Friday, September 13, 2013

Smashing Pumpkins-Bullets with Butterfly Wings

The world is a vampire, sent to drain
Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
And what do I get, for my pain?
Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game

Even though I know - I suppose I'll show
All my cool and cold - like old job

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage

Now I'm naked, nothing but an animal
But can you fake it, for just one more show?
And what do you want?
I want to change
And what have you got, when you feel the same?

Even though I know - I suppose I'll show
All my cool and cold - like old job

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage

Tell me I'm the only one
Tell me there's no other one
Jesus was the only son, yeah.
Tell me I'm the chosen one
Jesus was the only son for you

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
And someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a-
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a-
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage

Tell me I'm the only one
Tell me there's no other one
Jesus was the only son for you

And I still believe that I cannot be saved

NEWSFLASH SB-1 Did not pass!

SB1 Did NOT Pass
(but it will return in 2014)
Steinberg's office just verified that SB1 did NOT pass.  It is being held over until January.  The Legislature is done for the year so it can not be taken up again until 2014.  This is our opportunity.  Let's keep up the pressure.  Let's get more organizations to weigh in on the OPPOSITION.   If you know of an organization or are the member of an organization that could oppose this, please encourage them to officially oppose this aweful bill.
Here are the listed supporters and opponents.  Let's see if we can turn some of these supporter in Red to our side and let's see if we can add more groups to the opposition:
SUPPORT : (Verified 9/11/13)
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit
District Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles
California Association of REALTORS
California Infill Builders
Federation California Labor
Federation California Special Districts Association
California State Association of Counties
California State Council on Developmental Disabilities
California Transit Association Capacity Builders, Inc.
City of West Sacramento
Counties of Alameda, Lassen
East Los Angeles Community Corporation
Emeryville Chamber of Commerce
Green Technical Education and Employment
Housing California
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Mission Bay Development Group
Natural Resources Defense Council
Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Sacramento Housing Alliance
Southeast Asian Community Alliance
State Building and Construction Trades Council 
Strada Investment Group
Western Center on Law and Poverty
OPPOSITION : (Verified 9/11/13)
Air Conditioning Trade Association
California Farm Bureau Federation
California Right to Life Committee, Inc.
California Taxpayers Association
Contra Costa Taxpayers Association
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California
State Board of Equalization, Third District, Vice-Chair,Michelle Steel Western Electrical Contractors Association

Stop Plan Bay Area
This bill is a THREAT to Rural and Suburban property owners

Expanding the Definition of
Declares suburban and rural lifestyles-which it terms "inefficient land use patterns-as "blight." Declaring suburban and rural land use a "blight" has appalling and stunning legal and political implications. How does it feel to have a target on your back from these people?
Creates mini-ABAGs (redevelopment agencies) not controlled by cities and towns.  Allows eminent domain and funding power to assemble and fund massive high density housing projects in suburban downtowns.
If you own property in an area that the government wants to upzone (such as property in a  PDA), they can arbitrarily take your property and put it with others so they have enough area to develop 
high density housing near mass transit.  It also provides permanent funding for 
More Background
If Steinberg's SB 1 (Steinberg's Sustainable Communities Investment Authority) 
becomes law, what will the cost be to you and each and everyone of us who own private property parcels? This is one of the most dangerous bills and will be the worst abuse of power in California's history, if the Governor doesn't Veto this bill. Danger here is the Democrats may have super majority over the Governor's Veto Power. (SB 1 was Steinberg's SB 1156 last year and the resurrection of Statewide Redevelopment Agencies, but with a new credit card);

SB 1 includes Infrastructure Financing Districts 
(Senator Lois Wolk SB 33) and Transit Districts (Assemblywoman Ma or other authors). Are you 1/2 mile from a bus or transit stop? SB 1 allows high density 1/2 mile from a bus or transit stop;

Property Tax Increments like Redevelopment Agencies would divert property taxes from within project area boundaries directly into the general fund of the new "Authority", "Agency", or government entity that's created, which means property taxes would not go to the City or County general funds to pay for public services, but would go directly to the new Authority or Agency and away from special districts like fire and police protection, parks, and libraries (schools would be exempt);

