Former Gov. Brown Joins Newsom and Dems In Opposition to Voter Approval on Tax Increases

Democrats are throwing everything they have to stop the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act


Former Governor Jerry Brown joined current Governor Gavin Newsom in opposition to the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act ballot measure in November that, if approved by voters, would give voters final approval on future taxes and fees imposed by state and local governments.

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The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, also known as “the Taxpayer Protection Act,” was developed as a ballot measure in 2021 by a group of California homeowners, taxpayers, and businesses. According to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), the measure would amend the state constitution do the following if passed:

  • Require all new taxes passed by the Legislature to be approved by voters
  • Restore two-thirds voter approval for all new local special tax increases
  • Clearly define what is a tax or fee
  • Require truthful descriptions of new tax proposals
  • Hold politicians accountable by requiring them to clearly identify how revenue will be spent before any tax or fee is enacted
  •  New taxes and fees imposed starting in 2022 unless approved by voters will be canceled within a year of the act going into effect

Throughout late 2021, signature gathering commenced, with the goal of getting at least 1.4 million signatures to have enough be valid for the just under 1 million needed to go on the ballot. Many California officials, initially unconcerned and doubtful that such a measure would get enough signatures were shocked when the Secretary of State’s office announced in early 2022 that 1,075,585 valid signatures had been gathered, more than enough to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

State and local officials and lawmakers quickly went on the offensive, labeling the Act as “threatening voter rights” and “going against local services.” Some, including the League of California Cities, even tried to paint the measure as nothing more as a way for corporations and businesses to get out of paying some taxes.

“This deceptive initiative would undermine the rights of local voters and their elected officials to make decisions on critical local services that residents rely upon,” said California State Association of Counties Executive Director Graham Knaus. “It creates major new tax loopholes at the expense of residents and will weaken our local services and communities.”

However, polls found that a majority of Californian voters actually liked the measure, with many saying that the Taxpayer Protection Act would do as the name of the act said and would give them more say in what taxes are moved forward.

“The Taxpayer Protection Act was written to restore a series of voter-approved ballot measures that gave taxpayers, not politicians, more say over when and how new tax revenue is raised,” explained HJTA President Jon Coupal. “Over the past decade, the California courts have created massive loopholes and confusion in long-established tax law and policy. The Taxpayer Protection Act closes those loopholes and provides new safeguards to increase accountability and transparency over how politicians spend our tax dollars.”

A California Supreme Court petition

Faced with the Act actually passing, opponents switched to a new tactic in 2023: Going to the state Supreme Court and having it removed from the ballot. Governor Gavin Newsom and Democratic state legislators sent a petition to the California Supreme Court, urging them to remove the measure from the November 2024 ballot because of it infringing on the rights of lawmakers to institute taxes and it being an unlawful California constitution revision.

The initiative’s changes would infringe on lawmakers’ constitutional powers to impose state taxes. It would also illegally shift power from the governor to lawmakers by requiring charges now considered fees to be approved as taxes by the Legislature,” said the petition. “Such far-reaching changes to the foundational powers of the government would amount to an unlawful constitutional revision. Pre-election review is therefore necessary because the measure cannot lawfully be enacted through the initiative process.”

In December, the Court agreed to hear the case, with a final decision if the measure will go on the 2024 ballot likely to come in the next several months.

“As we said when the case was filed, this radical effort led by wealthy business interests impermissibly seeks to completely restructure our system of government in a way that will hobble the state’s ability to respond to future crises,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office added in a statement. “We are pleased the Court decided to hear this important case.”

Despite the matter now being in the State Supreme Court, popularity of the measure amongst voters only grew. Large groups, such as the Los Angeles Taxpayers Association came out in support of the measure, putting lawmakers in Sacramento even more on edge.

“Over and over again, California taxpayers have made it abundantly clear they want control over their government and how much they are taxed,” said Coupal in December. “I think all of these attacks are reflective of one thing and one thing only, is that if the Taxpayer Protection Act is on the ballot, it will pass. It’s extraordinarily popular.”

This led to this week when opponents of the measure decided to add more big names this week. Governor Jerry Brown, who led the state from 1975 to 1983 and again from 2011 to 2019, joined Newsom and Democratic state legislators, with he and his team petitioning against the measure. While most of the reasons given were the same, Brown also added in climate change worries into the reasons against the measure from appearing on the ballot.

The proposed ballot measure would deprive the Legislature of its power to tax by requiring a majority of voters to approve any tax increase,” said Brown’s lawyer David Goodwin to the court. “And by requiring every tax increase to identify the programs on which the money would be spent, the initiative would make it much harder to raise funds for general state needs or emergencies.”

Brown specifically warned that the passage of the measure would decimate the Cap and Trade program set up during his 2010’s term as Governor.

“The ballot measure would largely eliminate the ability of state agencies to regulate environmental pollution by imposing charges or cap-and-trade requirements on polluters and would remove the power of the Legislature to enforce state climate change policy,” Brown said. “Cap-and-trade funds have been used to restore wetlands and watersheds, fund light rail and the state’s bullet train and promote zero-emission motor vehicles.”

“Under the initiative, Oakland would be forced to stop collecting money on behalf of the libraries unless Oakland holds another election in which the voters re-approve the library tax. In the meantime, library funding would be interrupted, libraries would close, and one of the most important civic services provided to the children of Oakland would be disrupted if not eliminated.”

Brown out against the measure

However, even with Brown now on board, many experts are unsure if it will be enough to convince the Supreme Court to pull the measure from the ballot only nine months out from the election.

