A blog about Marinwood-Lucas Valley and the Marin Housing Element, politics, economics and social policy. The MOST DANGEROUS BLOG in Marinwood-Lucas Valley.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Friday, November 9, 2018
Thursday, November 8, 2018
New Sports Facility at San Rafael Airport is enormous.
Who approved of this?
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Marin Voice: Dixie board needs to take leadership on name change
Marin Voice: Dixie board needs to take leadership on name changeBy ALEX STADTNER |
PUBLISHED: November 7, 2018 at 10:00 am | UPDATED: November 7, 2018 at 3:44 pm
I was in middle school in Texas when I first learned about “Dixie.” As a white middle-schooler in Austin I was mostly shielded from overt racism. One day on a family vacation outside of town I saw a sign with a Confederate flag that read, “Welcome to Dixie, don’t let the sun set on your black ass!”
I first thought it a funny sign. But my parents’ tone quickly changed and they took the opportunity to educate me about the history of slavery and oppression in Southern states.
In high school there were some racist kids for sure. They wore little rebel flags on their hats and backpacks, and some would brag about beating up gays and minorities. These kids weren’t to be messed with. They were to be feared – especially for kids of color.
Around the time the Rodney King tapes were released, or maybe it was when the officers were acquitted, I have a vivid memory of these same bullies jumping a black kid. When he was bloodied and on the ground one sneered, “this is Dixie, not Africa!” As the bullies fled the scene I was left with a pit in my stomach.
When you strip it down to its essence I believe this is fundamentally an issue of racial justice. I agree with Superintendent Jason Yamashiro; “Dixie” has the direct connotation of the Confederate South.
That same ache resurfaced twice recently. One morning driving through our neighborhood I saw signs that read “Keep Dixie, Dixie.” To me it was a dagger in the heart of inclusion and welcoming spirit. A symbol of racism and division popping up across my neighborhood. Gulp.
That evening at a Dixie School District board meeting I got another dose. Many spoke about how “Dixie” symbolized racism, segregation and hate. One black resident said that seeing the signs felt to him like burning a cross on his front lawn, and as he walked back to his seat a sign was aggressively waved in his face. Ugh.
The mayor of San Rafael spoke eloquently about why he believes the name should change, as did previous school board members, parents, a student, and a heart-wrenched teacher.
On the other side arguments mainly circled around allocation of staff time and district dollars. At present, the two biggest concerns are: a) the name itself is extraordinarily offensive; and b) some don’t want the district to spend “a single penny on this stupid issue.”
The board has discussed a non-binding resolution for a community election in 2020. This unfunded, can-kicking measure would be a lose-lose for our community. Bringing our local history of institutional racism and segregation into the national spotlight, and building to a crescendo of division on Super Tuesday. See the full article HERE
Editor's Note: This Dixie School name change issue will be with us for awhile. We will publish thoughtful articles from both sides of the issue.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Do Taxpayers Owe HansellDesign $42,000 for his drawing?
Do Taxpayers Owe HansellDesign $42,000 for a drawing?
Hansell Design was hired secretly by Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager on February 14, 2018 after the board approved the "mystery architect" at the February 13, 2018 Marinwood CSD meeting. Bill Hansell, former CSD Director HIRED Eric Dreikosen in 2016 as the Marinwood CSD Manager despite lacking any government agency or accounting experience.
Here is a clip from the February 13 2018 meeting where Mr Dreikosen presents his choice of architect at an estimated cost of $12,000. Notice his lack of details about the identity of the architect, how he was chosen and the total amount to be paid by the CSD.
Here is how Eric Dreikosen responded to a question from the public regarding his representation of the architects costs at the February 13, 2018 Marinwood CSD meeting:
"It appears that comments made at a board meeting regarding architect costs are being taken out of context and are not representative of what was stated.
It was not stated that the architect cost estimate for the entire project was $12,000. What was stated is that for projects such as the maintenance facility, soft costs are approximated at an additional 20% of construction costs typically. Of that 20%, architect services typically account for 60% of the 20%. Based on that formula, I used an example of if construction costs are $100,000, soft costs would be an additional $20,000 with architect fees accounting for $12,000 of the $20,000. $100,000 is the same construction cost figure provided and used by the other architect who submitted a proposal."