Projects would have to comply with Steinberg's SB 375, which connects land use to AB 32 Global Warming/Climate Change Implementation - (My older neighborhood with large lots does not comply with SB 375, so does that mean my neighborhood is not sustainable and blighted?);
No Voter Approval to create more debt and to create new project boundaries, which could force residents to continually pay for new projects and improvements;

Only Union workers are hired, which would eliminate jobs to those who are not union paying members (Only Project Labor Agreements);
Cities, Counties, and Special Districts can create Joint Powers Agreements/Agencies/Authorities (JPA) and elect a Board that would consist of elected officials, who would than appoint a JPA Director. How many JPA's do you have in your City and/or County? Power would be power to a Director/Chair of a new Board, who is not elected by the people;
This bill would give unknown power to schools, police, fire, libraries, parks, etc. and allow them to borrow money to pay for unfunded pensions.  Private property parcel owners would be forced to pay for this new debt, but not be allowed to vote.  

 Here's the full text of the bill

Contact Info for Gov. Brown's office: Ask him to VETO
California Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, 1st Fl., Sacramento, CA 95814
1.  Call Governor Brown's office to ask for his "NO" vote on SB1.  PHONE: (916) 445-2841   

2.  Send an email.  

Fill in the form.
Select "other"  (because SB1 doesn't show up on the pull-down menu)
After you "Continue," another page will appear with space to name SB1, mark Pro or Con and write a comment.
Besides the ideas posted in the previous email, here are some additional reasons to oppose SB1:

The definition of blight by which the SCIA can use eminent domain for "insufficient land use" is too poorly defined and too great a threat to property rights.

34191.10-b -  SCIA's General Provisions display this bill's primary beneficiaries are those in the construction industry.

34191.20-e-(1) - JPAs are growing out of control without adequate oversight from the public to assure accountability.

34191.31-a - An audit after 5 years for a newly formed JPA is inadequate to the demands of this much $$ being handled by too few people under less than transparent conditions.  The Controller should be required to review and approve the audits and the audit should be required to be made public.

Citizens MUST oppose this law 

Debunking Friday the 13th: 13 Myths of Urban Sprawl

Marinwood Priority Development Area is the County of Marin's solution for "Smart Growth"

by Wendell Cox

Simply described as the geographical spreading out of urban areas, “urban sprawl” has become the stuff of public policy hysteria. A well-financed movement blames sprawl for everything from a lack of community spirit to obesity.

The movement has labeled itself “smart growth,” but more descriptive--and more accurate--would be “anti-opportunity.” It would force housing prices up, depriving millions of households, disproportionately minority, of home ownership. It would increase commuter travel times and reduce the number of jobs accessible, to the disproportionate harm of lower-income households, especially minorities.

The “smart growth” movement is a serious threat to the American Dream of home ownership, employment, and prosperity. Far more dangerous than black cats, ladders, and Friday the 13th, it jeopardizes the lives of millions of Americans. The 13 myths debunked below explain why.

Myth #1: Smart Growth Does Not Reduce Housing Affordability.
Rationing raises prices. Smart growth measures ration land by forcing higher densities through urban growth boundaries, excessive impact fees, down-zoning and other restrictions on development. This drives prices higher, making housing less affordable.

Myth #2: Higher Densities Mean Less Traffic Congestion.
National and international evidence clearly shows higher densities increase traffic congestion. Per-capita travel by automobile may decline a bit as densities rise, but not enough to keep traffic from getting a lot worse. Adding more of anything to a constricted space--putting more people into smaller urban areas--increases crowding.

Myth #3. Lower Densities Mean Higher Costs of Government.
The smart-growth folks say we can “no longer afford” our low-density life style, claiming higher taxes and fees are caused by lower densities. But the data show lower-density cities have lower expenditure levels than higher- density cities. Moreover, cities with newer housing stock (second- and third-ring suburbs) have lower public expenditures than central cities and first-ring suburbs.

Myth #4: Higher Densities Mean Less Air Pollution.
EPA research concludes air pollution emissions are higher where traffic speeds are slower, and emissions are higher where there is more stop-and-go traffic. Higher densities mean more traffic congestion, which in turn means slower traffic speeds and more stop-and-go travel. More tail pipes do not emit less pollution.

