Residential no-burn in effect Wednesday in Southern Calif.–But No One Knew

Unless you were one of the dozen people who receive the press releases from the South Coast Air Quality management District in Southern California, you did not know it was illegal to use your fireplace yesterday. You might have been one of the few thousand, out of 15 million that caught the notice as part of the evening news—but seriously, how many watch the late night news?

Then, if you did illegally use your fireplace, who knew, unless a snitch turned you in. Does the agency have monitors driving around the communities of Southern California looking for a recalcitrant trying to stay warm using their fireplaces? The good news is that only electrons were disturbed, no trees were killed to send the unnoticed notice. Here is an idea, the agency can save money by not having personnel send out notices nobody reads or abides by.

“Under the alert issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, residents are barred from burning wood in fireplaces until midnight.” What a waste of electrons.

220px-Al_Gore

Residential no-burn in effect Wednesday in Southern Calif.

Posted by Debbie L. Sklar, My NewsLA, 2/4/15

 

A residential no-burn alert will be in effect Wednesday in the South Coast Air Basin — which includes the greater Los Angeles area, Orange County and the Inland Empire — due to a forecast of fine particle air pollution.

Under the alert issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, residents are barred from burning wood in fireplaces until midnight.

“No-burn alerts are mandatory in order to protect public health due to a high concentration of fine particle air pollution forecast for the area,” according to the SCAQMD. “The no-burn prohibition also applies to manufactured fire logs, such as those made from wax or paper.”

The prohibition does not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet, the Coachella Valley or the high desert.

 

Sacramento City Council Uses SECRET Tax Funds to Donate to Planned Parenthood

Council members in Sacramento get “discretionary” money to spend—without telling anyone, making it public or taking a public vote on the expenditure. That is one of the ways the taxpayers of Sacramento promote the organization founded on the theory of eugenics, Planned Parenthood. We have been told that the money is for welfare and scholarship programs. Of course, that makes more money available for the abortion of minority babies—the vast number of abortions are of minorities.

Should council members have private slush funds financed by your taxes? Los Angeles city and county has these slush funds. Now we know that the city of Sacramento believes in slush funds as well.

“Liz Figueroa, vice president of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, said they get a great deal of funding from tax dollars and education reduces a lot of taxpayers costs.

But Mariotti takes issue with the fact the contributions were never voted on in a public forum.

“I think if people were aware of it, you would have an overwhelming amount of people showing up at a City Council meeting complaining.  I think you would have calls to their offices. I think you would have long lines if there was an open forum for people to discuss. I think it would be a big issue,” Mariotti said.”

Planned Parenthood Abortion Pro Choice

Sac City Council funds Planned Parenthood programs

Discretionary funds allow funding without vote of council

Kevin Oliver, KCRA, 12/17/14

 

City Council member Angelique Ashby is among the most fiscally conservative of her colleagues, when it comes to spending her discretionary funds.

Compared to other City Council members, last year Ashby spent the least — about $35,000 on community service programs and local events.

But that included giving tax dollars to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

When we asked Ashby about that expenditure, it led to the end of our interview.

“I donated to a scholarship. The money that I gave only could go to a scholarship fund for young single moms already selected to go to college,” Ashby said. “At one point in my life, sir, that was me.  So I hope that in doing so, that some of those young women grow up, love their city enough to come back, run for City Council and be the next Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Sacramento.”

Ashby wasn’t the only one.

Since 2012, every City Council member gave some of their discretionary funds to Planned Parenthood, a total of $11,000.

Sacramento resident and mother of four, Christina Marotti, said she doesn’t want her tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood programs — period.

“I don’t think they as elected officials should have the ability just to spend where they please,” Marotti said. “It almost seems like it’s kind of hidden. If it’s not voted on, it’s not announced. (KCRA 3) found it, but I never knew about it before.”

Most of the city funds went to a scholarship and a program that provided support groups for teenage mothers.

Planned Parenthood says the teen success program costs $50,000 a year to help 12 single mothers.

Liz Figueroa, vice president of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, said they get a great deal of funding from tax dollars and education reduces a lot of taxpayers costs.

But Mariotti takes issue with the fact the contributions were never voted on in a public forum.

