Do Progressives Support Gentrification?

Support is growing for the idea that parents can help their families climb the economic ladder by building generational wealth through property ownership. Surprisingly, this support has even been spotted in the opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times.

It’s surprising because the Times has previously taken a highly negative view of families being able to pass along intergenerational wealth in the form of real property. In a lengthy 2018 article about the effect of a voter-approved measure that allowed parents to transfer property to their kids without reassessment and a tax increase, Times reporter Liam Dillon focused almost exclusively on how the measure had benefited some very wealthy families. In particular, he objected to actors Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges renting the Malibu home they inherited from their father, actor Lloyd Bridges.

The article complained that “The inheritance tax break . . . has allowed hundreds of thousands – including celebrities, politicians and out-of-state professionals and some of California’s most prominent families – to avoid paying higher taxes.” The article paid scant attention to the vast majority of property owners, ordinary people who inherited the homes their parents worked for 30 years to pay off.

The L.A. Times editorial board called for the elimination of the parent-child transfer protection, asserting that “there is no compelling public purpose or societal good in passing tax breaks through generations.”

Given its hostility to the constitutional protections that helped to preserve intergenerational wealth, we were surprised that the L.A. Times recently ran an op-ed piece with a very different view from their own columnist, Erika D. Smith. She wrote, “Now, all of a sudden, Black people who grew up poor or working class and managed to buy a modest home in the ’60s and ’70s — and, in some cases, pay it off — are finding that they own property that’s extremely valuable. In many cases, it’s a first for their families, this prospect of passing along real wealth to the next generation. After all, it’s one thing to inherit a house worth $350,000 that needs $100,000 worth of work. It’s quite another to inherit the same house, but it’s now valued at $1 million. There are only a few cities in the country where that’s even possible for Black people.”

Unfortunately, the children inheriting those million-dollar homes will receive a new tax bill along with the sympathy cards. The Times got its wish last November when Proposition 19 was narrowly approved, following an ad campaign that sold it as helping wildfire victims, disabled people and seniors. Many voters didn’t realize that Prop. 19 also repealed the parent-child transfer exclusion from reassessment that had been in the state constitution since 1986. Now, with only a few exceptions, property is reassessed to current market value when inherited.

That’s why the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has put forward a ballot initiative, the Repeal the Death Tax Act, that would once again allow parents to transfer a home, and a limited amount of other property, to their children without triggering property tax reassessments.

Click here to read the entire article at the presstelegram.com

Child Vaccinations Begin in California with Toys and Gifts

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Scavenger hunts and blow-up animals greeted children at some of California’s vaccination sites Wednesday as children aged 5 to 11 got their first COVID-19 shots a day after the federal government approved kid-size doses of the vaccinations.

One enthusiastic 11-year-old summed up his experience in a word: “Amazing!” said 6th grader Raghab Vist. “I’ve been waiting a really long time to get vaccinated.”

Vist and his father, Hemant, who went to a vaccine clinic in San Jose, spoke of all the things they looked forward to doing again — eating in a restaurant, taking a train and traveling to family favorites like Disneyland. “It’s a very important milestone for us,” his father said.

As part of an ambitious plan to offer coronavirus vaccinations to California’s 3.5 million children in that age group, the state intends to offer the vaccines at locations including school clinics, pharmacies, pediatrician offices and county sites, many of which will launch in the coming days. Health officials said they are expecting 1.2 million initial doses of the pediatric vaccine.

Santa Clara County, the home of Silicon Valley where San Jose is located, starting doling out shots early Wednesday, and appointments quickly booked up. The county expects to receive about 55,000 doses this week and will open additional clinics at 80 school sites and send out mobile vaccine teams to low-income neighborhoods.

“We know that a lot of parents are anxious to get their children vaccinated with the holidays coming up,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, who oversees the county’s mass vaccination program. “We received our shipment of vaccine yesterday, and we didn’t have any good reason to sit on it. So we said, let’s get this show on the road.”

Many of Santa Clara’s county sites were decorated with kid-friendly motifs like animals and included games like scavenger hunts, while others handed out coloring books, prizes and stickers to newly vaccinated young people.

Click here to read the full article at ap.com

GOP Leader Says Republicans Could Flip 60 Seats Next Year

Republicans took a victory lap Wednesday following Republican Glenn Youngkin’s stunning win in the Virginia governor’s race, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) predicting his party could flip more than 60 House seats in next year’s midterm elections.

