Friday, January 17, 2014

The Curious Task- Hayek

Cuban Music for a Friday Night

Alternative Transportation Friday

NSA WhistleBlower before Edward Snowden

Do you Really want the Government in your Bathtub?

Do you really want the government in your bathtub?

January 08, 2014|John Kass

What if you woke after a night of uneasy dreams to find a strange man standing in your bathtub?

Don't be alarmed. The strange man isn't some stark naked psycho. The strange man is fully clothed. Polite, even, efficient, neat and obviously well-educated.

He has a camera pointed at you. And the camera is rolling.

So what would you do?
"Hey, don't mind me," says the filmmaker, gesturing for you to keep on with your normal routine. "I'm just here to protect you in case some criminals try to attack when you're at your most vulnerable."

Would you shrug, and say you always figured there was a filmmaker in your bathtub the whole time anyway?

Would you say you had nothing to hide, and seek to make the filmmaker welcome in your bathtub, perhaps even trot downstairs to fetch him an anisette biscotti and a nice hot cup of morning joe?

Or would you just stand there, confused American that you are, unable to process the cameraman-in-your-bathtub thing, frantically searching for a reason not to have a violent confrontation (because who wants confrontations when at your most vulnerable)?

And then it hits you:

He's right! He's just protecting you
and other Americans from evil.

The human mind works this way. When confounded, we seek refuge in recognizable patterns. And for so many of us, trained for generations to studiously avoid confrontation, it solves so many problems, doesn't it?

So rather than become upset and risk an actual conflict, you just go along, because that's how we roll these days in America.

You bow politely, exit the bathroom, sigh a deep sigh and begin repeating:
"I really have nothing to hide. I really have nothing to hide. I really …"
Whether you have something to hide or not isn't my concern. Although I do hope when you read this column that you have the decency to be fully clothed. But sadly, I have no control over that, either.

This might sound subversive — and given what's going on in our country, it is absolutely subversive — but what you do in your bathroom is your business.
What you do on the Internet, or on the telephone, should be your business, too.

Not my business.

Most definitely not the National Security Agency's business.
And certainly not U.S. Rep. Peter King's business, either.

The horrifying prospect of a bathtub visit by King, the New York big-government pro-NSA Republican, came to me after reading a story on about his appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

King was whining about the cranky libertarian Sen. Rand Paul, another Republican who has dared criticize the American security state, particularly the NSA's habit of spying on Americans for their own good.

Paul is considering a presidential run in 2016, and apparently so is King, although we need a big-government Republican from New York in the White House about as much as we need a big-government Democrat from Chicago.

I'm from Chicago, where there are hives of cameras watching all of us on the streets, and where big-government Democrats and Republicans get along just fine. I call this bipartisan arrangement The Combine. And the rest of us are expected to doff our caps, fall to our knees and thank them for their benevolence.

Basically, King said that Paul had no business in Congress, was stoking "paranoia" in America and dared to compare NSA boss James Clapper (who lied to Congress about spying) to the master leaker, the wanted Edward Snowden.

"When Rand Paul is comparing Gen. Clapper to Snowden, saying Clapper belongs in jail with Snowden, talking about how all phone calls are being listened to, trying to create this paranoia among Americans that the NSA is spying on everyone, the fact is he has not been able to cite one abuse by the NSA."

According to King, the Kentucky Republican "creates this illusion" of spying in an attempt to play off Americans' fear in an "offensive" way.
But it isn't an illusion of spying. It is spying

Spying on the American people.

Guys like King don't have any problem with it. Good for you, Peter. And I hereby promise never to show up fully clothed in your bathtub with a camera.

But I have a problem with the whole business of government spying on us for our own good. By objecting, am I subversive, perhaps even traitorous?

These days, many Americans say that they assume the government is listening to their conversations. And some don't merely accept it, they long for it, convinced that it will protect them.

What King, President Barack Obama and the rest of the big-government crowd ignore is a rather strange and now radical idea:

That the power of our government derives from the people — that we don't work for them, they work for us.