“I think if people were aware of it, you would have an overwhelming amount of people showing up at a City Council meeting complaining.  I think you would have calls to their offices. I think you would have long lines if there was an open forum for people to discuss. I think it would be a big issue,” Mariotti said.

Council member Steve Cohn defended his use of City Council discretionary funds for the programs.

Cohn said in an email, “I believe that is a undeniably worthy community purpose.  These funds do not go to abortions or other controversial programming.”

Planned Parenthood officials said it is their policy to keep funding for educational programs separate from other services.

Sacramento State professor Charles Gossett said City Council members aren’t going to be able to make everyone happy when deciding how to spend tax dollars.

“That’s always a problem in a democracy.  Sometimes the city will purchase things from a vendor that some people don’t think you should be buying from that vendor but it may have been the best vendor,” Gossett said.

Gossett said there are ways to alleviate concerns about giving tax dollars to organizations that some might find controversial by establishing clear policies or even citizen commissions to make those decisions.

Two groups, Eye on Sacramento and the League of Women Voters, are trying to get the city to enact several reform measures, including an ethics code and citizen commission as well as new sunshine laws to improve transparency in city government.

 

Palo Alto Rich Must Live With Homesless–Results of Their Votes and Policies

I love it when Liberals need to live the way they vote. They want your community and mine to have affordable housing—but not theirs. They insist the homeless be taken care of, in my community and yours—but not theirs. Now the Leftists of Palo Alton are being forced to allow the homeless live in their cars on the streets in front of their multi-million dollar homes!

“The City of Palo Alto has repealed a 2013 ordinance prohibiting individuals from sleeping in their cars, campers, or RVs amid heavy criticism from homeless rights advocates and fears over a potential lawsuit.

Under the previous ordinance, sleeping in one’s vehicle could incur a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail. But that rule was tossed out Monday in a 7 to 1 vote by the city council.

But I doubt if they will start repealing AB 32 and other job killers causing the unemployment and homelessness. Now they can be reminded every day of the affects of their liberalism.

homeless

Palo Alto Car Camping Ban Thrown Into Reverse

California City News, 11/20/14

The City of Palo Alto has repealed a 2013 ordinance prohibiting individuals from sleeping in their cars, campers, or RVs amid heavy criticism from homeless rights advocates and fears over a potential lawsuit.

Under the previous ordinance, sleeping in one’s vehicle could incur a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail. But that rule was tossed out Monday in a 7 to 1 vote by the city council.

“This is the right thing to do and this is the compassionate thing to do,” said Council Member Gail Price. She and her colleagues were urged to overturn the ban by City Attorney Molly Stump and City Manager James Keene, who said the city could soon face costly legal actions as a result. “I do think [a lawsuit] is very likely if Palo Alto retains this ordinance and begins to enforce it,” Stump warned.

Palo Alto’s legal concerns were heightened after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled a similar law in Los Angeles to be unconstitutional. The 30-year-old law prohibiting the use of vehicles as “living quarters” was described as an overly-broad gateway to discrimination and deemed incompatible with the rule of law.

Palo Alto Council Member Larry Klein was the lone dissenter during Monday’s vote. He expressed concerns that the city would be encouraging transiency by repealing the ordinance and noted that a final legal determination on the issue could still be years in the making.

Palo Alto’s ordinance was passed last year after numerous complaints by city residents. It was placed on hold pending the court’s ruling in the case out of Los Angeles.

Read more about the Palo Alto City Council’s decision here.

 

Coupal: Jarvis Asks Supreme Court To Block Sale Of High Speed Rail Bonds

Arnold and the Choo Choo train crew told us the cost of the “high” speed rail was under $40 billion—now they admit it is $68 billion, while most experts believe it is way over $100 billion. Arnold admitted he doubled the potential ridership, the measure gave us the route—which is no longer operative. They lied about money, routes and ridership. But, still believe it is Ok to go forward. Thanks to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association the Supreme Court is asked to end this canard and abuse of the California taxpayers and voters. Oh, the train no longer meets the definition of high speed—just another train.

“”The state has broken faith with voters,” said HJTA President Jon Coupal. “The current rail plan bears no resemblance to the one put before voters in 2008,”

Similar conduct by a private entity could be prosecuted under California’s bait and switch law which states, in brief, that It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or association, to make untrue or misleading statements as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to sell property or services, at the price advertised,” added Coupal.”

high-speed-rail-map-320-300x228

Jarvis Asks Supreme Court To Block Sale Of High Speed Rail Bonds

Jon Coupal, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, 9/9/14

Today (9) the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) has petitioned the California Supreme Court to review the high speed rail bond validation case.

