Scary or Funny: Kim Kardashian Wants to become a Lawyer — WITHOUT Attending Law School

On one hand I agree with Kim Kardashian — why should someone be forced to attend a law school and spend up to $200,000 to get a law degree — when they can learn the real world of the law by working in a law office as an “apprentice.” On the other hand, this is how she is trying to change her image from bimbo, famous for being famous and doing a sex tape, to a serious thinker — like getting President Trump to release a criminal from jail.

Kim Kardashian has expressed a desire to become a lawyer without going to law school, by apprenticing for a law firm. She is in California, one of a few states in which the old method of becoming a lawyer — working as an apprentice, rather than going to law school — is still available. At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern urges “more states” to allow this alternative path to becoming a lawyer. He reasons that “law school is an exorbitant racket that condemns countless students to years, even decades, of crushing student debt. Many young lawyers fear they can only pay off this debt by entering big law, then wind up spending years in a corporate practice that is soulless at best and immoral at worst.” By contrast, he notes, apprenticeships “offer a much cheaper path for law-curious Americans who don’t wish to spend a large chunk of their careers paying off a mountain of student debt. If Kardashian inspires more people to ‘read law’ in the states that permit it, she’ll deserve credit” for that.”

This proves that bimbo’s are not one dimensional—in fact, she has turned her sex into a couple of hundred million dollars!

Kim Kardashian Is Right – Lawyers Should Not Have to Attend Law School

By Hans Bader, cnsnews,  4/16/19 

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/hans-bader/kim-kardashian-right-lawyers-should-not-have-attend-law-school

You don’t need to go to law school to become a good lawyer. Lots of famous lawyers in history never went to law school. That includes Abraham Lincoln, who was a highly-successful lawyer for the Illinois Central Railroad. It also includes other presidents like John Quincy Adams, who skillfully handled a famous Supreme Court case, and Andrew Jackson, who served as a prosecutor. Yet today, most states require people to attend law school before they can take the bar exam and become a lawyer.

Kim Kardashian has expressed a desire to become a lawyer without going to law school, by apprenticing for a law firm. She is in California, one of a few states in which the old method of becoming a lawyer — working as an apprentice, rather than going to law school — is still available. At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern urges “more states” to allow this alternative path to becoming a lawyer. He reasons that “law school is an exorbitant racket that condemns countless students to years, even decades, of crushing student debt. Many young lawyers fear they can only pay off this debt by entering big law, then wind up spending years in a corporate practice that is soulless at best and immoral at worst.” By contrast, he notes, apprenticeships “offer a much cheaper path for law-curious Americans who don’t wish to spend a large chunk of their careers paying off a mountain of student debt. If Kardashian inspires more people to ‘read law’ in the states that permit it, she’ll deserve credit” for that.

People should not have to spend three years in law school before practicing law. Many lawyers have admitted as much. For example, President Obama urged in 2013 that law school be shrunk from “three years” to “two years.”

A 2011 Wall Street Journal article noted that law students ran up “as much $150,000 in law school debt” to attend law school, even though many “services by lawyers do not require three years of law school” to perform, since they are simple enough to be performed by a non-lawyer. As it pointed out, “every other U.S. industry that has been deregulated, from trucking to telephones, has lowered prices for consumers without sacrificing quality.”

As a lawyer, I agree that attending law school should not be required to practice law. I learned little about the law when I attended Harvard Law School. That was partly due to professors whose teaching focused on ideologically trendy topics rather than common legal problems more often encountered in the real world — or professors who used outmoded teaching techniques, such as hide-the-ball Socratic dialogue. (My left-wing property instructor was obsessed with sexual harassment of lesbians by tenants, but failed to teach us basic things about contracts for the sale of land and important rights relating to land).

I did not have to learn much to pass my classes in law school.  I somehow got a “B” in Contracts despite not knowing which body of law – the common law or the Uniform Commercial Code – applied to most of my final exam.  I graduated easily despite having frittered away much of my time in law school watching the sitcom “Married With Children,” drinking, or arguing about politics.

But my knowledge rapidly improved after graduation from law school, as I began studying for the New York bar examination. I learned more law in two months of studying for the bar exam than I did in three years of law school, including basic principles of law (in real estate and family law) that I was never even taught in law school. To prepare for the bar exam, I took a class offered by a private company, Barbri.  It provided well-organized, concise summaries of the law that were easy to understand, unlike many law school textbooks. Barbri ended up teaching me what Harvard failed to teach.

Requiring people to attend law school before being allowed to practice law is unnecessary and wasteful. Many prominent lawyers in American history, like Abe Lincoln, never attended law school, or even college. They learned to become lawyers by reading the law on their own, or apprenticing in a lawyer’s office.

Making law school a requirement to practice law drives up both the cost of becoming a lawyer, and the hourly rate charged by lawyers to ordinary people. It does that by driving away from the legal profession people of modest means who would make fine lawyers, but are daunted by the high tuition. That makes lawyers scarcer and more expensive. The resulting increase in lawyers’ bills makes it harder for people to afford a lawyer when they are ripped off in breach of contract cases, since the amount they recover even if they win may be less than what they would have to pay a lawyer to represent them.  It also makes it harder for people to afford a lawyer when they are sued over meritless claims.  (Some lawsuits are not impeded by rising hourly rates. Certain legally-favored kinds of lawsuits, like employment discrimination claims, can be brought even when lawyers’ hourly rates rise, thanks to laws that require employers to pay a worker’s attorney when the worker wins, even if that “win” was very minor. For example, lawyers for a Kansas civil-rights plaintiff received thousands in attorneys’ fees after a jury awarded her $1 in damages.)

Eliminating the requirement that students attend law school to become lawyers would force law schools to cut their exorbitant tuition (which has risen nearly 1,000 percent in inflation-adjusted terms since 1960) and streamline instruction. As Clifford Winston and Robert Crandall note, “law schools would face pressure to reduce tuition and shorten the time to obtain a degree, which would substantially reduce the debt incurred by those who choose to go to those schools.” Law schools as we know them would mostly disappear, replaced by a shorter, more compact course of studies either folded into undergraduate studies, or lasting just one or two years.  (In many other countries, “law is an undergraduate degree,” showing that you don’t need three years of law school to learn basic legal skills.)  Law schools would have less time left over to waste on ideological fads, and would be forced to concentrate on teaching practical legal skills and black letter law.

Law school graduation requirements weed out few bad lawyers. Even students who seldom studied, and reputedly were on drugs, managed to graduate from my alma mater.  A tenured law professor called law school a “scam,” and noted that some of his faculty colleagues were “inadequate teachers” who taught the same outdated material, year after year.  My professors in law school were smart, but many were better at publishing or promoting themselves than at teaching (one of them, a leading scholar on what law applies in multistate legal disputes, used an ancient textbook. He seemed lifeless and bored in the classroom).

States should get rid of law-school attendance requirements and only require lawyers who wish to practice in court to (1) demonstrate that they have no record of crime, ethics violations, or cheating, and (2) pass either the state’s own bar exam, or the Multistate Bar Exam. People who handle in-house legal tasks, especially at insurance companies and other legally-sophisticated entities, should not have to pass any bar exam at all.  Most such people handle only a limited variety of legal tasks, not the entire field of law tested by the bar exam. They can easily be trained by their employer to handle those tasks.  Their employer knows better than the courts or the bar what knowledge they need to do their jobs.