“If you’re a Democrat and President Biden won your seat by 16 points, you’re in a competitive race next year. You are no longer safe,” McCarthy told reporters while flanked by his leadership team and Virginia Republicans.

“It’ll be more than 70 [Democratic seats] that will be competitive. There’s many that are going to lose their races based upon walking off a cliff from [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] pushing them,” he continued. “She may not care if she lose. She lost 63 the last time she was Speaker moving policy that the country didn’t care for. 

“Many believe she won’t stay around” in Congress, McCarthy asserted. Speaking to Democrats, he added, “So she’s not going to be there to defend you.”

Pelosi and the Democrats did lose 63 seats — and the House majority — in the Tea Party wave of 2010, the midterms that came two years after former President Obama won the White House.

Click here to read the full article at thehill.com

Orange County Supervisors Narrow Down New District Maps

Orange County supervisors Tuesday narrowed down their choices for new district maps from eight to three.

One map is favored by Republicans, another by Democrats and the third is considered more neutral, some political observers say.

The five supervisorial districts are up to be redrawn based on the census, which is conducted every 10 years.

Nicole Walsh of the County Counsel’s Office told the supervisors all the districts need to have roughly equal population and must be “geographically contiguous.”

“We believe that while all of the proposed maps are likely defensible… maps 2, 4 and 5 are the most defensible overall,” Walsh said.

All the maps the board settled on create a Latino majority district and all contain at least one district with nearly more than 30% Asian residents, or what’s known as an “influence district,” Walsh said.

In three of the proposed maps the Latino community would be divided in a way that could lead to a Voting Rights Act challenge, Walsh said.

“Maps 2 and 5 certainly keep communities of interest together,” Walsh said.

For instance in maps 2 and 5 Little Arabia in Anaheim is kept together, Walsh said.

Click here to read the full article at mynewsla.com

New SCOTUS Petitions Claim Public Employees’ First Amendment Rights Violated by Unions

California Teachers Assoc., United Teachers LA, SEIU, Oregon Educational Assoc. named in petitions

Last week, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, in partnership with attorneys from the Freedom Foundation, filed petitions asking the United States Supreme Court to hear several cases from public employees in California, Oregon, and Alaska government employment.

The cases challenge union-created schemes that violate public employees’ First Amendment rights by stopping them from cutting off financial support to unions of which they disapprove.

The Petition says:

Petitioners are public employees in the States of California and Oregon who exercised their FirstAmendment rights to resign their union memberships, revoke their authorizations for their public employers to withhold further union payments from their wages after they became nonmembers, and object to subsidizing union speech. The respondent government employers and unions ignored petitioners’ revocations and continued seizing payments for union speech from these objecting nonmembers until an escape period (contained in their dues deduction authorizations) for stopping union deductions occurred.

In 2018, the Court in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 held that nonunion public employees have a First Amendment right not to subsidize union speech. 138 S. Ct. 2448, 2486 (2018). The Court also held that governments and unions violate that right by seizing union payments from nonmembers unless there is clear and compelling evidence the employees waived their constitutional right.

Two petitions appeal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decisions which allow union officials to continue limiting employees’ rights under the 2018 Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, the NRTW explained. In Janus, the Court recognized that forcing public employees to financially support a union violates their First Amendment rights.

Each of the cases brought before the court now challenges a union boss-created “escape period” scheme, the NRTW said. “Escape periods” are designed to limit the time in which public employees can exercise their Janus right to end union dues deductions, to just a few days every year. Often, public employees whom union officials never informed about Janus rights in the first place try to cut off support to an unwanted union, only to be told by state officials that, per the “escape period,” they must endure another year or more of union dues being siphoned from their paychecks, according to the NRTW.

The majority of these cases are class action lawsuits, seeking to reclaim money that union bosses seized from petitioners and their coworkers’ paychecks after they resigned union membership and tried to exercise Janus rights.

The Petition explains:

After Janus, petitioners resigned membership in their unions, revoked their authorizations for further deductions of union dues or moneys from their paychecks, and objected to the continued subsidization of union speech. Respondent unions accepted petitioners’ membership resignations, but continued to instruct the respondent governments to deduct union dues from their wages until the end of the annual deduction period, forcing petitioners to continue paying union payments for months after they resigned their union membership and withdrew their consent to fund union speech.