Myth #5: Central Cities Are the Victims of Suburban Growth.
America’s central cities have lost population, while suburbs have gained. It does not, however, follow that city losses occurred because of suburban growth.
Over the past half-century, America has become increasingly urban, as rural residents have moved to urban areas, where they have accounted for much of suburban growth. And cities have driven away many who would have stayed. “Cities” are hardly the victims here. City residents are: residents who felt they had no choice but to leave, and even more so those who have no choice but to stay, captive to governments qualifying as third world by their performance.

Myth #6: Rail Transit Reduces Traffic Congestion.
There is no evidence--none--that new rail transit has materially reduced traffic congestion in any urban area. Building rail is justified principally by an irresistible urge to spend taxpayers’ money. The higher the cost, railvangelists claim, the greater the benefit. Of course, the historic rail systems serving the pre-automobile cores of New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Tokyo, or Hong Kong are essential. But Sioux City, Iowa is not Hong Kong. Neither, for that matter, is Portland.

Myth #7: Rail Transit Is Needed for “Transportation Choice.”
From Cincinnati to Austin, transit spending advocates quickly abandon their baseless traffic congestion claims when challenged. They shift to what they call “transportation choice”--the idea that building rail transit provides choices for people. But choices for whom? At most, rail transit serves the small percentage of people who work downtown--the only destination to which transit provides what can be considered automobile-competitive service. To provide genuine transit choice for all would require annual expenditures that rival the gross income of any urban area.

Myth #8: We Can’t Built Our Way Out of Congestion.
This proceeds from the belief that new roadway capacity creates new traffic (the “induced traffic” effect)--suggesting a corollary that building more maternity wards would increase the birth rate. This leads to a further conclusion that, given enough road capacity, Americans will eventually spend 36 to 72 hours per day behind the wheel.
More rational minds at the Federal Highway Administration found little induced traffic effect, and even that withers away when travel time (rather than distance) is considered.

Myth #9: The Jobs-Housing Balance.
“Planners,” the smart growth movement claim, should design transportation and land use so as to minimize the distance between work and home. This may be the most bankrupt, and surely the most arrogant, of the smart growth myths. Herding cats would have at least as high a probability of success.
According to Census data, barely 20 percent of households consider proximity to work as the principal reason for selecting their home neighborhood. A jobs-housing balance requires other balances as well--jobs-housing-education, jobs-housing-leisure, etc. Are “planners” really in the best position to decide?

Myth #10: Higher Densities Mean A Lower Cost of Living.
Periodically, smart-growth studies emerge claiming household transportation expenditures are higher where densities are lower. But there is more to life than transportation. Housing and food expenditures are so much lower where densities are lower, that any transportation cost advantage for higher density areas is more than erased.

Myth #11: Europe Doesn’t Sprawl.
American urban planners by the thousands have made overseas pilgrimages, frequenting sidewalk cafes across the street from the Louvre in Paris, wondering why Phoenix or Boston looks so different. What they fail to realize is that not even Paris is like Paris.
The few square miles of central Paris in which the myopic rail-bound pilgrims sit is in the middle of 1,000 square miles of urban sprawl. The situation is similar throughout Western Europe, where virtually all growth in urban areas has been suburban growth, and where virtually all major cities have experienced population losses. Urban population densities have fallen faster in Europe and Canada than in the United States.

Myth #12: Urbanization is Consuming Agricultural Land.
Until the Clinton Agriculture Department set them straight, this was one of the principal tenets of the smart-growth movement. In fact, some 400 years after Jamestown, as The Heritage Foundation’s Ron Utt always reminds us, only 3 percent of the nation is urbanized: 97 percent of it is rural.
There is less agricultural land in the United States than there used to be, but not because it has been consumed by urbanization. Agriculture has become more productive. Since 1950, agricultural production has doubled, and more farmland than the area of Texas and Oklahoma combined has been returned to emptiness: open space.