Why require even lawyers who practice in court to pass a bar exam and show moral fitness, when many other occupations don’t have licensing requirements?  Because of the power they wield.  Those who bring lawsuits impose real burdens on other people, like making time-consuming demands for documents or discovery, forcing attendance at depositions, and threatening people with ruinously large judgments. Requiring some type of licensing for lawyers helps weed obviously crazy, incompetent, and abusive people out of the legal profession and keeps them from wreaking havoc on the innocent.

States also need to repeal barriers to people suing on their own in small-claims court – barriers that make it impossible for ordinary people to seek redress in some cases that aren’t big enough to justify hiring a lawyer, leaving cheated people with little redress when they are ripped off to the tune of $5,000 to $10,000. People can represent themselves in small-claims courts, which have simplified procedures, but in many states, such courts can hear only the tiniest legal claims, like those seeking less than $5,000. When Maryland’s legislature passed a bill to increase the maximum amount to $5,000 from a ridiculously-low $2,500, then-Governor Parris Glendening vetoed it, citing opposition from trial lawyers.  (Liberal politicians are indebted to trial lawyers, who would lose income if more people represented themselves in small-claims court rather than hiring a lawyer.  But lawyers’ fear of lost business may be exaggerated, since if people can’t sue in small claims court, they may simply forego suing, rather than hire a lawyer, who can charge $5,000 just to draft a detailed complaint – more than a plaintiff might recover on a small claim.)

States also need to simplify court rules. Unlike small-claims courts, which operate under fairly simple rules, courts that hear larger cases often have a bewildering array of court rules dealing with format and procedure that differ from state to state, and sometimes from county to county (like what typeface to use, or whether to number the lines on a page). These rules are traps for hapless people representing themselves, or even some out-of-town lawyers. Only a practicing lawyer will be familiar with such details, and overlooking them can have devastating consequences. The Georgia Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal in a $2.7 million case because the appellant used Times New Roman typeface rather than Courier.

While there is a reason to license lawyers, most occupations should not be licensed at all. Licensing now covers even occupations like “natural hair braiding,” which makes no sense, because “braiding is a very safe practice as braiders do not use any dangerous chemicals, dyes or coloring agents and do not cut hair.” But as the Institute for Justice notes, “in many states, braiders have to endure hundreds of hours of unnecessary coursework and pay thousands of dollars before they can legally work.” Up to 2,000 hours of training can be required.

Occupational licensing has expanded from covering 5 percent of the workforce in the 1950s to over 30 percent today. Now, many people are required to get a license from a state or local government just to cut someone’s hair, be an interior designer, or be a tour guide. Such regulations increase costs to consumers and do not improve the quality of services. State licensing requirements have become so extreme that both the Obama and Trump administrations have criticized them for harming employment and economic growth. The Obama administration concluded that “licensing restrictions cost millions of jobs nationwide and raise consumer expenses by over one hundred billion dollars.” The Trump administration says “the cost and complexity of licensing creates an economic barrier for Americans seeking a job” and “a barrier for Americans that move from state to state.” Excessive occupational licensing also drives up the crime rate by increasing joblessness.

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department.

Cow Palace board votes to end gun shows

The Board of Directors of the famous Cow Palace in the San Fran area were given a choice—either end the  “gun show”, which makes $125,000 profit for the facility each year, or the Cow Palace will be torn down.  Already 12 acres are being turned into commercial property—it will create long term jobs.

“The vote follows more than a decade-and-half of activism by community and gun control advocates, some of whom urged Cow Palace board members to adopt a policy statement directing the state-owned venue to ban the shows, which they say have placed a community already impacted by gun violence at increased risk.

“No state agency should be promoting or profiting from the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in our communities,” said Ruth Borenstein, of theSan Francisco chapter of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, who on Tuesday urged the board to adopt the policy. “Residents of the neighborhoods surrounding of the Cow Palace, which bear the burden of gun violence in the area, have been protesting the gun shows since the mid-1990s.”

The good news is that the gun show will continue — at a privately owned facility.  Guns will still be sold, in large number.  Where would Feinstein and Kamala Harris get their guns, from a guy on the corner?  This is silly time.  As for me — it is time to close down the Cow Palace.  In it place a little sign should be erected. “On this spot freedom and safety once flourished.”

Cow Palace board votes to end gun shows

Contract with organizers to end in 2020, will not be renewed

Laura Waxmann, SF Examiner,  4/16/19  

https://www.sfexaminer.com/the-city/cow-palace-board-votes-to-end-gun-shows/?utm_source=The+Examiner+E-dition&utm_campaign=497e5e00bd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_22_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2b97b1e7f-497e5e00bd-260803005

Gun shows will soon be history at the Cow Palace, thanks to a unanimous vote by the Daly City venue’s board of directors on Tuesday to discontinue them beginning in January 2020.

A three-year contract with the gun show’s organizers, Crossroads of the West, is set to expire next year, and will not be renewed.

The vote follows more than a decade-and-half of activism by community and gun control advocates, some of whom urged Cow Palace board members to adopt a policy statement directing the state-owned venue to ban the shows, which they say have placed a community already impacted by gun violence at increased risk.

“No state agency should be promoting or profiting from the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in our communities,” said Ruth Borenstein, of theSan Francisco chapter of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, who on Tuesday urged the board to adopt the policy. “Residents of the neighborhoods surrounding of the Cow Palace, which bear the burden of gun violence in the area, have been protesting the gun shows since the mid-1990s.”

The Board also voted to allocate 12.5 acres of the Cow Palace’s upper parking lot for development into retail and housing. Tuesday’s vote on banning the gun shows follows efforts at the local and state level to end the gun shows.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has previously voted to ban gun shows at the Cow Palace. Senate Bill 281, introduced earlier this year by Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Phil Ting, would not only ban gun and ammunition sales there but also transfer control of the property from the state-appointed board to the joint authority of San Mateo County, Daly City and San Francisco.

Wiener said in a statement on Tuesday that while he is happy with the vote, “it shouldn’t have taken decades for the Baord to do so.”

“For many years, the local community has been asking the Cow Palace to stop the gun shows, but the Cow Palace ignored those pleas,” said Wiener, adding that he is the third senator over teh past 15 years to author a bill banning gun shows at the venue. “It shouldn’t have taken our legislation to get the Cow Palace to pay attention. Today’s decision to end the gun shows, while welcome, does not change the need for fundamental change at the Cow Palace.”

Cow Palace CEO Lori Marshall previously told the San Francisco Examiner that the shows, which take place some five times a year, net the Cow Palace some $125,000 annually.

According to the policy statement adopted Thursday, the board’s action “in no way shall be taken to indicate that the Board has found there to be any improprieties on the part of the promoters of the past gun show at its facilities.”

“There are implications that we and the gun show owners are careless. No law enforcement agency ever traced a gun used in a violent act to this gun show,” said Barbara Wanvig, the board’s first vice president,. “We can support this resolution and still point out that we have been extremely careful in how we handled this.”

