California Gas is ‘Out of Whack’ – Nearly $2 More than National Average. Who’s to Blame?

California has long been known as the country’s priciest place to fill up your tank, but these days the Golden State is “completely out of whack.”

As gas prices plummeted around the nation in recent weeks, California’s price at the pump has rebounded with a vengeance to an average of $5.58 a gallon.

That’s $1.89 more than the national average — the highest price gap in at least 22 years, according to a Bay Area News Group analysis of AAA data.

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove prices higher around the world, California’s perplexing price swing is largely due to the local oil industry, experts say, which is putting the state on another planet when it comes to gas.

“The commodity price of gasoline in California has gotten completely out of whack,” said Severin Borenstein an energy economist at UC Berkeley. “If this holds, we’re just starting to see the increase. It’s going to go up even more.”

Although fuel costs are still down from their peak in June, drivers are contending with nearly seven months of average prices topping $5 a gallon.

“It’s unfair,” said Sonya Khvann, a single mother of three, who was pumping gas in Alameda on Friday. She spends about $800 a month on fuel shuttling around her children. “It’s not like you can change your career overnight,” said Khvann, a part-time real estate agent. “Not everyone can be in tech.”

Much of California’s high gasoline costs are explainable. The state’s 54-cent gasoline excise tax is among the highest in the country — only Pennsylvania’s is higher. There are also stricter environmental regulations and special fuel blends that prevent rampant smog from accumulating in cities, altogether these factors tack on roughly $1.20 to California’s gas prices.

But the widening gap between what everyone from San Jose to Los Angeles is paying compared to the rest of the country is due to the concentrated nature of California’s oil refineries, experts say. Due to the state’s special gas blend, California is often termed a “fuel island” because nearly all gas sold in the state is refined locally by a handful of companies, including Chevron, Marathon Petroleum and PBF Energy. That means mechanical hiccups at refineries can cause major price spikes not seen elsewhere in the country.

Tom Kloza, of the Oil Price Information Service, said the reduced flow of gas is likely due to refiners bringing equipment offline for maintenance. He said much of the oil industry deferred regularly scheduled maintenance in spring so they could continue reaping record profits during the energy price spike following the Russian invasion.

But it’s hard to get to the bottom of exactly why California’s oil refiners have reduced output now just as prices drop elsewhere. There has been no major refinery outage or catastrophe reported in recent months. Instead, experts glean information from oil production reports. “Because of antitrust regulations, we don’t know how individual refineries are operating,” said Kevin Slagle, vice president of the Western States Petroleum Association.

In a statement, the California Energy Commission said state refineries are seeing “temporary” production issues that, coupled with maintenance activity and “lower-than-normal gasoline inventories,” is driving the current price spike over the past four weeks.

The mysterious price surge comes as California Gov. Gavin Newsom has turned up the rhetoric against the oil industry as the Golden State moves to phase out most gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and expand restrictions on drilling. In a statement on Friday, Newsom’s office accused fossil fuel companies of “holding families hostage” while touting Sacramento’s plan to send up to $1,050 to California families to alleviate the financial pain.

“We’re phasing out the fear of gas prices and ushering in our oil-free future,” Newsom’s office added.

Borenstein has spent years studying the gap between California’s gas prices and the national average. He said the unaccounted-for difference, which he termed a “mystery surcharge,” took off in 2015 when gas prices spiked in the aftermath of a Torrance oil refinery explosion. Before the blast, the unexplainable price gap was about 2 cents, but afterward it ballooned to over 40 cents and has remained high ever since.

Kloza, Borenstein and David Hackett, an energy expert at Stillwater Associates, said there is no evidence of racketeering among the state’s oil refineries. There is an ongoing probe into gas pricing and oil industry practices in the State Assembly, however. Sacramento has a long history of accusing the industry of price-gouging and announcing investigations that yield few results.

Click here to read the full article at the OC Register

Hundreds of Local Officials Failed to File State Financial Reports, County Records Show

Even though annual financial disclosures are critical to promoting open government and limiting potential conflicts of interest, hundreds of public officials and consultants neglected to file their required State Form 700 reports this year, county records show.

Experts say the disclosures, which thousands of public officials must file annually under the Political Reform Act, are an important way to keep voters informed.

Regulators also take issue with public officials who fail to report their assets, revenue and any gifts they receive, often imposing penalties that reach into the thousands of dollars.

When The Union-Tribune reported last month that Jesus Cardenas, chief of staff to Councilmember Stephen Whitburn, owns a political consulting firm that serves clients with interests before the city of San Diego, the information was largely based on public disclosures.

Two years ago, the newspaper reported on conflicts in financial statements filed by front-running San Diego City Council candidate Kelvin Barrios. The stories derailed his campaign, and Barrios dropped out of the race.

State Form 700 was also cited by the City Attorney’s Office during litigation over the city’s lease of the Ash Street office tower. Lawyers for the city said broker Jason Hughes should have submitted while advising three successive mayors on real estate deals — and collecting $9.4 million in fees.

This year, according to the clerk of the county Board of Supervisors, who is charged with tracking local compliance with the Form 700 filing rules, 224 elected and appointed officials countywide did not submit the annual Form 700s by the April 1 deadline.

“The clerk of the board took numerous steps to ensure filers filed timely,” clerk Andrew Potter informed supervisors in a memo this spring.

Reminder notices were sent to all non-compliant officials in February and twice in March, notifying them of the looming deadline and encouraging them to comply with state law, Potter said.

Subsequently, “these individuals are being referred to the district attorney and the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) for noncompliance,” he wrote.

The hundreds of non-filers in San Diego County range from members of the grand jury and employees of the regional planning agency SANDAG to school districts and a tiny North County water authority.

Some county agencies also appear on the list, including the Local Agency Formation Commission, which regulates boundaries between public agencies, and the Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission, which promotes mutual respect and integrity.

Michael Workman, the spokesperson for San Diego County, said it is the employers’ responsibility to maintain current and accurate lists of people who are required to submit a statement of economic interest. He said the county will work with agencies that seek guidance.

“All agencies that file with us have access to a management module where the lead coordinator for Form 700s can update the information for their agency’s filers,” Workman said by email. “In the fall of each year, we reach out to all agencies to ask that they update their filers’ information to ensure the notifications are sent to the filers appropriately.”

SANDAG — which led all local agencies in number of non-filers, with more than 80 experts and consultants on the list — said its obligation is to inform members of the filing requirement, but the county is responsible for determining their filing status.