The legal questions presented to the Supreme Court are:

1. Under the First Amendment, to seize payments for union speech from employees who resigned union membership, became nonmembers, and objected to subsidizing union speech, do government employers and unions need clear and compelling evidence that those nonmember employees knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived their First Amendment rights to refrain from subsidizing union speech in order to constitutionally seize union payments from these employees?

2. When a union acts jointly with government to deduct and collect union payments from nonmember employees’ wages, is that union a state actor participating in a state action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983?

“Petitioners file this joint petition for certiorari to present to the Court the important question of whether governments and unions need clear and compelling evidence that employees waived their First Amendment rights, or just proof of a contract, to seize payments for union speech when those payments are seized after union members resign their membership and are objecting nonmembers,” the Petition says.

“The Ninth Circuit created a massive loophole to the Court’s Janus holding that public employees have a First Amendment right not to subsidize union speech and must waive that right before governments and unions may seize union payments from nonmembers, the Petition says. “It did so by finding that both Janus’s holding and the First Amendment do not apply to public employees, governments, and public-sector unions, when those employees sign union membership and dues deduction authorizations that limit employees’ exercise of their right to stop subsidizing union speech except during short escape periods.”

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

California Pension Fund to Award $1.1 Million Record-Breaking Bonus to Investment Chief

CalSTRS is preparing to award a record-breaking $1.1 million bonus to its one of its top executives following the 27.2% investment return the pension funded recorded in 2020-21 financial year.

This proposed bonus, combined with with his pay of $590,000, would mark the highest compensation on record for CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer Christopher Ailman, according to a public pay database kept by the State Controller’s Office.

It also appears to be the first million dollar bonus at either of California’s two major statewide pension funds. Former CalPERS Chief Investment Office Yu Ben Meng earned about $850,000 in performance incentives in 2019.

It won’t be the last.

CalPERS has been considering offering pay incentives that would reward longevity in a chief investment officer. It adopted a plan this spring that would offer up to $2.8 million in salary and incentives for its next chief investment officer if that executive stays at least five years.

Ailman has led the investment office at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System since 2000, overseeing investment strategy for a fund that provides retirement benefits to about 975,000 people.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and CalSTRS award bonuses to their chief investment officers based on multi-year formulas. The formulas moderate their bonuses in big years like the past one, but also can yield substantial pay incentives in years when the pension funds miss their earnings targets.

Click here to read the full article on the Sacramento Bee

Finding Common Ground in California

In California, environmental regulations have brought infrastructure investment to a standstill. Without expanding energy, water, and transportation infrastructure, it is nearly impossible to build housing, the cost-of-living is punitive, water is rationed and food is overpriced, the overall quality of life is reduced, and money that ought to be paying skilled workers to operate heavy construction equipment instead goes into the pockets of environmentalist lobbyists, bureaucrats, litigators, and activist nonprofits.

Californians nonetheless agree that infrastructure, as it is traditionally defined, needs new investment. Freeways, bridges, railroads, dams, aqueducts, seaports, airports, transmission lines, pipelines; all of this needs to be maintained and upgraded.

But despite agreement on the goal, more than ever, solutions are filtered through the lens of polarizing ideologies. What is today’s definition of infrastructure? Is it physical assets, or something more ephemeral? Do infrastructure priorities have to be established based on restoring race and gender equity, or by concerns about climate change? Should some infrastructure be deliberately allowed to deteriorate, to avoid “induced demand” and the unsustainable consumption that would result?

Debate over these questions has paralyzed California’s politicians. Navigating a pathway out of this paralyzing morass takes more than just compromise, it takes the courage to adhere to controversial premises. Chief among these is to reject the idea that legislated scarcity is the only option to combat climate change. In every critical area of infrastructure there are solutions that can enable a future of sustainable abundance.

For example, Californians can rebuild their energy infrastructure in a manner that doesn’t violate environmentalist principles, but instead balances environmentalist concerns with the interests of its residents. Why aren’t Californians, who in so many ways are the most innovative people in the world, approving and building safe, state-of-the-art nuclear power plants? Why aren’t they developing geothermal power, since California has vast untapped potential in geothermal energy? Why haven’t California’s legislators revived the logging industry they have all but destroyed, and brought back clean power plants fueled by the biomass of commercial forest trimmings?