Shawn Richards, founder of Brothers Against Guns, stood at the meeting holding up a poster board decorated with a photograph of his brother, who was shot and killed 24 years ago on Tuesday.

Richards made a case for ending the gun shows. Four years after his brother’s death, Richards said he lost another brother to gun violence in San Francisco.

“I started protesting gun shows outside of the Cow Palace in 1995, I was the first one,” said Richards. “Four years later my second brother was killed. Buying guns on the streets is cheap, a human life is priceless.”

Borenstein, who presented the board with a petition to end the shows that garnered some 900 signatures last May, called the board’s decision “huge.”

“I’m overjoyed, this is a big step, and it’s going to help keep more guns off our streets,” she said.

How budget ‘trailer bills’ are misused

Did you really believe that the California Legislature was honest?  No, I am not talking about the sexual games played in the open, the bribe taking or the abuse of power by legislators. I am talking about the abuse of the legislative process. We teach our kids how a bill becomes law.  That is a fantasy. Dan Walters exposes the truth.

“In practice, they serve another, much different function – to sneakily do things that might otherwise be difficult to do if they were fully exposed in advance to the public.

Because trailer bills are considered part of the budget, they can be enacted with simple majority legislative votes and take effect immediately upon being signed by the governor, thus protecting them from being challenged via the referendum process that would give voters the final word.

The blatant misuse of trailer bills, making them into political Christmas trees festooned with ornamental favors to interest groups, finally sparked a ballot measure that requires them to be in print for 72 hours before final passage votes. But that has only slowed their misuse, not prevented it.

A case in point is Senate Bill 861, which whipped through the Legislature in a few days last August. It was an attempt to legalize a $331 million diversion of funds away from distressed homeowners after the diversion was declared illegal by the courts.

The “trailer bills” take away our right to a referendum, passed with only a majority vote and scam industries, workers and taxpayers.  Sacrament knows how the steal — the trailer bills prove it.

How budget ‘trailer bills’ are misused

By Dan Walters, CalMatters,  4/17/19  

https://calmatters.org/articles/commentary/how-budget-trailer-bills-are-misused/?utm_source=CALmatters+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dbff110d5a-WHATMATTERS_NEWSLETTER&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_faa7be558d-dbff110d5a-71241373

In the jargon of the Capitol, “trailer bills” are measures that accompany the annual state budget – in theory making the changes of law necessary to implement the budget’s fiscal policies.

In practice, they serve another, much different function – to sneakily do things that might otherwise be difficult to do if they were fully exposed in advance to the public.

Because trailer bills are considered part of the budget, they can be enacted with simple majority legislative votes and take effect immediately upon being signed by the governor, thus protecting them from being challenged via the referendum process that would give voters the final word.

The blatant misuse of trailer bills, making them into political Christmas trees festooned with ornamental favors to interest groups, finally sparked a ballot measure that requires them to be in print for 72 hours before final passage votes. But that has only slowed their misuse, not prevented it.

A case in point is Senate Bill 861, which whipped through the Legislature in a few days last August. It was an attempt to legalize a $331 million diversion of funds away from distressed homeowners after the diversion was declared illegal by the courts.

In 2012, the federal government and 49 states, including California, settled a massive suit against the nation’s five largest home mortgage servicers, alleging mishandling of home loans that contributed to the nationwide financial crisis a few years earlier.

California received $410 million, most of which was supposed to be used to relieve the financial impacts on homeowners.

However, Jerry Brown had just become governor when the cash arrived in Sacramento and he was coping with a massive budget deficit that resulted from the financial crisis. So one of the steps he and the Legislature took to balance the general fund budget was to divert $331 million from the settlement into repaying existing housing bonds and offsetting some expenditures in the Department of Justice.

The diversion sparked a lawsuit from consumer advocacy groups, alleging that the money was not being used as intended and ever since it’s been winding slowly through the courts with the state consistently losing.

SB 861, drafted and passed while the dispute was before the state Supreme Court, was an effort by Brown and legislators to stop their losing streak. It would, essentially, declare that the diversion was legal. However, it just generated another judicial slap-down.

Early this month, three justices of the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that the legislation still doesn’t make the diversion legal and ordered the state to use the $331 million for its intended purposes.

Jerry Brown’s name is no longer on the lawsuit because he’s been succeeded by Gavin Newsom, who’s now the defendant and was ordered by the appellate court “to retransfer from the General Fund to the National Mortgage Settlement Deposit Fund the sum of $331,044,084.”

Newsom could appeal to the state Supreme Court, but likely would lose. An appeal, asking legal permission for the state to stiff consumers, would also be bad political optics.

The lessons Newsom should take from this case are to use the money as intended, to help distressed homeowners, not underwrite the state budget, and stop misusing budget trailer bills. But don’t count on that outcome. New trailers are already being drafted for the new budget cycle.

Los Angeles Wants to Become America’s First MAJOR Socialist City

What is the Green Ne Deal as Proposed by Alexandria Cortez, the radical socialist member of Congress.  It would end all car use and airplanes in TEN years.  While Congress will not go for it—it looks like the City of Los Angeles will.  Imagine the city without LAX or the 405-101, 10 and other freeways—why?  Because there would be NO cars to traverse the city.  How soon will the city collapse?  Probably at the time the Plan is approved—no need to wait till it is implemented—no cars or planes, ends tourists and hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Hotels will close, restaurants will be closed.  How would you get to a Dodger game?  By government transportation—LOL

“Taking a cue from the national stage, the Los Angeles City Council moved Tuesday to develop its own Green New Deal to mirror the proposed federal stimulus program to address climate change.

The City Council asked several municipal agencies to put together a framework to address the lofty goals set out by the national Green New Deal, including getting all the nation’s power through renewable energy by 2035.

Previously, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Los Angeles would be carbon neutral by 2050. Earlier this year, Los Angeles fortified this claim when it announced it would not spend billions of dollars to retrofit three aging coastal power plants.

The city is already deep in debt.  When the first plan is announced watch as banks refuse to loan the city any more money or buy its bonds.  The current bonds will be listed as junk, you can buy them pennies on the dollar—and still lose money.  It is already spending money to kill jobs and families—and plans to spend billions of dollars it does not have on power plants that are old.  Mayor Garcetti needs to grow a beard if he wants to pretend he is Fidel Castro.

L.A. Looks At Launching Its Own Green New Deal

NATHAN SOLIS, Courthousenews,   4/17/19 

 https://www.courthousenews.com/la-looks-at-launching-its-own-green-new-deal/

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Taking a cue from the national stage, the Los Angeles City Council moved Tuesday to develop its own Green New Deal to mirror the proposed federal stimulus program to address climate change.

The City Council asked several municipal agencies to put together a framework to address the lofty goals set out by the national Green New Deal, including getting all the nation’s power through renewable energy by 2035.

Previously, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Los Angeles would be carbon neutral by 2050. Earlier this year, Los Angeles fortified this claim when it announced it would not spend billions of dollars to retrofit three aging coastal power plants.