“None of our board of directors or policy advisory committees are on the list,” spokesperson Stacy Garcia said by email. “For working group members, SANDAG follows up with staff liaisons to reach out to any listed members to ensure compliance.”

Garcia said the planning agency would follow up with — and possibly penalize — consultants who have yet to report their financial interest as required.

“SANDAG policy is to restrict non-filer consultants from working on or participation in any project or program under their contract(s),” she wrote. “SANDAG follows up with its consultants to ensure compliance with the filing requirements.”

The Southwestern Community College District, with 10 administrators and consultants who did not submit annual disclosures, said officials had sent the county their list of required filers in March but college officials acknowledged it was not correct.

“The district was able to add requisite employees but was unable to delete employees/ consultants who were no longer employed by the district as of calendar year 2022,” spokesperson Lilian Leopold said in a statement.

“Your list reflects those employees/consultants,” she added. “The county clerk must not have updated their list per our updates.”

Workman contradicted the Southwestern Community College District response.

“The county does not have any record of Southwestern College providing updates to their list of filers,” he wrote. “The individuals that Southwestern College indicated are no longer employed are still required to file leaving-office statements.”

An Oceanside Unified School District official also blamed San Diego County for the 11 names appearing on the clerk’s record.

“The list you provided is filled with errors and needs to be updated,” spokesperson Donald Bendz said in an email. “The only three people who are still with OUSD are Sherry Freeman de Leyva, Perry Alvarez (and) Raquel Alvarez. Their statements of economic interest forms have been turned in.”

The county confirmed that two filings were turned in after the Union-Tribune asked Oceanside schools officials about the non-filers.

“We received electronic filings from Perry Alvarez and Raquel Alvarez, who both filed their forms (Tuesday),” Workman said. “We still do not have a filing for Sherry Freeman de Leyva.”

According to her LinkedIn social media profile, Freeman de Leyva is retired from the Oceanside Unified School District.

Sean McMorris of California Common Cause, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting good government practices, said the Form 700 disclosures are critical in the system of checks and balances that makes up public administration.

The annual reports help prevent conflicts of interest and promote transparency by requiring public officials to declare their salary ranges, property holdings, stocks and other investments and gifts from companies or organizations, he said.

“We want our public officials to conduct business based on the best interests of the public, not themselves,” McMorris said.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces the Political Reform Act rule requiring the annual disclosures, takes violations seriously. Almost every month, the commission imposes penalties on local and state officials who fail to disclose their personal holdings.

Earlier this month, for example, a former planning commissioner in the Central Valley city of Sanger was fined $12,000 for failing to submit a Form 700 disclosure after being contacted about the oversight more than 20 times.

Commission spokesperson Jay Wierenga said regulators had no record of receiving the list of non-filers from San Diego County, but the enforcement team was running some of those names through their database.

He said the disclosures are critical to informing the public about the potential motivations driving elected officials and policymakers.

“The law in California rests on a few basic tenets, one of which is disclosure,” Wierenga said. “Form 700s are there not only to provide transparency to the public but also to hold public officials accountable in their decision-making.”

The District Attorney’s Office confirmed it received the memo from the San Diego County board clerk but has not yet taken any action on the information.

Click here to read the full article in the San Diego Union Tribune

Agencies gave back funds for homelessness

Housing officials failed to utilize nearly $150 million of HUD grants to city, county.

Nearly $150 million worth of federal grants to the three main housing agencies working to reduce homelessness in Greater Los Angeles went unspent between 2015 and 2020, as the number of unhoused people soared.

Instead of being used to address L.A.’s acute homelessness crisis, the money was returned to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to data provided to The Times by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. More than 85% of the returned funds were earmarked for sorely needed permanent supportive housing.

LAHSA returned more than $29 million to HUD during the six-year period; the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles returned more than $82 million; and the Los Angeles County Development Authority returned nearly $38 million.

Asked why so much federal money went unspent, LAHSA spokesman Ahmad Chapman said in an email that, while the data are “imperfect,” his agency operates “in a climate where the rental market is so hard to access, it makes it very challenging to use all these resources.”

But the amount given back to HUD by the three agencies over the six years is more than the total amount of grants the federal housing agency awarded them in 2020, $133.1 million.

“Given the need in L.A., we want every single dollar utilized,” said Molly Rysman, LAHSA’s chief programs officer.

That’s not a realistic short-term goal given HUD’s “rigid” and “complex” funding system, which can make it difficult to spend funds quickly or reallocate money that can’t be used for its initial purpose, Rysman said. Instead, some of those federal dollars go unspent.

“We’ve said this to HUD over and over again,” she said. “We need a lot more flexibility.”

In emailed statements, the county and city housing authorities blamed their underspending on a range of issues. The county housing authority cited insufficient workable housing units and client referrals, poor credit and rental histories among the homeless population, and program attrition.

The city housing authority pointed to landlords’ unwillingness to rent to homeless people, the city’s tight rental market, and high unit turnover rates. It also blamed shortfalls by “program partners” in key areas including referrals, housing search assistance and case management.

A HUD spokesperson said in a statement that “[t]here are many reasons that HUD may recapture” funds. “In some cases, new projects take time to start up, and are not fully operational in time to expend their initial grants. Recipients may also have challenges finding housing units.”

The amount of money L.A. County’s continuum of care program returns to HUD annually has fallen from $30.2 million for grants that expired in 2019 to $21.1 million for grants that expired in 2021, according to a July LAHSA memo. The program is ledby LAHSA and coordinates housing funds for homeless people.

The memo described the recent decrease in unused HUD money as a “positive trend resulting from the sustained partnership and collaborative efforts aimed at improving the use of” the funds.

But affordable-housing developers decry the return of any funds, blaming red tape and government inefficiency for their underuse. Many say they could immediately use some of that money to house Angelenosin desperate need of assistance.

Deborah La Franchi is founder and chief executive of SDS Capital Group, which finances permanent supportive housing projects across Greater L.A. She said she was dismayed to learn that millions of federal dollars for permanent supportive housing are being returned each year by LAHSA and the city and county housing authorities.

“When Angelenos see funding reverting back to Washington, D.C., for homelessness when we have a homelessness crisis in our backyard, it creates a lack of confidence that the right solutions are in place,” she said.

