End the Billion Dollar Owens Lake Rip-off of LA Ratepayers by Ted “Elmer Gantry” Schade
Monday, 18 March 2013 11:26
Written by James Enstrom and Harold Calahan
08 Feb 2013
VOICES - During the past decade the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control Officer Ted Schade has extracted $1.2 billion
from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) Ratepayers, increasing their water bills by up to 20%. This Ratepayer money has been used to build Ted’s Empire in the Great Basin (Alpine, Inyo, and Mono Counties) in order to control dust from Owens Lake.
The dust, a form of particulate matter air pollution, is blown off the dry lake bed by wind. Owens Lake has been largely dry since the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913 by DWP’s Chief Engineer William Mulholland. This aqueduct has made possible the delivery of water necessary for the growth and survival of Los Angeles for the past century. As an organization deeply concerned about Owens Lake, DWP has worked diligently to successfully reduce the lake dust to an entirely safe level.
The Great Basin, which has a population density of only two people per square mile, is not experiencing any documentable adverse health effects from the current level of Owens Lake dust.
However, Schade continues to exaggerate the dangers of dust in the Great Basin with the religious fervor of Elmer Gantry.
He demands further dust reduction based on the US EPA PM regulations, even though they are not scientifically valid in California.
Also, he co-authored an April 2012 report that claims over 9,000 deaths per year in California can be attributed to Owens Lake dust exposure.
Then, amazingly, Schade requested in a July 2012 letter that the Great Basin be EXEMPTED from costly dust-related regulations by claiming the dust is NOT dangerous in this sparsely populated area. Like Elmer, Ted is a hypocritical charlatan!
All the while, PRECIOUS California water, equal to the amount used by the City of San Francisco (over thirty billion gallons a year), continues to be pumped into Owens Lake, where it simply evaporates.
Instead of agreeing to the much less wasteful dust control proposed by DWP, Shade has hired $750 per hour attorneys and has demanded $400 million more for dust control done his way. His demand is so outrageous that DWP filed an October 12, 2012 federal lawsuit against Ted’s Empire.
This lawsuit has wide support from Ratepayers, the entire Los Angeles City Council, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, homeowners associations, and others.
Until Shade stops misrepresenting the dangers of the Owens Lake dust and agrees to efficiently and economically control it, a new advocacy group appropriately named IRATE (Irate Ratepayers Against Ted’s Empire) will advocate and promote an IMMEDIATE AND TOTAL boycott of the Great Basin, particularly Mammoth Lakes.
IRATE has extensive expertise in the flawed PM (dust) science that is being misused by unaccountable regulators like Schade and in effective ways to do Ratepayer advocacy.
IRATE is organizing the BOYCOTT with assistance from as many Ratepayers as possible in order to stop the water waste at Owens Lake and end Ted’s billion dollar rip-off.
CA Tea Party Groups Coalition Suggestions for November Propositions
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 23:12 Monday, 10 September 2012 11:59
- Proposition 30 - Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. Increases sales and use tax by ¼ cent for four years. Allocates temporary tax revenues 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. Bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments.
( Dawn’s commentary: It is not a coincidence that the amount of money this tax increase raises is the interest on the High Speed Rail bonds. This is for the Governor’s dream project, the Train to Nowhere: NO on Prop 30)
- Proposition 31 -Establishes two-year state budget cycle.
Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified. Permits Governor to cut budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if Legislature fails to act.
(Dawn’s commentary of the proposition: NO on Prop 31! I doubt the boobs in Sacramento will be any more effective doing a budget every 2 years instead of the annual one they are suppose to produce..and this is a Trojan Horse to steal money from Peter in the suburbs and give it to Paul in the cities, don’t be fooled on this one folks, )http://tinyurl.com/9lfedpo
- Proposition 32 – Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction.Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.
Restricts union political fundraising by prohibiting use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Same use restriction would apply to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Permits voluntary employee contributions to employer or union committees if authorized yearly, in writing. Prohibits unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates and candidate-controlled committees. Other political expenditures remain unrestricted, including corporate expenditures from available resources not limited by payroll deduction prohibition. Limits government contractor contributions to elected officers or officer-controlled committees.
(Dawn’s commentary: Yes on Prop 32, this is the first chance we have to level the playing field as taxpayers!)
- Proposition 38 – Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute.
Increases personal income tax rates for annual earnings over $7,316 using sliding scale from .4% for lowest individual earners to 2.2% for individuals earning over $2.5 million, ending after twelve years. During first four years, 60% of revenues go to K-12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs. Thereafter, allocates 85% of revenues to K-12 schools, 15% to early childhood programs.
(Dawn commentary : No on Prop 38: NO! Punishing wealth creators while creating more progressive indoctrination centers for young children is not a great idea).