In its own deal, Los Angeles aims to cut in half what it calls burdens that residents have faced as the city has grown over the years, including traffic noise, pollution and other health dangers. Affected communities include the Wilmington neighborhood, which is adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles and is inundated by oil drilling operations and freight traffic.

These types of hazards have been the reality for lower-income communities where predominantly people of color live, according to the City Council’s development plan.

Over the next decade, Los Angeles will create a $100 million program aimed at transforming communities like the East San Fernando Valley and East and South LA. 

“I have spent my entire career fighting against the injustices in our community to leave our children with a cleaner environment than the one I inherited,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who represents the San Fernando Valley. “Historically, when we have talked about green energy innovation, we have forgotten to include the very frontline communities that stand to benefit most.

“It is called environmental justice for a reason. By starting in our most burdened communities, from Sun Valley to Wilmington, we are finally living up to the name,” she added.

Martinez made the initial motion to develop the Green New Deal for Los Angeles. The City Council unanimously approved the plan.

The Green New Deal was developed in 2006 by the Green Party, but revived recently by freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., last year. The proposal has become a partisan issue with its aims to end all fossil fuel extraction operations throughout the country.

San Fran PLANS to Kill Attendance at New Music/Sports Venue

The Chase Center in the San Fran area will seat about 18,000 people.  They will provide, at a very high price, 2900 parking places.  The goal is to force people to use government transportation—including the dirty, crime laden BART system.  Instead of taking 45 minutes to an hour to get to the event, concert goes may be forced to spend three hours getting there—and another three hours getting home.  In the end, this will kill attendance at the events and force larger government subsidies to keep the Chase Center open.

“And there will be up to 26 parking control officers nearby to manage the potential chaos of loading zones, he said.

The Chase Center does feature about 900 parking spaces underneath it, according to P.J. Johnston, a spokesperson for the Warriors. There will also be roughly 2,000 parking spaces at sites identified in the neighborhood within ten minutes of the arena.

That makes 2,900 parking spaces total for up to 18,000 attendees, while the median attendance of Warrior’s games is roughly 9,000 people, Johnston said.

I love the phrase “parking control officers.  Their job is to give parking tickets—so government, which created a parking crisis can get revenue from the crisis self inflicted on the people of the region.  This shows the worst of government—corrupt and money grubbing—killing jobs and hope.  You can bet there will be special parking for the limo’s of the rich—while the poor stay home and watch TV.

Who needs cars? Aggressive transit plan for Chase Arena discourages driving

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, SF Examiner,  4/16/19 

https://www.sfexaminer.com/the-city/who-needs-cars-aggressive-transit-plan-for-chase-arena-discourages-driving/

When Metallica plays at ear-splitting decibels in the soon-to-open Chase Center in September — the arena’s first-ever event — the thousands of concert goers won’t be humming “Enter Sandman” as they drive home to far-flung points across the Bay Area.

Instead, most will be head-banging on Muni, Caltrain, BART and ferries. At least, that’s according to The City’s plan.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors voted at its regular meeting Tuesday to approve new parking restrictions and metered parking around the Chase Center, with an emphasis on encouraging public transit to the venue.

“A lot of work was done to make transit the front door of access to Chase Arena,” Julie Kirschbaum, SFMTA director of transit, told the San Francisco Examiner.

Long-time San Francisco Giants fans may remember Muni shuttles that served Candlestick Park. Well, SFMTA is instituting two similar shuttles for Chase Center, one running down Van Ness Avenue from the waterfront and the other running directly from 16th Street BART.

Service on the T-Third streetcar will also get a boost, including a double-sized train platform to accommodate larger crowds, much like the one right outside Oracle Park. Muni train shuttles will also run from Embarcadero BART station for East Bay and South Bay travelers, and from West Portal, for those heading to Chase Center from San Francisco’s West Side.

And last but not least, Mayor London Breed is working with San Francisco Bay Ferry, Golden Gate Ferry and the Port of San Francisco to establish a temporary ferry landing between Piers 48 and 50, near the arena, which tentatively may open Oct. 1. The effort started when a nearby permanent ferry landing on 16th Street was delayed until 2021.

“When the mayor found out about the delay of the permanent landing, she directed her staff and departments to work on a temporary solution,” said Jeff Cretan, a spokesperson for The Mayor’s Office. “She’s glad to see this is going forward.”

While all of these transit options are on the table, parking may be more scant, the SFMTA Board of Directors were told Tuesday.

The board voted to approve parking changes that would introduce some metered parking along 16th Street and the waterfront for Chase Center events, which will charge $7 an hour during events only, much as with Giants games near Oracle Park. “No Parking” passenger loading zones and “No Stopping” zones were also established around the arena on portions of 16th Street and Warrior Way, some of which will become metered parking during the day to benefit local merchants.

Tom Maguire, director of the sustainable streets division at SFMTA, told the board this would take the focus off parking during Chase Center events.

“When there are no events there will be parking and that will help the local businesses there,” he said. “However when we switch over to our event plans, the streets will focus on loading not parking.”

And there will be up to 26 parking control officers nearby to manage the potential chaos of loading zones, he said.

The Chase Center does feature about 900 parking spaces underneath it, according to P.J. Johnston, a spokesperson for the Warriors. There will also be roughly 2,000 parking spaces at sites identified in the neighborhood within ten minutes of the arena.

That makes 2,900 parking spaces total for up to 18,000 attendees, while the median attendance of Warrior’s games is roughly 9,000 people, Johnston said.

“We’re working closely with The City to emphasize mass transit,” he told the Examiner. “We think it’s the most effective way to get to events at Chase Center.”

And although some recent news reports criticised the number of parking spaces, the proportion of parking offered actually is on par with, and perhaps exceeds, the amount of parking offered per-person at Oracle Park. There are roughly 3,700 parking spaces offered there — a little more than at Chase Center — but the number of attendees is far higher, with 43,000 seats available in the ballpark.

Johnston isn’t worried about getting to Chase Arena games. As a Sunset District resident, he knows exactly how he’ll do it.

“I’ll be going to West Portal Station and hopping on a train, it’ll drop me off right in front of Chase Center,” he said.

City of Visalia may dump solar finance program

Is it the role of government to be the go between  a lender and a borrower?  Of course not. But, many town, like Visalia are trying to force people into using solar panels and help “arrange” the financing.  While the city claims it costs the taxpayers no money, that is a lie.  There are city employees, office space, phones and other assets used — all costing tax dollars.

“With a council vote expected in next few weeks, this would be the second time since 2017 that there has been an effort to end participation in the program despite the fact that it costs the city nothing. That year the program was allowed to continue after a hotly contested debate, on a 3 to 2 council vote with Mayor Warren Guebler casting the decisive vote. Guebler has now retired and his seat is occupied by Poochigian.

Brain Poochigin said he opposes PACE because”the city should not be in the business of endorsing a program” and the end of PACE  would still mean ’there are lots of other programs people can sign up for.”

In coming weeks a majority of the council is expected to vote against the program that has made it possible for 528 home owners in Visalia to finance energy upgrades since 2014.

The program is popular across all of Tulare County where 1477 home owners have used the PACE program says tax collector Chief Deputy Paul Sampietro.”