Does that sound like an accurate description of the February 2018 Marinwood CSD meeting to you?
Immediately after receiving the commission, Hansell Design billed $11,931.73 by May 2018. This is $6,000 per month. As of November 2018, we can expect that we owe Hansell Design another $30,000 but we cannot be certain. Since then the board has refused to acknowledge the growing cost of HansellDesign who has worked an additional five months without submitting bills or even timesheets.
HansellDesign is billing at $125/hour plus expenses. Surely his costs have grown substantially and still the project is in the "drawing phase" Those of us who are paying close attention are appalled at the lack of rigor, misstatements and questionable bookkeeping.
It is corrupt business practice and collusion. Multiple government contracting laws are being broken and it could rise to a felony criminal investigation. Government employees are not allowed to hide costs from the citizens nor can they collude privately with individuals.
As much as it pains me to say so, the project should be halted immediately until a full investigation can happen.
We need a new maintenance facility. A one similar to size and scale of McInnis Park (1200 sf) will be more than adequate and cause minimal disturbance to Marinwood Park. It is time to stop wasting money on a White Elephant project that will destroy a large area of our park that is to be used for recreation and nature preservation.
Sign the Petition HERE
Are We Really Poorer than our Parents?
Hourly wages do not reflect the massive expansion in non-wage benefits since the 1950's.
Are We Really Poorer Than Our Parents?
By Marian L. Tupy
In recent years, many US politicians and journalists have warned that the millennials are at the risk of ending up “poorer than their parents.” The evidence certainly suggests that the Great Recession has led to wage stagnation and high unemployment among young Americans, who have soured on the idea of achieving the American Dream.
The just-released Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Annual Report on Generational Attitudes toward Socialism in America, for example, has found that 52 per cent of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist (46 per cent) or a communist (6 per cent) country. Conversely, only 40 per cent want to live in a capitalist one. Mercifully, Americans tend to associate socialism with the high-tax and high-redistribution welfare states of Scandinavia rather than the Marxist dictatorships of the days of yore.
Before they reject American-style capitalism, however, millennials should consider how prosperous ordinary Americans really are.
Economic prosperity is often measured in terms of personal income or wealth. Neither of those two measures, however, provides a full picture of people’s material wellbeing, for standards of living can increase due to either income growth or falling prices. People with stagnating incomes, for example, can experience material improvements if prices decline. Even people with falling incomes can be better off – as long as the cost of living decreases at a faster pace than incomes shrink.
As Ball State University economist Steven Horwitz wrote in his 2015 article Inequality, Mobility and Being Poor in America, “If the reason we care about incomes and wealth is because of what they enable people to consume, and thereby acquire goods that add to some broad notion of well-being, then it might also be worthwhile to look at some of the data on consumption to see what it suggests about … the real condition of the poor.”
Consider the cost and adoption of home appliances. As late as 1971, only 43.3 per cent of all US households had a colour TV. By 2005, 97.4 per cent of poor American households owned one. Similar stories can be told of washing machines, dishwashers, clothes dryers, refrigerators, freezers, stoves and vacuum cleaners.
As Horwitz noted, “Poor US households are more likely to have basic appliances than the average household of the 1970s, and those appliances are of much higher quality.” Not only do more people across the income spectrum enjoy access to previously unaffordable goods, but the speed of adoption of new products is increasing.
As W Michael Cox and Richard Alm from the Southern Methodist University showed in their 2015 paper Onward and Upward: Bet on Capitalism—It Works, it took about 50 years between the time that the telephone was invented and the time that 50 per cent of US households owned one. In contrast, it took just 12 years from the emerge of the smartphone for 50 per cent of individual Americans to own one.
Note that all this material progress took place even though the hourly wages of many American workers stagnated. Between January 1968 and January 2018, the inflation-adjusted average hourly wage in the manufacturing sector rose from $20.43 to $21.27. Manufacturing accounts for 19 percent of all US employment and wage stagnation among factory workers may be seen as analogous to the flat-lining incomes among millennials.