Myth #13: Things are Going Our Way.
Anti-sprawl types often project their personal experiences into universal truths.
Transit ridership increases on a minuscule base are reported as if they represented a major switch in travel behavior; going from 10 riders to 20 represents a touted “100 percent increase.” Friends move into chic new urban developments, leading some to claim people “are forsaking suburbs” for the city.
Someone should teach these people to use simple reference books, like The World Almanac, which can be easily obtained at the nearest big box store.

Wendell Cox is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute; a consultant to public and private public policy, planning and transportation organizations; and a visiting professor at a French national university.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

People who pay no price.

SB-1 The Biggest Land Use Law in a Generation

Darrell Steinberg's SB-1 passes the Senate and is awaiting Governor Browns signature.

Editor's Note, Just received this note from a friend:

I read through the SB1 bill last night.  No, I was not having trouble sleeping.  Have you read the bill?  There are some interesting assertions in the bill that are not "accurate".   My favorite is the sections talking about clean energy manufacturing.  CA has actively attacked and driven out huge number of manufacturing jobs out of the state.  This has been going on for years.  Between CAL OSHA / CAL EPA and the most aggressive agency, the State Franchise Board manufacturing has a very difficult time doing business in CA.  

In thinking about this bill, it is a back door attempt to reestablish the Redevelopment agencies that the Governor shut down.  This is unfortunate.  Gov. Brown shut down these agencies for two reasons:
  • They don't delivery on what they promise. 
  • The state need the money to balance the budget. 
Two areas leap to mind, Oakland, and Hercules.  The amount of money poured into the area to build offices and shopping centers that today, are largely empty. There is an assertion in SB1 that construction jobs are "good jobs".  Judging by what I see on construction sites, most of these jobs are filled with "undocumented workers", and are seldom union jobs.   Most of the construction industry is built on the idea of huge expansive growth driven by the economy and population.  Construction is a lagging indicator of growth.  The problem is that before the "correction" or melt down of 2008, construction related jobs accounted for about 10% of the CA economy.  This number was not sustainable as the collapse demonstrated.

I am not sure if  you noticed but there is a prevailing wage clause in the bill.  If you have spent anytime around SF contract practices you should probable get very upset about the clause. 

I am writing the Governor about the bill and asking him to veto the bill.  There is no telling what will happen there. 

As minor note:
There was paper written in 2003 by the EU commission on what happens when we reach 0 growth.  The paper walked through the idea that most eu countries (especially Germany) are highly dependent on emerging markets, new markets.  What happens when the only growth a company/economy sees is related to population growth?  I will admit that paper was written by a Frenchman, who are taught the free markets require government supervision but it is an interesting thought exercises.  The paper was written to get policy makers to realize that the era endless, boundless growth is coming to an end.  What happens when revenue growth matches population growth. 


Foot notes. 
  1. A minor note, the 10% includes the entire supply chain surround construction, materials, design, planning and etc. 

Contact California Governor Jerry Brown HERE

or call NOW  916-445-2841

Parents protest Common Core by Opting Kids Out of Standardized Tests

See Story in the Marin IJ More parents opting kids out of standardized tests
By Katie Zezima, The Associated Press
Posted: 09/07/2013 11:56:04 PM PDT

In this May 1, 2013, file photo signs are posted on a closed classroom door, indicating that testing is going on inside, at an elementary school in Mishawaka, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP, N.J. — While his eighth-grade classmates took state standardized tests this spring, Tucker Richardson woke up late and played basketball in his Delaware Township driveway.

Tucker's parents, Wendy and Will, are part of a small but growing number of parents nationwide who are ensuring their children do not participate in standardized testing. They are opposed to the practice for myriad reasons, including the stress they believe it brings on young students, discomfort with tests being used to gauge teacher performance, fear that corporate influence is overriding education and concern that test prep is narrowing curricula down to the minimum needed to pass an exam.

"I'm just opposed to the way high-stakes

Nine-year-olds Jordan Thomas, left, and Jade Jaques, both from New Yorkâ s Long Island, hold up their handmade sign during the One Voice United rally, Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Shannon DeCelle)testing is being used to evaluate teachers, the way it's being used to define what's happening in classrooms," said Will Richardson, an educational consultant and former teacher. "These tests are not meant to evaluate teachers. They're meant to find out what kids know."