“Democrats are throwing everything they have to stop this, because they know that if it passes, people will likely not want money going towards what they are trying to push,” Dana, a Capitol staffer told the Globe on Friday. “This measure has been in the background for a long time, but slowly becoming more and more into focus. Look at how much Newsom and everyone have been slowly ratcheting up their pushes against it. You don’t petition the California Supreme Court unless you are worried. And if they are bringing in high profile people like Brown, then yeah, they know that this is likely going to be voted on in November.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Chino Valley Unified Smeared For Supposed Book ‘Ban’

LGBT activists will smear and spin any of these new parental rights measures as homophobic and transphobic

The school board of Chino Valley Unified School District has made headlines again as angry leftists take umbrage with another policy modification made by the board last week. During the board meeting on November 16, 2023, changes were made to the policy regarding appropriate instructional and school library materials. The changes aim to give parents a voice in their children’s education, but media and activists are lambasting the move calling it a “ban” on books.

The Los Angeles Blade ran a headline on the story saying, “Chino Valley Unified School District set to ban LGBTQ+ books.” Even KTLA, a somewhat more unbiased outlet, embraced the word “ban,” although they showed enough deference to put the word in quotation marks: “Chino Valley school board enacts controversial book ‘ban’ policy.”

As is typically the case when progressives exaggerate and magnify an issue, they weaponize language to do so. The word “ban” elicits thoughts of authoritarianism and dictators completely removing a book or other work of art from the eyes of all of their subjects. If a book is banned, that means a child would not be able to get ahold of it anywhere. They would not be allowed to find the same book at a local public library or to purchase it from a bookstore or online vendor—that is if their parents were to allow it. Thankfully, the Chino Valley Unified school board does not have that kind of authority. Therefore, they do not have the power to “ban” any book.

The move to demonize and make the more conservative school board look Mao-adjacent is flat out propaganda. The board did not start unilaterally removing books from school libraries either. The changes implemented to the policy simply made it easier for parents to object to certain materials their children have access to within the walls of the schools. The revised policy sets out a very reasonable and multistep procedure for the removal of objectionable material.

First, the parent must provide a detailed written complaint to the principal of the school. The principal then has the ability to accept or reject the complaint while also having a meeting with the complainant discussing the objection. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, then another complaint is sent to the school board along with a written response from the principal giving the opposing viewpoint. Finally the board makes an informed decision on whether to remove the offending material. Moreover, just for good measure, the new policy guidelines also strips some of the board’s power to remove materials outright for political reasons. It reads, “The board of education shall not remove books because they disagree with the author.”

The progressive leftists blowing the policy additions out of proportion are claiming the decision was made in order to silence or “ban” LGBT books, as was laid out in the Los Angeles Blade headline reported previously. That same article mentions California Assembly Bill 1078, which was passed just a few months ago. AB 1078 lays a groundwork for the types of materials that a school and school library must have.

“Under California law, California schools must create an equitable learning environment where all pupils, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) pupils and Black, Indigenous, and other pupils of color feel welcome, including through honest discussions of racism, the history of slavery in our society and in California, and the diversity of gender and sexual orientation that reflects the lived reality of those pupils,” the bill reads.

The bill further states, “Restricting access to classroom and library materials because they feature LGBTQ people or were written by LGBTQ authors discriminates against LGBTQ people and constitutes censorship in violation of California law and policy. Similarly, efforts to categorically exclude topics related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics, or of present or historical discrimination based on protected characteristics, from school library collections, curricula, or classroom discussions constitute censorship that violates California law and policy.”

Clearly the LGBT activists at the Los Angeles Blade are blowing yet another dog whistle for homophobia and transphobia. The Chino Valley Unified school board’s revised policy does not mention gender or sexual orientation at all. It does, however, mention material that includes “sexually obscene content.” Thankfully, AB 1078 does not stipulate that sexually obscene content must be provided to students; therefore, the new policy is not in violation of the statute. Any questioned material that goes through the new policy’s procedure will undoubtedly be evaluated with regard to California law.

California Taxpayers Cool to Costly Climate Bond

In addition to last week’s record-busting $310 billion dollar budget, the legislature is also advancing a $15 billion “Climate Bond” to appear on the ballot sometime in 2024. This “climate bond” should be viewed with a great deal of skepticism by California voters for several reasons.

First, why is a bond – any bond – necessary? Despite a drop off in state tax collections, California continues to produce massive amounts of tax revenue from the highest-in-the-nation income tax rate, highest state sales tax rate and highest gas tax. Taking on further debt makes little sense.

Moreover, this proposal is inconsistent with the principles of sound debt financing. Bond financing can be justified where the cost of a major infrastructure project – at either the state or local level – is greater than could be funded directly from general fund revenues without making significant reductions in service. But proponents have not made the case for why this grab bag of various projects couldn’t be financed from the general fund.

Second, an important consideration for the issuance of public debt is interest rates. Borrowing costs today are higher than they have been in years and while Wall Street bond brokers and bond holders will profit from more California debt, voters have to decide if it is in California’s best interests.

Third, under Article XVI of the California Constitution a statewide bond measure must be limited to “some single object or work to be distinctly specified in the act.” The “climate bond” here is authorized by Assembly Bill 1567, which is entitled the “Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparation, Flood Protection, Extreme Heat Mitigation, Clean Energy, and Workforce Development Bond Act of 2024.” This bill is a 25-page listing of various projects ranging from restoring the Tijuana River to providing residential housing for California Conservation Corps members. Even under the most liberal interpretation of “single object or work,” this bond measure doesn’t comply.