For years now, even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we've been led away from this idea. Those doing the leading stood to benefit by latching on to power.

When it comes to liberty, big-government Democrats, like big-government Republicans, are two horns on the head of the same ravenous federal goat. Goats don't talk much about liberty. They chew and bleat.

And no one wants a goat in their bathtub.
Twitter @John_Kass

Vertical Forest in Milan- a pretty Stupid Idea IMHO

This is an interesting idea but kinda stupid when you think about it. It is great to have greenspaces around you. It adds oxygen to the air and provides a lush living environment.

 If I had to live in a high rise, I'd want to live in one of these buildings, surrounded by a garden of plants.  It would be better yet if I could live in a cottage surrounded by a lush garden landscape but wait that is EVIL SPRAWL the bane of Smart Growth.  Think about how much energy is used in the construction and operation of these towers.  The plants would have to be transported at great expense and watered frequently. The micro climate on a skyscraper is not the same as a good old fashion garden with deep rich soil and ground water.  Every thing about this "Green Tower" is highly energy intensive. 

 The greenest thing that we can do is KEEP our suburbs and drive a high efficiency vehicle.  Volkswagen is coming out with a 261 mpg car this year.  

Living is Marin suburbs is the greenest lifestyle choice of all.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Polish Libertarians on the Advantages of Free Markets vs. Socialism

No need to speak Polish to understand what Polish Libertarians want to say about "free markets" vs. socialism. 

Kill the Bill !!!


What must occur next is
            of citizen phone calls
(don't delay--call TODAY)
Suggested statements on why you oppose SB 1.  Choose one brief statement from the below list or make up your own:
1.   Senate Bill 1 stands in contravention of representative government and in defiance of the separation of powers invested in Constitutional government.
2.   SB 1 invents new structures to govern people with new sources of authority, which subjugates the will of the people to the dictates of unelected bureaucrats.
3.   Senate Bill 1 allows for the issuance of bonds without voter approval thereby circumventing a democratic process and preventing the sovereign people to observe and require accountability for any and all developments and policies that SB 1's Investment Authorities implement.
4.   Senate Bill 1 authorizes the Investment Authority of a city or county to include a provision in its Plan for the receipt of tax increment funds.  Such financing has heretofore increasingly over-burdened the State's financial resources in meeting school and county obligations and seriously deviated from redevelopment agencies' initial objective by underwriting commercial and profitable real estate ventures.  
5.   Senate Bill 1 redefines "blight" as "inefficient land use", an arbitrary and subjective determination for the benefit of the Investment Authority established through the Bill.  
Here is the link to the District Senators . . .

Here is the phone number of the Governor's office to request that he VETO Senate Bill 1 . . .

Governor Jerry Brown
Phone: (916) 445-2841

Fax: (916) 558-3160

Funds Plan Bay Area

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.

Citizens MUST oppose this law 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Build It, Even Though They Won't Come

Build It, Even Though They Won't Come

The recent decision by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman to reject as “fatally flawed” the densification plans for downtown Hollywood could shake the foundations of California's “smart growth” planning clerisy. By dismissing Los Angeles' Hollywood plan, the judge also assaulted the logic behind plans throughout the region to construct substantial high-rise development in “transit-oriented developments” adjacent to rail stations.

In particular, the judge excoriated the buoyant population-growth projections used to justify the plan, a rationalization for major densification elsewhere in the state. The mythology is that people are still flocking to Los Angeles, and particularly, to dense urban areas, creating a demand for high-end, high-rise housing.

The Hollywood plan rested on city estimates provided by the Southern California Association of Governments, which estimated that Hollywood's population was 200,000 in 2000 and 224,000 in 2005, and would thus rise to 250,000 by 2030. All this despite the fact that, according to the census, Hollywood's population over the past decade has actually declined, from 213,000 in 1990 to 198,000 today. Not one to mince words, Judge Goodman described SCAG's estimates as “entirely discredited.”

