27 Jan

Season 2, Episode 4 – Jerry Brown Likes Trains

In this episode, technical stupidity aside, we talk about Kevin Kiley again in regards to his 10 Questions for Governor Brown as well and Joshua rips a little into his 10 Reasons to vote for Kiley.

We also look at Gov. Jerry Brown’s final State of the State address, specifically this nonsense:

The funds that SB 1 makes available are absolutely necessary if we are going to maintain our roads and transit systems in good repair. Twenty-five other states have raised gas taxes. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called for a federal gas tax because the highway trust fund is nearly broke.

Government does what individuals can’t do, like build roads and bridges and support local bus and light rail systems. This is our common endeavor by which we pool our resources through the public sector and improve all of our lives. Fighting a gas tax may appear to be good politics, but it isn’t. I will do everything in my power to defeat any repeal effort that may make it to the ballot.

Since I have talked about tunnels and transportation, I will bring up one more item of infrastructure: high-speed rail. I make no bones about it. I like trains and I like high-speed trains even better. So did the voters in 2008 when they approved the bond. Look, 11 other countries have high-speed trains. They are now taken for granted all over Europe, in Japan and in China. President Reagan himself said in Japan on November 11, 1983: “The State of California is planning to build a rapid speed train that is adapted from your highly successful bullet train.” Yes, we were, and now we are actually building it.

Like any big project, there are obstacles. There were for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, for the Golden Gate Bridge and for the Panama Canal. But build it they did and build it we will — America’s first high-speed rail system. One link between San Jose and San Francisco — an electrified Caltrain — is financed and ready to go. Another billion, with matching funds, will be invested in Los Angeles to improve Union Station as a major transportation hub and fix the Anaheim corridor.

19 Jan

Season 2, Episode 3 – New California Here We Come

Who needs to leave California with New California as an option? Well, those of us in Orange County because we’re on the wrong side of their silly line for one thing. We discuss this plan, or lack thereof.

High Speed Rail is getting more and more expensive so I try and explain how that is ripping us off and why Sacramento is lying to you about the funding.

We also talk about the Fullerton School Board voting to make firing terrible teachers a little bit more of a priority.

05 Jun

Episode 7 – T-Rack Strikes Back

Scandal is my name

In this episode we update you on the recall in California Senate District 29, we express our frustrations with the OCGOP, we talk about the ridiculousness of voting for a single payer healthcare system in California without having a way to pay for it, the absurdity that is the OC District Attorney’s office, high speed rail as a just and righteous endeavor, carpetbagging in the 39th congressional district, and adding teeth to the public records act.

Recall Update

  • http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/02/sen-josh-newman-recall-gains-traction/
  • In just 3 weeks the recall effort has collected over half of the required 64,000 signatures to recall Sen. Josh Newman.
  • Aggression on both sides, but notably on the opposition side.
    • Confrontations with signature gatherers, calls to police, etc.
    • Just check out Carl DeMaio’s twitter feed to see the evidence of the confrontations.
  • Talk about the OCGOP operative who said they are considering running Ling Ling Chang again in the event the recall effort succeeds.
    • Sean and Josh can rant about the utter failure that is the OCGOP.

Single Payer Healthcare Bill – The Healthy California Act

  • http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/04/half-baked-single-payer-health-plan-amounts-to-political-stunt-3/
  • Bill passed the CA senate 23-14 with 3 abstentions.
    • All 3 abstentions were Democrats
      • Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), one of the abstentions, said the following: “This is the Senate kicking the can down the road to the Assembly and asking the Assembly to fill in all of the blanks.”
        • Funny that he didn’t vote no and, instead, abstained. Seems like he’s protecting himself from his base with this vote.
    • Newman voted for this even though he expressed concern to the OC Democratic Party that there was no mechanism to pay for it.
  • Why pass a bill through the Senate that is obviously incomplete?
  • Legislative Analyst Office stated the cost would be around $400 billion
    • Nearly 3 times the entire state budget
  • Another study (funded by the California Nurses Association) found the cost to be closer to $331 billion.
    • They claim this will end up saving consumers and employers money in the long run.
    • When has a government project ever come in at or under budget?
  • There are still billions in unfunded pension liabilities that will eventually need to be addressed. Adding hundreds of billions to the budget on top of that is irresponsible at best and downright criminal at worst.
  • One aspect of the bill very few people are talking about is how it will affect those in the medical insurance industry.
    • “‘Dental insurance companies, third party administrators, COBRA administrators, compliance services, benefits administration system services: It is a massive amount of people who are not going to have something to fall back on,’ says Benton, who is also a spokesman for the California Association of Health Underwriters.”
    • For obvious reasons, the insurance industry opposes the bill.
      • That doesn’t mean the plight of the tens of thousands of jobs that would be displaced because of this bill should be ignored.
  • http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/01/health-care-for-all-more-like-how-to-destroy-california/
    • “Sen. Lara claims his plan will operate the way Medicare does, but that just isn’t true. “A single-payer health system would not look like ‘Medicare for all,’ but Medi-Cal, the state’s welfare program for low-income residents’ health care,” health scholar John Graham recently wrote in the Register. “A 2013 study found only 54 percent of office-based physicians accepted Medi-Cal patients. Another found only 36 percent of psychiatrists would accept Medi-Cal patients.””
    • “Graham points out Medicare beneficiaries do not experience limited access to specialists because the program is fully funded and paid for by working-age people who finance Medicare’s spending on people aged 65 and older.”
    • “Many in California say Sen. Lara’s plan will more likely deliver the abysmal health care that America’s veterans are subjected to from the government-run Veterans Administration.”