Fourth, the fact that a substantial amount of the proceeds from the bond are intended to be used for programs rather than brick-and-mortar infrastructure violates the principle that the “single object or work” should have a useful life that extends beyond the term of the debt repayment. This climate bond is like a family taking out a 30-year mortgage to pay for groceries.

Fifth, California has a horrendous track record of not keeping its promises when it comes to bond measures. The clearest example is California’s High-Speed Rail Project, viewed internationally as the biggest boondoggle on earth. Proposition 1A in 2008 promised Californians a super-fast train that would travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in about two and a half hours; the ticket price would be about $50; the total cost of the high-speed rail would be about $40 billion; and there would be significant private-sector support –money from investors – to build the project. After 15 years, HSR has yet to hit any of its benchmark promises.

Numerous other bond measures have failed to live up to the representations made to voters, including several water bond proposals that promised the construction of surface water storage projects.

Even more troubling than the broken promises related to bond measures is the fact that California courts will do little to enforce those promises. This was starkly evident in several lawsuits over the high-speed rail project when the courts failed to intervene despite conclusive evidence that the terms of the ballot measure were being violated.

Sixth, general obligation bonds should only be placed on the ballot when the level of total debt is within prudent limits that will not affect the state’s bond rating or solvency. If California experiences even a mild recession, that will increase the percentage of the general fund necessary to pay debt service. If the state’s “debt service ratio” exceeds levels palpable to Wall Street, that could increase the cost of borrowing on top of the already high interest rates.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Juneteenth is Not a State-Paid Holiday in California. Union, Workers Hope to Change That

Avanti Blakney, a California state employee, made sure to have an enjoyable weekend because she knew come Monday, she would not have the luxury of taking the full day off despite the Juneteenth holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas, were finally made aware of their freedom, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by Abraham Lincoln.

President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a national holiday in 2021; however, it remains an unpaid state holiday for California state employees.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1655 in 2022, which allowed state employees to elect to use their existing eight hours of holiday credit in lieu of receiving eight hours of personal holiday credit for Juneteenth.

This means state employees are scheduled to work, unless they choose to use their allotted time off to observe the holiday — if they have accrued enough on their leave balance.

“I am immensely proud of the richness of diversity and backgrounds represented in our state and understand the importance of wanting to see one’s own experience reflected in state holidays,” Newsom said in a 2022 news release.

Blakney is exempt from having to use her leave balance because she is a manager.

Still, she said she doesn’t think it’s fair that the state doesn’t recognize Juneteenth, the same way it would observe the Fourth of July.

She called it a “slap in the face”.

“I don’t think it’s fair and the reason why I don’t think it’s fair is because it actually is an Independence Day for our culture. It is a big deal for us,” said Blakney, who is a Black woman. “I’m hopeful that it is a holiday that will be recognized as a state paid holiday.”

State worker union seeks to add Juneteenth holiday

All California state workers are scheduled by default to work.

Employees had to make a decision on whether they wanted to work on the holiday or take it off; Blakney is working intermittently instead of taking the full day.

“It just kind of makes me feel like I’ve always felt like, it’s just one of those things that we have to deal with and experience,” Blakney said.

The labor union for state employees, SEIU Local 1000, has been fighting to make Juneteenth a state paid holiday.

Irene Green, SEIU Local 1000 vice president of bargaining and chief negotiator, told The Sacramento Bee that the union is in contract negotiations with the state.

The current contract expires at the end of June, and Green said making Juneteenth a recognized holiday is among the issues.

“As part of this negotiation process where we bargain on working conditions, pay, and health and welfare, I have submitted a proposal this past Wednesday to the state making Juneteenth a state paid holiday without state workers having to request the day and use leave credits,” Green said.

Green called Juneteenth an opportunity for all Californians to celebrate freedom as a shared value.

Green has been a civil-service worker for 14 years working for the Employment Development Department, as an employment program representative.

“Local 1000 believes the liberation from captivity and the end of slavery is something that every Californian should be able to celebrate, including the state’s civil service, without having to trade personal leave time in return. Juneteenth should not be relegated to a personal holiday.

She hopes the state will recognize “the importance of this proposal” and what it means to thousands of state employees to see one’s own experience reflected in state holidays.

What Juneteenth means for California state employees

Southern California resident Tracie Kimbrough has been a state employee for 10 years. She decided to take a vacation during the Juneteenth celebration.

“I really don’t celebrate the Fourth of July. Like, some people do. I don’t look at it the same way probably because I understand what my ancestors went through,” Kimbrough said. “Fourth of July is just another day to me. That’s no shade, no hate against my country or any of that.”

Juneteenth is bigger than the Fourth of July, Kimbrough said, because it denotes when her ancestors finally got to experience freedom and liberation in America.

Kimbrough is glad that she can take the day off, but said she shouldn’t have to be forced to use her vacation time.

The gesture makes her feel “punished” for being a state employee.

“I feel like many times our state, our governor and our state legislatures forget that state employees are not just numbers on a balance sheet,” Kimbrough said. “It’s almost like they forget, we vote, too. We are citizens of California. We’re Californians, we’re citizens.”

She believes she should be afforded the same privileges any other Californian gets.

“We are people and we are a diverse people and we are their constituents. So often when they talk about their constituency they make policies and laws and procedures, it’s for everyone, except us as state employees,” Kimbrough said.