This discrepancy is not just a problem in the case of Hollywood; SCAG has been producing fanciful figures for years. In 1993, SCAG projected that the city of Los Angeles would reach a population of 4.3 million by 2010. SCAG's predicted increase of more than 800,000 residents materialized as a little more than 300,000. For the entire region, the 2008 estimates were off by an astounding 1.4 million people.

Similar erroneous estimates run through the state planning process. In 2007, California's official population projection agency, the Department of Finance, forecast that Los Angeles County would reach 10.5 million residents in just three years. But the 2010 U.S. Census counted 9.8 million residents.

Such inflated estimates, however, do serve as the basis for pushing through densification strategies favored by planners and their developer allies. In fact, SCAG's brethren at the Association of Bay Area Governments, seeking to justify their ultradense development plan, recently went beyond even population estimates issued by the Department of Finance.

The problem here is not that some developers may lose money on projects for which there is inadequate demand, but that this densification approach has replaced business development as an economic strategy. Equally bad, these policies often threaten the character of classic, already-dense urban neighborhoods, like Hollywood. Indeed, the Los Angeles urban area is already the densest in the United States, and a major increase in density is sure to further worsen congestion.

Not surprisingly, some 40 neighborhood associations and six neighborhood councils organized against the city's Hollywood plan. Their case against the preoccupation with “transit-oriented development” rests solidly on historical patterns. Unlike in New York City, much of which was built primarily before the automobile age, Los Angeles has remained a car-dominated city, with roughly one-fifth Gotham's level of mass-transit use. Despite $8 billion invested in rail lines the past two decades, there has been no significant increase in L.A.'s transit ridership share since before the rail expansion began.

The Hollywood plan is part of yet another effort to reshape Los Angeles into a West Coast version of New York, replacing a largely low-rise environment with something former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa liked to call “elegant density.” As a councilman, new Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed a high-rise Hollywood as “a template for a new Los Angeles,” even if many Angelenos, as evidenced by the opposition of the neighborhood councils, seem less than thrilled with the prospect.

If the “smart growth” advocates get their way, Hollywood's predicament will become a citywide, even regional, norm.

The city has unveiled plans to strip many single-family districts of their present zoning status, as part of “a wholesale revision” of the city's planning code.

Newly proposed regulations may allow construction of rental units in what are now back yards and high-density housing close to what are now quiet residential neighborhoods.
“They want to turn this into something like East Germany; it has nothing to do with the market,” suggests Richard Abrams, a 40-year resident of Hollywood and a leader of “This is all part of an attempt to worsen the quality of life – to leave us without back yards and with monumental traffic.”

Of course, it is easy to dismiss community groups as NIMBYs, particularly when it's not your neighborhood being affected. But here, the economics, too, make little sense. New, massive “luxury” high-rise residential buildings were not a material factor in the huge density increases that made the Los Angeles urban area more dense than anywhere else in the nation during the second half of the 20th century. Even in New York City, the high-rise residential buildings where the most affluent live are concentrated in the lower half of Manhattan; they house not even 20 percent of the city's population.

Under any circumstances, the era of rapid growth is well behind us. In the 1980s, the population of Los Angeles grew by 18 percent; in the past decade, growth was only one-fifth as high. Growth in the core areas, including downtown, overall was barely 0.7 percent, while the population continued to expand more rapidly on the city's periphery. Overall, the city of Los Angeles grew during the past decade at one-third the national rate. This stems both from sustained domestic outmigration losses of 1.1 million in Los Angeles County and immigration rates that have fallen from roughly 70,000 annually in the previous decade to 40,000 a year at present.

Nor can L.A. expect much of a huge infusion of the urban young talent, a cohort said to prefer high-density locales. In a recent study of demographic trends since 2007, L.A. ranked 31st as a place for people aged 20-34, behind such hot spots as Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. It does even worse, 47th among metro areas, with people ages 35-49, the group with the highest earnings.

In reality, there is no crying need for more ultradense luxury housing – what this area needs more is housing for its huge poor and working-class populations. More important, we should look, instead, at why our demographics are sagging so badly. The answer here, to borrow the famous Clinton campaign slogan: It's the economy, stupid. In contrast with areas like Houston, where dense development is flourishing along with that on the city's periphery, Southern California consistently lands near the bottom of the list for GDP, income and job growth, barely above places like Detroit, Cleveland or, for that matter, Las Vegas.