After radically changing the bullet train plan promised to voters who approved $10 billion in bonds in 2008, the State asked the court to approve sale of the bonds anyway. HJTA responded on behalf of all Californians saying the rail plan no longer matches what was promised voters and the State’s request should be denied. The trial court agreed and denied the State’s request for validation of the bond sale. The Court of Appeals has reversed this decision and HJTA is now asking for intervention by the Supreme Court.

The current plan for high speed rail is nearly twice as expensive as promised and the projected travel times and fairs have nearly doubled.

“The state has broken faith with voters,” said HJTA President Jon Coupal. “The current rail plan bears no resemblance to the one put before voters in 2008,”

Similar conduct by a private entity could be prosecuted under California’s bait and switch law which states, in brief, that It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or association, to make untrue or misleading statements as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to sell property or services, at the price advertised,” added Coupal.

To read the petition, click here.

BACKGROUND

In November 2008, California voters approved $10 billion in bonds to build the first segment of a bullet train system that, according to the ballot materials, would whisk riders from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under 2½ hours, for about $50 per person. The $43 billion system would be built with federal and private matching funds, and would be self-funding once operational, requiring no new taxes or government subsidies.

After the High Speed Rail Authority radically revised its business and development plan so that it no longer resembled the project approved by voters, the State filed a validation action, High Speed Rail Authority v. All Persons, asking the court to approve the sale of the bonds. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) responded on behalf of “all persons.”

HJTA is fighting the sale of the rail bonds because the State’s current plans for the money break almost every promise made to the voters in 2008. The estimated cost of construction has increased by $25 billion. The federal government has pledged only a trifle, and private investors are not interested at all. A revised business plan has scrapped the idea of 220 mph trains operating on their own track, in favor of slower trains partly sharing existing track with standard passenger and freight trains. Ridership projections have been reduced, which means less ticket-sale revenue, which means higher ticket prices and annual taxpayer subsidies.

The measure approved by the voters required some oversight. An independent Finance Committee was supposed to review the proposed bond sale and approve it only if all prerequisites were met. The evidence at trial showed that the Finance Committee did not do its job. It rubber stamped the sale without ever holding a hearing to consider whether the promises in the ballot were being kept.

In January the trial court ruled in our favor of HJTA on the grounds that the Finance Committee’s approval of the sale of bonds was not supported by any evidence in the record. The court entered judgment denying validation of the bond sale—a huge win for taxpayers. The State then unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to step in and vacate the trial court judgment. The Supreme Court instead referred the case to its usual next step, the Court of Appeal.

The appellate court has now reversed the finding of the trial court, which is why HJTA is asking for review by the Supreme Court.

 

LA Times: Bi-Partisanship Means One Party State

So many Leftist, big government proposals, killing of freedom ideas (ban on plastic grocery bags for instance) were passed by the totally Democrat legislature—most with few or no Republican votes. To the media tax increases, legislation promoting and protecting unions, is “bi-partisan”. When Republicans oppose these the media calls it “gridlock”.

It is true the Democrats did get Republicans to vote a bonus of $330 million tax dollars for radical Democrat donors, the Hollywood billionaires. Maybe if they gave less to Reid, Pelosi and Obama, they would have the money to finance their California operations instead of blackmailing their Democrat friends into paying extortion.

“The legislative “achievements” of 2014 include a statewide ban on plastic bags–the first in the nation; rules for “affirmative consent” in sexual relations on college campuses–also a national first; and tax credits to keep film production in Hollywood (as opposed to tax reform that might benefit all Californians). The glaring omission is any real kind of ethics reform, after four Senate Democrats were either charged or convicted of crimes this year.”

Photo courtesy of DB's travels, Flickr.

Photo courtesy of DB’s travels, Flickr.

California Media Hail ‘Bipartisanship’ in Sacramento

by Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart CA, 8/31/14

This is “bipartisanship” the way Democrats, and the mainstream media, like it: Republicans giving in on nearly every issue. From the Los Angeles Times to the San Jose Mercury News, journalists are united in praising the work that both parties did to pass a slew of bills that largely push a left-wing agenda, calling it an example for leaders in Washington. GOP leaders are basking in the temporary praise. But what, exactly, have they done?