::

Washington View Apartments is a stucco-and-tile complex in South L.A.’s University Park neighborhood, tucked between Crypto.com Arena and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum south of downtown. Its 122 units sit on an underused historic site once occupied by the city’s first full-service funeral home.

The complex has four new, multistory apartment buildings. It is a 1¼-acre example of:

The difficulties inherent in paying for and building permanent places to live for the more than 69,000 homeless people in Los Angeles.

The confusing web of government funding supporting that effort.

How HUD money could be used immediately — but often isn’t.

Over the last two months, dozens of previously unhoused people with disabilities, acute medical conditions, addiction or mental disorders have moved into permanent supportive units at Washington View.

“I really wanted it to be low-income because of my dad,” said developer and financier Fariba Atighehchi of L.A.-based Western Pacific Housing, choking up as she walked through the complex’s sunny courtyard. “It was his dream to do low-income housing. He never did it.”

As in other supportive housing complexes, residents have been chronically homeless, and the rent they pay each month is based on their income, which is often little more than a Supplemental Security Income check. A dedicated nonprofit partner provides on-site social services, addiction and mental health treatment, and other assistance for residents.

But not everyone who has moved into the Spanish Colonial Revival-style property in recent weeks is subsidized by a permanent supportive housing voucher.

Thirty of Washington View’s apartmentsare simple low-income housing units with no associated supportive services. That’s because, Atighehchi said and records show, for more than two years, the city and county repeatedly denied the development team’s requests to provide enough vouchers for all of Washington View’s units to include supportive services.

The rules for awarding project-based vouchers such as the ones Washington View sought impose a variety of limits, including on the percentage of units that can typically be subsidized by the vouchers.

But housing agencies across California and the U.S. often grant exemptions to the requirements, and the reasons given for denying Washington View’s requests ranged from a lack of available vouchers to the project’s location near a highway interchange. The development team was left with no choice but to move forward with just 91 supportive units.

If some of the money the city or county housing authorities gave back to HUD had instead been used to fund the complex’s final batch of requested vouchers or otherwise back the project, Atighehchi said, all of its apartments would soon be occupied by formerly chronically homeless people receiving assistance for their most urgent needs.

It would also allow her and her partners on the project to recoup their multimillion-dollar investment and pour the funds into other affordable housing projects they are developing in L.A. and San Bernardino counties.

But it’s not quite that simple, said Rysman of LAHSA. One of the main reasons HUD funds go unspent in L.A. is because “the money isn’t going to the most useful things,” she said.

“If what you want to see is more housing supply for people who are homeless, which is truly what we need,” Rysman said, HUD should fund more project-based vouchers, which pair rental assistance with specific housing units instead of with individual tenants.

“If we had more project-based vouchers,” she said, “we would have way more building.”

At the same time, Rysman acknowledged that her agency “probably need[s] to do a lot more” to pursue the repurposing of funds that go unspent.

The Housing Authority of the City of L.A. and the L.A. County Development Authority did not provide responses to detailed lists of questions about the unspent federal housing dollars.

The total cost of funding the additional 30 vouchers for Washington View would be about $300,000 per year, estimated the project’s development team, led by Atighehchi.

“All I need is 30 vouchers for these people that are coming in and they’re so happy,” she said.

::

Had the agencies that provide housing to those in need disbursed more of the federal money they returned to HUD, more people like Angel Martinez could have a roof over their heads and the services they need to survive.

Ever since he moved into Washington View Apartments last month, Martinez has taken to playing “Prenda del Alma” and other songs of his youth on his cherry red Fender acoustic-electric guitar in a park down the street.

His one-bedroom apartment is the first permanent home the 63-year-old has had since shortly after his last carpentry job ended more than a decade ago.

Martinez keeps pen and paper in his front button-down pocket to jot down lyrics for his own baladas. For decades after he moved to Long Beach from Mexico at age 25, he had always found ways to make ends meet. But that was no longer the case after the bottom fell out of the U.S. housing market.

“Remember 12 years ago there was no work for nobody?” asked Martinez, who was born in Los Angeles but grew up in Mexico. “It was 12 years ago. I know that because I always relate to my granddaughter’s age. When she was born, that was when everything happened. She’s 11 years old now.”

The construction industry took years to rebuild after the subprime mortgage crisis and Great Recession. During that extended downturn, Martinez lost his livelihood and his home. Sometimes he slept on the grass in parks around town. He lived in a truck for a while. He spent a few months in a shelter.

At the same time, his health was deteriorating. Diagnoses piled up. Today, Martinez suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and shoulder and back problems. He has an ulcer and a hernia.

So after he was released several months ago from the emergency room at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, where he’d been treated for severe stomach issues, a social worker helped get Martinez off the street.

“Nowadays it’s so difficult even to rent a room in a house. Some people ask for $1,000,” he said. “I cannot work. … How can I make that kind of money? It’s impossible.”

But as a disabled, low-income senior, he was eligible for one of Washington View’s permanent supportive housing units via one of the 91 HUD-funded vouchers the complex has been granted to subsidize the rent for such apartments.

Without the placement, Martinez said, he would still be in a medical rehab facility, waiting to find out where he’d be living.

“This is a miracle. And I’m going to keep it this clean all the time,” he said, as he sat on a sleek gray couch that came in the furnished unit, along with amenities such as central air conditioning and a dishwasher.

“When they don’t have a place like this … they send people to the shelters in downtown L.A.”

::

Diane Reed barked instructions at a pair of movers, as they loaded furniture, racks of clothing and other belongings from her 10-by-15-foot storage unit into a first-floor Washington View apartment.

“Just put it right there, and the TV stand’s going to go over there where that black chair is,” she told them one morning in early September, pivoting around her new open-concept living area. The 65-year-old beamed, recounting the perks of her new apartment: high ceilings, untouched oven and refrigerator, no more roommates.

Her apartment is in the same complex as Martinez’s, but supportive services are not included. Reed’s is standard affordable housing, meaning that income — not disability status or medical or mental health issues — was the key criterion necessary to qualify for her unit.

She also had to have been previously unhoused, a stipulation for any project financed in part by L.A.’s Proposition HHH Supportive Housing Loan Program, which voters approved in 2016 to help drive more permanent supportive housing development. Washington View received a $12-million loan from the program in 2018.

Affordable housing subsidized by HUD’s Section 8 program is in short supply. It’s a necessary part of the solution to the housing crisis that for decades has helped provide shelter for thousands of Angelenos. But the need is not as great and the circumstances of people such as Reed who move into standard Section 8 units are not typically as dire as those who move into permanent supportive housing.