Despite many assertions to the contrary, densification alone does not solve these fundamental problems. The heavily subsidized resurgence of downtown Los Angeles, for example, has hardly stemmed the region's relative decline.

Instead of pushing dense housing as an economic panacea, perhaps Mayor Garcetti should focus on why the regional economy is steadily falling so far behind other parts of the nation. One place to start that examination would be with removing the regulatory restraints that chase potential jobs and businesses – particularly better-paying, middle class ones – out of the region. It should also reconsider how the “smart growth” planning policies have helped increase the price of housing, particularly for single-family homes, preferred by most families.

At the same time, the mayor and other regional leaders should realize that L.A.'s revival depends on retaining the very attributes – trees, low-rise density, sunshine, as well as entrepreneurial opportunity – that long have attracted people. People generally do not migrate to Los Angeles to live as they would in New York or Chicago. Indeed, Illinois' Cook County (Chicago) and three New York City boroughs – Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn – are among the few areas from which L.A. County is gaining population. Where are Angelinos headed? To relatively lower-density places, such as Riverside-San Bernardino, Phoenix and Houston.

Under these circumstances, pushing for more luxury high-rises seems akin to creating structures for which there is little discernible market. Once demographic and economic growth has been restored broadly, it is possible that a stronger demand for higher-density housing may emerge naturally. Until then, the higher density associated with “smart growth” neither addresses our fundamental problems, nor turns out to be very smart at all.
This story originally appeared at The Orange County Register.

Joel Kotkin is executive editor of and Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, and a member of the editorial board of the Orange County Register. He is author of The City: A Global History and The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. His most recent study, The Rise of Postfamilialism, has been widely discussed and distributed internationally. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Marinwood CSD discuss the contributions to the MCA Litigation

Please consider a Contribution to the Legal Action against the EIR for Housing Element

For More Info:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Best Laid Plans-Problems with Plan Bay Area

The History of the Marinwood CSD in Planning and Design Review

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Several important things happen in the clip of the September 26, 2006 meeting with the Board of Supervisors. The speakers are Dave Mitchell (former CSD Director President), Bruce Anderson and future CSD board member Cyane Dandridge.

Dave Mitchell announces that the Marinwood CSD CONTRIBUTED MONEY to the development of the Marinwood Plaza Vision plan.  Bruce Anderson, enthusiastically ENDORSED the Marinwood Plaza Vision plan as a CSD Director and Vice President of the Marinwood Association (now discovered not to be a legitimate non profit community association). Cyane Dandridge also enthusiastically ENDORSES the Marinwood Plaza Vision plan and offers services for free.

All of these statements contradict what we are hearing today that the CSD has NO role. Past CSD board members have been deeply involved in bringing affordable housing into the community in concert with efforts by Susan Adams and the Board of Supervisors.

[Editor's Note: Please keep this clip in mind when Bruce Anderson claims that the CSD nevers gets involved in development.  He is not being truthful]

The Truth about Common Core

Common Core and the EduTech Abyss

Common Core and the EduTech Abyss

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 12.35.52 AM

The Common Core gold rush is on. Apple, Pearson, Google, Microsoft and Amplify are all cashing in on the federal standards/testing/textbook racket. But the EduTech boondoggle is no boon for students. It’s more squandered tax dollars down the public school drain.
Even more worrisome: The stampede is widening a dangerous path toward invasive data mining.

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the ed tech sector “is expected to more than double in size to $13.4 billion by 2017.” That explosive growth is fueled by Common Core’s top-down digital learning and testing mandates. So: Cui bono?
In North Carolina, the Guilford County public school district withdrew 15,000 Amplify tablets last fall. Pre-loaded with Common Core apps and part of a federal $30 million Race to the Top grant program, the devices peddled by News Corp. and Wireless Generation were rendered useless because of defective cases, broken screens and malfunctioning power supplies.