Of the bills that passed, only two–a $7.5 billion water bond, and a rainy day fund–are of real significance to the state, and both merely nibble around the edges of major problems. (The water bond will do nothing about the state’s present drought, and the rainy day fund will barely make a dent in California’s long-term public pension-driven debt). The other bills are a “progressive” wish list, superficially watered down to placate the GOP.

The legislative “achievements” of 2014 include a statewide ban on plastic bags–the first in the nation; rules for “affirmative consent” in sexual relations on college campuses–also a national first; and tax credits to keep film production in Hollywood (as opposed to tax reform that might benefit all Californians). The glaring omission is any real kind of ethics reform, after four Senate Democrats were either charged or convicted of crimes this year.

The media and policy commentariat are celebrating–and making sure Republicans learn a lesson. The Mercury News quotes USC’s Sherry Bebitch Jeffe: “California Republicans in particular are beginning to understand that if they are going to survive as a party, they have to move to the center.” The Times praises Republicans who “chose to work across the aisle” rather than “throw a wrench into the legislative works” when they could have.

The Times suggests that Republicans likely seized the opportunity to cooperate after realizing that Brown was likely to be re-elected this year. Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff also credits Democrats for being “more collaborative, less confrontational, more focused on getting things done,” the Times notes. But when much of what is done is counter-productive, the question is why Republican opposition was less visible and effective.

The Democrats’ ethics problems provided a perfect opportunity. But Republicans did not press the issue–perhaps because of the beating they took in 2012 over Brown’s tax hikes. Last week’s visit by the Mexican president said it all: two Republicans boycotted over the arrest of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, and one led protests outside, but the rest preferred to sit at the table. And the gubernatorial candidate was nowhere in sight.

 

1 in 6 California construction jobs part of underground economy, study finds

California income tax revenues are DOWN 6% for the first six months of the year. Illegal aliens, contrary to the liberal canard, do not pay income taxes—to do so would bring them to the attention of government. So, they work “off the books”.   Thanks to minimum wage increases and ObamaCare, people are being moved to part time work, then some are being pushed onto unemployment. So, why work on the books when construction firms are willing to save money, but pay workers?

This is illegal—not paying taxes, not paying bribes to unions, all of this is the result of government policy. People and firms to survive must break the law. Or they claim company workers are really on contract. The good news is that folks have jobs and companies are making money—obey the law and how much will be lost? A conundrum.

“California’s construction industry is sinking underground. That’s the conclusion of a new study from the Los Angeles-based Economic Roundtable that found more than 143,900 jobs – or one out of six jobs –in California’s $152 billion construction industry were part of the so-called underground economy in 2011. Of those, 104,100 jobs were unreported by employers and more than 39,000 employees were misclassified as independent contractors.”

20111201 jobs

1 in 6 California construction jobs part of underground economy, study finds

Ben Bergman, KPCC, 8/31/14

California’s construction industry is sinking underground. That’s the conclusion of a new study from the Los Angeles-based Economic Roundtable that found more than 143,900 jobs – or one out of six jobs –in California’s $152 billion construction industry were part of the so-called underground economy in 2011. Of those, 104,100 jobs were unreported by employers and more than 39,000 employees were misclassified as independent contractors.

The study, unwritten by  the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, found the number of construction workers in the underground economy has skyrocketed 400-percent since 1972.

Researchers defined the underground or informal economy as workers who were not protected legally or socially in their jobs. Particularly vulnerable are immigrants, who made up 43-percent of the California construction labor force in 2012.

“Construction once provided livelihoods for many workers to live the Californian Dream,” lead researcher Yvonne Yen Liu said in a statement.  “That dream has unfortunately turned into a nightmare as informality increases and many are pushed into contingent work. Construction is a low-road model of an industry sinking underground.  Informality threatens to become the new normal.  To get back on our feet, California needs to raise the floor wage so informal workers are paid a fair wage and enforce labor standards.”

The study found the number of workers exploited greatly increased during the Great Recession, and now four years later, conditions haven’t improved.