Californians can also rebuild their water infrastructure by adopting an all-of-the-above approach. They can build massive new off-stream reservoirs to capture storm runoff. Even in dry winters the few storms that do hit California yield surplus water that can be captured instead of allowed to runoff into the Pacific. These off-stream reservoirs could also feature forebays from which, using surplus solar electricity, water could be pumped up into the main reservoir, to then be released back down into the forebay through hydroelectric turbines to generate electricity when solar electric output falters. Why aren’t Californians recycling 100 percent of their urban wastewater? Why aren’t they building desalination plants?

These are solutions that may not be perfectly acceptable to environmentalists, but they’re also not hideous violations of environmentalist values. They should be defended by their proponents without reservations, but also with a willingness to spend extra to mitigate what can be mitigated. Civilization has a footprint, and we can only pick our poison. The solutions favored by environmentalists, such as wind turbines, battery farms, EVs, biofuel plantations, and solar farms, have environmental impacts that are arguably even worse than conventional solutions.

Another potentially polarizing issue – achieving “equity” with infrastructure – doesn’t have to be dismissed by proponents of practical infrastructure investment. If the pipes in Los Angeles public schools are still leaching toxins into the water students would otherwise be drinking, then invest the money and fix the pipes. If inadequate funding for water treatment plants in low income communities in California’s Central Valley mean they are not operating, or cannot expand their operations, then increase the funding. But at the same time don’t lose sight of the fact that if there is more energy, and more water, that will benefit everyone, especially low income households, no matter where they are and no matter what other challenges they may confront.

Finally, it shouldn’t be controversial to restrict discussions of infrastructure to infrastructure, but it is. Here is an area where, once again, establishing the terms of the discussion require adhering to a controversial premise, which is that discussions of “infrastructure” need to be restricted to the traditional definition. Basic infrastructure, offering surplus capacity instead of scarcity in the critical areas of energy, water and transportation, creates the solid foundation upon which all the other amenities of a prosperous and equitable society may flourish.

This article was originally published in the California Policy Center

Inside a Weekly Crime Briefing at the LAPD

In the middle of Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore’s command-level crime briefing Monday, Police Commissioner Dale Bonner — who was sitting in on the closed-door meeting — chimed in with a question.

Bonner was looking at printouts of crime figures and wasn’t sure whether the percentages in red ink reflected increases over 2020, when killings and shootings were already elevated, or 2019, before violence spiked in Los Angeles and cities across the country.

Moore made it clear: The increases — including a 17% rise in homicides — were over the 2020 figures. Compared with 2019, Moore said, the uptick was even starker.

“They’re compounding,” Moore said of city killings. “Homicides are up 17%, and people will say, ‘Well, many other cities are actually higher.’ But when we look over a two-year period, they’re up 49%.”

Each Monday, Moore convenes a small group on the 10th floor of LAPD headquarters downtown to go over the latest trends in city crime. The briefing gives Moore a better idea of where the department is making progress, he said, and where it is losing ground.

After a decade of success in driving down violent crime such as killings and shootings, Moore and the others in the room have seen the progress fade away since last year, with more and more red ink on their printouts. The latest briefing, which Moore allowed The Times to observe, offered no reprieve.

Walking into the room, each commander — including Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala, who oversees operations in the department’s four bureaus; Assistant Chief Robert Marino, who oversees special operations; and Moore’s chief of staff, Deputy Chief Daniel Randolph — received charts breaking down crime by geographic area and over time. They also got statistics on crime the department has deemed gang-related, crime linked to the homeless population and crime linked to domestic violence — three categories that have seen upticks in recent years.

Atop their packets was a four-page “Talking Points” document, the first line of which calculated killings.

“There were 10 homicides this past week vs. 3 for the same week last year,” it read.

At the bottom of the page were statistics on shootings. There had been 1,202 shooting victims this year as of the morning briefing, an increase of nearly 20% over the 1,007 at the same point in 2020 and nearly 50% over the 802 at the same point in 2019.