Last year, the Los Angeles Unified School District dumped $1 billion of scarce resources into a disastrous iPad program. Educrats paid $678 per glorified Apple e-textbook, pre-loaded with Common Core-branded apps created by Pearson. As I’ve reported previously, Pearson is the multibillion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate at the center of the federally driven, taxpayer-funded “standards” scheme. Pearson’s digital learning products are used by an estimated 25 million-plus people in North America. Common Core has been a convenient new catalyst for getting the next generation of consumers hooked.

Students breached the LAUSD’s iPad firewalls and made a mockery of their hapless adult guardians. Despite hefty investments in training and development, many teachers couldn’t figure out how to sync up the tablets in the classroom. Taxpayers now realize they were sold a grossly inflated bill of goods, but the district wants to buy even more iPads for computerized test-taking. School officials recklessly plan to use school construction debt-financing to pay for the new purchases.

Los Angeles taxpayer Planaria Price summed up swelling outrage perfectly in a letter to the Los Angeles Times this week: “Cash-strapped LAUSD — which in 2012 cut libraries, nurses, thousands of teachers, administrators and support staff … is spending more than $1 billion on one of the nation’s most expensive technology programs. … I would say that ‘something is rotten in the state of Denmark,’ but few would understand because the teaching of Shakespeare has also been cut.”

By its own account, Apple dominates 94 percent of the education tablet market in the U.S. Microsoft is pushing its own Common Core-aligned Surface RT tablet and app suite, along with “Bing for Schools.” Rival Google wants in on the game on the taxpayers’ dime, too.
The company’s “Chromebooks,” which use a cloud-based operating system mimicking the Google Chrome browser, are gaining market share rapidly. While they are cheaper than iPads, they depend on reliable WiFi. Google offers a suite of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) for “free.”

But is this really about improving students’ academic bottom line — or Google’s bottom line?

In one school district, the Google devices are used as glorified whiteboards. A recent news article touting Chromebook adoption in Nebraska’s Council Bluffs school district described how kindergarteners drew “dots on the rubber-cased tablets clutched in their hands. Then they wrote what they’d done as a math equation: 3 + 3 = 6.” No one explained why pencil and paper were insufficient to do the elementary math, other than a teacher gushing that she likes to “mix it up” and provide a “variety of experiences.” The district is one of 50 across the country piloting Google Play for Education.

Google is building brand loyalty through a questionable certification program that essentially turns teachers into tax-subsidized lobbyists for the company. The GAFE enrollees are “trained” on Google products. They take classes, attend conferences and hold workshops (some, but not all, funded by Google). After passing GAFE tests, they earn certification. Next, the newly minted GAFE educators open up consultancy businesses and bill their school districts (i.e., the public) to hawk Google’s suite of products to other colleagues. And they tell two friends, who tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on.
Google can collect student/family data to target ads through related services outside the GAFE suite, such as YouTube for Schools, Blogger and Google Plus. These are not covered under the already watered-down federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Under the Obama administration, Grand Canyon-sized loopholes in FERPA have already opened data mining to third-party private entities.

One parent shared her kids’ experience with the Chromebooks online: “The biggest problems to date are that kids figured out quickly how to bypass security so they could look at non-approved web material and that kids have problems drawing figures when taking classes such as Chemistry or Physics. … Many preferred traditional textbooks; others resented the teachers being able to spy on them with the software embedded in the Chromebook.”

Another savvy mom noted: “If you think Google won’t be handing over any and all data it gets from your kids using their Chromebooks, you’re nuts.”

Let’s be clear: I am not opposed to introducing kids to 21st-century tools. My 13-year-old daughter taught herself Java, HTML and Photoshop. My 10-year-old son mixes music on Logic Pro. I support competent, focused and practical instruction exposing school kids to coding, 3D design and robotics. What I’m against are bungled billion-dollar public investments in overpriced, ineffective technology. Fed Ed’s shiny education toy syndrome incentivizes wasteful spending binges no school district can afford.


