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Californian's Rejoice! Your taxes are going UP UP UP!

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It is next to impossible to do business in California. This is one reason why.

That's funny. I went to work today, just as I've done almost everyday for the past 10 years in Cali. I grabbed coffee at the coffee shop in the basement of my building. I had lunch at Grab and Go Subs. All the businesses appeared to be operating smoothly.
You really think CA has a healthy business climate? Aren't you the one who accused Stat of being nothing but a :mellow: earlier today? Cause you're either fishing or less credible than I already thought.
I don't call out Stat ever.I have several businesses in California. Ever try dealing with CARB? Edited by MasterofOrion

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It is next to impossible to do business in California. This is one reason why.

That's funny. I went to work today, just as I've done almost everyday for the past 10 years in Cali. I grabbed coffee at the coffee shop in the basement of my building. I had lunch at Grab and Go Subs. All the businesses appeared to be operating smoothly.
You really think CA has a healthy business climate? Aren't you the one who accused Stat of being nothing but a :fishing: earlier today? Cause you're either fishing or less credible than I already thought.
I have several businesses in California. Every try dealing with CARB?
You responding to me or TommySheep?

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It is next to impossible to do business in California. This is one reason why.

That's funny. I went to work today, just as I've done almost everyday for the past 10 years in Cali. I grabbed coffee at the coffee shop in the basement of my building. I had lunch at Grab and Go Subs. All the businesses appeared to be operating smoothly.
You really think CA has a healthy business climate? Aren't you the one who accused Stat of being nothing but a :fishing: earlier today? Cause you're either fishing or less credible than I already thought.
I have several businesses in California. Ever try dealing with CARB?
You responding to me or TommySheep?
You Edited by MasterofOrion

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I have several businesses in California. Ever try dealing with CARB?

You responding to me or TommySheep?
You
Are you suggesting CARB is easy to deal with? I haven't dealt with them but the only stories I've heard are they are a pain to deal with. Is your experience different?

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I have several businesses in California. Ever try dealing with CARB?

You responding to me or TommySheep?
You
Are you suggesting CARB is easy to deal with? I haven't dealt with them but the only stories I've heard are they are a pain to deal with. Is your experience different?
Exactly, they are not only a pain but very unreasonable and extraordinarily expensive. That example in the video of fees (not fines) costing $ 200K is very common. Once you pay the money than it could take years for them to get going. If I told you how much money I have thrown down the rat hole because of CARB you would not believe me.

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I have several businesses in California. Ever try dealing with CARB?

You responding to me or TommySheep?
You
Are you suggesting CARB is easy to deal with? I haven't dealt with them but the only stories I've heard are they are a pain to deal with. Is your experience different?
Exactly, they are not only a pain but very unreasonable and extraordinarily expensive. That example in the video of fees (not fines) costing $ 200K is very common. Once you pay the money than it could take years for them to get going. If I told you how much money I have thrown down the rat hole because of CARB you would not believe me.
Why the hell are you addressing this to me? I'm not the one who said CA has a healthy business environment.

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It is next to impossible to do business in California. This is one reason why.

That's funny. I went to work today, just as I've done almost everyday for the past 10 years in Cali. I grabbed coffee at the coffee shop in the basement of my building. I had lunch at Grab and Go Subs. All the businesses appeared to be operating smoothly.
For some reason, I guess you didn't run into any of the thousands of Californians that have moved out of the state in recent years in search of better economic prospects.

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Solar technology company plans to bring 450 jobs to Austin

California-based SunPower wants to open local operations office; city to vote on incentives Dec. 9.

By Shonda Novak

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Updated: 5:12 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

Published: 10:28 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

In its first major U.S. expansion, SunPower Corp., a leader in solar panel technology, plans to open an operations center in Austin next year, bringing 450 jobs and an estimated $10 million in capital investment in the region's economy.

The California company is a significant economic victory for Austin, helping raise the city's profile as a clean technology center.

The jobs — in marketing, legal and finance areas — would pay an average of $70,000 a year, city officials say. The average wage for the lowest-paid 10 percent of local workers would be $40,000, the city said.

The jobs would be created over four years, with 80 percent of the positions filled locally. Hiring is expected to begin in December, with the new office opening in early 2011, said Ingrid Ekstrom, SunPower's director of corporate communications.

"This is great news for Austin — lots of jobs, and high-paying jobs. This is what we need at this juncture of our economic recovery," economic development consultant Angelos Angelou said. "They're a great company, and this is a good project to bring to Austin."

Gov. Rick Perry said the state would invest $2.5 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund, contingent on City Council approval of a local incentive package worth $901,710 over 10 years.

The city grant is tied to job creation.

The council will hear a presentation on the proposal Dec. 2; a vote is scheduled for Dec. 9.

SunPower designs and manufactures solar technology around the world for homes, businesses and utility companies. SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, and it reported $1.5 billion in revenue in fiscal 2009.

"Texas has great potential to become a significant solar market," SunPower CEO Tom Werner said in a statement. "If policies creating a stable solar market across Texas are enacted, this commitment by SunPower could be the start of significantly more investment and job creation in the state by the rapidly growing solar industry."

Dave Porter, senior vice president of economic development for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said SunPower's presence "will be a game-changer in terms of bringing global recognition to Austin and even more credibility in branding Austin as a clean-tech hub."

"It wasn't too long ago we would have lost out on an opportunity like this because our local incentives were not compatible with office-related projects," Porter said. In the past, the city's approach emphasized property tax breaks for large capital-intensive projects such as manufacturing plants.

But in the past year, the city has offered incentive packages tied to job creations to help land new employers, including Hanger Orthopedic Group, Facebook and LegalZoom, "and now, hopefully, SunPower," he said.

SunPower is proposing to create 115 jobs next year, adding 125 each in the following two years, plus 85 in 2014, said Brian Gildea, the city's economic development manager. Under the proposed agreement, SunPower could not receive more than $104,850 in any calendar year.