She doesn’t understand why the holiday would apply to Californians at large, but not state workers.

Click here to read the full article on Sacramento Bee via Yahoo News

Big Woke – Money Equals Power, As Usual

How did we go from zero to woke in 2.7 seconds?

Unless you can get fired for asking it, a rather common question today is exactly what has happened in the past few years to bring society to the point that, well, you can get fired for asking a question?

In other words, how did we go from zero to woke in 2.7 seconds?

The answer, as usual, is money. A lot of money. A vapor-trail of zeroes kind of money.

Oh, and of course bullying and cowardice and collaborationism and fear of social ostracization and fear of unemployment and disbelief and a human’s natural tendency to wish to be liked and well thought of and to not see evil and connivance at first blush and the comfort of quiet acquiescence and not-my-fightism and on and on and on.

But it really helps to make all of that stick if you happen to have all the money in the world to buy glue.

While “all the money in the world” may technically be an exaggeration, the actual numbers are so large it is  – for the impact it creates – only technically an exaggeration.

That money is now being used judiciously and expertly to massage, modify, manhandle, manipulate, and malform as much of society, culture, and government as possible by the malign manufacturers of fear by consensus in order to extend and entrench their already interlocking international cartel of control.

Take the media, for example. No-longing-jokingly Bond villain George Soros (and his kids, all save one are in the same woke activism business he is) has spent hundreds of millions subsidizing struggling outlets and massaging the egos of industry heavy hitters, and all to ensure uncritical coverage of himself and his – admittedly open – effort to undermine the central tenants of Western society.

Instead of doling out targeted funds, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos simply bought the Washington Post to lock in positive coverage of his company and his politics.  

Also a “change from within/long march through the institutions” approach has been taken; case in point:  the AP Stylebook.  By eliminating words that are allowed to be used, the ability to question the current cultural conundrum is ceded to controlling contrivances.  It has become so problematic, even the left is starting to notice.

Those are only three examples, but they highlight a critical aspect of the success of the woke movement.

Imagine a baseball team, a good baseball team.  Now imagine the team is not allowed to have a catcher and the other team is up first.  No matter how perfect the pitch is, nearly each and every batter is going to make it to first base because every pitch will be wild. Again. And again. And again, scoring run after run after run without having to even swing the bat.

That is the current state of affairs when it comes to the mainstream or legacy or activist or whatever-you-want-to-call-it media.  The woke team is at bat and the media is the nonexistent catcher and the game is over before it has even begun. In other words, it doesn’t matter how good you pitch if there’s no one there to catch it because Soros and Bezos and everyone at Davos kidnapped, strangled, and murdered and/or just plain bribed the catcher before the game.

Continuing with the baseball analogy, Major League Baseball is statutorily exempt from anti-trust legislature; it is essentially a federally-sanctioned monopoly, a fact that the woke would find, like incestuously interlocking corporate boards, problematic.

But a look at the interconnected infrastructure of the wokeing class shows, in essence, a similar structure meaning that if you don’t play by their rules you just don’t play.

Take the Tides Foundation, for example. While comparatively unknown (outside of California where it plays heavy in state and local issues,) Tides can be seen as the Ur-foundation.

The San Francisco-based group not only funds progressive causes and “non-profits,” it even provides new ones with office space and access to its network of donors and contacts  (its incubator project.)  Tides also provides advice to people and companies on how to spend their money via its emphasis on “impact investing” which it defines as: “investing money to support social change while potentially generating financial return.” (for a deeper dive into its cousin, “effective altruism,” see here).

The Tides Foundation operates extensively in California itself, supporting at least two dozen different charities/non-profit/activist organizations.

From the Alliance for California Traditional Arts to the Trans Justice Funding Project, Tides has its finger in most of California’s hot-button issues of the day.

The Fair and Just Prosecution group brings together, sorry convenes (there goes another word to the woke who of course use it wrong) “elected local prosecutors as part of a network of leaders committed to promoting a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility.

And, of course, Los Angeles District Attorney is on the board of directors – ‘nuff said.

In what appears to be a case of funding two groups with rather different goals, Tides supports the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, which managed to utterly decry the recent Supreme Court decision with a statement that does not ever use the words “woman” or “women.”  To quote:  This ruling has eliminated an almost 50-year precedent that afforded birthing people… As we process this horrendous attempt to control anyone with a uterus, we must also remain diligent.

Ironically, Tides also supports Newborn Possibilities, a project that helps parents of children born with medical issues save and preserve stem cells gathered from umbilical cords at birth in order to potentially be helpful with protecting their health as they grow older.

Unlike traditional charities, Tides engages in openly political activities in concert with a Murderer’s Row of the usual woke suspects.  From its Wikipedia (which Tides helps pay for) page:

“(Tides co-founder Drummond) Pike along with George Soros and other Democracy Alliance members John R. Hunting; Paul Rudd (co-founder of Adaptive Analytics); Pat Stryker; Nicholas Hanauer; ex-Clinton administration official Rob Stein; Gail Furman; real estate developer Robert Bowditch; Pioneer HybridInternational-heir and congressional candidate Scott Wallace; Susie Tompkins Buell; real estate developer Albert Dwoskin; and Taco Bell-heir Rob McKay, funded the Secretary of State Project, an American non-profit, 527 political action committee focused on electing reform-minded progressive Secretaries of State in battleground states, who typically oversee the election process.[10] The Alliance was critical in getting California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie re-elected.”

Secretaries of State are the people in charge of elections.