Monday, January 13, 2014

World Government, Agenda 21, Official Government Art and other Oddities of the United Nations

This is a video promoting the goals of  UN Agenda 21 for World Government.  Some say Plan Bay Area is nothing more than part of this trend. I believe it being used as an opportunity for greenwashing of urban development with taxpayer's money and the consolidation of local government power.

Don't Blink - Senate Bill 1 is Coming

Don't Blink - Senate Bill 1 is Coming

Senate Bill 1 will give new unelected bodies powers of taxation and eminent domain. Suburban neighborhoods can be deemed blighted to be replaced by high density housing.
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Last year many of us were shocked by the enactment of Plan Bay Area. Now we face an even greater threat - Senate Bill 1. In the excellent BBC TV show "Doctor Who" one of the doctor's most fiendish opponents are the "Weeping Angels" (pictured). Whenever you blink these fiendish stone statues creep up on you and send you to a different time period.

Senate Bill 1, if enacted, could send us back to Dickensian London - dark days where those with lower incomes were relegated to living in crowded conditions in inner city high rises. Meanwhile the one percent, the only ones able to afford it, could escape to wealthy suburbs on trains.

Senate Bill 1 is just like the weeping angels. While none of us were looking on May 28th it was passed by the state senate. Then on September 9th it was passed by the state assembly. It lies on the Governor's desk - now all that remains is for Governor Brown to sign it into law.  If we blink - it will become law, unless we act.

Senate Bill 1 is the work of State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg - you remember, the senate leader who receives campaign donations from the construction industry, developers, builders' unions, train manufacturers...

Senate Bill 1 has passed the State Assembly, all that remains for it to become enacted is for Governor Jerry Brown to sign and enact it. Senate Bill 1 is up there with Plan Bay Area. In fact I must correct myself, this is far, far worse than Plan Bay Area.

What's All the Fuss with Senate Bill 1?

Here is a picture of the future under Senate Bill 1... (warning, R rating!)

- A city mayor or county supervisor forms a new joint powers authority called a "Sustainable Communities Investment Authority" (SCIA), they appoint elected officials to serve on the SCIAs board.

- If you live within 1/2 mile of a bus that runs every 15 minutes, or the SMART train or Caltrain in a single family home neighborhood your neighborhood can be targeted by the SCIA as inefficient land use and "blighted" as it is not high density multi-family housing. Almost everyone reading this in Marin (apart from some Steve Kinsey constituents in Western Marin) is therefore affected - I have seen the map with these 1/2 mile radiuses and it covers almost all Marinites.

- The SCIA can then wield the power of eminent domain to purchase unused, for sale or even occupied land in order to build high density multi-family housing - that it deems to be efficient land use.

- The SCIA can then impose local taxes on us to pay not just for the eminent domain purchases but to help the land developer build by subsidizing the building of high density housing.

- In order to meet criteria in SB1 allowing imposition of local taxes the SCIA must impose"a sustainable parking standards ordinance that restricts parking in transit priority project areas to encourage transit use to the greatest extent feasible". Yes you read that right, "to the greatest extent feasible". This could mean anything from reducing available parking, to introducing parking permits and parking meters.

Are you outraged? Can you believe this is even being considered in 2014 America? Don't believe me - the read the full analysis of Senate Bill 1.

How Can You Help Stop Senate Bill 1?

Unfortunately our state legislators were asleep at the wheel and the State Assembly passed this bill. They blinked. The one remaining act able to preventing enactment is Governor Jerry Brown's veto.

This means that in the next few days, if you object, you can do one of the following:

1) Most Effective - Write a Letter to Governor Brown
Take the copy of the letter that I wrote and adapt it.

Here's the letter that I sent to Governor Brown for you to adapt (Google Docs)

Don't send an identical version:
- put your address at the top
- rephrase it (we don't want dozens of cloned letters)
- shorten it
- be sure to sign it
- MAIL IT QUICKLY before the Governor signs SB1 into law.
 -mail it to:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

2) Next most Effective: Call Governor Brown's Office Here's the phone number: (916) 445-2841 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (916) 445-2841 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting 
It would be good for the governor's office to be inundated with calls from concerned California voters. Explain your concerns. Ask him to veto the bill. Demand that this bill is better publicized and that there is proper public outreach.