And it’s not just construction workers who are threatened, says Liu. That’s because labor practices originating in construction – like misclassifying workers as independent contractors when they should be employees – can trickle down to other industries.

“Misclassification was something that started in construction,” said Liu. “This is something we’re now seeing in the so-called ‘sharing economy.’”

Other findings from the study:

  • The informal tax gap in 2011 was estimated to total over $774 million. The federal government lost $301 million in taxes and California lost $473 million. California unemployment insurance was cheated of $63 million, state disability $146 million, and workers’ compensation $264 million. These are conservative estimates, which only include unpaid payroll taxes and not income taxes.
  • If the wage floor for informal construction was raised to the level of formal workers, California would benefit from $1.5 billion in economic stimulus. The federal government would receive $120 million in additional tax revenue, state and local government $100 million. Unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and state disability would receive $1.6 million.
  • From 1968 to 2012, an annual average of 20 percent of construction workers were not employed. Between 1988 and 2013, half of the unemployed lost their jobs involuntarily.
  • Informal construction contributes to the hollowing out of the middle class. Thirty percent of households with an income earner working informally in construction earned below-poverty wages. Households supported by an informal construction worker were three times more likely to live in poverty than households supported by a formal construction worker.
  • Informal construction workers earn half of what their formal counterparts bring home. For every dollar earned by a worker in the formal sector, an unreported worker makes 52 cents and a misclassified worker 64 cents. The total informal wage gap was $1.2 billion in 2011.
  • Specialty trades, such as drywall, have the highest level of informality, over 25 percent employed informally in 2012. Building construction was next, with 20 percent estimated to be informal. Little evidence of informality was found in heavy and civil engineering.
  • Construction has difficulty recruiting and retaining young workers. Many younger, lower paid workers are churned, entering and then leaving the industry after short stints. The median age for those who stayed in the industry was 38 while those leaving and entering were 4 to 6 years younger.

David Kersh, Executive Director of the Carpenters/Contractors Cooperation Committee, a construction labor watchdog group, said the study quantitates the sorts of violations he hears about everyday, including ones at large-scale private and taxpayer funded construction projects.

“We come across these types of unlawful business practices at schools, colleges, universities, libraries, airports and other government facilities; at multi-unit housing projects and high-rise buildings,” Kersh wrote in an e-mail. “They involve regional and international contractors and developers, and companies employing from dozens up to 200 workers on a single project, as evidenced in the situation of National Drywall, a drywall subcontractor recently debarred by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement from working on public works projects for defrauding the state and whose workers have received $1 million in owed wages for labor violations.”

 

Attorney General of California Blocks Real Initiative Reform

Recently a ballot measure to reform the collapsing pension system had to be pulled because the Attorney General wrote a “Title and Summary” making it look like the measure did the opposite of its wording. This killed a chance for the public to do what the union controlled legislature refuses to do—fix the pensions and save the checks for retirees. In the past other Attorney Generals had done the same thing—wrote Title and Summaries for the purpose of misleading the public and force the defeat of good measures and pass measures that harmed the public.

Recently there was a chance to fix the system and take it out of the world of politics. Our Attorney General Kamela Harris understands the power of this responsibility, so killed efforts to fix the problem. Maybe it would take a ballot measure to fix it, if she allowed it on the ballot.

“Most of the organizations participating in the working group agreed with HJTA’s proposal to transfer the responsibility of preparing the title and summary to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst. But because the AG and her minions have substantial political muscle, the effort to secure a more non-partisan title and summary process has now died. And adding insult to injury, the AG even objected to language requiring that ballot titles and summaries use “clear and concise” language.”

vote

AG Blocks Real Initiative Reform

By Jon Coupal. Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, 8/24/14

Just last month, this column noted that the professional political class harbors great hostility toward the tools of direct democracy — the powers of initiative, referendum and recall. These are effective tools to control an indolent or corrupt legislature.

From the perspective of politicians, direct democracy allows the great unwashed and unsophisticated to deal with matters such as taxation, victims’ rights, insurance and, most importantly, political reform. These are issues over which politicians strongly desire to exercise a legislative monopoly.

The column was written in the context of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, a particularly pernicious proposal that would make it much harder for grassroots groups to use direct democracy by requiring a higher vote threshold at the ballot box for changes in the California Constitution proposed by citizens. ACA 6 reflects the epitome of hypocrisy because constitutional amendments proposed from the Legislature would not be subject to the higher standard.