For about two decades Reed didn’t earn enough to afford her own place. She “slept in and out,” often crashing at family members’ homes, before she was selected via lottery to move into Washington View.

“I waited a long time. I’m so overwhelmed. It is a big day,” said Reed, who was born and raised in L.A. and has three adult children and five grandchildren. “It feels good to have your own space.”

As with other Section 8 housing, Reed’s rent is subsidized by HUD; she pays only 30% of her income to live in the apartment. But her apartment is not supportive housing; it’s one of the 30 affordable apartments that could instead be occupied by some of the very neediest people.

People like Daniel Castro, who never had his own apartment before he moved into a small one-bedroom permanent supportive housing unit at Washington View last month.

A self-described longtime “transient,” Castro said his kidney was removed when he was 8. Fifty-one years later, he suffers from a host of health problems, from scoliosis and hypertension to an enlarged prostate and chronic kidney disease.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California Governor Urges Overhaul of Democrats’ Strategy

California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for an overhaul of Democrats’ political strategy on Saturday, saying the party is “getting crushed” by Republicans in part because they are too timid, often forced to play defense while Republicans “dominate with illusion.”

Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Texas — the territory of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, one of Newsom’s chief political foils — Newsom was careful to praise current party leaders like President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But he said that mantras that may have worked for the party in the past — like Michele Obama’s famous quip “when they go low, we go high,” — simply don’t work today because “that’s not the moment we’re living in right now.”

“These guys are ruthless on the other side,” Newsom said. “Where are we? Where are we organizing, bottom up, a compelling alternative narrative? Where are we going on the offense every single day? They’re winning right now.”

Newsom said that’s why — even though he is running for reelection as governor of California — he has been spending some of the millions of dollars in his campaign account on TV ads in Florida urging people to move to California, newspaper ads in Texas decrying the state’s gun laws, and putting up billboards in seven states urging women to come to California if they need an abortion.

“There’s nothing worse than someone pointing fingers. What are you going to do about it?” Newsom said. “The reason we’re doing those ads is because … the Democratic Party needs to be doing more of it.”

Of course, the main reason Newsom can do those things is because he faces little pressure at home. Newsom is likely to cruise to a second term as governor of California in November, facing a little-known and underfunded Republican challenger one year after defeating a recall attempt.

Newsom’s actions have increased speculation he might be running for president, an idea he has repeatedly denied — doing so again on Saturday in Texas. Asked if he was considering running for president in 2024 or 2028, Newsom said: “No, not happening.”

“I cannot say it enough,” he said. “I never trust politicians, so I get why you keep asking.”

Newsom said that President Joe Biden’s first two years in office have been “a master class … on substance and policy.” But later, he said good governance, by itself, is not enough to win elections — adding that “otherwise Biden would be at 75% approval.” In reality, about 53% of U.S. adults disapprove of Biden, according to the most recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The problem for Democrats, Newsom said, is that they “fall in love so easily” with “the guy or gal on the white horse to come save the day.”

“We missed a more important paradigm that leadership is not defined by that person in formal authority, it’s defined by people with moral authority every single day,” he said.

Newsom’s aggressiveness could end up helping Abbott, who is locked in a more competitive race with former Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Kenneth Grasso, a political science professor at Texas State University, said there has been concern among some in the Republican Party that Abbott is “not conservative enough.” Newsom’s attacks against Abbott “only helps him with those people,” Grasso said.

“If you stress that they’re right-wingers, you call them extremists, using that kind of language, all you are going to do is enhance their popularity in their own base,” he said.

Despite that risk, Texas Democrats seem to be welcoming Newsom’s attention.

“I like this guy,” Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa said of Newsom. “I like the way he’s showing the contrast between what y’all do in California and what the narrow-minded, extremist positions that occur here in the state of Texas.”

Click here to read the full article in AP News

California’s Education Revolution

‘Schools have kids for 9 months out of the year; parents have their kids for a lifetime’

Many parents want to know why public school teachers can’t just let their kids be kids without forcing sex and an inappropriate sexual agenda on them in grade school, middle school and high school.

This, as well as the Critical Race Theory agenda, is what led to the astounding parent revolution first witnessed in Virginia, but now never so prominent as it is in California.

California lawmakers even passed the quixotic Assembly Bill 367 by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021, which now requires that one boys’ bathroom in every middle and high school have tampon dispensers.

Christopher Rufo with the Manhattan Institute and City Journal, has chronicled the shocking sexualization of school children as young as pre-kindergarteners. And it’s not the birds and the bees radical teachers are exposing the kids to.

In his most recent report, Rufo exposes the National Education Association promoting a how-to guide for “anal sex,” “bondage,” “sadomasochism,” and “fisting” in public schools.

Rufo says the NEA and its local affiliate in Hilliard, Ohio, which have been providing staff in the Hilliard City School District with QR code-enabled badges, “which point to the “NEA LGBTQ+ Caucus” website and resources from gender activist organizations including Scarleteen, Sex, Etc., Gender Spectrum, The Trevor Project, and Teen Health Source.”

Rufo continues:

One of these linked resources, Teen Health Source’s “Queering Sexual Education,” which promises to “empower youth” and includes a how-to guide for performing “anal sex,” “bondage,” “rimming,” “domination,” “sadomasochism,” “muffing,” and “fisting.” The materials are extremely graphic, explaining how to, for example, “[put] a fist or whole hand into a person’s vagina or bum.”

The Teen Health Source page would make the most hard-as-nails, grizzled longshoreman blush.

This is a screen capture of the NEA LGBTQ+ website, showing the partners: CTA, the  California Teachers Association labor union, as well as California Casualty, auto and home insurer.

It appears that the more parents reveal the fanatical sexual agenda in public schools, the more extremist it becomes.

California is ground zero for all around wackiness

President of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network, and education analyst Larry Sand, writing recently in American Greatness, reports on a recently published PDK International survey which reveals that only 50 percent of all adults have confidence that teachers can teach civics, and just 38 percent believe that they can handle “gender/sexuality issues.”

“What could possibly be causing such negativity?” Sand asks. “For the most part it is due to the ‘woke’ revolution that is impacting the lives of American children.”