Seriously, these folks needed the city to help them find financing?  PACE is just an excuse for letting government get into your business—and cost everyone money needed for law enforcement and real basic services.

PACE Program on the chopping block

City of Visalia may dump solar finance program

Some 528 Visalia owners have upgraded their homes

Sierra2the Sea, 4/16/19 

http://sierra2thesea.net/central-valley/pace-program-on-the-chopping-block

On the suggestion of council member Brian Poochigian the Visalia City Council is expected to rescind permission for home owners in the City to participate in the PACE program.

That would mean Visalians would not have the option to tap several financial institutions who offer money to upgrade homes for energy conservation and solar installation through PACE.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is a voluntary funding program that enables property owners to finance the installation of renewable energy (like solar), energy efficiency and water efficiency improvements with little or no up-front costs. The financing is paid on property tax bills that are indexed to the useful life of the improvements up to 20 years. The program is used throughout California’s cities and counties.

With a council vote expected in next few weeks, this would be the second time since 2017 that there has been an effort to end participation in the program despite the fact that it costs the city nothing. That year the program was allowed to continue after a hotly contested debate, on a 3 to 2 council vote with Mayor Warren Guebler casting the decisive vote. Guebler has now retired and his seat is occupied by Poochigian.

Brain Poochigin said he opposes PACE because”the city should not be in the business of endorsing a program” and the end of PACE  would still mean ’there are lots of other programs people can sign up for.”

In coming weeks a majority of the council is expected to vote against the program that has made it possible for 528 home owners in Visalia to finance energy upgrades since 2014.

The program is popular across all of Tulare County where 1477 home owners have used the PACE program says tax collector Chief Deputy Paul Sampietro.

Supporters argue that by providing viable financing options to increase the number of rooftop solar systems and energy efficiency projects throughout California, PACE programs serve as an important mechanism to implement California’s energy, environmental and greenhouse gas policy goals. It also creates work for local contractors.

Visalia has a relatively high poverty rate of some 20% with about 25,000 owner-occupied homes. Supporters argue that the PACE program allows low to median income home owners to afford the benefits of solar. Some critics suggest the is exactly what is wrong with the program alleging that the PACE program harms many homeowners by making loans that people could not afford to repay. Instead of getting “green” homes, the plaintiffs may lose their homes to foreclosure.

Visalia has three authorized PACE programs: CaliforniaFirst was approved in March of 2013, and the California HERO program was authorized in May of 2014. These two are intended for residential installations.

Poochigian says the City will likely hold a public hearing on PACE at their first meeting in May.

Poochigian says he has heard complaints from people about PACE who told him “they did not know what they’re signing up for” and didn’t know they would have a lien on their house.

Local tax records show few if any foreclosures in Tulare County. In 2017 the affiliated HERO program had a 98.7 percent on-time repayment rate statewide, and the bank-initiated foreclosure rate on HERO homes was slightly below the California state average.

SANDAG’s Techno-Futurist Transportation Vision May Run Into Reality Check

SANDAG is the San Diego government agency that LIED about a 2004 bond measure.  Then a couple of years ago, got caught in the lie when it was found out the money from the 2004 measure was NOT spent as they said it would.  How was it caught?  The new bond measure wanted the public to finance projects that were promised in the 2004 measure.  It got caught lying and cheating.  So, what are they going to do — ask for MORE bond money.  Worse, they want to spend tax money on a project that has never been done before.

“Yonah Freemark, an MIT researcher, however, said the entire process of building future technology into a public agency’s long-term planning process at this stage is nothing but a dodge.

“It’s a decision to avoid making choices that we know work, and instead putting our eggs in a basket that we don’t know will work and have no evidence to believe it will work. This is a sort of problem that occurs when people get the impression that a future technology will solve our problems, allowing them to delay tough decisions.”

To convey the promise of a hyperloop – an airtight tube that aims to whisk pods of travelers hundreds of miles per hour thanks to the lack of friction – Ikhrata has regularly invoked a simple travel scenario.

Here is a better idea. Allow Elon Musk to finance and build a hyperloop — with his own money. Allow other companies to finance the placement of self driving cars on the streets of San Diego.  Keep the taxpayers out of this.  No needs for more bonds—there is a need to close the openly corrupt and conniving SANDAG — chalk it up as just another fraud — this time financed by taxpayers.

SANDAG’s Techno-Futurist Transportation Vision May Run Into Reality Check

San Diego’s regional planning agency has started from scratch on a new plan for the regional transportation system, and it’s dreaming big on technology that hasn’t proven viable yet.

Andrew Keatts, Vocie of San Diego,  4/17/19  

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/land-use/sandags-techno-futurist-transportation-vision-may-run-into-reality-check/?utm_source=Voice+of+San+Diego+Master+List&utm_campaign=fbc419c6f2-Morning_Report&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c2357fd0a3-fbc419c6f2-81866633&goal=0_c2357fd0a3-fbc419c6f2-81866633

Since he came to town, the new head of the San Diego Association of Governments, Hasan Ikhrata, has touted the inevitability of self-driving cars, the game-changing efficiency of hyperloops and the infrastructure-funding breakthrough that is the Boring Company. He has promised to re-imagine how people get around the county using these ideas.

But he’s been largely silent on details like where the technologies might be a good fit, how soon they can come online and how much time SANDAG staff is spending on those decisions.

SANDAG is now in the process of re-writing its plan for regional transportation through 2050, after Ikhrata acknowledged this year that the existing plan couldn’t comply with required state emission reductions.

The agency is set to release the framework of a new plan in November. It’s in that plan that some of Ikhrata’s ideas could come into focus.

To date, Ikhrata has said he isn’t committed to any single project or technology – and acknowledges that the ideas he’s talking about are still just ideas.

“I believe in the ingenuity of the private market economy, that these technologies will be developed,” he said during a Voice of San Diego podcast interview last month. “Once you see corporate America investing billions of dollars on something, I think there is a lot behind it. So yeah, they’re not working now, I agree. It doesn’t bother me at all. I told my board, ‘I don’t mind San Diego being the Guinea pig of these technologies.’ It would be an honor to be the first in the country to try them. I am hopeful that innovation in technology is going to be here in the next 10 years.”

Executives from two such companies – self-driving car company Zoox, and Virgin Hyperloop One, a company looking to turn Elon Musk’s hyperloop concept into a viable private business – spoke to SANDAG’s board at the agency’s annual retreat earlier this year.

Both companies have set ambitious goals. Virgin Hyperloop One says it can make its tech operational by 2030. Zoox, its chief safety innovation officer Mark Rosekind said, thinks it can release a fully self-driving car by the end of 2020.

But both also have major logistical and planning circumstances to overcome, as their representatives outlined to SANDAG’s board.

Yonah Freemark, an MIT researcher, however, said the entire process of building future technology into a public agency’s long-term planning process at this stage is nothing but a dodge.

“It’s a decision to avoid making choices that we know work, and instead putting our eggs in a basket that we don’t know will work and have no evidence to believe it will work. This is a sort of problem that occurs when people get the impression that a future technology will solve our problems, allowing them to delay tough decisions.”