- Proposition 39 – Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. I
Requires multistate businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. Repeals existing law giving multistate businesses an option to choose a tax liability formula that provides favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside California. Dedicates $550 million annually for five years from anticipated increase in revenue for the purpose of funding projects that create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in California. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Approximately $500 million in additional state General Fund revenues in 2012-13 and $1 billion each year thereafter from requiring a single sales factor formula for corporate taxes, with about half of the additional annual revenues from 2013-14 through 2017-18 supporting energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. Increased Proposition 98 minimum funding guarantee for K-14 schools of roughly $225 million annually from 2012-13 through 2017-18 and by roughly $500 million each year thereafter, as a result of additional state General Fund revenues.
( Dawn’s commentary: NO on Prop 39! Wow - can a proposition possibly be more full of fail ? More taxes, more bureaucracy, and green energy projects. See Solyndra, and pass this loser up.)
Censorship rears its ugly head in California Senate
Friday, 10 August 2012 11:17
By Dan Walters
Published: Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 - 12:00 am
Let's not mince words about what the state Senate's Democratic leader did Wednesday. It was self-serving censorship, the sort of thing that one expects from tinpot dictators, not from those who fancy themselves to be progressive civil libertarians.
Someone acting for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suddenly cut off cable television access to a legislative hearing to air facts and arguments about pending ballot measures.
The Senate Governance and Finance Committee called the hearing – as required by law – into three tax increases (Propositions 30, 38 and 39) and altering the state's budgetary procedures (Proposition 31).
As it opened, the committee's chairwoman, Democrat Lois Wolk, said she hoped that the testimony would help voters make reasoned decisions about the highly controversial measures.
But only the few people in the hearing room and those technologically savvy enough to tune into an Internet audio feed heard Wolk's words.
Just before the hearing was to be telecast on the California Channel, a public affairs channel carried on most cable systems, somebody from the Senate told Cal Channel to cut it off.
It's obviously bad business that Capitol politicians can control what the public sees of their activities. But this is an especially egregious example of manipulating that power for political purposes.
It wouldn't take a Mars rocket scientist to figure out why Democrats didn't want the hearing to be broadcast.
One witness was to be Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who opposes Proposition 30, the sales and income tax measure that Steinberg is fervently supporting. And he would most likely dwell on the Senate staff raises that Steinberg had granted as an example of why taxes should not be raised.
Coupal, in fact, made exactly that point, but that's what the hearing was about – airing the arguments and counterarguments along with factual information from the Legislature's budget analyst.
Steinberg spokesman Rhys Williams said this:
"It was inappropriate to provide legislative resources to promote the ballot measure campaigns of either side, and in particular to make those public-funded resources easily available for exploitation in political TV commercials. No different than the rules that apply to legislative staff."
Balderdash. You could say the same thing about any hearing or any legislative debate on any issue. In any event, it's still blatant censorship.
Steinberg made Wolk look like a fool when she touted her hearing as a way to inform the public. He owes her an apology.
More importantly, he owes 38 million Californians an apology for denying them access to a public hearing of their Legislature for crassly political motives. And he owes them a promise never, ever to do it again.
Dozens of lawmakers donate to Gov. Brown's tax initiative
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:51
July 31, 2012
More than two dozen Democratic state legislators have contributed thousands of dollars apiece to help pass Gov. Jerry Brown's multibillion-dollar tax initiative, according to disclosure documents filed Tuesday.
Twenty-eight legislators donated amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 from their campaign or ballot measure committees between April and June 30 to bolster prospects for Brown's Proposition 30, which would raise sales taxes slightly on everyone and income taxes sharply on high-income Californians.
The lawmakers' contributions were garnered by a committee named Californians Working Together to Restore and Protect Public Schools, Universities and Public Safety, sponsored in part by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, teachers and labor unions.
"This is an important priority for California to protect our schools and local public safety, and (Perez) has actively encouraged people to contribute to support the governor's campaign," said Doug Herman, Perez's political strategist.
Californians Working Together collected $6.5 million in cash or in-kind contributions during the three-month period, and about $3.3 million earlier in the year, bringing its grand total to $9.7 million in 2012, records show.
Numerous other groups also are collecting money for or against Proposition 30.
Senate Democrats who contributed to Californians Working Together between April and June 30 were Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, $25,000; Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, $20,000; and Ellen Corbett of San Leandro, $19,000.
Among Assembly Democrats, $10,000 contributions were received from Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, Toni Atkins of San Diego, Wes Chesbro of Arcata, Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, Norma Torres of Pomona, Luis Alejo of Watsonville, Bill Monning of Carmel, Isadore Hall of Compton, Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles, Roger Hernandez of West Covina, Bob Wieckowski of Fremont; Rich Gordon of Menlo Park, Susan Bonilla of Concord, Das Williams of Santa Barbara, Mike Gatto of Los Angeles, Nora Campos of San Jose, and Felipe Fuentes of Sylmar.
Contributions of $5,000 came from Assembly Democrats Roger Dickinson of Sacramento, Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills, Fiona Ma of San Francisco, V. Manuel Perez of Coachella, Wilmer Amina Carter of Rialto, and Mary Hayashi of Castro Valley. Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, and Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, each chipped in $2,000.