Sand explains that California, “ground zero for all around wackiness is where the state puts its stamp on an endless parade of perversity.” He offers these examples:

  • In Los Angeles, the school district proudly hosts a “Rainbow Club,” which is a 10-week district-wide virtual club for “LGBTQ+ elementary school students, their friends and their grown-ups.” The poster specifies that it is for children in TK-5th (“TK” or transitional kindergarten is comprised of 4-year-olds.)
  • A high school teacher in the Capistrano school district has a “queer library” in her classroom. It is filled with over 100 books—some of which contain sex imagery, information on orgies, sex parties, and BDSM.
  • Also, the state’s education department is recommending books to young students that teach expanded sexualities and gender identities. For example, the state recommends “Julian is a Mermaid” for preschoolers and kindergarteners. The book describes a young boy who wants to be a sea-dwelling creature, after he sees a parade of people dressed up as mermaids while out with his grandmother. The boy puts on lipstick, makes himself a mermaid costume, and his grandmother gives him a beaded necklace to complete his outfit.

This is fanaticism. But Sand correctly points out, “On a local level, parents hold the key.”

“The grassroots parents revolution is real and it is going to erupt in all parts of California,” Lance Izumi, the Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, told the Globe. He continued:

“It was parents in San Francisco who threw out far-left extremist school board members who were totally out of touch with the education concerns of the community. Now you are seeing slates of parents running for their local school boards popping up all across California. These parents are fed up with the politicized curricula and ideological indoctrination their children are receiving. They are also fed up with the special-interest agenda of the teachers unions, plus the wholesale failure of the public schools to improve the achievement of their children. Parents have brought their energy to school board meetings and have demanded that their districts be accountable and transparent. Now they will be bringing that energy, focus, and commitment to the polls in November. I predict that there will be wholesale turnover in school boards in many districts and that parents will end up holding the reins of power. It will then be up to them to effect real change in the public schools and ensure that children and parents come first.”

California Superintendent of Public Instruction

The outsider candidate for California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Lance Christensen, told the Globe Wednesday, “everything that touches education curriculum comes from the Superintendent’s office,” as the Superintendent sits on the California Board of Education.

Christensen, a father of five said:

“As education policy continues to spiral to things inconsistent with community values and parents’ desires, they realized recourse was not coming from their school boards. No one else was going to stand up and save their kids.”

“So in the year of the parent, people are stepping up to fight for kids and bring sanity back to schools,” Christensen said. “I personally endorse anyone running for school board who supports parents rights and school choice.”

“And it is going to be at the local level that we take our schools back, and I am going to be the voice of that movement,” Christensen added. “Having a massive bully pulpit for parents’ rights is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The rights of parents

“This year, the rights of parents are on the ballot like never before,” Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay) says on his endorsements page of school board races. Kiley recently announced he was supporting and endorsing outstanding pro-parent, pro-student candidates running for school board throughout California, and says he will continue to do so.

Kiley’s initial endorsements grew into his “Champions for Kids” directory, which is available on his website.

“The role of school boards has never been more important, and in the upcoming election we have an opportunity to set education in California on a new course,” Assemblyman Kiley said. “I’m proud to be supporting several hundred pro-parent, pro-student candidates for school board throughout our state.”

This catastrophic learning loss

Shawn Steel, California’s committeeman for the Republican National Committee, recently wrote an op ed at the Globeexposing the UTLA, the L.A. teachers’ union, which “strongly opposed standardized tests during the COVID-19 pandemic. That testing data could have sounded the alarm on the catastrophic learning loss caused by remote learning,” Steel said. “At every turn, UTLA aggressively blocked plans to reopen schools. In March 2021, 91 percent of UTLA members opposed reopening schools and remained in distance learning programs that were causing kids to fall behind.”

After denying that learning loss, the UTLA then opposed extra teaching days to help kids catch up. “There is no such thing as learning loss,” Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers Los Angeles told Los Angeles magazine last year.

“This catastrophic learning loss should be the greatest concern for teachers. Instead, the top teachers’ union brass denies that it exists at all,” Steel said.

CA Teachers Union Did Oppo Research On Parents Who Wanted Schools To Reopen During COVID

The Globe recently reported that Reopen California Schools exposed via emails received through California Public Records Act requests that the California Teachers Association labor union conducted opposition research on parent groups pushing for school reopening during the government ordered COVID school shutdowns in California. Instead of a healthy reaction and response to so many parents’ concerns, the CTA doubled down and went on offense and politically targeted moms and dads protecting their children.

The Globe talked with Dry Creek School Board candidate Jean Pagnone (above) on why she made the decision to run for her school board – she definitively spells out her determination:

“I made the decision to run for the Dry Creek School Board when I realized that I could no longer watch state and local schools fail our children, parents, and teachers. Schools have kids for 9 months out of the year. Parents have their kids for a lifetime. I think one of the things we learned from the pandemic is that we don’t have the luxury of blind trust when we send our kids off to school each day. What we’re seeing are parents being ignored and not respected – whether it’s a lack of transparency on subjects that are controversial or sensitive or medical decisions that belong with the parent. I’ve also heard from a lot of teachers who have quit or are thinking of leaving because they aren’t comfortable with what they’re being told to teach. And let me tell you, there are a lot of great teachers out there who are fighting for the kids, but they cannot speak out publicly.”

Click here to read the full article in California Globe

California Attorney General Takes Over LA Corruption Probe

California’s attorney general on Tuesday took over a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigation of a county supervisor who had called the corruption probe an act of political retaliation.

California Assemblyman Rob Bonta listens during a news conference as California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces his nomination for state’s attorney general, Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Attorney General Rob Bonta announced he was assuming all responsibility for the investigation into contracts awarded to a nonprofit group run by a friend of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

The state Department of Justice asked the nation’s largest sheriff’s department to stop its probe and hand over its evidence in the case.

The Sheriff’s Department released a letter that Bonta sent Tuesday to Undersheriff Timothy K. Murakami that said he has authority to take over investigations “in the public interest” and ordering the department to cease activity in the case, including making public statements or court filings.

For more than a year, the Sheriff’s Department has been investigating some $800,000 in contracts awarded by the county’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit organization that describes itself as a “social service agency dedicated to the elimination of sexual and domestic violence and all forms of interpersonal violence.”

The contracts were to operate a hotline for reporting sexual harassment on public transit.

The group’s executive director and CEO is Patricia Giggans, a friend of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

The Sheriff’s Department has said it was looking into whether Kuehl was improperly involved in obtaining contracts for the group.