The opt-out movement, as it is called, is small but growing. It has been brewing for several years via word of mouth and social media, especially through Facebook. The "Long Island opt-out info" Facebook page has more than 9,200 members, many of them rallying at a Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., high school last month after a group of principals called this year's state tests — and their low scores — a "debacle."

In Washington, D.C., a group of parents and students protested outside the Department of Education. Students and teachers at a Seattle high school boycotted a standardized test, leading the district superintendent to declare that city high schools have the choice to deem it optional. In Oregon, students organized a campaign persuading their peers to opt out of tests, and a group of students in Providence, R.I., dressed like zombies and marched in front of the State House to protest a requirement that students must achieve a minimum score on a state test in order to graduate.

"I'm opposed to these tests because they narrow what education is supposed to be about and they lower kids' horizons," said Jesse Hagopian, a teacher at the Seattle school. "I think collaboration, imagination, critical thinking skills are all left off these tests and can't be assessed by circling in A, B, C or D."

For many parents and students, there have been few to no consequences to opting out of testing. Most parents are choosing to take their younger children out of testing, not older students for whom it is a graduation requirement. It's unclear if things will change when the Common Core Curriculum and the standardized tests that will accompany it are implemented in the 2014-15 school year.

Some states were granted waivers for No Child Left Behind, which requires districts to have at least 95 percent of students participate in standardized testing or be at risk of losing funding.

Kristen Jaudon, a spokeswoman for the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, said the test Seattle deemed optional is not required by the state. Ninety-five percent of students in a given school must take standardized tests that are required by state law. She said parents who pull their children out of testing wouldn't be able to identify if a student was having problems in a particular subject and the move would deny educators the chance to see if the curriculum is working.

"We are bound by state law to test kids in our state. It's not optional," she said.

Tustin Amole, a spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District in Centennial, Colo., said 95 percent of students in the district take standardized tests. If a child stays home on testing day, she said, it's difficult to know if the parent is opting the child out or if the child is home for personal reasons, such as being sick.

"We encourage parents to have their kids take the test, but there are no consequences of any kind," she said. "There's no formal process for opting out. They can keep their child home that day and write an excuse."

Maria Ferguson of the Center on Education Policy said she thinks the practice of parents pulling their kids out of standardized tests is symbolic.

"I think it shows that people are very scared and very confused by tests," she said. "I think it's representative that testing has a branding problem."

Julie Borst of Allendale, N.J., didn't want her rising ninth-grader to take state standardized tests last year because she has special needs and isn't learning at her grade level. Borst is also concerned about the corporate influence of testing on education.

Borst said the school and superintendent asked the New Jersey Department of Education for guidance. Rather than staying home, Borst's daughter had to go into the principal's office each morning of the test and refuse to take it. Borst then drove her home.

"It was kind of convoluted and kind of a dance you do, and the result is the school district, they don't get dinged," Borst said.

Michael Yaple, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Education, said about 98 percent of New Jersey students take standardized tests.

"Keeping a child home from testing does no favor to the child or the school," he said.

Morna McDermott, a Baltimore college professor who is a board member of United Opt Out, likens the battle against standardized testing to a fight for corporate reform.

"Ultimately this is an act of civil disobedience," McDermott said. "If this is going to change, it has to fundamentally be grassroots."

Darcie Cimarusti of Highland Park, N.J., didn't like that her twin daughters would have to agonize over a standardized test as first-graders so she worked out an agreement with the principal to move them into a kindergarten class during testing time.

"My goal is that my daughters never take a standardized test," Cimarusti said. "I see less and less value in it educationally and it being used more and more to beat teachers over the head."

Peggy Robertson, a teacher in Centennial, Colo., who is also an Opt Out board member, said she only expects the movement to grow.

"You can feel the momentum," she said. "I think we're headed for a full-on revolt next year."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

California Takes Steps to Ease Landmark Law Protecting Environment

see NY TIMES article:

California Takes Steps to Ease Landmark Law Protecting Environment

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Developers had hoped to build a subdivision on land in the El Sereno neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles in 2012, but the California Environmental Quality Act, which Gov. Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1970, was used to prevent approval for the project.