The list of groups Tides assists is global and extensive.  From The Association for Progressive Communications, to Vote Early Day.

Tides funds practically every sort of “justice” effort to the tune of hundreds of millions dollars each year.

By the way, as examples of their work and mission, the APC in 2019 worked on a “feminist response to environmental justice, ‘I do not want to lay down mountains to be able to use the internet: Decolonising technology as an act of care for the earth and ourselves’” while Vote Early believes “When Americans vote early, they ensure that last-minute problems, busy schedules, changing election laws, and voter disinformation cannot prevent us from casting our ballots.”

Even putting aside the recent “everyone and then some gets a ballot in the mail” absurdities, early voting is strongly favored by incumbent officials and political consultants because it allows for ballot harvesting, hyper-targeted messaging, and the fact it eliminates the possibility of an “October surprise”  (see Fetterman in Pennsylvania last fall.)

The incestuous nature of the movement is exemplified by the make up of the Tides board and by practically every other activist/non-profit/charity/non-governmental organization board in existence.  

For example, the board of Race Forward has 12 members, only two of whom work in private, for-profit industry(ish) – one is tribal consultant specializing in government relations and the other is the editor of The Nation magazine which is only notionally private and hasn’t turned a profit in a very very long time. 

The rest all work for – and get paid by – other elements of the woke state infrastructure.  

For his part, Soros’ Open Society board is a parody of Big Woke and nepotism, with three family members, a former managing director of the World Economic Forum, and the chief of staff of former UN Secretary Kofi Annan, among others.

But the funds are not just private – they are increasingly public.  The amount government agencies spend on DEI initiatives, creating woke workplaces through increasingly tyrannical regulations, school curriculum changes, transgender “affirming care” health care (yes the government is paying to drug and mutilate children,) rafts of consultants, and politically-expedient NGOs is so large (and at times so hidden) it is impossible to know the exact figure.

From this Fox News article, to my substack, to this “Deep Woke State” gem, taxpayer dollars are being spent to convince those very taxpayers they are stupid and evil and must conform to change.

To simplify, imagine what is happening – the tick-like embedding of cancel cancer –  on just one college campus, and expand that to every government agency at practically every level 

The single largest systematic entanglement of humans in the web of lies was, of course, the COVID pandemic response.  The financial cost may never be known but the emotional and societal costs are already known to be massive.  

Of course, Tides played and continues to play a role in ginning up a perpetual control through fear machine with its funding of organizations like Ending Pandemics, which features a board that played an integral part in the COVID response and is currently focused on the not-at-all terrifying concept of global “participatory surveillance.”  For more information, see here.

The pandemic purposefully infantilized the public, empowered unbeholden putative experts, transferred huge amounts of wealth from Main Street to Wall Street, and scarred at least one generation permanently.

Massive educational degradation.  Economic devastation, by both the lockdowns and now the continuing fiscal nightmare plaguing the nation caused by continuing federal over-reaction.  The critical damage to the development of children’s social skills through hyper-masking and fear-mongering.  The obliteration of the public’s trust in institutions due to their incompetence and deceitfulness during the pandemic.  The massive erosion of civil liberties.  The direct hardships caused by vaccination mandates, etc. under the false claim of helping one’s neighbor.  The explosion of the growth of Wall Street built on the destruction of Main Street.  The clear separation of society into two camps – those who could easily prosper during the pandemic and those whose lives were completely upended.  The demonization of anyone daring to ask even basic questions about the efficacy of the response, be it the vaccines themselves, the closure of public schools, the origin of the virus, or the absurdity of the useless public theater that made up much of the program.  The fissures created throughout society and the harm caused by guillotined relationships amongst family and friends.  The slanders and career chaos endured by prominent actual experts (see the Great Barrington Declaration) and just plain reasonable people like Jennifer Sey – –  for daring to offer different approaches, approaches – such as focusing on the most vulnerable –  that had been tested and succeeded before.  

All of that damage, intentional or not, has cleared the playing field for the eternal expansion of the power of the wokeing class.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Californians Asked to Conserve Power Amid Brutal Heat Wave

Californians sweltering in the West’s lengthening heat wave were asked to reduce air conditioning and cut other electricity use again during critical hours Friday and again Saturday to prevent stress on the state’s electrical grid that could lead to rolling blackouts.

Saturday will be the fourth consecutive day of requests by the state’s electrical grid operator for voluntary cutbacks during late afternoon and evening hours to balance supply and demand as millions of residents endured triple-digit temperatures.

The California Independent System Operator said multiple generators have been forced out of service because of the extreme heat, making energy supplies tighter.

Electricity demand on Thursday hit a peak of 47,357 megawatts, the highest since September 2017. Cal ISO credited conservation and reduced commercial use with keeping the grid stable.

“The major concern now is even higher temperatures forecast for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, with projected loads climbing to more than 49,000 megawatts on Tuesday,” Cal ISO said in a statement.

In August 2020, a record heat wave caused a surge in power use for air conditioning that overtaxed the grid. That caused two consecutive nights of rolling blackouts, affecting hundreds of thousands of residential and business customers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared an emergency to increase energy production and relaxed rules aimed at curbing air pollution and global warming gases. He emphasized the role climate change was playing in the heat wave.

“September is off to a searing start in the West with record breaking temperatures and fire weather expected to expand and settle over that part of the country this Labor Day weekend,” the National Weather Service said.

Author Stephanie Solomon, 33, brought her pet tortoise along with a portable baby pool with a miniature umbrella to keep it cool while selling her children’s books at the Huntington Beach Pier.