To convey the promise of a hyperloop – an airtight tube that aims to whisk pods of travelers hundreds of miles per hour thanks to the lack of friction – Ikhrata has regularly invoked a simple travel scenario.

Driving 30 miles from Escondido to downtown takes 40 minutes without traffic. The Rapid 235 bus can do the trip in an hour and 20 minutes. Given this, Ikhrata argues transit doesn’t offer a real alternative to driving. But, he asks, what if a hyperloop could deliver passengers downtown in just 10 minutes?

But Josh Raycroft, director for business strategy at Virgin Hyperloop One, told SANDAG’s board that his company doesn’t see the promise of hyperloop technology unlocking until a distance more than twice as far as the distance from Escondido to downtown.

“We’re really effective at say 80 miles or so, where the we’re taking full advantage of the speed of the system and we’re definitely superior to other modes,” he said. “But we need public transport to get masses of people to our system.”

April Boling, chair of the San Diego Airport Authority, asked what that meant for a regional system that doesn’t have many destinations that are 80 miles apart. Raycroft said the company envisions long-distance stretches — say from San Diego to Las Vegas — that could include spurs to smaller cities like Escondido that let certain pods depart, even if that would surrender the technology’s full efficiency.

Raycroft said his company doesn’t see hyperloops as an either-or proposition with transit. His company’s vision, he said, would still require public transportation or a robust network of self-driving cars to bring people to and from hyperloop stations, he said.

He also said hyperloops could work underground or above ground, possibly in freeway medians or alongside existing rail corridors, as long as the rights-of-way aren’t “too curvy,” because turning is difficult at the speeds at which the hyperloop hopes to travel.

Rosekind said there’s nothing imminent about seeing self-driving technology as a significant component of a regional transportation system.

“The model that I have continued to push is, we need a huge amount of innovation, followed by data-driven best practices and that will lead to regulation,” he said. “In this space, things haven’t been invented yet that we need.”

But, he said that coincides well with SANDAG’s attempt to plan for what a transportation system will look like in 2050, even if it suggests there won’t be major changes in the immediate future.

“You’re talking about your 2050 plan – that’s the way you have to think about it,” he said. “We’ll actually have a full self-driving vehicle ready for deployment at the end of 2020. Before we see these, literally where you go to your app and do it, is going to be 20 to 30 years.”

That might have come as a surprise to the assembled elected officials who serve on SANDAG’s board.

Prior to the retreat, the agency surveyed its board members on their expectations around emerging technologies in transportation.

Eighty percent of board members said autonomous vehicles would be a regular part of the region’s transit system within the next 10 years, and half of those people thought it would take fewer than five years. Just 4 percent of board members said it would take longer than 10 years, while 12 percent said it would never happen.

Supervisor Jim Desmond asked Rosekind whether governments should begin installing infrastructure that could speed up the development process – or encourage companies to pick one region for deployment over another.

Rosekind said the companies developing the technology will generally say, “’Oh, we don’t need that,’ but then as soon as they get off their soap box, it’s like, ‘if you have it, we’d love it, because it really would help enhance the safety margin or increase efficiency.’” He cited signal communications, or a 5G network that allows vehicles to talk to one another as public spending that could make the technology more viable. The city of San Diego announced earlier this month it was partnering with Verizon to begin creating a 5G system in the city.

But before governments consider the physical infrastructure to accommodate these technologies, Freemark said they need to consider whether they should be putting public planning resources to them in the first place.

“We shouldn’t be doing public planning around proprietary technology,” he said.

More importantly, he argued the demands to mitigate climate change are already upon us, and there’s plenty of evidence that the way to do so is densifying urban areas and investing in existing public transit options to decrease reliance on automobiles, without needing any sort of leap-of-faith toward future technology.

“The most important point here is frankly we don’t know anything about the technology being proposed,” he said. “Planning is already a speculative exercise, but when you add in planning for technology that the parameters for haven’t been established, there’s no way to make estimates of its impact on climate change. If you were to print a plan that said you’d include a number of hyperloops or new Boring tunnels, those would be pure speculation and I would hope that the state government would intervene and say it wasn’t accurate.”

Even a plan that stretches 40 years into the future, Freemark said, should depend on existing transportation elements.

“Unless your plan includes an actually realizable element, why do the plan at all?” he asked.

It’s unclear whether SANDAG’s new plan will include hyperloops drawn on maps crisscrossing the county, or whether it will assume self-driving cars take over some substantial percent of current trips.

But Ikhrata has been clear about his expectations for how much things need to change.

“I don’t care whether it’s the hyperloop or existing technologies, we need to provide a state of the art transit system that’s, if not better, as good as the car,” he said.

Los Angeles Unified School Dysfunction

LAUSD gives a majority of its diploma’s to the functionally illiterate—student with a “D”D average.  They lie about the graduation rate.  They are bankrupt, yet sign union agreements they can not pay—and even LIE about a parcel tax being for education—a minimum of $800 a year added to your property tax bill—when the money is to finance the unaffordable extorted union contract.

“According to a report released last week, less than half of the 2019 Los Angeles Unified School District graduating class will be eligible to attend one of the state’s public universities. There are 15 essential “A–G” courses, including English, math, and science that students need to get a C or better in to be eligible, and just 49 percent could hack it. Overall, the graduation rate is 76.6 percent. Well, sort of.

Grad rate numbers for students in Los Angeles should come with a giant asterisk after it because the district offers credit recovery classes, which help pad the count. Typically, these courses are online, rigor-free, and require little effort to get a passing grade. In 2016, the American Institutes for Research released the results of a study on the effect of these courses for Algebra 1, and found that they failed to improve students’ general comprehension of the content.”

LAUSD pretends to educate.  Instead it is an indoctrination center run by extortionists and educrats that care about money, not the safety of students.  MOST LAUSD schools are as safe as an L.A. County juvenile detention center.  Why does LAUSD hates students.

Los Angeles Unified School Dysfunction

By Larry Sand, California Policy  Center,  4/16/19  

https://californiapolicycenter.org/los-angeles-unified-school-dysfunction/

More bad news from the nation’s second largest school district.

According to a report released last week, less than half of the 2019 Los Angeles Unified School District graduating class will be eligible to attend one of the state’s public universities. There are 15 essential “A–G” courses, including English, math, and science that students need to get a C or better in to be eligible, and just 49 percent could hack it. Overall, the graduation rate is 76.6 percent. Well, sort of.

Grad rate numbers for students in Los Angeles should come with a giant asterisk after it because the district offers credit recovery classes, which help pad the count. Typically, these courses are online, rigor-free, and require little effort to get a passing grade. In 2016, the American Institutes for Research released the results of a study on the effect of these courses for Algebra 1, and found that they failed to improve students’ general comprehension of the content.

Just what is the school district doing to do to improve things? District Superintendent Austin Beutner came up with a plan – 300-plus pages-worth, in fact – that would decentralize power and give more juice to principals and smaller “support networks.” However, it seems that January’s United Teachers of Los Angeles strike cowed Beutner, and his grand plan was scuttled.

