes on the heels of a more optimistic announcement from California’s climate enforcers. And indeed, not everyone thinks the situation is as dire. In August, the Air Resources Board announced that 2017 was the second consecutive year that the state beat its goal to cut greenhouse gas pollution to 1990 levels by 2020. California also generated more electricity from carbon-free than from polluting sources in 2017.

“This is further evidence that California’s groundbreaking climate regulations are helping to deliver the greenhouse gas reductions needed to meet our 2020 target – and give us a running start at our even more ambitious 2030 target, too,” Air Resources Board chief Mary Nichols said in a statement at the time.

The new goals Next10 are pointing to call for cutting greenhouse gases another40 percent over the next 10 years en route to an 80 percent reduction by 2050. And with the transportation sector belching out more than 40 percent of the state’s emissions, the hard work is still ahead.

“Almost all of the success has been in the electricity sector, and almost all of the low hanging fruit is gone,” said Danny Cullenward, policy director at climate change think tank Near Zero. “Meanwhile, the transportation sector is going in the wrong direction.”

Even observers who think California is in better shape than the Next 10 report suggests say the state will need to do more to hit the 2030 targets.

“We’re in a good position to get most of the way toward our target, but more policies are going to be needed,” said Chris Busch, research director for the energy and environmental policy firm Energy Innovation, who was not involved in the Index. “Next 10 has been such a cheerleader and supporter and promoter of the state’s actions. To have them raising this alarm makes it more poignant,” he said.

The report walks through sectors of California’s economy, from electrical generation to energy efficiency to transportation. It points to a steady rise in greenhouse gas pollution from landfills since 2004 to make up 2 percent of California’s total in 2017.  It’s a polluter that tends to be ignored, according to Adam Fowler, director of research at Beacon Economics, who contributed to the report. “A Tesla is flashy and exciting for column inches, but the Big Mac wrapper, and the wrapping from whatever we purchased at a big box store — that does matter, too.”

Fowler and his colleagues took a look at another major pollution source that the air board doesn’t even count against California’s greenhouse gas goals: wildfires. Based on the air board’s preliminary data, Fowler’s team reported that wildfires produced about nine times more carbon dioxide in 2018 than the state cut across the entire economy during the previous year.

Air board spokesman Stanley Young said it’s misleading to compare the carbon emissions from wildfires, which he said is part of the natural carbon cycle, to those from fossil fuels that would otherwise stay in the ground.

But Fowler argued that wildfire behavior has been changing — and scientists agree that not only is climate change worsening wildfires, but people are responsible for the majority of ignitions across most of the US. “We’ve just seen a shift in the wildfire behavior in California and in a lot of places around that globe that is just very different from the historic, cyclical burns,” Fowler said. 

Across the categories California tallies as part of its annual emissions inventory, however, California’s number one greenhouse gas polluter was transportation. Tailpipe emissions continue to rise since dipping to a low point in 2013.

Rates of car ownership also increased to hit 80.6 cars per 100 people in 2018. Only about four vehicles for every 100 people were hybrids or zero emissions vehicles, however. And Californians are increasingly gravitating toward light-duty trucks — a category that includes pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs — which made up more than half of new vehicle registrations in 2018.

There is a hint of good news buried in the stats about climate-warming tailpipe pollution. Californians drove more miles in 2017 compared to 2016. But the miles Californians drove increased faster than greenhouse gas emissions — which means Californians are driving cleaner, Fowler said.“The standards and policies are having a bit of an effect,” said Fowler, who called the trend “a hat tip to our fuel economy standards.”

Still, they won’t be enough to staunch the flow of greenhouse gases from tailpipes, which  Nichols said in 2018 will require a “deep transformation. And changing California’s car culture — that transformation Nichols wants — is widely believed to be a significant challenge on its own. Add to that the state’s battle with federal regulators to manage its own clean-car rules and the goal becomes even more difficult.

When the federal Environmental Protection Agency last month yanked California’s special authority to set its own tailpipe emission standards, officials said they would take the fight to court. “There’s just no way we can reach our goal unless we are able to move forward with that waiver and the provisions that it allows us,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at an environmental summit, according to The Los Angeles Times.

California shouldn’t bank on winning that fight if it heads to the Supreme Court, according to Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University. “I don’t think we can count our chickens,” he said. We need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and have a plan that doesn’t depend on everything working out.”

That plan, he said, could include cleaning up freight, for example, and letting car dealers cash in on the rebates that the state deals out to people buying clean cars. It could also include improved housing density, although an effort by Democratic state Senator Scott Wiener from San Francisco to bolster housing around public transit stalled in the state legislature this year.

California’s air board points to recent “examples of California’s full-throated commitment to transforming the transportation sector, where we face the biggest challenges.” That includes Newsom’s recent executive order to reduce emissions from state-owned businesses and vehicles and to develop a framework for investing pension funds in greening California.

Getting California on track to meet its climate targets won’t be easy, Wara said. “Let’s roll up our sleeves. This is not a reason to pack our bags and go home and be sad. This is a reason to double down.”

CalMatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.