"If they create the jobs more quickly, they get paid more quickly, but it doesn't increase what they can get in terms of a total grant amount," Gildea said. "We didn't want them to be penalized if they created the jobs more quickly."

He said the city's cost-benefit analysis of the deal shows the city will have an $800,000 net benefit , in revenue from property and sales taxes and other sources, after the $901,710 incentive payments.

Gildea said SunPower is initially looking for 50,000 square feet of office space and ultimately 100,000 square feet. He said the company is considering locations downtown and in Northwest Austin.

Porter said the company has narrowed its search to three locations, but it will not sign a lease until the incentive process is complete.

Angelou said SunPower would join several companies in the solar industry coming to the area and enhancing its reputation in that field.

Solar farms that would generate an estimated combined 200 to 230 megawatts of power have been announced in Travis, Hays and Bastrop counties; if all are built, they would "make this region one of the leading regions in the United States for electricity generated by solar panels," Angelou said.

Austin Energy plans a $250 million solar farm in eastern Travis County, and RRE Austin Solar is expected to break ground Dec. 15 on a $230 million solar farm outside Pflugerville that would be one of the largest nationwide, Angelou said.

Gildea said SunPower not only will bring "a good number of quality jobs with good wages and benefits," but also, "we're hopeful this creates some additional development for Austin and Texas in the solar-development market."

snovak@statesman.com; 445-3856

http://www.statesman.com/business/solar-te...bs-1070725.html

:goodposting:

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Jerry Brown heads to Vegas to address prison-guards union

December 6, 2010 | 5:25 pm

Even as Gov.-elect Jerry Brown has been virtually invisible to the news media, holding just one brief news conference in the last month, he continues to hold private meetings with lawmakers, interest groups and other budget decision makers and stakeholders.

On Monday he could be found at a major resort in Las Vegas, addressing the prison guards’ union, which spent more than $1.8 million on Brown's behalf during the campaign. Just don’t ask us what he said. The Times was barred from covering the brief speech.

A reporter who traveled to the Rio All Suites to catch the Brown address was initially told that the governor's staff had vetoed her presence there.

However, union officials later said it was their policy to keep the media out of the event. Even spouses of convention delegates were blocked from listening to Brown's remarks, they said, for which the ballroom's doors were closed.

Brown, who spoke of transparency often on the campaign trail, has held few public events and had little engagement with the media since defeating Republican nominee Meg Whitman on Nov 2. Attendees described his less than 10-minute speech as a thank you to the group.

The union is the largest public union still without a contract. Instead of following other unions into deals with the Schwarzenegger administration earlier this year, the prison guards opted instead to negotiate with Brown.

The governor-elect mentioned the looming state budget chasm, but did not offer specifics for how to close it, attendees said. Still, Brown was greeted with rapturous applause from several hundred delegates, a few of whom wore Brown T-shirts that implored, "Don't Stop Believing."

He also received more than one standing ovation. Brown returned to California on Monday evening. He has scheduled a budget briefing for Wednesday in Sacramento for state and local lawmakers.

"What starts on Wednesday is a serious conversation amongst the leaders in Sacramento about the budget and what it will take to solve the deficit crisis," said Clifford. "The next step is serious public conversation with the people of California about what they want from their government, what they expect and what they are willing to pay for."

Brown spoke to the Assembly Republican caucus on Monday before flying to Las Vegas. But don’t ask us what he said there, either. That event was closed to the media.

--Ashley Powers in Las Vegas and Anthony York in Sacrament

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california...ards-union.html

:lmao:

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About time. How about a 1% tax rate for Bush's wars?

Or the Wars, Medicare Drug plan (that banned negotiating for lower drug prices, 2 tax cuts for the rich none of which were paid for.

We need them paid for. Time for everyone to sacrifice something.

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About time. How about a 1% tax rate for Bush's wars? Or the Wars, Medicare Drug plan (that banned negotiating for lower drug prices, 2 tax cuts for the rich none of which were paid for.We need them paid for. Time for everyone to sacrifice something.

So it's Bush's fault that Californias economy is in the crapper?

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Solar technology company plans to bring 450 jobs to Austin

California-based SunPower wants to open local operations office; city to vote on incentives Dec. 9.

By Shonda Novak

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Updated: 5:12 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

Published: 10:28 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

In its first major U.S. expansion, SunPower Corp., a leader in solar panel technology, plans to open an operations center in Austin next year, bringing 450 jobs and an estimated $10 million in capital investment in the region's economy.

The California company is a significant economic victory for Austin, helping raise the city's profile as a clean technology center.

The jobs — in marketing, legal and finance areas — would pay an average of $70,000 a year, city officials say. The average wage for the lowest-paid 10 percent of local workers would be $40,000, the city said.

The jobs would be created over four years, with 80 percent of the positions filled locally. Hiring is expected to begin in December, with the new office opening in early 2011, said Ingrid Ekstrom, SunPower's director of corporate communications.

"This is great news for Austin — lots of jobs, and high-paying jobs. This is what we need at this juncture of our economic recovery," economic development consultant Angelos Angelou said. "They're a great company, and this is a good project to bring to Austin."

Gov. Rick Perry said the state would invest $2.5 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund, contingent on City Council approval of a local incentive package worth $901,710 over 10 years.

The city grant is tied to job creation.

The council will hear a presentation on the proposal Dec. 2; a vote is scheduled for Dec. 9.

SunPower designs and manufactures solar technology around the world for homes, businesses and utility companies. SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, and it reported $1.5 billion in revenue in fiscal 2009.

"Texas has great potential to become a significant solar market," SunPower CEO Tom Werner said in a statement. "If policies creating a stable solar market across Texas are enacted, this commitment by SunPower could be the start of significantly more investment and job creation in the state by the rapidly growing solar industry."