SACRAMENTO — A landmark law that has been a symbol of California’s tough environmental philosophy for more than 40 years is facing an unlikely challenge from Democrats, including Gov. Jerry Brown, who contend that regulations protecting the environment have been abused and are thwarting legitimate development.

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
Gov. Jerry Brown supports rewriting  the law.

With the Legislature moving toward adjournment this week, prospects of weakening the law, known as the California Environmental Quality Act, seem stronger than in recent memory, lawmakers said. Mr. Brown called rewriting the law “the Lord’s work,” and the effort has won widespread support from newspaper editorial boards.

Senator Darrell Steinberg, the Democratic leader, said Tuesday that he was confident that his proposed changes to the law would win legislative approval this week and be sent to Mr. Brown.

That said, the changes Mr. Steinberg is championing — which include exempting urban projects from parking and aesthetic reviews, and speeding up the pace of litigation — are considerably short of the broader rollback of environmental reviews sought by business leaders.

And the battle is coming to a head during a time in a legislative session inevitably marked by shifting allegiances and last-minute deal making. Business leaders who once described themselves as hopeful that California would pass major changes to the law are now declaring defeat, abandoning Mr. Steinberg and urging lawmakers to vote against his bill.

“This is not threading the needle,” said Carl Guardino, president and chief executive of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a business group. “These are steps backwards.”
The bill is being supported by labor and environmental organizations, two key Democratic constituencies that have historically been fervent supporters of the existing law.

The California Environmental Quality Act requires rigorous reviews of environmental fallout from public and private construction projects, along with detailed plans on how to minimize it. It is repeatedly invoked in lawsuits to block or delay projects.

Mr. Steinberg defended his legislation, which he described as “that sweet spot between those who think the statute is irrevocably broken and those who believe there’s nothing wrong with the statute.”
“A statute that is 40 years old and subject to some legitimate complaints about the ways it’s used in some instance is due for a tuneup,” he said.

That California is considering easing environmental regulations is striking. This state has been identified with some of the most aggressive environmental policies in the country, advanced by Democrats and Republicans.

The law in question was signed by Ronald Reagan, a Republican, when he was governor in 1970.
This year, the state Democratic Party adopted a resolution saying it stood “with the labor and environmental community” in opposing changes to the law. But environmental leaders said they were open to some changes.

“I think the Legislature and the governor are hungry to make some changes,” said Ann Notthoff, the California advocacy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And I think that’s appropriate. But what we keep seeing from the development community is like they want to gut it or nothing. If they could just resist overreaching, we could actually get some meaningful reform done this year.”
The dispute is the latest chapter in a struggle between business and conservationists that has been fought since the environmental movement came of age in the late 1960s. It is taking place in a state with a rich history of conservationists who have battled to protect its vast tracts of mountains, forests and stunning seashore. Nine of the 59 national parks are in California.

Even Democrats who support environmental regulation say the law has invited abuse. It has allowed rival businesses to threaten environmental lawsuits to block projects by competitors. Business leaders say labor unions typically resort to greenmail, threatening to press for repeated environmental review on pending projects as a way of winning favorable contract provisions.

“Frankly, it’s become a blunt instrument to stop projects by so many different people,” said Bob Huff, the Senate Republican leader. “Labor uses it as a way to get project-labor agreements. Lawyers use it a way to send their kids to college and build vacation homes.”

“The original purpose, which was protecting the environment or at least looking at the impacts and mitigating them, has been treated pretty roughshod,” Mr. Huff said.

Whatever the law’s shortcomings, many Californians credit it with substantial improvements to the environment, and environmental groups have long resisted efforts to rewrite it.

“I don’t think there is any need to substantially change it,” said Kathryn Phillips, director of the Sierra Club of California. Mr. Steinberg’s bill would eliminate the requirement that major urban projects be subject to environmental impact studies focusing on parking and view-blocking, two areas that have typically spurred long bouts of litigation.

At the same time, in a move that many proponents of change viewed as a window into the problems of the existing law, Mr. Steinberg introduced a separate measure that would exempt from environmental review a sports arena for Sacramento that he has championed as part of a campaign to stop the city’s basketball team, the Kings, from moving to Seattle.