Click here to read full article from LA Times

Defying Tyranny Chowing Down on a Double-Double

As soon as I heard In-N-Out Burger joints were being shut down by California governments for not checking for COVID vaccine status at the door, I snapped into action. I drove my creaking 2010 Camry to the nearest In-N-Out, on Bristol and MacArthur in Santa Ana, marched inside and ordered a Double-Double, protein style, extra mustard, no tomato. This is Orange County, where we still enjoy a few more freedoms than the rest of the state. 

I looked around to see if Gov. Gavin Newsom was standing in line, maskless, as at his infamous French Pantry escapade a year ago. He wasn’t. I guess my $5 burger wasn’t elitist enough for someone with $350-a-plate tastes.

Nobody checked my vaccination status. Maybe only 20 percent of patrons were wearing masks. I wasn’t. Sometimes you have to just brave the elements.

Once again, we’re being told the Science (capital “S”) mandates the vaccine-checking. It’s the same Science that told us for decades eating Double-Doubles was bad because they were “high fat,” and we were supposed to instead eat “low fat” candy bars loaded with sugar. See Gary Taubes’ books for the history of that Science deception.

An obvious objection to this new mandate is: minimum-wage fast-food workers are not certified health specialists. How are they to know who has a valid vaxx-ID and who doesn’t? And if a 99-pound woman worker confronts a 250-pound unvaxx’d weightlifter, and he insists he’s coming into the restaurant anyway, what’s she supposed to do?

Then there’s the problem of authenticating the IDs. How are these fast-food workers supposed to know if one is valid and another invalid? What about expiration dates? How about counterfeit IDs? Will plainclothes police (real police) also be patrolling these places, arresting not just scofflaws, but workers who make an incorrect guess about a valid/invalid vaxx-ID?

The California DMV, which issues driver’s licenses and IDs for non-drivers, is a perpetual laughingstock for its incompetence.

Then there’s the Unemployment Development Department, which blew as much as $31 billion on fake claims to criminals. It also was another government agency checking IDs. To correct that, it instituted an absurdly complex and hardly working system that stifled true claims by actual people who really were unemployed.

If the California DMV and the EDD can’t get their acts together on driver’s licenses and IDs, how are minimum-wage clerks at a restaurant supposed to do so? 

If government insists on In-N-Out and other restaurants checking for IDs, it ought to provide the proper experts to do so, at taxpayer expense. This also would require months of training for new people. Or current health workers could be reassigned from their current jobs, such as saving people in the ER hauled in with heart attacks, broken bones and gunshot wounds.

Or maybe the government could just take over all restaurants, and all food production and distribution for that matter. Make sure our food is safe! Everyone in the food industry then could be paid high union wages with great perks and pensions. 

Agriculture could be bundled together into something called Collective Farms. Costs could be cut because, instead of wasteful, duplicative competition, the Collective scientifically would apportion supply and demand, eliminating all waste.

Food grown on the Collective Farms efficiently would be transported to the Collective Restaurants, which would be run along the latest hygienic lines, as established by the CDC. 

Only when government efficiently runs everything will we be free of all worries and cares about disease. Only then can we join hands and promote global freedom, democracy, liberty and niceness.

Longtime Orange County Register editorialist John Seiler now also writes for the Epoch Times and blogs at: johnseiler.substack.com

LA City Vaccine Mandates Kick In Soon, Spurring Worry Over Extra Work, Confusion For Businesses

As the citywide mandates will go into effect Nov. 8, requiring patrons to show evidence of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries, wineries, gyms, spas, nail salons anBusinesses say the mandate will add another layer of complexity during the times when their resources are stretched thin as they deal with rental debt, rising costs and labor shortages.

Jennifer Febre, the owner of MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. in Van Nuys, has been closely following government mandates since the first days of the pandemic, but the latest Los Angeles city and county orders — which will not match one another — requiring customers to show proof of vaccination have left her worried and confused.

“I do appreciate how putting this mandate in place is perhaps ratcheting up the pressure to persuade people to finally get vaccinated,” Febre said, adding that at times it feels like her employees are being “deputized as law enforcement officers… I am concerned about putting my staff in that role of being the enforcer.”

As the citywide mandates will go into effect Nov. 8, requiring patrons to show evidence of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries, wineries, gyms, spas, nail salons and barbershops along with movie theaters and shopping malls, businesses say the mandate will add another layer of complexity during the times when their resources are stretched thin as they deal with rental debt, rising costs and labor shortages.

Click here to read full article on LA Daily News