In another suck-up to the teachers union, the school board voted 5-1 to ask the state to impose a charter school moratorium. It seems that only one board member, the reliable Nick Melvoin, truly understands that it’s more important that parents have a way to escape a failing district school than placating UTLA.

As a sop to parents, the school district did set up an online accountability website with statistics about the performance of individual schools. But the site is not user-friendly at all. The most recent data is two years old, and there is very limited information about the district’s choice programs. Parents are not happy with it, to say the least, finding it “very frustrating and disappointing.”

The news is equally bad, if not worse, on the fiscal front. Just before the report about its poor education record was issued, the district received yet another pointed letter from the Los Angeles County of Education, asserting that the school district’s spending has led to a “distressed financial condition.” The missive also cited LAUSD’s “inattention” to its $15.2 billion – and counting – unfunded retiree healthcare liability, as well as its inability to consider the long-term effects of its contract with UTLA. This could very well lead to a county takeover of the school district leaving the LA school board impotent. Furthermore, the state is watching very closely, ready to pounce if necessary.

As if all this was not bad enough, there is a school board election scheduled for May 14th. Board member Ref Rodriguez was forced out due to his part in a money-laundering scheme, setting up an election to complete his term, which ends in 2020. The favorite to win is Jackie Goldberg, a former board member, who might as well be on the board of UTLA. Mouthing the union line, Goldberg claims that the district is really in the black and is sitting needlessly on money it could be spending now. The district maintains it is committed to spend all of it to avoid going deeper into debt.

So with its poor academic record, mounting debt and a union-kiss-up mentality, what is the district going to do next? Try to tax the people. As if the people living in La La land, who reside in the state of Taxifornia, weren’t throwing enough money at the government, LAUSD has placed a parcel tax measure on the June 4th ballot. Its goal is to raise $500 million annually over a 12-year period.

The proposed tax will be determined by the size of the lot: 16 cents per square foot. Owners of large apartment buildings and commercial properties will be especially hard-hit. However, this will affect more than just them. Rents will go up, as will prices on goods made by affected businesses. Additionally, as Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal points out, the measure says the money must be used to support schools, “but that is so general that all the money could be spent on pensions and retiree benefits, with not one cent going into classrooms.”

If your kid kept the car you gave him in lousy shape, used it recklessly, and then asked for more money to do more of the same, would you oblige him? Of course you wouldn’t; you would ground him. Time to apply the same action to LAUSD. Mommy County and Daddy State need to step in and fix the mess. Now. Before the taxpayers shell out another nickel. The LAUSD/UTLA act has gotten very old in a big hurry.

 *   *   *

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

When Local Newsrooms Shrink, Fewer Candidates Run for Mayor

It has always been my belief that the fewer reports covering the Capitol or City Hall, the more corrupt the politics.  Now we have a study that shows the fewer the reporters and newspapers the fewer the candidates for mayor — and less coverage of corruption.

“Using 11 California newspapers and two decades of local elections as case studies, Rubado and Jennings found that when there are fewer reporters covering an area, fewer people run for mayor, and fewer people vote. Put another way: When newspaper staffing levels are higher, voters have more of a choice in who leads their city, and more of them feel like showing up to choose.

The connection is no coincidence, says Rubado. “If there’s nobody reporting on or providing information about candidates, about legislation, about how money is being spent, or the budgeting process, how will people know that they require a quality challenger to unseat an ineffective mayor?” she said. “They don’t know the mayor is ineffective!”

The crisis in local journalism isn’t just about disappearing publications and the spread of “news deserts” across the landscape. It’s also about the dramatic decline in newsroom jobs at the papers that are surviving, forcing fewer journalists to do the work of many. From 2008 to 2017, total newspaper newsroom staffing almost halved, according to a Pew analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, dropping from 71,000 employees to 39,000. In the early 2000s, the average staff size of newsrooms peaked at around 50, according to data provided to the researchers by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). By 2013, that average was down to below 25.

The “dead tree” industry is dying — quickly. Great reporters covering politics and power are few and far between.  Corruption in the L.A. City Hall. LAUSD, Santa Ana, San Diego is barely covered — under it blows up.  I love the Internet and the news you can find — but nothing beats a real reporter tracking down a story.

When Local Newsrooms Shrink, Fewer Candidates Run for Mayor

Sarah Holder, City Lab,  4/11/19 

https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/04/local-news-decline-journalist-news-desert-california-data/586759/

A study of 11 California newspapers shows that when cities have fewer reporters, political competition and voter turnout suffer.

For six years, Meghan Rubado worked as a reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard. As she flit from beat to beat, covering City Hall and the school board, she watched as the paper began to deteriorate around her. The paper cut benefits and established a hiring freeze. Her colleagues took buy-outs or got unpaid furloughs. As they disappeared, she said, her duties ballooned.

“It was clear to me then that I could not pay attention to everything that deserved it, could not maintain relationships in the same way,” Rubado told CityLab. So, in 2010, right before mass layoffs at the paper, she quit and went to graduate school to earn a doctorate in political science. “Between the staff and benefit cuts, and the less-fulfilling work, I figured another six years of school and near-poverty sounded pretty good,” she said.

Now she’s an assistant professor of urban studies at Cleveland State University. But Rubado hasn’t stopped thinking about her days at the Standard, and what happens to cities like Syracuse and Cleveland when local newspapers shed employees. So together with Jay T. Jennings, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin’s Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, she decided to measure the civic implications of a shrinking local media.

Using 11 California newspapers and two decades of local elections as case studies, Rubado and Jennings found that when there are fewer reporters covering an area, fewer people run for mayor, and fewer people vote. Put another way: When newspaper staffing levels are higher, voters have more of a choice in who leads their city, and more of them feel like showing up to choose.

The connection is no coincidence, says Rubado. “If there’s nobody reporting on or providing information about candidates, about legislation, about how money is being spent, or the budgeting process, how will people know that they require a quality challenger to unseat an ineffective mayor?” she said. “They don’t know the mayor is ineffective!”

The crisis in local journalism isn’t just about disappearing publications and the spread of “news deserts” across the landscape. It’s also about the dramatic decline in newsroom jobs at the papers that are surviving, forcing fewer journalists to do the work of many. From 2008 to 2017, total newspaper newsroom staffing almost halved, according to a Pew analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, dropping from 71,000 employees to 39,000. In the early 2000s, the average staff size of newsrooms peaked at around 50, according to data provided to the researchers by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). By 2013, that average was down to below 25.

“When people realize that the quality of their local governance is decreasing, there will be a market demand for renewed attention to local matters.”

When news-gathering resources are whittled down, papers struggle to adjust. Older, better-paid journalists are often laid off first, forcing newspapers to also lose longstanding source connections and institutional memory. As journalists take on extra beats and reporting time is stretched, city council meetings go uncovered, budgets unanalyzed, and legislation unchallenged. And when coverage declines, reader trust and interest also erodes, according to a recent Pew study. Eventually, this can catalyze a cycle of disinvestment in local news, which can in turn allow corruption to proliferate and government costs to soar, one recent report found.

But the relationship between local journalism and political engagement and competition has been less examined. To measure it, Jennings and Rubado looked at the connection between changes in staffing levels and election results from the following year.