Earlier in the year, Perez, D-Los Angeles, contributed $100,000 from his ballot measure committee to the pro-Proposition 30 effort. Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, donated $20,000.
Californians Working Together's highest donors have been labor groups: California Teachers Association, $1.5 million; American Federation of Teachers, $1.2 million; Service Employees International Union Local 1000, $1 million; and the California State Council of Service Employees, $1 million; United Domestic Workers of America, $800,000; and the California Federation of Teachers, $800,000, state records show.
Dodging The Bullet Train
Friday, 27 July 2012 13:26
Moment of Clarity July 19, 2012
A first-class round-trip airline ticket from Los Angeles to San Francisco costs $393.60. And what, you may wonder, does that have to do with you? Here's what: It would be cheaper for you – the taxpayer - to buy first-class tickets for the first 112 million High Speed Rail (HSR) passengers than it will be to build the first phase of California's HSR. Let that sink in for just a moment.
The taxpayers of the nation ($3.3 billion) and the state of California ($1.4 billion) will pay more than $4.7 billion to build a rail line that 99% of Americans (and over 70% of Californians surveyed for that matter) will never use. But wait – that is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, that $4.7 billion only covers a tiny little stretch of the total system – Step 1, they call it. The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) tells us that this first leg is vital because it closes the rail gap between Bakersfield and Palmdale. The punch line writes itself.
The cost to build the entire 520 mile length of California's HSR is now estimated to exceed $98 billion. That is not a misprint. If you need a little perspective, there are 119 countries whose GDP is less than $98 billion. $98 billion would buy 249 million first-class airfares. That's right - 249 million rides from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back, twice as fast as the bullet train, free drinks, and you don't have to stop in Palmdale.
And $98 billion is only the initial construction cost for California's HSR; it does not include the annual operating and maintenance costs once the system is built. The California High Speed Rail Authority projects operating costs of $453 million per year; they say they will sell the 6 million fares it will take to break even and avoid a taxpayer subsidy.
Let's stop laughing for a minute and give them the benefit of the doubt that a government public works program will come in on budget (snort), cost what they say to operate (involuntary passing of gas) and achieve the ridership they claimed in order to sell DOT on the project (milk through nose).
$98 billion would buy those 6 million California train dudes and dudettes first-class round-trip airfare from LAX to SFO and back for the next 41 years. 41 years is a long time - we will have forgotten the next two generations of Kardashians by then; Lindsay Lohan's granddaughter will be in rehab. And flying them all first class will save over $18 billion of train operating costs - money that can be used for other liberal priorities, like feeding hungry children, insuring the uninsured, building spy drones to buzz tea parties, suing states, or invading Syria.
This is what happens when people with no clue where money comes from decide what to do with yours. Economic absurdity requires a level of ignorance not easily maintained over the course of normal living. These ideas do not spring up in places like Bakersfield and Palmdale; they are hatched in reality deprivation chambers like Washington, Madison, and Berkley.
Actually, I am a fan of high-speed-rail - just not the public variety. If HSR was economically viable, private investment would develop it; there is enough cash on corporate balance sheets to build the California system four times over, to say nothing of the capital available in private equity firms.
HSR is built in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost in China, where advanced construction technology is utilized and the business climate favors economic development. But California is not China; California's business climate favors Nevada - there's your moment of clarity.
The irony is that many of the same people who worked to kill mining in Wisconsin are out pushing for High Speed Rail in California. Perhaps no one has explained it to them, but there isn't one single part in that whole system that is woven out of hemp. It will take millions of pounds of iron, copper, nickel, silver, cement, aluminum, rare earth metals, and plastics refined from petroleum to make this bullet train they seem to think Providence owes them. And guess what - coal and nuclear power plants will furnish the power that will make it go fast. Trains do not run on good intentions.
Construction of the rail line will take thousands of diesel-powered machines and there will be belching black puffs of carcinogens every time a piece of dirt is moved. Those dozers and graders and excavators will be polluting the air in California and heaving greenhouse gasses up into the atmosphere for 20 years before the first green ride on that bullet train ever takes place.
The FAQ page of the California High Speed Rail Authority points to Spain as its role model. Yes, that Spain - the nation that had to borrow money from France to pay its portion of the Greek bailout to keep Portugal from falling next and taking Italy with it. Thank goodness we didn't copy their health care model, too… oh, wait… never mind.
The California High Speed Rail project would be stupid even if we had money. But since the nation is broke, and California has to look up to even see the bottom of broke, the project is certifiably insane. That's why all the grownups said no.
Wisconsin dodged a high-speed bullet when Governor Walker killed HSR here, and Florida's Governor Rick Scott was smart enough to pass on it, too - as were dozens of other sober governors with calculators and a lick of common sense. It took the combined moon-battery of Jerry Brown, Ray LaHood, and Barack Obama to place the nation's dumbest public works project on the nation's most active fault line.
It was inevitable that this HSR project would end up in California; it is the only state in the union with enough weed to make it seem like a good idea.
Moment of Clarity is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim's website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.
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