Dave Porter, senior vice president of economic development for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said SunPower's presence "will be a game-changer in terms of bringing global recognition to Austin and even more credibility in branding Austin as a clean-tech hub."

"It wasn't too long ago we would have lost out on an opportunity like this because our local incentives were not compatible with office-related projects," Porter said. In the past, the city's approach emphasized property tax breaks for large capital-intensive projects such as manufacturing plants.

But in the past year, the city has offered incentive packages tied to job creations to help land new employers, including Hanger Orthopedic Group, Facebook and LegalZoom, "and now, hopefully, SunPower," he said.

SunPower is proposing to create 115 jobs next year, adding 125 each in the following two years, plus 85 in 2014, said Brian Gildea, the city's economic development manager. Under the proposed agreement, SunPower could not receive more than $104,850 in any calendar year.

"If they create the jobs more quickly, they get paid more quickly, but it doesn't increase what they can get in terms of a total grant amount," Gildea said. "We didn't want them to be penalized if they created the jobs more quickly."

He said the city's cost-benefit analysis of the deal shows the city will have an $800,000 net benefit , in revenue from property and sales taxes and other sources, after the $901,710 incentive payments.

Gildea said SunPower is initially looking for 50,000 square feet of office space and ultimately 100,000 square feet. He said the company is considering locations downtown and in Northwest Austin.

Porter said the company has narrowed its search to three locations, but it will not sign a lease until the incentive process is complete.

Angelou said SunPower would join several companies in the solar industry coming to the area and enhancing its reputation in that field.

Solar farms that would generate an estimated combined 200 to 230 megawatts of power have been announced in Travis, Hays and Bastrop counties; if all are built, they would "make this region one of the leading regions in the United States for electricity generated by solar panels," Angelou said.

Austin Energy plans a $250 million solar farm in eastern Travis County, and RRE Austin Solar is expected to break ground Dec. 15 on a $230 million solar farm outside Pflugerville that would be one of the largest nationwide, Angelou said.

Gildea said SunPower not only will bring "a good number of quality jobs with good wages and benefits," but also, "we're hopeful this creates some additional development for Austin and Texas in the solar-development market."

snovak@statesman.com; 445-3856

http://www.statesman.com/business/solar-te...bs-1070725.html

:rolleyes:

The problem with the clean energy movement in CA is it largely focuses on policy and not jobs/manufacturing. Unfortunately, many supporters of clean energy in CA are unable to separate the two. You can't have a green energy revolution and be anti-business. Edited by jonessed

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The problem with the clean energy movement in CA is it largely focuses on macroeconomic policy and not jobs/manufacturing. They are not the same thing and I have a feeling that many supporters of clean energy in CA are unable to separate the two.

Wait until people in LA start seeing 8% rate increases every year in the name of green power:

DWP's green strategy could come with rate increases, the agency says

Electricity bills could rise an average of 5% to 8% in the next several years. But environmental groups criticize the plan for backing away from Villaraigosa's goals on clean energy.

By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times

December 7, 2010

Customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power could see electricity bills go up an average of 3% to 5% over each of the next 20 years if the agency moves ahead with a new strategy for making itself greener, utility officials said.

Even with those rate hikes, however, an array of environmental groups criticized that strategy Monday, saying it backs away from some of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's most ambitious renewable energy goals.

The rate-hike projections were announced as the DWP unveiled a draft plan that lays out the cost of the utility's proposed fuel mix over the next 20 years.

Mike Webster, the DWP's assistant director of power system development and planning, predicted the average rate hikes would be even larger over the next five years, as the city complies with new state carbon emission limits and regulations requiring the adoption of renewable power, such as solar and wind energy. Those annual increases would range from 5% to 8%, but more likely be "closer to 8%," he said.

"But these are investments, and we do expect something in return," Webster told an audience of residents, business owners and activists. "In return, we get lower greenhouse gas emissions."

Interested parties have until Friday to comment on the proposal at http://www.lapowerplan.org.

Some critics have already begun speaking out against new increases.

"At the end of the day, the consumer, the ratepayer, wants cheap, reliable energy and that's the No. 1 priority," said Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn., a San Fernando Valley business group.

The Sierra Club and roughly a dozen other organizations had a different set of concerns. They sent DWP Interim General Manager Austin Beutner a letter warning that the plan backs away from Villaraigosa's promise — made in his 2009 inaugural address — to get 40% of the utility's energy from renewable sources.

Those groups also complained that the plan abandons the mayor's pledge to end the DWP's reliance on coal by 2020. "Overall, the recommended course of action in the final draft … backtracks significantly from both city leaders' and the Los Angeles public's stated environmental priorities," the letter said.

DWP officials said they remain serious about their bid to eliminate coal and have already opened talks with stakeholders in the Intermountain Power Project in Utah, the utility's biggest source of coal. But they also said the DWP has not been able to guarantee that it could reach that target while maintaining a reliable source of power.

"I'm not going to support a document that contains a written statement that we can't execute on with certainty," said Lorraine Paskett, DWP senior assistant general manager.

As a result, the draft proposal currently allows the DWP to continue obtaining coal power from the Utah plant until 2027.

Utility officials said the plan does call for the DWP to reach another major milestone: eliminating the use of coal from the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona by 2014 — five years ahead of schedule. Environmental groups praised that effort, saying it showed the DWP was making progress on the elimination of coal at the utility.

david.zahniser@latimes.com

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About time. How about a 1% tax rate for Bush's wars? Or the Wars, Medicare Drug plan (that banned negotiating for lower drug prices, 2 tax cuts for the rich none of which were paid for.We need them paid for. Time for everyone to sacrifice something.

So it's Bush's fault that Californias economy is in the crapper?
Everything is always Bush's fault to cr8f, matthias, perry147, tommygunz, and the rest of 'em.

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High speed rail on the way!!! :loco:

I'm sure there's a plan, right?