Mr. Brown raised concerns about the environmental act as he set the agenda in his State of the State message in January. “Our approach needs to be based more on consistent standards that provide greater certainty and cut needless delays,” he said at the time. In pressing for change, Mr. Brown invoked the frustration he felt as mayor of Oakland in trying to push through construction projects, only to be stymied by the law.

“I think he genuinely wants to see some reform,” Mr. Huff said. “I know he understands the issue, and he is to some degree pushing it along.”

But the governor, whose tenure has been marked by focusing on one or two big battles at a time, has stayed on the sidelines for much of this one. Aides said he might take a more forceful position in the coming days.

Mr. Steinberg said that business groups opposing his bill were being unrealistic.

“This is far from a step backwards,” he said. “They could and should in my view declare victory here. But they developed an expectation that was never realistic and not consistent with what I believe the public policy of the state should be.” 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Government is like your Family

See post at the College Fix:

The Blaze reports that fourth graders at East Prairie School in Skokie, Illinois were given a hand out, explaining that government is supposed to care for you, protect you, and provide for you.
“Government is like a nation’s family. Families take care of children and make sure they are safe, healthy and educated, and free to enjoy life. Families encourage children to be independent hardworking and responsible,” it continues. “Families make and enforce rules and give appropriate punishments when rules are broken. Government does these things for its citizens, too.”
A concerned parent forwarded the homework assignment to TheBlaze. The worksheet asks the following questions:
1. How does your family keep you safe?
2. How does the government keep its citizens safe?
3. How does your family keep you healthy?
4. How does the government keep its citizens healthy?
etc, etc…
The Blaze sought comment from the school administration. The superintendent responded, saying that the assignment “is not an attempt to include and/or promote a political message.”
The superintendent, I would guess, is probably telling the truth so far as she sees it. Maybe she doesn’t see this as an overt political message. But if that’s the case it’s only because the field of education is so thoroughly dominated by political liberals that this sort of material passes through the system without raising an eyebrow among the professionals who design curriculum. It takes someone outside the system, in this case a concerned parent, to see it for what it is–big government propaganda repackaged as civics education.
As I explained on this blog yesterday, when I revealed the liberal bias in the government’s “Common Core” curriculum, liberal indoctrination is a constant problem at the grade school level, due to the dominance of the left in the field of education.
I mean, get a load of the cutsy illustration on the worksheet. Uncle Sam, cradling a citizen like a baby!
For someone of the liberal political mindset, it’s the most natural thing in the world to think of the government as a parent.
But these Orwellian ideas, innocent though they may seem here in cartoon form, are actually quite destructive.
There’s no sense in this lesson that the government is accountable to us, the citizens. No sense of what it means to live in a democracy where the government is the servant of the people.
Instead, the roles  of citizen and government in this lesson are inverted. The lesson teaches kids that it’s the government’s job to make sure we act responsibly, when, in fact, it’s our job to make sure that the government acts responsibly.
But the most troubling aspect is the presumption of trustworthiness and benevolent goodness that the lesson ascribes to the state. In fact, our founding fathers’ chief concern was limiting governmental power because they knew that the natural tendency of the state is to continually seek more control over people’s lives, thereby endangering their freedom.
It’s no coincidence that George Orwell described totalitarian government as “Big Brother” in his novel, 1984. Convincing people that the government cares and can provide for them like a family member is a great way to convince them to forfeit control of their lives.
The underlying assumptions about the nature of our government are formed early in life. These fourth graders are getting a distorted message about what has made America prosper and remain free. It has nothing to do with the government’s benevolence, and everything to do with the limits the constitution places on governmental power.
Never before have those limits been as weak as they are today, in the face of growing government dependence. More Americans than ever are on food stamps, disability, and other forms of government assistance. The government is seizing control of our nation’s healthcare system, student loan system, and instituting limitless surveillance powers.
And this isn’t an isolated case. I have no doubt that this very worksheet is being used in schools across the country.
It’s important for parents to stay aware of what their kids are being taught in school, and to correct these wrong-headed ideas. Whether intentional or not, this kind of political indoctrination is dangerous. By portraying the government as a parent, who provides for you and has ultimate power over your life, government schools are preparing students for a life of dependence and obeisance.
Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Gangs of Marin County Channel 4 News Report in 2008

Some people don't want to acknowledge the street gang problem in Marin.