Kuehl is a fierce critic of Sheriff Alex Villanueva and has called for his resignation. She appointed Giggans to serve on the Civilian Oversight Commission that monitors the Sheriff’s Department.

Both have denied wrongdoing in regard to the contracts.

Last week, sheriff’s deputies raided county offices and the homes of Kuehl and Giggans but a Superior Court judge has ordered the Sheriff’s Department to temporarily cease searching any computers and hard drives seized in the raids.

Kuehl and Metro challenged the validity of the search warrants, with lawyers for Kuehl writing in a court filing Monday that raids at Kuehl’s home and office were “politically motivated and retaliatory.”

The filing called warrants for those searches a “flagrant abuse of power and an offense to the rule of law.”

Villanueva had recused himself from the investigation but has discussed it in interviews and on social media as he campaigns for reelection.

Meanwhile, on the day of the raids, the sheriff asked Bonta to look into whether Kuehl and Giggans had improperly received advanced notice of the searches. In Tuesday’s letter, Bonta said he would look into the allegations but also was taking over the Sheriff’s Department probe.

“In recent days, the public unfolding of an unprecedented investigation has raised serious questions for residents of Southern California and beyond,” Bonta said in a statement released by his office. “I recognize the deep uncertainty this has engendered.”

Click here to read that the full article at AP News

Inside the Team Pioneering California’s Red Flag Law

There were four more requests for gun violence restraining orders on Jeff Brooker’s desk when he arrived at the San Diego City Attorney’s Office that July morning.

Officers had responded to a minor car crash at a mall where the driver, who carried a replica firearm, was rambling delusionally and threatening to kill the “one-percenters” and a public official. Another man, during an argument outside a family member’s home, had pulled a gun out of his waistband and pointed it at someone’s head as several others looked on.

It was not an unusual number of new cases for the department’s eight-member gun violence restraining order unit, which Brooker oversees. In an average week, they triage 30 referrals from local police, reviewing scenarios in which officers believe a resident is at risk of committing gun violence.

About a third of the time — in those instances when the person clearly poses a danger to themselves or others, and they aren’t already prohibited from possessing weapons for another reason — the office will petition a judge to temporarily seize their firearms, under a six-year-old California statute that was among the country’s first “red flag” laws.

More than 1,250 times since the end of 2017, when San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott launched the pioneering unit, Brooker’s team has successfully filed a gun violence restraining order, leading to the seizure, as of April, of nearly 1,600 firearms from 865 people — far more than any other agency in the state. An estimated one-third of the weapons, most of which are handguns, have since been returned to the owners.

“Do you believe this person should have a gun? Your own sense is the best test,” said Brooker, who employs a cable television thought experiment to illustrate how he tries to depoliticize the highly charged red flag law: If a case hypothetically turns into a major news story, how might it be covered by both liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and conservative Fox News anchor Sean Hannity?

“If this is a case they can agree on, this is the kind of case we’re going to file,” Brooker said.

These red flag laws, touted by advocates as one of the best tools available to prevent gun violence, received a renewed push this summer after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Congress responded by passing rare gun safety legislation, with bipartisan support, that could provide hundreds of millions of dollars to help states adopt or expand their own red flag laws. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia already have laws, but a recent analysis by the Associated Press found that many of those are barely used.

In California, which ranked seventh in number of cases per capita, San Diego has been a model.

With many jurisdictions still slow to adopt the use of gun violence restraining orders, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services announced in July that it would provide $1 million to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office to expand its training efforts to other law enforcement groups.

“We must work together to make sure our gun safety and red flag laws are being used to protect our communities. They’re being underutilized,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said at a joint press conference with Elliott last month. “Others should take San Diego’s lead — be aggressive, use the tool that is there.”

A pioneering program

While the California law allows police, close family members, housemates, employers, co-workers and school officials to seek a gun violence restraining order for someone they believe poses a danger to themselves or others, nearly all cases in the state are initiated by law enforcement. Assembly Bill 2870, now before Gov. Gavin Newsom, would expand the list of eligible petitioners to include more family members and people who are dating or share children with the gun owner.

A judge can immediately order the person to relinquish their guns and declare them ineligible to purchase firearms and ammunition for three weeks or, after a hearing, extend the ban to as long as five years. The person can then petition once a year to lift the order and have their weapons returned.

Under Elliott, San Diego has invested in its red flag program like nowhere else in California, with close coordination between the city attorney’s office and the police department to streamline the process for obtaining an order. Brooker’s team includes three attorneys, a paralegal, a legal secretary, a police officer and two retired police officers who work part-time as investigators, preparing cases for review.

Petitions for orders arrive around the clock, Brooker said. While police can obtain an emergency order directly from a judge to take someone’s firearms for 21 days, the city attorney’s office steps in to decide whether to pursue a longer-term seizure of a year or more. Brooker’s team is in court every morning filing paperwork and conducting hearings for new cases or existing orders that are expiring.

The investigators had already been in for several hours when Brooker arrived at their fifth-floor office, overlooking Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego. Informational packets were ready for several new petitions that had come in overnight.

Brooker’s corner office overflows with “Star Wars” memorabilia, including a signed poster of Princess Leia and an Obi-Wan Kenobi T-shirt sharing a coat rack with his jackets and ties. On his bookshelf, a tome about the original Star Wars trilogy abuts Shakespeare’s collected works and a copy of the Constitution.

His team’s goal is only to remove guns from a situation until it can be made safe, Brooker said, so sometimes they work with a person on a plan to return their firearms, rather than requesting to extend the order.

This is more common for threats of suicide, when the gun violence restraining order can provide someone with time to cool off and stabilize. If drug or alcohol abuse is involved, or if a person seems to have deeper mental disorders, Brooker said his team will likely ask for a longer seizure of their weapons.

“They’re not all bad people or criminals,” he said. “Some of them are just going through a period of crisis.”

Taking a cautious approach

The most common types of cases depend on what’s happening in the world. Brooker said that domestic violence, suicide, child abuse, protest threats and social media threats all picked up during the coronavirus pandemic. Around holidays, there are more domestic violence and suicide cases, while after any mass shooting, there are many potential copycats.

“If there was ever a time I was rethinking my life and career, it was in that month after Uvalde,” Brooker said. Schools were going into lockdown every day, graduations were being threatened and his team was out every night executing search warrants for weapons that a judge had ordered removed.