California’s High-Speed Rail Off to Awful Start

December 8, 2010

There are a lot of critics when it comes to high-speed rail. So what does California do? They approve the first section of HSR rail to be built without trains or electricity. This has bad idea written all over it.

California has plans for an 800-mile high-speed rail system running the length of the Golden State, and initial estimates place the cost somewhere around $45 billion (though I wouldn’t be surprised if it cost twice that by the time it is finished). Even a 800 mile journey begins with the first step, and California has been trying to find the area most receptive to the idea of a high-speed rail line. They found that place in the Central Valley, between Borden and Bakersfield, with stations to be built in Fresno and the Hanford area of Kings County. In total, the plan calls for 65 miles of track and stations at a cost of about $4 billion.

Sounds good, right? That is, until you realize that this section will be completely un-powered and un-supported until more lines are built. No trains, no maintenance facilities, just empty tracks and stations. Que?

This is a very, very bad idea. From an engineering standpoint, I guess it makes sense to lay the infrastructure first in an area receptive to HSR. But why is it they can’t put even a single train on this line, to give people a chance to try HSR out before committing a few billion bucks to it? Build a word-of-mouth campaign from the people who get to use it regularly. Instead, it’ll be just empty tracks and stations, not exactly the best way to build support for a massive project like this.

Instead of quieting skeptics, this plan will give them more fuel for the fire. “Look at all the empty stations your tax dollars paid for!” They’ll say. Then there is the distinct possibility that politicians in either California or Washington could cut funding (this project is only possible with the Fed’s help after all). $45 billion isn’t exactly chump change, especially for a state that can’t even balance its budget. If funding gets cut after the first 54 miles are finished, well, what then? You’ve got a few billion dollars worth of HSR track that can’t even be used between a few small towns.

Come on California, you can do better than this.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The board, facing a looming deadline to capture $3 billion in federal stimulus funding, voted unanimously to lay the first high-speed rails between Borden, south of Madera, through Fresno, to Corcoran, midway between Fresno and Bakersfield. Stations will be built in Fresno and in the Hanford area of Kings County.

But the $4.3 billion segment will not carry trains until it can become part of a larger system reaching toward the Bay Area or Los Angeles. The initial section will include tracks, trestles and elevated structures, but not the electrical system that powers the trains, nor the rail cars or maintenance facility.

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High speed rail on the way!!! :thumbdown:

I'm sure there's a plan, right?

California’s High-Speed Rail Off to Awful Start

December 8, 2010

There are a lot of critics when it comes to high-speed rail. So what does California do? They approve the first section of HSR rail to be built without trains or electricity. This has bad idea written all over it.

California has plans for an 800-mile high-speed rail system running the length of the Golden State, and initial estimates place the cost somewhere around $45 billion (though I wouldn’t be surprised if it cost twice that by the time it is finished). Even a 800 mile journey begins with the first step, and California has been trying to find the area most receptive to the idea of a high-speed rail line. They found that place in the Central Valley, between Borden and Bakersfield, with stations to be built in Fresno and the Hanford area of Kings County. In total, the plan calls for 65 miles of track and stations at a cost of about $4 billion.

Sounds good, right? That is, until you realize that this section will be completely un-powered and un-supported until more lines are built. No trains, no maintenance facilities, just empty tracks and stations. Que?

This is a very, very bad idea. From an engineering standpoint, I guess it makes sense to lay the infrastructure first in an area receptive to HSR. But why is it they can’t put even a single train on this line, to give people a chance to try HSR out before committing a few billion bucks to it? Build a word-of-mouth campaign from the people who get to use it regularly. Instead, it’ll be just empty tracks and stations, not exactly the best way to build support for a massive project like this.

Instead of quieting skeptics, this plan will give them more fuel for the fire. “Look at all the empty stations your tax dollars paid for!” They’ll say. Then there is the distinct possibility that politicians in either California or Washington could cut funding (this project is only possible with the Fed’s help after all). $45 billion isn’t exactly chump change, especially for a state that can’t even balance its budget. If funding gets cut after the first 54 miles are finished, well, what then? You’ve got a few billion dollars worth of HSR track that can’t even be used between a few small towns.

Come on California, you can do better than this.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The board, facing a looming deadline to capture $3 billion in federal stimulus funding, voted unanimously to lay the first high-speed rails between Borden, south of Madera, through Fresno, to Corcoran, midway between Fresno and Bakersfield. Stations will be built in Fresno and in the Hanford area of Kings County.

But the $4.3 billion segment will not carry trains until it can become part of a larger system reaching toward the Bay Area or Los Angeles. The initial section will include tracks, trestles and elevated structures, but not the electrical system that powers the trains, nor the rail cars or maintenance facility.

Cool. Not only did we get to subject this catastrophe on ourselves, but we got all of the other states to chip in too. Your stimulus dollars at work America :confused:. Building the train track to nowhere. You coudn't come up with a better boondoggle if you tried.

I imagine there are quite a few FBGs in here that voted for this. Come on guys... lets see those hands!

Edited by jonessed

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I thought this was funny. (Copied from an e-mail)

Speaking of California...

The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor’s dog, then bites the Governor.

1. The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie Bambi and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.

2. He calls Animal Control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 for testing it for diseases, and $500 for relocating it.

3. He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the state $200for testing it for diseases.

4. The Governor goes to the hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.

5. The running trail gets shut down for six months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.

6. The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a “coyote awareness program” for residents of the area.

7. The state legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.

8. The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re: the nature of coyotes.

9. PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against the state.

Meanwhile, in Montana…

The Governor of Montana is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A Coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.

1. The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $0.50 on a .45 ACP hollowpoint cartridge.

2. The buzzards eat the dead coyote.

And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Montana is not.

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I'm still embarrassed my state picked Jerry Brown. I need to move or become governor. Also, that joke sucks.

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I'm still embarrassed my state picked Jerry Brown. I need to move or become governor. Also, that joke sucks.