ACA 6 remains a threat, although, as we head into the last week of the Legislative session, we have reason to believe it will die the death it so richly deserves.

In contrast, today’s column concerns another legislative effort to alter the initiative process, Senate Bill 1253. Unlike ACA 6, which was a clear attack on the initiative process, SB 1253 is a mixed bag. Nonetheless, in its final version, it falls woefully short of what is implied by its title: “The Ballot Initiative Transparency Act.”

First, a bit of background.

Last year, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association was asked by other organizations to participate in a process to review the initiative process with a view toward real reform. We ourselves have noted that the current process is not perfect and, while skeptical, agreed to participate. (There is an old saying in politics – you’re either at the table or on the menu).

Spearheading the process was moderate Democrat and former legislator, Robert Hertzberg. Also providing a leadership role was Common Cause, a left of center good government organization. In addition to HJTA representing taxpayers, business interests were represented by both the California Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. Thankfully, it was decided that no elected officials should be part of the working group.

Surprisingly, the early meetings were quite productive – more so than this writer had anticipated. One of the early items agreed on was that proponents of initiatives should retain the right to withdraw an initiative even if had qualified for the ballot. The reason for this is that a qualified initiative has the potential to force the Legislature to actually address an issue in a meaningful way. A pending, but not yet enacted ballot measure, acts as a sword over the head of a disengaged legislative body.
A primary motivation for HJTA’s participation in this reform effort was the widely recognized problem that the Attorney General had abused her authority in the preparation of a ballot measure’s “Title and Summary.” On at least two occasions, one dealing with statewide pension reform and the other dealing with medical malpractice lawsuits (appearing on the November ballot as Prop 46), the AG wrote ballot titles so outrageously one-sided that even left-leaning news outlets were surprised. Writing an objective, impartial ballot title and summary is, in the minds of most thinking Californians, a fiduciary obligation of the Attorney General. Apparently, she does not share that view and prepared ballot language that rewarded two of her favorite special interest groups (and financial backers): public sector labor groups and trial lawyers.

Most of the organizations participating in the working group agreed with HJTA’s proposal to transfer the responsibility of preparing the title and summary to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst. But because the AG and her minions have substantial political muscle, the effort to secure a more non-partisan title and summary process has now died. And adding insult to injury, the AG even objected to language requiring that ballot titles and summaries use “clear and concise” language.

SB 1253 is now a shell of its original self and scarcely worthy of support. It has extended by 30 days the time in which to gather signatures and that helps grassroots groups – a little.

At this point, SB 1253 could be viewed as the weakest of initiative reform or as adding other superfluous processes that should be opposed. The only thing that is certain from our perspective is that SB 1253 is nothing more than a lost opportunity.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

 

Caldwell/Santa Barbara News Press: CA Water Policy: Theft, Squander and Deprivation!

The State of California, not the needs of the people has determined the availability of water in California. The results? Fish have water, and farmers and other citizens must cut back—costing jobs, income to families and forcing farms to close. This is about government policy. We have a natural drought, the lack of water is due to government policy. If you do not allow the building of water storage facilities you can expect the economic disaster we now face.

“Instead of a zero sum game pitting food against lawns, the legislature should instead be increasing our water storage and water production capacities.  The level of every dam should be raised.  New dams should be constructed, and desal and reclamation plants should be popping up in every coastal community.   Finally, in periods of extraordinary drought, provisions to dump water for purely ceremonial ecological purposes, e.g. trout in Santa Ynez River, should be abated.”

RB Drought

 

CA Water Policy: Theft, Squander and Deprivation!

Andy Caldwell, Santa Barbara News Press, 8/24/14

We have witnessed some strange and punitive interpretations and applications of the laws affecting the use of one’s property here in Santa Barbara County.   One person was told to move his house, after it was built, because it was belatedly determined it encroached on a setback.  A car dealership was told they had to do something because too many customers were visiting at one time.  Most recently, a woman was told she could not paint in her barn.

These incidents reveal the amount of control levied on the use of private property in the name of zoning.  Zoning determines how you can use your property and ultimately, it determines the value of your property.  When people invest, they have certain expectations based upon the allowed, highest and best use of their property.  The most insidious threat affecting these investment backed expectations is when the powers that be change the permitted use of property, which includes the use of land, water and minerals, after the purchase!