3) Email - Easiest, but least Effective
Email Governor Brown. Leverage the content in my letter above.To email the governor use this form. Select "OTHER". Request a reply. Then in the subject put "Please Veto Senate Bill 1 (SCIA)" (or something to that effect).
Alternatively instead of using the form you can email the governor at .

Cc Your State Assemblyman
I would also encourage you to send a copy of your letter to your state assembly representative:
  • If you live in Marin or Sonoma this is Marc Levine - we need to ride Marc who actually voted for Senate Bill 1. My understanding is that he did not fully understand this bill. He is also under pressure to vote for this bill from his party's leader.  Use this form to contact Marc Levine.
  • If you live elsewhere find your state assembly representative using this map of state assembly districts which links you to your representative's website. Their website should have a contact form.

Why On Earth are they Pushing Senate Bill 1?

Senate Bill 1 is being pushed for a range of reasons:

1) To Fight Climate Change
Like other green legislation SB1 is based on the questionable, if not flawed concept of transit oriented development. This is flawed as it presumes transit creates less greenhouse gas emissions than cars and light trucks. However here is the real present day US emissions situation:

- transit achieves 36.2 passenger miles per gallon on average (assumes average vehicle occupancy of 1.67 passengers per vehicle  based on the National Household Travel Survey, 2009)
- cars and light trucks achieve 43.9 passenger miles per gallon

As you may know by now the higher the mpg or passenger mpg the lower the greenhouse gas emissions. So a higher mpg figure is better.

What's even more important is that not only are cars and light trucks already cleaner than transit, they are getting cleaner at a much faster rate. In the San Francisco region (metropolitan area) Forbes reports that one in ten new cars sold is a hybrid so the emissions for cars are even better than portrayed by the national figures presented above.

2) To Help the Construction Industry
The construction industry is one of Darrell Steinberg's greatest campaign donators. Steinberg is the author of SB1. SB1 states:

"The construction industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the economic downturn of recent years. Creating incentives for construction can help restore construction and permanent jobs, which are essential for a restoration of prosperity."
But if one looks at the actual US Department of Labor state figures for California in 2013 now one can see that construction industry employment is growing at a near consistent 5% (year on year) - this seems very healthy. The Associated General Contractors of America 2013 report shows California as gaining the most construction industry jobs of any state.

3) Steinberg's Donors?
While one can never directly join the dots, here's a quick breakdown of Steinberg's donors:

- Public Sector Unions $587,585; this group benefits as public works helps build the infrastructure (roads, water mains, sewers...) for new high density housing
Railroads $45,000; this constituent group is achieving dividends through a major over-emphasis on rail instead of buses to serve Steinberg's new "sustainable communities". Includes BNSF Railway
Building Trade Unions $445,160; need I elaborate here?
Real Estate $201,929; likely developers
Finance - major donors include Citigroup, Deloitte and Touche, Price Waterhouse Coopers, KPMG

4) Reducing Commute Times for EmployeesI have yet to figure out how flooding areas with high density housing, on flimsy evidence that there will be reduced auto usage, will in any way reduce commute times. It would seem that with the road system nearing capacity, and per capita transit ridership dropping despite massive investments in transit since the 1980s, that this is a recipe to really jam up the Bay Area.

5) More Affordable Housing & Transportation
We saw what happened with Plan Bay Area. That plan also sought to achieve the same savings.  However it actually increased the amount of income lower and lower-middle income workers needed to spend on transportation from 66% to 69%.

It would seem that our legislators just want us to build until they deem housing to be  "affordable". They won't tell us where the finish line is - we should just keep building and boiling the ocean.

A New Years Resolution

So as you and your children write thank you letters for what you received as gifts this year, why not add one more letter to your outbound mail: a letter to our state's governor that not only demonstrates how much value you place on where you live now, but seeks to preserve the quality of life for all of us and our children in the years to come. Perhaps you're already in front of a keyboard right now, start writing