ASNE provided data on newsroom staffing nationwide, but the researchers chose to study newsrooms in California specifically because of the state’s readily available cache of high-quality, consistent election statistics. As a big state, California also boasts a diversity of types of newspapers and sizes of cities.

Within California, the researchers chose to focus only on newspapers based in the largest city within their metropolitan area, to ensure that they were not also covered by regional papers like the Los Angeles Times. They also limited analysis to newspapers covering cities with a population of at least 50,000. They measured circulation to make sure the newspapers were actually consumed by the local population, only including those with a 10 percent circulation rate and above. And to ensure the data wasn’t muddied by other variables that affect turnout and political competition, they controlled for socioeconomic status and demographic makeup of communities, and took into account whether elections took place on an off-year, or if mayors were running against an incumbent. In all, the dataset covered 11 newspapers, 46 municipalities, and 246 mayoral elections over two decades.

Their first major finding: When more journalists were working at the local paper, more candidates ran for mayor. If a newspaper hired one more staffer for each 1,000-person circulation (or 10 staffers for a paper with a circulation of 10,000), the number of candidates would “increase by an expected factor of 1.23, all else held constant.”

“It’s generally the difference between having an option or not,” said Rubado.

By measuring the victory margins for successful mayoral candidates, they again found a correlation between tight races and healthier newspapers: When more journalists worked at the local paper, mayoral candidates won with a smaller percentage of the votes. It was also less likely for an incumbent mayor to run for reelection unchallenged.

The effect on voter turnout was a little less dramatic: For every one-unit increase in staffing level, they found a 6 percent increase in turnout, with other variables held constant. Turnout was also affected by education level (cities with more educated populations had higher voting rates) and demographics (cities with a larger population of white and non-Hispanic residents voted less).

Combined with other reports, these findings add one more brushstroke to the dire portrait of local news in America. The question is, where do we go from here?

In many cities, new digital-only news startups, often with nonprofit status, have appeared. In Austin, Texas, Jennings says, the Austin Monitor has been bolstering coverage of his neighborhood after the Austin American-Statesman experienced large staffing cuts. In Philadelphia, where both researchers went to graduate school at Temple, mass layoffs at the Inquirer and the Daily News paved the way for online publications like Billy Penn to start filling in. In San Jose—one of the California cities analyzed by the researchers—the Mercury News has been supplemented by the San Jose Spotlight, a nonprofit news organization that launched this year.

But such startups can’t be the only solutions, says Jennings. “We just have some hesitancy about how to compare an active, large professional newsroom with people that have been working the beat for years with these upstart organization that are starting to fill in the gaps,” he said.

With more data about the true toll cities pay for losing local news, Rubado says she hopes things can change. “There will be a reckoning,” she said. “When people realize that the quality of their local governance and local government are decreasing—when their quality of representation is decreasing—I do think there will be a market demand for renewed attention to local matters. But I’m not sure how long that will take. And I have a lot of concerns about what will happen in the meantime.”

NEW THOUGHTS ON REPARATIONS

If Kamala Harris was an honest person — she isn’t — she would give up the gun she owns, since she does not want you to own a gun. If Harris was honest she would drain her banking account and sell off her assets to pay reparations for the slaves her family OWNED in Jamaica. But, Harris is a socialist with an ego — she is incapable of being honest.

“Some Democratic candidates want reparations paid to the descendants of slaves. Other candidates claim that the matter of reparations should be studied or dropped.”

Democrats are eager to defeat President Donald Trump.  However, they need to avoid antagonizing American voters over the issue of reparations.

Who would qualify for the reparations?  How about reparations for Native Americans—would Elizabeth Warren qualify?  How about Barack Obama—his father came her in the mid 1950’s.  he has no family history of being a slave—but he is black.  The whole discussion is a waste of time.  There is no issue about reparations—this is about stealing money from some, giving it to others—and using government to buy votes for hack, corrupt politicians.

Photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes, flickr

NEW THOUGHTS ON REPARATIONS

By Richard Colman, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  4/18/19  

www.capoliticalreview.com

Reparations — the payment of money for an actual or perceived wrong — is dividing Democratic presidential candidates.

 Some Democratic candidates want reparations paid to the descendants of slaves.  Other candidates claim that the matter of reparations should be studied or dropped.

Democrats are eager to defeat President Donald Trump.  However, they need to avoid antagonizing American voters over the issue of reparations.

 After the Civil War (1861-1865), slavery in America ended.  Should American taxpayers compensate certain living Americans for something that occurred over 150 years ago?

 What should the Democrats do now?

 If Congress is asked to provide reparations, Congress would have to determine who is eligible, how much money to pay each descendant from slavery, and how long to let the program last.

 Given the federal government’s slowness or reluctance to accomplish almost anything, reparations, if enacted, might take decades to occur.  It is possible that a reparations program might never become law.  And whatever dollar amount is given for reparations, some individuals would say that the amount of money provided would not be enough.

 Rather than look back to the time of the American Civil War, why not look ahead to the next 100 years?

 Descendants of slaves might be better off if government or the private sector did something to assist low-income people — regardless of skin color.

 One such action would be to offer some sort of program that provided low-income people with skills appropriate for the digital age, which is sometimes called the Gig Economy.

 The public-school system might be a good place to start.  However, many public schools, especially in low-income areas, are failing.  Public schools must be able to provide quality education in mathematics, English, history, and other subjects.  The quality must be measured through periodic examinations.

 Throwing money at failing schools is not the solution.  The federal government and state governments have been funding bad schools for years, and yet there is no discernible improvement.

 The best solution for a failing school system is to promote competition.  If competition helps consumers buy cars, then competition should work if applied to education.

 Competition for traditional public schools generally takes two forms.

 One form is charter schools, which generally are public schools not run by the same governing bodies that run traditional public schools.  In many cases, charter schools do not have teachers who belong to labor unions.

 The other form is the use of vouchers.  A voucher is a plan to give parents or guardians of a child a free-admission ticket to attend a school of the parents’ or guardians’ choice.

 Alternative schooling has to be frequently monitored to make sure that educational quality is being maintained.  Car-buyers can read such publications as Consumer Reports to compare vehicle quality.  Consumer Reports or some other publication would be needed to keep track of school quality.

 At this time, evidence showing the success or failure of charter schools and voucher programs is murky.  More time is needed to see if such alternatives t public schools are really effective.

Charter schools or vouchers are not enough.  Parents or guardians of a child must be extensively involved with the child’s education.  They must demand that homework be done and done correctly.  The homework must be reviewed before it is submitted to a teacher.

 Democratic candidates for president will have to show some courage if they want to offer alternatives to traditional public schools.  In such public schools, powerful teachers unions can supply votes, money, and precinct-walkers to help candidates.

 If the Democrats don’t act, the Republicans might seize the education issue and take votes away from Democrats.

 The Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an anti-slavery party.  Today’s Republican Party can craft a new image for itself by emphasizing educational benefits to needy children.  In fact, the Republicans might want to consider getting government out of the educational business or at least letting private schools compete with government-run schools.

 With a properly educated workforce, America will be competitive with the kinds of school systems seen in South Korea, Singapore, and Japan.