For instance, when a farmer is considering buying property, the buyer is most interested in the quality of the soil and even more so in the status of the groundwater basin because without water you can’t live on the property, grow food, or raise livestock.  The value of the land is directly affected by the availability of water and the production level of the wells on the property.  An investment is made with confidence in the centuries-old law that the water accessible directly beneath a property belongs to the overlying landowner.

So, what happens when drought-exploiting politicians attempt to lay claim to a farmer’s water?  Well, that is called appropriation and a debate is going on right now in the State Legislature having to do with this attempt to convert a privately-owned resource, i.e., groundwater, to a state- controlled resource.

Personally, I can’t think of any instances where government control of something resulted in more abundant supplies of the same, can you?  For instance, we already have “state water” and we are all witnesses to this resource being squandered and the unwillingness of the state to increase the supply of the same.  So, now the politicians want to lay control of the water currently used to create our food supply too?

The argument against agriculture is that farmers use upwards of 80% of the privately-owned groundwater to grow food, something that should be considered a beneficial use for all parties involved!  Conversely, California urbanites use upwards of 90% of the state’s water for landscaping, i.e., their personal use!

Instead of a zero sum game pitting food against lawns, the legislature should instead be increasing our water storage and water production capacities.  The level of every dam should be raised.  New dams should be constructed, and desal and reclamation plants should be popping up in every coastal community.   Finally, in periods of extraordinary drought, provisions to dump water for purely ceremonial ecological purposes, e.g. trout in Santa Ynez River, should be abated.   Such ecological impacts can more easily be reversed than a dead orchard which can take over 7 years to begin producing again or land that has lost its top soil due to this man-made dust bowl in the making.

Leaving both our farmers and urbanites high and dry is a temptation in a democracy that is willing to resort to a form of majority rule which is no different from mob rule if you are not in the majority!  Thankfully, America is not governed by majority rule as the law respects certain property rights.  In this case, the courts will inevitably step in to protect the water rights of the farmers who grow our food.

First published in the Santa Barbara News Press

Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB, The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, and the host of the Andy Caldwell Radio Show.

Racism Instead of Education In Government School

There is a school district, El Rancho Verde Unified School District, that is near Whittier. The High School has 98% Hispanic students. Instead of teaching these students geography, they will teach “cultural diversity”—whatever that means. Are they going to teach about black and Asian Americans, Jewish and Muslims citizens, maybe something about Native Americans—or are they going to teach about Hispanic culture—which these kids have lived their whole lives. Think this class will help them pass the SAT’s with a high score, make it easier for them to get a job or just another way professional educator have to demean students of color and refuse to give them the education they deserve?

This is racism—these kids are not getting the education they deserve because some Liberals think teaching diversity instead of geography is how to help kids—instead they are assuring bigotry and intellectual dishonesty is part of their education. Why hasn’t this been in the mainstream media?

Walton_High_School_New_Classroom

 

 

Failing Grade: CA School Drops Geography For ‘Diversity Training

By Warner Todd Huston, Publius Forum, 8/2/14

One school in California is taking away a useful class and replacing it with PC garbage by eliminating geography in favor of “diversity” training.

Naturally it is California, right? The Corner has the story:

El Rancho Verde Unified School District will stop requiring its high-school students to take geography and instead require them to take a class on diversity and inclusion.

ERUSD president Aurora Villon said the class is necessary because minority students “need to feel validated.”

“When you negate their culture, they feel less than other students,” she said in an e-mail to Whittier Daily News.

98 percent of the district’s students are Hispanic.

What a complete joke. No wonder our schools are nothing but a laughing stock.

 

Are Pre-Existing Condition Bans Still With Us?

From NPR:

“Welcome to Cigna,” said the letter, dated May 16, on behalf of my new employer, the Kaiser Family Foundation. The letter also said the insurer was placing me on a one-year waiting period for any pre-existing conditions.

Seriously? Wasn’t the health law supposed to end that? “We have reviewed the evidence of prior creditable coverage provided by you and/or your prior carrier and have determined that you have 0 days of creditable coverage,” the letter said.

(Read Full Story)

obamacare healthcare