I'd advise you to move if you can. It's too late for California. Rest in Peace. If you just rent, you got the perfect get of jail free card. If you own, and have seen your property values dump, you have no choice but to ride it out, continuing to pay those crazy high taxes. Don't try to analyze or make sense of Gov Brown's politics. Your best hope is finding a way to leave California with your net worth still relatively intact.

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I have little net worth but am starting a business later this year. Can't wait to get screwed. I tried Florida for a year and couldn't stand it.

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San Francisco dishes out $170 Million in BONUSES to Government retirees

Financial problems in California? Can't be. Not when they're passing out bonuses.

As San Francisco struggles under ballooning pension and health care costs, the city’s retirees will receive unexpected cost-of-living bonuses totaling $170 million. The city’s anticipated budget deficit for the coming year is $360 million.

A political battle has raged over the city’s growing retirement obligations. In November, Proposition B, which would have required city workers to contribute more toward their pensions and benefits, was soundly defeated. The measure’s opponents — every major elected official and energetic public-employee unions — said fears about the pension fund were overblown.

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Taxes are not evil. I don't mind paying them if they are used well. People in this country have a lot of services yet want to pay nothing for them.

We've become very lazy and selfish as a country.

If they get my state(not Calif) out of debt I'll definitely pay more. I wish I could pay an extra $80 a month for minimal health care rather than pay $$$$ to insurance companies.

San Francisco dishes out $170 Million in BONUSES to Government retirees

Financial problems in California? Can't be. Not when they're passing out bonuses.

As San Francisco struggles under ballooning pension and health care costs, the city’s retirees will receive unexpected cost-of-living bonuses totaling $170 million. The city’s anticipated budget deficit for the coming year is $360 million.

A political battle has raged over the city’s growing retirement obligations. In November, Proposition B, which would have required city workers to contribute more toward their pensions and benefits, was soundly defeated. The measure’s opponents — every major elected official and energetic public-employee unions — said fears about the pension fund were overblown.

They are cost of living increases not bonuses, but this is definitely wrong.

Edited by cr8f

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Taxes are not evil. I don't mind paying them if they are used well. People in this country have a lot of services yet want to pay nothing for them.We've become very lazy and selfish as a country.If they get my state(not Calif) out of debt I'll definitely pay more. I wish I could pay an extra $80 a month for minimal health care rather than pay $$$$ to insurance companies.

The lemmings of this country are currently brainwashed by politicians that blabber that they are going to lower taxes. They have no plan to do so. They just know it will get them elected. Your statements are true. People think you can endlessly lower taxes. That is what the politicians have created. Those days are over though. ######## Scott thinks he is going to lower taxes. Wrong.Waste in gov't....hell yeah there is. I see it but not in my dept. A few simple examples: I can make a desktop last 7+ years. I can make a laptop go 5+ years. My cell phone costs between employees is zero. The rest of the calls are at the lowest rate possible. No one and I mean no one gets a device like a blackberry or iphone. You can't give me a logical reason for one.

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California taxes away jobs while Texas adds them

In 2008, 70 percent of all the jobs in the country were created in Texas. In 2009, all of America's top five job-creating cities were in Texas.

More recently, "Texas created 129,000 new jobs in the last year -- over one-half of all the new jobs in the U.S. In contrast, California lost 112,000 jobs during the same period," according to "Texas vs. California: Economic growth prospects for the 21st Century," a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation released in October.

Texas is home to 64 Fortune 500 companies -- more than any other state in the union. (California has 51 and New York has 56.) For five years in a row, Texas has topped Chief Executive magazine's poll of the best state to do business.

Meanwhile, California is ranked dead last in the Chief Executive's survey. California state treasurer Bill Lockyer even went so far as to pen a Dec. 20 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times denying "the claim that we have a hostile business climate."

So why are businesses flocking to Texas and fleeing California? Well, as a recent headline from The Economist put it, in California "They paved paradise and put up the parking taxes."

Texas has no personal income tax. With a top rate of 10.3 percent, California has the third-highest state income tax after Oregon and Hawaii.

The tax advantage goes much deeper. The Tax Foundation cites California as having the 33rd highest corporate income tax topping out at 8.8 percent -- much higher than Texas' modest 1 percent gross receipts tax on business.

California's capital gains tax is the highest in the country, whereas Texas levies no tax on capital gains. California's sales tax is the second highest in the nation and its energy taxes are the highest in the country.

And as California's taxes have gotten higher, the state's revenue has become more unstable.

"When you're taxing income that high you're not taxing wage income, your taxing capital gains and dividends, which is tying you to the most volatile form of taxation -- the corporate income tax," Kail Padgitt, economist and author of the Tax Foundations' annual State Business Tax Climate Index.

"That's the problem for California -- boom-time budgeting. Texas is more dependent on property taxes and stable forms of taxation and Texas' two year budget cycle requires more planning, and that's helped them."

The result is that California is inordinately dependent on taxing the wealthy, which has proven to be a poor economic strategy. The decline in tax revenues from households making over $200,000 accounts for 93 percent of California's total decline in tax revenues since 2007.

When states tax wealthy earners too much, they often get up and move to where the tax burden is lower -- such as Texas.

While high-tax states like California are foundering, not-tax states are thriving. From 1997 to 2008, Texas and the other nine states with no personal income tax created 89 percent more jobs and had 32 percent faster personal income growth.

The lessons learned from California's progressive taxation apply to the whole country. A 2008 survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found "taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States" -- even more so than socialist Europe.

If there are benefits of having high progressive tax rates, California shows that economic stability and job creation aren't among them.

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California taxes away jobs while Texas adds them

In 2008, 70 percent of all the jobs in the country were created in Texas. In 2009, all of America's top five job-creating cities were in Texas.