“It is really hot out here today. Well, Penelope Joy is a desert tortoise, so I think she is the only one that’s really enjoying this heat as hot as it is today,” said Solomon, as surfers and swimmers sought refuge in the ocean below.

Solomon said she was mindful of the power situation and her air conditioning was off while she was away .But she planned to activate it by phone on her walk home to “make sure it’s nice and cool in there.”

That wasn’t an option for some when temperatures climbed into the 90s on Tuesday in Colorado. About 22,000 Xcel Energy customers could not increase their air conditioning after getting messages saying thermostats were temporarily locked.

The customers had signed up for a program allowing the utility to adjust them to four degrees above the previous setting when demand for electricity is high, the company said.

Usually, customers can choose to override the adjustments, but the company said that was not allowed because of an emergency due to an unexpected loss of power generation and the heat.

One customer, Christopher Empson, said his thermostat was locked at 81 degrees (27.2 Celsius). He said he had no memory of signing up for the program, and he wished there was more communication about what the company had the power to do.

“I was kind of blindsided,” he said, and “there are some folks that, if their thermostat gets locked, that can be life or death.”

California’s “Flex Alerts” urge conservation between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., the hours when production of solar energy declines. The grid operator urges people to use major appliances, charge electric cars and cool down their homes earlier in the day, then turn up thermostats to 78 degrees (25.5 Celsius) or higher.

“The No. 1 most effective conservation measure is to set thermostats to 78 or higher” because air conditioners are the biggest users of electricity in the summer, Anne Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the grid operator, said in an email.

“We have traditionally asked for 78 degrees, because it has a good effect on our demand, and is still comfortable to allow consumers to easily participate,” she said. “We always ask consumers to set it higher, if they can, and if health permits.”

Keeping temperatures too low can cause air conditioners to run constantly, added Jay Apt, professor at the Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering.

“If you set that puppy too low, it’s going to run all the time,” said Apt. “That’s going to do two things, the first is that it is going to use an awful lot of energy and the second is that it’s not going to give recovery time.”

The goal is to allow units to cycle on and off, said Apt, and 78 degrees is a rough estimate for the sweet spot that can vary depending on a building’s insulation.

In California, customers of Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest utility, can volunteer to let the company control their internet-connected thermostats during heat waves. The program automatically adjusts the thermostat schedule so it uses less energy during times of peak demand.

Customers can get $75 for participating and can opt out of it by simply changing their thermostat to a different temperature. The company does not lock thermostats, PG&E spokesperson Katie Allen said.

California cities and counties, meanwhile, were opening cooling centers.

“We have opened cooling centers in the past, but this heat wave looks like it’s the real thing,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, health officer in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco.

Some of the cooling centers will be specifically for homeless people, and an outreach team will also go out to hand out water to the homeless and inform them of available resources, Tzvieli said.

Read the full article at AP News

California Outlines Plan for Scaled Back Giant Water Tunnel

A new plan to reroute how water moves from wetter Northern California to drier Southern California would ferry some of it through a single, 45-mile (72-kilometer) underground tunnel, wrapping around the state’s existing water delivery system and dumping it into the main aqueduct that flows south to vast swaths of farmland and millions of people.

The proposal released Wednesday would build one tunnel to take water from the Sacramento River, the state’s largest, to the California Aqueduct for delivery further south. It’s scaled back from the two-tunnel plan championed by former Gov. Jerry Brown and the latest iteration of a project that has been talked about and planned in some form, but never constructed, for about half a century.

When Gov. Gavin Newsom took office in 2019, he ordered water officials to scrap the existing plan and start over. With one tunnel, the new proposal moves less water and aims to reduce harms to the environment. But most critics say the new route will still harm endangered species like salmon and people who rely on the water in the north.

The two sides have become so entrenched that the project’s fate will ultimately depend on whether Newsom or a future governor can muster the political will to push it through, said Jeffrey Mount, a senior fellow with the Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California.

“This project is unlikely to be decided on its technical merits,” he said.

State water officials say a tunnel is badly needed to modernize the state’s water infrastructure in the face of climate change, which scientists say is likely to cause both prolonged droughts and major deluges of rain and snow. It would also better shield the state’s water supply from the risk of an earthquake that could cause levees to crumble and ocean salt water to flood into the system.

Though California is in the third year of a punishing drought, it saw record rainfall last October and another major dump of rain and snow in December, some of which the state was unable to capture.

“Our water infrastructure was not built for that,” said Wade Crowfoot, secretary of California’s Natural Resources Agency.

The Department of Water Resources plan analyzes the effects of the project on the environment, residents, fish and farmland. Critics say it will harm communities in the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which rely on water that could instead be diverted to the tunnel.

Officials did not release a price tag. A prior estimate for a different single-tunnel route put it at about $16 billion. It would be paid for by water agencies that contract with the state to use it.

Still, even if the political support to build it is there, construction likely wouldn’t break ground until at least 2028 and would take more than a decade, said Carrie Buckman, environmental program manager for the project.

The preferred route would build two stations to pull water from the Sacramento River just south of the capital city, then carry that water south alongside Interstate 5 before breaking off toward Bethany Reservoir at the top of the California Aqueduct, the state’s main channel for moving water south, built in the 1960s.

Two in three Californians, or about 27 million people, rely on water that comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a vital estuary where the two rivers mingle with tidal flows from the Pacific Ocean before it is conveyed south through the State Water Project.