Brooker said he takes a cautious approach to filing cases, because he is concerned about blowback from gun rights advocates. Every petition is investigated by the retired police officers to ensure that the potential threat is not based on unvetted evidence or an old history of violence.

“I know they’re waiting for us to file one bad case so they can jump all over us,” he said. “That’s the case that’s going to bite us.”

Though the red flag law has not encountered widespread resistance in California, it does remain deeply controversial with gun rights activists. Critics argue that the law violates due process rights by allowing a judge to order someone’s firearms removed before they’ve ever had a chance to defend themselves and by requiring that person to go to court to get their weapons back. Groups across the country are eyeing new legal challenges to red flag laws, which have been consistently upheld in court, following a summer Supreme Court ruling that strengthened gun rights.

Sam Paredes, executive director of the advocacy group Gun Owners of California, called the law an “insincere” attempt to deal with gun violence, without dealing with the underlying mental health issues or other dangerous situations. 

“We don’t have an issue with trying to deal with people who are identified as a danger to themselves or others. We have an existing procedure to deal with that all the way,” Paredes said. “Gun violence restraining orders or red flag laws are nothing more than a political football that is being thrown around the field.”

Considered in court

When Brooker and a colleague arrived at the county courthouse at 9 a.m., they were ushered into the courtroom by the bailiff, who informed Brooker that none of his respondents had checked in yet.

“Good, because I’ve got two dismissals and a continuance today,” Brooker replied.

While Superior Court Judge Adelaida Lopez led the parties and witnesses through an oath, Brooker was on his phone, writing notes about how he expected the cases to go and taking another quick read of the files to be prepared for any questions. In between, he checked his email and snuck a peek at a few photos from his son who had just moved to Switzerland for college. 

Brooker’s cases were among the first to be heard. In one, a man had told police he was trying to drink himself to death. While he didn’t have any firearms that the officers knew of, they wanted to obtain a gun violence restraining order to prevent the man from legally buying one in a moment of desperation.

Brooker asked for another continuance, giving his office more time to serve the defendant with a notice of the hearing.

“We tried him using soft contacts first for officer safety and obvious reasons, so there is due diligence, I can assure you,” Brooker said.

Lopez granted another 21-day continuance. Then Brooker moved to his next case, where the defendant had also been put under a mental health hold, which would prohibit him from possessing firearms and make a gun violence restraining order unnecessary.

“I think we can take it off the calendar. And will that result in a dismissal?” Lopez said. “Item 32 is dismissed. That protective order is dissolved.”

“Very good. Thank you, Your Honor,” Brooker said. The whole proceeding took less than five minutes.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Gov. Gavin Newsom Strips Fresno County Supervisors’ Power to Draw Election Lines

With his signature on Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom told the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to get lost when it comes to the next redistricting task in nine years. The governor signed legislation by Assemblymember Joaquín Arámbula, D-Fresno, to give those duties to a 14-member community redistricting commission. Arámbula said it was the only way to ensure that the Latino community gets a fair chance at political representation. The five-member board lobbied against the Arámbula bill, saying it takes the redistricting process “away from the voters” who elect the board “and gives it to appointed special interest groups with no accountability to voters.” “AB 2030 proposed to usurp local control and discretion of the County of Fresno’s elected representatives, while other counties with similar demographics and population would maintain local control and discretion over the redistricting process,” the board wrote. Arámbula, the Dolores Huerta Foundation and other community organizations said the supervisors can’t be trusted to draw fair and equitable districts based on the fact that supervisorial districts have changed little despite a spike in Latino population.

Sal Quintero is the sole Latino on the board. Latinos account for 53.4% of county residents, up from about 35% in 1990. There are three Republicans and two Democrats on the board, but Supervisor Brian Pacheco, a Democrat, tends to vote with the three GOP representatives. Registered Democrats are now counted almost eight points higher than Republicans, 39.7% to 32%, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. That’s a change from an even split a decade ago.

The League of Women Voters of Fresno backed Arámbula’s bill. The organization, in a letter of support, said the California Fair Maps Act moved the county closer to “an inclusive and more transparent process.” “However, the lack of an independent redistricting body allowed our county supervisors to disregard public testimony and more than 15 publicly-submitted maps to adopt a virtually unchanged district map,” the league wrote. The board voted 4-1 to adopt a district map that was drawn by county staffers that remained little changed from previous boundaries. A map promoted by the Central California Coalition for Equitable Realignment did not make the final cut despite support from 36 of 46 people who testified before the board. “I’m disappointed,” said former Assemblymember Juan Arámbula after the vote. “I think the time has come to look at requiring counties to set up independent commissions outside of their control to make these decisions because (the supervisors) just have too much self-interest.” Arámbula, the father of the current assemblymember, pushed for independent commissions when he served in the Assembly. Newsom appears to have paid attention this time, a year after vetoing legislation that would have required counties with more than 400,000 residents to turn over redistricting duties to a citizens commission. Newsom also signed a bill by Assemblymember Rudy Salas to create a citizens redistricting commission in Kern County. The Arámbula bill, which sailed through the Assembly 56-20 and the state Senate 29-10, was also opposed by the California State Association of Counties. The bill will establish a 14-member commission with political representation proportional to the county’s voter registration party preference. The Salas bill has identical language. “Fresno County must have an independent citizens redistricting commission that will seriously listen to the voices of people demanding representation that truly reflects their communities and will address their issues,” said Arámbula in introducing the bill. “Our county is changing, and Latinos now make up the majority of the population.”

The legislation, AB 2430, was strongly backed by the Dolores Huerta Foundation, whose community outreach led to an increase in resident involvement during the redistricting process. The foundation also backed community organizations that came up with new district boundaries designed to improve the chances of Latino candidates. In the June primary, José Ramírez and Daniel Parra lost the only contested race, losing to incumbent Buddy Mendes. The community-favored map would have created three Latino-majority districts, and would have kept the Mendes district west of Highway 41 and moved the portion east of the highway into a new district with farming and communities that are different from those that remain in the old district. Fresno County joins the counties of Los Ángeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Bárbara in having a citizens redistricting commission. Kern County got added this year also after Newsom signed the Salas legislation. Latinos represent the majority of residents in Fresno (53.6%), Tulare (65.5%), Kings (56.8%), Kern (54.9%), Madera (59.6%), and Merced (61.8%) counties, yet each have just one Latino/Latina on the board of supervisors. In Kern County, the board of supervisors also opposed the Salas bill, saying “a new and fundamentally partisan redistricting process is being unfairly and unnecessarily forced on the residents of Kern County, over the objection of their duly elected local representatives.” If the board is removed from the redistricting process, the county said, “it makes no sense at all that the board would still be responsible for footing the bill.” After Kern County came up with new supervisorial districts in 2011, it lost a lawsuit to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) over those maps in 2018. MALDEF said the 2011 maps denied Latinos the right to elect their own candidates in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Click here to read the full article in the Sacramento Bee

COVID-19 School Closures Undermined Learning

Whether California’s schools should remain open or be closed was a hot issue when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging in 2020 and 2021.