More recently, "Texas created 129,000 new jobs in the last year -- over one-half of all the new jobs in the U.S. In contrast, California lost 112,000 jobs during the same period," according to "Texas vs. California: Economic growth prospects for the 21st Century," a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation released in October.

Texas is home to 64 Fortune 500 companies -- more than any other state in the union. (California has 51 and New York has 56.) For five years in a row, Texas has topped Chief Executive magazine's poll of the best state to do business.

Meanwhile, California is ranked dead last in the Chief Executive's survey. California state treasurer Bill Lockyer even went so far as to pen a Dec. 20 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times denying "the claim that we have a hostile business climate."

So why are businesses flocking to Texas and fleeing California? Well, as a recent headline from The Economist put it, in California "They paved paradise and put up the parking taxes."

Texas has no personal income tax. With a top rate of 10.3 percent, California has the third-highest state income tax after Oregon and Hawaii.

The tax advantage goes much deeper. The Tax Foundation cites California as having the 33rd highest corporate income tax topping out at 8.8 percent -- much higher than Texas' modest 1 percent gross receipts tax on business.

California's capital gains tax is the highest in the country, whereas Texas levies no tax on capital gains. California's sales tax is the second highest in the nation and its energy taxes are the highest in the country.

And as California's taxes have gotten higher, the state's revenue has become more unstable.

"When you're taxing income that high you're not taxing wage income, your taxing capital gains and dividends, which is tying you to the most volatile form of taxation -- the corporate income tax," Kail Padgitt, economist and author of the Tax Foundations' annual State Business Tax Climate Index.

"That's the problem for California -- boom-time budgeting. Texas is more dependent on property taxes and stable forms of taxation and Texas' two year budget cycle requires more planning, and that's helped them."

The result is that California is inordinately dependent on taxing the wealthy, which has proven to be a poor economic strategy. The decline in tax revenues from households making over $200,000 accounts for 93 percent of California's total decline in tax revenues since 2007.

When states tax wealthy earners too much, they often get up and move to where the tax burden is lower -- such as Texas.

While high-tax states like California are foundering, not-tax states are thriving. From 1997 to 2008, Texas and the other nine states with no personal income tax created 89 percent more jobs and had 32 percent faster personal income growth.

The lessons learned from California's progressive taxation apply to the whole country. A 2008 survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found "taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States" -- even more so than socialist Europe.

If there are benefits of having high progressive tax rates, California shows that economic stability and job creation aren't among them.

Everything isn't rosie in Txas, they're broke too.

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I don't like saying this as it's my home state, but California deserves this mess after electing that moron Jerry Brown. I'm disgusted with the Democrats that they somehow thought this was their best candidate to fix the state.

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<!--quoteo(post=12620109:date=Nov 24 2010, 02:24 PM:name=MasterofOrion)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (MasterofOrion @ Nov 24 2010, 02:24 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=12620109"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->It is next to impossible to do business in California. This is one reason why.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->That's funny. I went to work today, just as I've done almost everyday for the past 10 years in Cali. I grabbed coffee at the coffee shop in the basement of my building. I had lunch at Grab and Go Subs. All the businesses appeared to be operating smoothly.

This is such an outrageous statement I feel it needs a bump in case anyone is going to mistakenly start taking tommy seriously.

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luxury has a price

So does a bullet train!
:thumbup:

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Scathing report alleges corruption at CalPERSA former chief executive and two former board members of the public employee pension fund are accused of steering billions of dollars to politically connected firms.By Marc Lifsher and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times9:12 PM PDT, March 14, 2011Reporting from Sacramento and Los Angeles --In a scathing report, a former chief executive of the California public employee pension fund was accused of pressuring subordinates to invest billions of dollars of pension money with politically connected firms.A 17-month investigation also found that Federico Buenrostro Jr. — along with former pension fund board members Charles Valdes and Kurato Shimada — strong-armed a benefits firm to pay more than $4 million in fees to consultant Alfred J.R. Villalobos, who later hired Buenrostro.The report, prepared for the California Public Employees' Retirement System by Washington law firm Steptoe & Johnson, comes amid widening attacks on public employee pension funds in California, Wisconsin, Iowa and other states for providing lavish benefits that cash-strapped governments can no longer afford.The findings of insider dealings at CalPERS could provide fresh ammunition to Republican lawmakers here who want Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to convert traditional pensions with guaranteed payments for life into 401(k)-type plans that rely heavily on employees' own contributions."Fixing California's pension problem is difficult enough without the stench of corruption and collusion that saps public confidence and gives taxpayers a reason to withhold support," said Dan Pellissier, president of Californians for Pension Reform, a group that is pushing a 2012 ballot initiative that would diminish state employee pension benefits.Shimada, Buenrostro, Valdes and Villalobos either declined to comment or did not return calls.Buenrostro served as CalPERS chief executive for six years, leaving in August 2008. The day after quitting, he went to work for Villalobos — a former CalPERS board member and deputy Los Angeles mayor who acted as an agent for investment firms seeking CalPERS money. The report said Villalobos hired Buenrostro with a $300,000 annual salary and gave him a Lake Tahoe condominium.While at CalPERS, Buenrostro repeatedly "inserted himself in the investment process in a manner inconsistent with prior practice at CalPERS, pressing its investment staff to pursue particular investments without evident regard for their financial merits," the report said.It said Buenrostro intervened with staff on behalf of Aurora Capital Group of Los Angeles to obtain investment money. Buenrostro told subordinates that Aurora was politically powerful, and that Aurora principal Gerald Parsky served on a state commission dealing with public employee benefits, the report said.Aurora was a Villalobos client, and Buenrostro told CalPERS staffers that he would represent it once he went to work with Villalobos, the report said.The report also noted that Buenrostro often intervened on behalf of favored private equity funds that staff called "friends of Fred."Staffers ultimately complained about Buenrostro to the board, and those complaints "became a basis for the board's efforts to replace him as CEO," the report said.CalPERS is the nation's largest public pension fund, with $228 billion in assets, providing benefits to about 1.6 million state and local government employees, retirees, spouses, children and other beneficiaries.In May 2010, the California attorney general sued Villalobos and Buenrostro, accusing them of scheming to enrich themselves through self-dealing and other misconduct in seeking CalPERS investment money on behalf of clients.According to the report, one of those investment funds — Apollo Global Management — asked Buenrostro to sign documents acknowledging that CalPERS was aware of so-called placement agent fees it was paying to Villalobos.Several CalPERS investment officers refused to sign the disclosures, the report said — but Buenrostro did, using pasted-on letterhead to make them look more official.Buenrostro made "representations regarding placement agent fees and related deal documents that are either demonstrably false or sufficiently suspect," the report said.The report, citing Buenrostro's ex-wife and an unnamed girlfriend, described Buenrostro as "a puppet" of Villalobos, who the report said earned more than $50million in placement agent fees.During his six years as head of CalPERS, Buenrostro received many valuable gifts from people and firms with financial interests in doing business with CalPERS, the report said.When he was married in 2004, he allowed Villalobos to host the wedding at his Zephyr Cove, Nev., home. Buenrostro also traveled with Villalobos and Valdes to the Middle East and Asia — with Villalobos picking up much of the costs, the report said."Buenrostro does not appear to have ever disclosed these gifts or recused himself from any CalPERS matters based on any of these apparent relationships," the report said.Valdes also pressured CalPERS investment staff to do business with Villalobos' firm, Arvco Capital Research, the report said.In September 2000, Valdes was close to being ruled out of order for raising his voice in support of a Los Angeles real estate investment firm, CIM Group, the report said. CalPERS staff had recommended a smaller investment than originally proposed. Arvco and Villalobos received a $9-million commission on the investment transaction.CIM also provided Academy Awards tickets to Valdes and other CalPERS people, the report said. Valdes attended in 2005 and 2006 but did not report the gifts on state financial disclosure documents.The report also provided new details about CalPERS dealings with Medco Health Solutions Inc. before the firm was awarded a $26-million contract to provide drug benefits to members.In May 2004, Villalobos hosted a meeting at his Lake Tahoe home with Medco CEO David Snow. Buenrostro attended."Soon after the May 2004 meeting at the Villalobos home, Medco agreed to retain Villalobos as a consultant and pay him $4 million," the report said.Villalobos received a final check for $1 million immediately after the CalPERS board approved the contract, according to the report, and also received a $20,000-a-month retainer until sometime in 2009.Last year Villalobos filed for personal bankruptcy protection, citing nearly $5 million in debts to Nevada casinos. It was his second personal bankruptcy.The report recommended that CalPERS improve accountability and reduce the risk of future abuses, including providing additional training to board members so that board business is not conducted in clandestine meetings with managers, and prohibiting the release of sensitive CalPERS information outside the organization.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-calpers-probe-20110315,0,1034953,print.story

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I don't like saying this as it's my home state, but California deserves this mess after electing that moron Jerry Brown. I'm disgusted with the Democrats that they somehow thought this was their best candidate to fix the state.

They deserve this mess for that fiasco of a tax bill that requires a super majority to get any tax raises done. Eventually you have to pay the band if you want to dance.

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I don't like saying this as it's my home state, but California deserves this mess after electing that moron Jerry Brown. I'm disgusted with the Democrats that they somehow thought this was their best candidate to fix the state.

They deserve this mess for that fiasco of a tax bill that requires a super majority to get any tax raises done. Eventually you have to pay the band if you want to dance.
That too. But I don't believe raising taxes even higher is going to help bring people and businesses back to the state.

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We need more of these guys:

A New Party Within a Party? Labor-Skeptic Democrats

Traditionally, criticism of public employee unions has come from politicians on the right. That's still true. But in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two progressive politicians have gained attention and prominence by taking on pensions and other expensive perks of such unions.

On paper, they couldn't be more different. San Francisco's Jeff Adachi, when he's not trying to rein in pension and retirement costs, runs the Public Defender's office, which represents poor people charged with crimes. Los Angeles's Bernard Parks, now a city councilman, made his name as a police chief dedicated to putting people in prison. Adachi is young and a progressive by any standard (save the wildly off-kilter standard of San Francisco, where one local pol explained to me once how Mayor Gavin Newsom was just like President George W. Bush). Parks, at 67 a senior citizen, has views on most broad economics and social issues that are liberal by most definitions, though on the labor-dominated city council he can seem like a conservative.

What binds Adachi and Parks together is their critique of public sector workers and their shared sense of alarm at the long-term threats to their cities' fiscal viability. Each argues that public employee perks must be reined in -- not in the name of lowering taxes or other right-wing ideological gains -- but so that there's enough money to protect progressive programs that benefit the public at large.

That's a powerful argument. And while public employees unions have tried to make both men pariahs, so far each has survived. (Parks appears to have beaten back a union-funded challenge to his re-election this week). One wonders if these two men -- each of whom, like the majority of younger Californians, is non-white -- may represent the vanguard of California progressive politics: a party within the Democratic party that is committed to progressive institutions and programs first, rather than public employees who make their living from running them.

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I wonder how those two will play with Democrats who believe Republicans are destroying America by going against unions.

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We need more of these guys:

A New Party Within a Party? Labor-Skeptic Democrats

Traditionally, criticism of public employee unions has come from politicians on the right. That's still true. But in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two progressive politicians have gained attention and prominence by taking on pensions and other expensive perks of such unions.

On paper, they couldn't be more different. San Francisco's Jeff Adachi, when he's not trying to rein in pension and retirement costs, runs the Public Defender's office, which represents poor people charged with crimes. Los Angeles's Bernard Parks, now a city councilman, made his name as a police chief dedicated to putting people in prison. Adachi is young and a progressive by any standard (save the wildly off-kilter standard of San Francisco, where one local pol explained to me once how Mayor Gavin Newsom was just like President George W. Bush). Parks, at 67 a senior citizen, has views on most broad economics and social issues that are liberal by most definitions, though on the labor-dominated city council he can seem like a conservative.