At the southern end of the Delta, state and federally run pumping plants suck up the water and send it south. The proposed tunnel project would take the water from the Sacramento River before it reaches the Delta.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is the state’s largest water contractor, using water from the Delta to supply 19 million people, including the city of Los Angeles. The district is working to expand its supply from other sources, but the tunnel project is critical to provide flexibility and ensure the state is capturing all of the water that it can, said Adel Hagekhalil, the district’s general manager.

The Delta region is home to millions of people, more than 625 square miles (1,619 square kilometers) of farmland and critical species like endangered salmon and Delta smelt. Advocates worry the tunnel will divert that fresh water before it reaches them.

The state already lacks enough water to keep the Delta flourishing and to fulfill its existing water delivery contracts.

State officials say the tunnel would only be used when there is a lot of water flowing through the river, like after a major rainstorm. Environmental restrictions already limit how much water the Delta pumps can move at certain times of year, regardless of supply, to avoid harming fish.

Water officials say the chosen path would have the least negative consequences of the various options. Still, the 10-year construction would require removing 71 buildings, including 15 homes, as well as overtaking 2,340 acres of farmland and running through cultural resources and sites significant to tribal communities, the report said.

As for fish, the project could hurt both the Delta smelt and the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon. The report says fewer juvenile salmon would survive and less food would be available for Delta smelt, which state officials say would be mitigated by habitat restoration. The project could harm water quality by increasing the amount of bromide and chloride and increasing the salt content.

Doug Obegi, senior attorney in the water program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the report “deeply disappointing” and said it fails to consider alternatives that would truly protect salmon and other wildlife.

“The science is clear that we’re going to have to reduce diversions from the Delta to protect salmon and other species,” he said.

Click here to read the full article in the AP News

David Shribman: California’s Trailer for November’s Blockbuster

e a 435-part series — one episode for every congressional district — and the contours of the plot became clear in a much-ignored Tuesday primary fight in the state’s 41st congressional district. One of the victorious nominees believes the 2020 election was stolen — and he has the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump. The other is casting the fall contest as a proxy vote about the future of American democracy.

It is a collision of two implacable positions.

It also is the theme of the debate over the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol spawned by the congressional hearings that began Thursday night. It is the theme of fights within the Republican Party. It almost certainly will be the theme of historians’ examinations of our troubled 21st century passage.

“The state of our politics is the most important question in our politics,” said Bruce Cain, a Stanford University political scientist. “This is a preview of the November election.”

Other preview elements of the fall campaign swiftly became apparent in recent days here in California. Despite its reputation for idiosyncratic politics — it elected Ronald Reagan and Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. in the same decade — California often speaks with a stentorian voice. The primaries showed a distinct impatience with Democrats, especially on crime, in a state that has voted Democratic in the last eight elections.

But nowhere in the country has the future-of-democracy theme been set out as clearly and as early as it has been in an aptly named “jungle primary” — a raucous procedure where the top two candidates regardless of party advance to the November general election — that played out here.

One of the finalists is a Republican, Rep. Ken Calvert, 69. He has been in the House for 30 years and has steadily drifted rightward since his days as an intern for the 1973 Senate Watergate hearings; indeed, in an assessment less than a decade ago, the respected Almanac of American Politics described him as “less conservative and outspoken than many of his firebrand colleagues from California.” No more. The man who once drew far-right opprobrium by criticizing radio host Rush Limbaugh voted with Mr. Trump 97% of the time and won enthusiastic backing from the 45th president, who said “Ken has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

The other is a Democrat. He is Will Rollins, 37, a former federal prosecutor whose internet home page begins with a trumpet blast on the democratic-rule issue: “Let’s kick out extreme politicians like Ken Calvert who spread the big lies and elect a new generation of leaders willing to save our democracy.” Mr. Rollins, who stresses his experience in terrorism and national-security cases and who prosecuted Jan. 6 rioters, rolled out an introductory video this spring that bid voters to “elect a new generation of Americans willing to save our democracy.”

The two are competing in a redrawn congressional district and most analysts believe Mr. Calvert has an advantage from his incumbency and having about three times as much campaign money at his disposal, though Mr. Rollins in recent weeks has kept pace in the money race.

Mr. Calvert’s election-night statement emphasized moving the country “in a different direction from the constant state of crisis and inflation we have found ourselves under President Biden” — a theme that resonated throughout California in Tuesday’s primary, where the once-impregnable Democratic advantage seemed to crack.

But Mr. Rollins brushed aside his rival’s characterization of him as “a radical newcomer to our community who supports more of the same failed Biden/​Pelosi agenda” and said that he would seek votes of Republicans repelled by Mr. Calvert’s growing affinity for Mr. Trump. His campaign rhetoric warns of conspiracy theorists who want to “erode our democracy” and “spread the big lies.”

But the integrity of elections is an issue that cuts two ways. Political figures of both parties employ that rhetoric. Trump-aligned Republicans argue that the 2020 election was stolen. Democrats and some establishment Republicans warn that Mr. Trump’s allies will only accept election results that are in their favor, especially in a possible third Trump presidential campaign.

“You can see what the narrative will be: ‘constitutional foundations’ and ‘democracy-in-peril,’” said Claire Leavitt, a Smith College political scientist. “The protesters and the insurrection supporters don’t believe they were overturning democracy. They believe they were fulfilling democracy. The progressives who want to prosecute them feel they are doing the same thing. That is where the problem comes in: Nobody believes that American democracy is something that should be taken lightly — but different groups work out of different sets of information.”