Source: W Michael Cox and Richard Alm, Onward and Upward: Bet on Capitalism—It Works
Bearing the above wage numbers in mind, how come most Americans can now enjoy goods that were previously owned only by the rich?
First, it is important to note that hourly wages do not reflect the massive expansion in non-wage benefits, which rose from 19 per cent of wages in 1951 to 44 per cent in 2015. Today non-wage benefits include relocation assistance, medical and prescription coverage, vision and dental coverage, health and dependent care, flexible spending accounts, retirement benefit plans, group-term life and long-term care insurance plans, legal and adoption assistance plans, child care and transportation benefits, vacation and sick paid time-off, and employee discount programs from a variety of vendors, etc.
Also, many commonly owned goods have declined in price. In 1968, for example, a 23” Admiral colour TV cost $2,544 or 125 hours of labour in the manufacturing sector. In 2018, a 24” Sceptre HD LED TV cost $99.99 or 4.7 hours of labour in the same sector (all prices are in 2018 US dollars). That’s a reduction of 96 per cent in terms of human effort.
The upshot is that growth in nominal wages, or lack thereof, does not reflect the real changes in the standard of living experienced by vast majority of Americans. That’s something to keep in mind when young Americans contemplate the choice between capitalism and socialism.
This first appeared in CapX.
Marian L. Tupy is a senior policy analyst at the Cato Institute and editor of HumanProgress.org.
Monday, November 5, 2018
Elon Musk: Rapid-transit test tunnel under LA opens to public Dec. 10
Elon Musk: Rapid-transit test tunnel under LA opens to public Dec. 10Ed Brackett, USA TODAYPublished 2:47 a.m. ET Oct. 22, 2018 | Updated 10:04 a.m. ET Oct. 22, 2018
Elon Musk says a rapid-transit tunnel under Los Angeles will be opening on December 10th. Veuer's Elizabeth Keatinge has more. Buzz60
(Photo: Boring Company)
Elon Musk tweeted that his Boring Company will unveil a stretch of a rapid-transit tunnel under Los Angeles to the public on Dec. 10.
What the company has previously termed a "test tunnel" in the southern suburb of Hawthorne, between downtown LA and Torrance, demonstrates the company's "Loop" system. People are whisked through the system's tunnels at up to 150 miles per hour.
More: Elon Musk says a ride on tunnels beneath Los Angeles will cost $1
They travel on an electric-powered platform called a "skate." The device either comprises a vehicle itself carrying between eight and 16 passengers or carries a car that has been driven onto it.
Elevators move skates between the surface and the tunnel system. When completed the system would employ a series of tunnels, layered and moving in various directions, with shorter segments serving as subterranean off-ramps. Shafts for the elevators could run straight up to streetside locations, as in a company video, or into homes' garages or basements of office buildings.
More: Boring Company proposes tunnel link to Dodger Stadium
Information about the "Loop" tunnel segment's opening came in short tweets Sunday night from Musk.
"The first tunnel is almost done," he tweeted Sunday night. "Opens Dec 10," he typed to his 23.1 million followers soon afterward.
More: Elon Musk's Boring Co. asked to build Chicago high-speed transit
"Opening event that night & free rides for the public the next day," he replied to a Twitter user's question later.
Boring Company's Hawthorne tunnel runs a short stretch from SpaceX property north to 120th Street, then west under 120th "for up to" two miles, the company says. SpaceX is another of the groundbreaking, tech-oriented companies run by Musk, also the CEO of Tesla.
The Loop system is distinguished from proposed, longer-range Hyperloop projects. in the latter system air is sucked from the tunnels, which (as the Boring Company envisions) enables pods to exceed 600 miles an hour.
Hyperloop tech is also touted by Virgin Hyperloop One, whose board is chaired by Richard Branson, and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (Hyperloop TT). Hyperloop One mentions using tubes whether above ground or below and is pursuing a Kansas City-to-St. Louis route using magnetic levitation to support vehicles in tube. Hyperloop TT recently unveiled a prototype, 40-passenger capacity pod in Spain.
Between the constant traffic and pollution it causes, getting to and from Dodger Stadium is no fun for baseball fans and concert-goers. Enter, Elon Musk. Buzz60
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