What binds Adachi and Parks together is their critique of public sector workers and their shared sense of alarm at the long-term threats to their cities' fiscal viability. Each argues that public employee perks must be reined in -- not in the name of lowering taxes or other right-wing ideological gains -- but so that there's enough money to protect progressive programs that benefit the public at large.

That's a powerful argument. And while public employees unions have tried to make both men pariahs, so far each has survived. (Parks appears to have beaten back a union-funded challenge to his re-election this week). One wonders if these two men -- each of whom, like the majority of younger Californians, is non-white -- may represent the vanguard of California progressive politics: a party within the Democratic party that is committed to progressive institutions and programs first, rather than public employees who make their living from running them.

Bernard Parks is paid about $450,000/year by the city of Los Angeles. He's hardly a poster child for what we should want from our elected "leaders."

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I wonder how those two will play with Democrats who believe Republicans are destroying America by going against unions.

This Democrat is against corruption, not the policy of laborers banding together to collectively bargain. I don't know why a case of corruption in CalPERS is suddenly proof positive that all unions are bad, but I'm not surprised to see it being spun that way.

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I wonder how those two will play with Democrats who believe Republicans are destroying America by going against unions.

This Democrat is against corruption, not the policy of laborers banding together to collectively bargain. I don't know why a case of corruption in CalPERS is suddenly proof positive that all unions are bad, but I'm not surprised to see it being spun that way.
I'm talking about Adachi and Parks. Not Villalobos.

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I wonder how those two will play with Democrats who believe Republicans are destroying America by going against unions.

The usual death threats against them and their families I'm sure.

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We need more of these guys:

A New Party Within a Party? Labor-Skeptic Democrats

Traditionally, criticism of public employee unions has come from politicians on the right. That's still true. But in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two progressive politicians have gained attention and prominence by taking on pensions and other expensive perks of such unions.

On paper, they couldn't be more different. San Francisco's Jeff Adachi, when he's not trying to rein in pension and retirement costs, runs the Public Defender's office, which represents poor people charged with crimes. Los Angeles's Bernard Parks, now a city councilman, made his name as a police chief dedicated to putting people in prison. Adachi is young and a progressive by any standard (save the wildly off-kilter standard of San Francisco, where one local pol explained to me once how Mayor Gavin Newsom was just like President George W. Bush). Parks, at 67 a senior citizen, has views on most broad economics and social issues that are liberal by most definitions, though on the labor-dominated city council he can seem like a conservative.

What binds Adachi and Parks together is their critique of public sector workers and their shared sense of alarm at the long-term threats to their cities' fiscal viability. Each argues that public employee perks must be reined in -- not in the name of lowering taxes or other right-wing ideological gains -- but so that there's enough money to protect progressive programs that benefit the public at large.

That's a powerful argument. And while public employees unions have tried to make both men pariahs, so far each has survived. (Parks appears to have beaten back a union-funded challenge to his re-election this week). One wonders if these two men -- each of whom, like the majority of younger Californians, is non-white -- may represent the vanguard of California progressive politics: a party within the Democratic party that is committed to progressive institutions and programs first, rather than public employees who make their living from running them.

Bernard Parks is paid about $450,000/year by the city of Los Angeles. He's hardly a poster child for what we should want from our elected "leaders."
Why? Because he's highly compensated?

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We need more of these guys:

A New Party Within a Party? Labor-Skeptic Democrats

Traditionally, criticism of public employee unions has come from politicians on the right. That's still true. But in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two progressive politicians have gained attention and prominence by taking on pensions and other expensive perks of such unions.

On paper, they couldn't be more different. San Francisco's Jeff Adachi, when he's not trying to rein in pension and retirement costs, runs the Public Defender's office, which represents poor people charged with crimes. Los Angeles's Bernard Parks, now a city councilman, made his name as a police chief dedicated to putting people in prison. Adachi is young and a progressive by any standard (save the wildly off-kilter standard of San Francisco, where one local pol explained to me once how Mayor Gavin Newsom was just like President George W. Bush). Parks, at 67 a senior citizen, has views on most broad economics and social issues that are liberal by most definitions, though on the labor-dominated city council he can seem like a conservative.

What binds Adachi and Parks together is their critique of public sector workers and their shared sense of alarm at the long-term threats to their cities' fiscal viability. Each argues that public employee perks must be reined in -- not in the name of lowering taxes or other right-wing ideological gains -- but so that there's enough money to protect progressive programs that benefit the public at large.

That's a powerful argument. And while public employees unions have tried to make both men pariahs, so far each has survived. (Parks appears to have beaten back a union-funded challenge to his re-election this week). One wonders if these two men -- each of whom, like the majority of younger Californians, is non-white -- may represent the vanguard of California progressive politics: a party within the Democratic party that is committed to progressive institutions and programs first, rather than public employees who make their living from running them.

Bernard Parks is paid about $450,000/year by the city of Los Angeles. He's hardly a poster child for what we should want from our elected "leaders."
Why? Because he's highly compensated?
The city is broke. He also happens to be the CHAIR of the city's budget committee. He's largely responsible for the fiscal problems the city is facing. I'd say he isn't doing his job that well, certainly not to the tune of 450k/year. The reason he's so highly compensated is that he's double dipping. He's collecting his pension from when he was Police Chief plus his salary on the highest paid city council in the country. I'm opposed to double dipping, especially when you're talking about salaries in the multiple six figure range. Pensions were designed to help people out when they retire. If Parks wants to continue to work then he shouldn't be collecting his pension. Many cities don't allow it. It's just another example of how poorly run Los Angeles is that they do allow it. Edited by StrikeS2k

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