That phenomenon is writ large in the district where Mr. Calvert and Mr. Rollins will be competing — and where pugilists on both sides are primed to mobilize.

“The Republican base is going to be fired up over this, and so will the Democratic base,” said Morris P. Fiorina, the political scientist whose Unstable Majorities: Polarization, Party Sorting and Political Stalemate examines the state of contemporary American civic life. “The Republican candidate will be a Trump supporter because it works for him. The Democrat will talk about the end of democracy because they don’t have any other issues to talk about. The other issues in the campaign are all bad for them.”

The latest Quinnipiac Poll showed that Americans believe that the most urgent issue facing the country is inflation — a condition Republicans will lay at the door of President Joe Biden, whose performance on the economy won the approval of only 28% of registered voters, with 64% disapproving. Overall, the president’s approval ratings are at 35%, with 56% disapproving of how he is conducting his presidency — his lowest figures yet.

Click here to read the full article in Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Gov. Brown Pushed for Softer Treatment of Violent Felons

It’s an election year and crime has emerged as a major campaign issue, so it’s no wonder that the horrendous shootout between two gang factions in downtown Sacramento that left six people dead has led to much political fingerpointing.

Republicans, who have become virtually powerless in California, quickly pointed the finger of blame at Gov. Gavin Newsom because one of the alleged shooters, Smiley Martin, had served just five years of a 10-year prison term for spousal abuse due to the state’s recently loosened parole standards.

“In California, you can do the crime and skip the time. Criminals see little to no consequences for crime, and that needs to change,” said Senate Republican leader Scott Wilk. “If we are to restore order and safety to our communities, a good place to start is ensuring early release credits are not given to violent and dangerous felons for simply breathing.”

In response, Newsom’s office has said the state prison system was merely implementing authority to grant more generous “good time” credits to inmates that voters authorized when they passed Proposition 57 in 2016.

Prison authorities had adopted the new rules on an expedited basis without the chance for public input, but after a lawsuit was filed and a judge tentatively ruled against the process, they reversed themselves and have allowed a period for comment.

The politician who should bear the onus for allowing the alleged shooter and other violent criminals to serve only portions of their sentences is former Gov. Jerry Brown, who wrote Proposition 57 and more or less tricked voters into believing that it would benefit only felons who committed non-violent crimes.

Brown’s stated aim was to undo some of the tough sentencing laws he signed during his first stint as governor nearly four decades earlier, saying they had not worked.

He closely guarded details of the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016” until just before submitting it as an amendment to a pending ballot measure dealing with juvenile justice, thereby virtually eliminating any chance for opponents to influence “title and summary” processing by the Department of Justice.

The measure, a constitutional amendment, declares that “any person convicted of a non-violent felony offense and sentenced to state prison shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his or her primary offense” and made it easier for them to reduce the “full term” with more generous credits for good behavior.

However, it did not define or list “non-violent felony offenses.” Instead, Brown’s campaign referred to a section of the Penal Code that listed 23 particularly violent offenses, such as murder. Any crime not on the list would be considered non-violent for purposes of parole.

Indirectly, therefore, dozens of serious crimes would be considered non-violent for parole purposes. They include assault with a deadly weapon, soliciting murder, intimidating or harming a crime victim or witness, resisting arrest that injures a police officer, violent elder or child abuse, arson with injury, human trafficking and several forms of manslaughter.

Click here to read the full article at CalMatters

California’s Shrinking Population Has Big Impacts

Although California’s population growth began to slow in the 1990s after exploding in the previous decade by 6 million people, both official and independent demographers continued to see relatively strong growth for decades to come.

In 2007, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in-house demographers projected that California would have 39.9 million residents by 2011. It didn’t happen.

Five years later, then-Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2012-13 budget projected that the state’s population would be “over 39.6 million” by 2016. That didn’t happen either.

In 2016, with the state’s population estimated at 38.7 million, the Public Policy Institute of California declared that “California will continue to gain millions of new residents in each of the next two decades, increasing demand in all areas of infrastructure and public services – including education, transportation, housing, water, health, and welfare.”

“By 2030, PPIC said, “California’s population is projected to reach 44.1 million.”

That’s not going to happen either.

The 2020 census pegged the state’s population at 39.5 million and a recent report from the Census Bureau says California had a net loss of more than a quarter-million residents between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021.

“California appears to be on the verge of a new demographic era, one in which population declines characterize the state,” PPIC demographer Hans Johnson writes in a new analysis. “Lower levels of international migration, declining birth rates, and increases in deaths all play a role. But the primary driver of the state’s population loss over the past couple years has been the result of California residents moving to other states.”

Since 2010, Johnson continued, “about 7.5 million people moved from California to other states, while only 5.8 million people moved to California from other parts of the country. According to Department of Finance estimates, the state has lost residents to other states every year since 2001.”

Instead of zooming past 40 million to 45 and then 50 million by mid-century, as earlier projections indicated, California may remain stuck just under 40 million indefinitely.

That said, a stagnant population doesn’t mean a lack of demographic change. Declining birth rates, the aging of the large baby boom cohort and rising death rates – three other components – mean, for example, that as a whole, California’s population is growing older. We’re already seeing sharp declines in public school enrollment from the state’s baby bust.

The state-to-state migration patterns Johnson cites also affect the composition of an otherwise stagnant population. Overall, he says, those leaving the state tend to have low to moderate incomes and relatively low levels of education while those moving here have higher levels of education and income.

Click here to read the full article at CalMatters