Although medical authorities quickly concluded that children had a much smaller risk of being infected or experiencing severe effects if infected, California schools were mostly closed, in large measure because teachers and their powerful unions insisted on it.

With schools closed, local administrators scrambled to provide on-line classes, what became known as “zoom school,” but they were poor substitutes for the real thing — especially for English-learner students and those from poor families.

Those children — roughly 60% of the state’s nearly 6 million public school students — were already trailing their more privileged contemporaries academically when the pandemic hit. The closures made it worse, for obvious reasons.

They tended to lack internet access and proper equipment for on-line classes. Their parents were often compelled to work outside the home to make ends meet, so kids were often left to fend for themselves. Absenteeism from on-line classes was widespread.

Affluent parents, particularly those who could easily work from home during the pandemic, made certain that their kids attended on-line classes, helped them with their school work, formed informal collaboration groups and/or hired tutors. Thus, the ill effects of closures were mitigated. And, of course, private schools, such as the one Gov. Gavin Newsom’s kids attend, either remained open or minimized closures.

For months, politicians from Newsom downward quarreled over how the schools should function and angry parents formed the core of a movement to recall him from office. Newsom survived the recall, but the educations of millions of kids did not, as new data confirm.

While the state Department of Education has not released 2022 academic test data that would allow comparisons with pre-pandemic results, individual school districts are doing so and the numbers from the state’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, are stunning.

About 72% of the district’s students are not meeting state standards in math and 58% are behind in English, essentially wiping out five years of progress that it had recorded prior to the pandemic.

“The pandemic deeply impacted the performance of our students,” LAUSD Supt. Alberto Carvalho said. “Particularly kids who were at risk, in a fragile condition, prior to the pandemic, as we expected, were the ones who have lost the most ground.”

While the district released gross data, it did not break down the test results by ethnic or economic subgroups. The Los Angeles Times, however, gleaned the detail from a school board document marked “not for public release.”

Why the secrecy? Apparently it was to mask the particularly disturbing data about Black and Latino kids.

“About 81% of 11th-graders did not meet grade-level standards in math. About 83% of Black students, 78% of Latino students and 77% of economically disadvantaged students did not meet the math standards,” the Times reported.

We won’t know how the state as a whole fared until — and unless — the Department of Education finally releases 2022 complete “Smarter Balance” test results. But there’s no reason to believe that what happened — or, more accurately, what didn’t happen — in Los Angeles isn’t also true of other systems, particularly those with large numbers of at-risk students.

Click here to read the full article at CalMatters

By Transporting Migrants, GOPGovernors are Exposing Democrats’ Hypocrisy

Next time, Joe Biden should be more precise when he calls for national unity. Because he and his fellow Democrats don’t like the kind of unity they’re getting from Republican governors. 

The decision by GOP leaders in Texas, Florida and Arizona to “share” their abundance of foreign migrants with northern cities and states that boast of their sanctuary status is apparently not a gift the Dems appreciate. In fact, the president and his party are so mad they’re setting fire to the welcome wagons. 

Shipping the migrants north is outrageous, a stunt, pure politics, they wail. The White House is making noises about assigning its chief partisan enforcer, Attorney General Merrick Garland, to stop it. 

That would be the height of irony because the same White House has for months secretly shipped tens of thousands of migrants around the country, often in the middle of the night with no notice to local officials. No Dems complained then, so where did their love go? 

Naturally, the media is eager to echo the left’s sudden pain, with Chuck Todd of NBC News showing why he deserves to replace Brian Stelter, late of CNN, as the most mocked man in television. Todd declared it “inhumane” to send 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard because it’s a “literal island that doesn’t have any infrastructure designed to help them at all.” 

Hillary Clinton can usually be counted on to say something ridiculous, and she didn’t disappoint. “Literally human trafficking” is what she called the Vineyard dispatch, the brainchild of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

Like Todd, Clinton not only doesn’t get the irony, she misses the point. 

The Dems running New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and, yes, Martha’s Vineyard, are being hoisted on their own petard. 

They supported virtually unfettered immigration, but didn’t bargain on thousands of the world’s unwashed popping up in their neighborhoods. In aiming their fire at Republicans sending the migrants north, they’re only shooting the messengers. 

Their hypocrisy is a thing to behold and the GOP governors deserve an award for delivering a comeuppance for the ages. 

More broadly, Biden’s border fiasco is the latest proof that the left has plenty of fanciful ideas about creating paradise but none on how to govern in the real world. The defund-the-police movement led to a sickening surge in violent crime that continues as cops are demonized and criminals are coddled. 

Blunders piling up 

The war on fossil fuels led to the dramatic rise in oil prices and helped fuel the historic inflation eating family paychecks. Biden is so far detached from reality that he actually threw a party to celebrate yet another spending bill that will keep the inflation fires roaring. 

It is simply incredible how much damage he has inflicted on the nation in just 20 months. 

And now the blue havens are getting a taste of the disaster that is the open-border policy. Unprecedented waves of people are crossing over, including many who flew to Mexico from far-off countries, knowing they could simply walk into America. 

Immigration restrictions were a mainstay of both parties for generations, but the leftward shift of Dems led to less tolerance for barriers. Then, as with so many other issues, the presidency of Donald Trump saw them jettison common sense and go nuts as a form of protest. 

Radical activists began preaching the gospel of massive immigration as a key to social and racial justice. 

Biden, a sucker for anything anti-Trump, rejected his predecessor’s success in limiting illegal crossers and the abuse of the asylum system, which lets people stay in the US for years because of bureaucratic inertia. Making them wait in Mexico until their claims were adjudicated, as Trump did, persuaded many the dangerous trek north was not worth the risk. 

Biden foolishly dismantled those restrictions, stopped building the wall and essentially issued an invitation for the whole world to come to America. 

Click here to read the full article at the NYPost