Locals Citizens fighting Gang Graffiti in Hamilton

Hamilton Home tagged with gang graffiti
Gang graffiti on a fence in Hamilton

I just received this post on Facebook from Toni Shroyer, Candidate for County Supervisor.

There has been an uptick in Gang Graffiti in Novato recently. We have a wonderful Gang Graffiti Volunteer Abatement Team I am happy to be a part of. The Serenos and Nortenos have tagged this fence in Hamilton and we will have it abated by tomorrow! We have Novato Pride and we will not put up with this vandalism!


When we increase our population,  we will most certainly increase our crime and gang activity.  In 2010, there were gang shootings in the Safeway parking lot.  More information about crime in Hamilton, can be found at and Will they say "I'm sorry" when gangs come to Marinwood-Lucas Valley? 

If we are going to get 70% of all the affordable housing for unincorporated Marin,  we must be realistic and expect dramatic changes to our community. 

Speak up now! We should not have to host FIVE to TEN times the amount of affordable housing than any other community in Marin. 

Visit and sign the petition.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Architect’s plan for new Marin town sparks debate (circa 1990)

The future of Marinwood Priority Development Area?
Editors Note:  This article was written in 1990 about Smart Growth architect, Peter Calthorpe by current Marin IJ Opinion editor, Brad Breithaupt.
Architect’s plan for new Marin town sparks debate

By Brad Breithaupt

Independent Journal reporter

PETALUMA — A novel scenario for Mann’s growth — concentrating develop­ment into new towns along the proposed commuter rail line — drew raves and rasp­berries Friday at a forum staged to seek so­lutions to the North Bay’s growing traffic jam.
Architect Peter Calthorpe pitched his concept, admittedly nostalgic of the way most of Marin and Sonoma cities got start­ed, to 275 people who turned out for the North Bay Transportation Management Association’s conference.

 Calthorpe said his proposed “Pedestrian Pockets,” involving building 2,000 apart­ments, condominiums and small houses methodology,” he said, suggesting pockets of “pedestrian-and transit-oriented devel­opment” could be built at the St. Vincent’s School for Boys and the Silveira Ranch in Marinwood, Hamilton Airfield in Novato and open areas bordering the railroad tracks in Sonoma.
Because the development would be con­centrated, it would leave most of those areas undeveloped as open space, he said.

But Calthorpe ran into a buzz saw of crit­icism from Marin Supervisor Robert Rou­miguiere, who said the concept isn’t politi­cally acceptable to Marin residents who support the traditional suburban neighbor­hood development with lots of open space, not high-density housing.

“Being very realistic and a pragmatic politician, it isn’t going to work in Marin with 3,000 jobs and downtown-type shop­ping opportunities packed into 128 acres, is a reversal of the suburban sprawl that is threatening to turn Highway 101 into a parking lot.

The sponsors of the forum have been big backers of Calthorpe’s proposal as a way to create affordable housing in Mann, where the average sales price of a home was $389,654 in 1989.

“Our (current) land use does nothing more than extend the need for more high­way growth,” said Calthorpe, who found support from state Assemblyman Bill Fi­lante, R-Greenbrae, Marin Supervisor Rob­ert Stockwell and Angelo Siracusa, presi­dent of the Bay Area Council, a group of the area’s major corporations.

“We just have an outmoded planning County. It isn’t going to work in Manin Sonoma,” he said.

Marin voters are not going to accept “high-density apartment-type living sur­rounded by fringes of open space,” Roumi­guiere said. He stressed that Novato voters’ overwhelming rejection of the Hamilton re­development plan sent that message loud and clear.

Calthorpe responded that Roumiguiere’s vision is to build “exclusive enclaves for the rich.” He called that attitude, which closes the door on affordable housing, “ethically and morally repugnant.”

Filante said Calthorpe’s idea is “some­thing that will work, that can work,” but sees it most effective on a smaller scale and used to redevelop and revitalize downtown areas.