OC District Attorney Scandal

  • http://www.ocregister.com/2017/05/26/da-investigators-allege-cover-ups-in-murder-case-city-manager-dui/
  • Background: OCDA Tony Rackauckas’s office had been removed from the Scott Dekraai murder case because of the prison informant scandal.
    • Effectively, the OCDA’s office was using jailhouse informants to illegally acquire incriminating evidence against people on trial.
    • Even in cases where the informant’s use was not required or necessary (Dekraai case), they still used them and collected information.
  • Recently, several whistleblowers have come forward to accuse OC’s top cop of breaking the rules when it came to cases involving friends and political allies and to punish his opponents.
    • “Combined, the claims filed Friday accuse top brass in the DA’s office of interfering in three high-profile cases — a drunk driving charge involving Fullerton’s former city manager, a potential capital murder charge in Cypress, and the investigation of a would-be shooting rampage at an elementary school.
      • Josh can talk about the drunk driving story he broke.
    • It is alleged the Fullerton police chief called in a favor owed by the arresting sergeant and effectively tried to cover up the DUI. Once the OCDA’s office realized what had happened, a higher up decided to only investigate the DUI and not the obstruction of justice allegedly perpetrated by the chief of police.
      • One of the allegations, listed only by Santos, involves an election night car crash by Fullerton’s then City Manager Joe Felz on Nov. 9, 2016. A Fullerton police officer, who responded to the scene, notified the city’s then Police Chief Dan Hughes, who contacted a police sergeant and allegedly told him to drive Felz home instead of arresting him.
      • Santos’ investigation later concluded that Hughes was calling in a favor allegedly owed by a sergeant. That sergeant, according to Santos’ claim, had once been caught having sex in a police car but was never disciplined.
      • “Chief Hughes covered up the misconduct by his sergeant and, when he needed him in the Joe Felz DUI/attempted hit-and-run case, (the sergeant) repaid” the favor to Chief Hughes,” said the claim.
      • Santos’ subsequent investigation of the incident concluded that Hughes “criminally obstructed justice.” But the county never filed a charge against Hughes. Santos, in his claim, said Assistant District Attorney Ibrahim Baytieh told him, “I am friends with Chief Hughes and we are only going to be investigating the DUI and nothing else.”
      • A short time after Santos and Bayteih allegedly spoke about Hughes’ actions, the case was taken from Santos, according to his claim.
      • Hughes did not return calls for comment and Fullerton Police Chief David Hinig said he could not comment on personnel matters. Baytieh, reached at his office, referred questions to Orange County Counsel Leon Page. At the time of the crash, Hughes had already announced his intention to leave for a top security job at the Disney Resort.
      • The DA’s office, in March, charged Felz with driving under the influence and hit and run. He pleaded not guilty. Felz retired at the end of last year.
  • Our own OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchins seem to be in on the scandal.
    • http://www.ocweekly.com/news/orange-county-sheriff-sandra-hutchens-cheats-again-in-snitch-scandal-8156643
    • “At this point, it’s beyond debate that Sheriff Sandra Hutchens doesn’t care what happens to Dekraai or how the families of his eight victims feel. Hutchens, who, like Rackauckas, laughably calls the snitch scandal imaginary, just wants to survive the controversy and continue hailing herself as a virtuous cop as she parades through community events where ignorant citizens applaud her presence.”
    • She is allegedly using intimidation tactics to either keep her deputies from testifying on the jailhouse informant scandal or, when forced to testify by court order, keep the testimony vague and uninformative.

California Colleges Do Not Meet the State’s Needs

  • http://www.pe.com/2017/06/02/why-californias-colleges-earned-a-d-in-meeting-the-states-needs/
  • California needs to increase the rate of graduation at its colleges and universities.
    • “The study estimates that the 48.5 percent of people age 25-64 in the state with post-secondary degrees — either bachelor’s or associate degrees or certificates — needs to rise to 60 percent by 2025 to meet workforce demands. To reach that, the graduation rate must increase 4.2 percent annually. For the most recent years studied, 2013-2014 compared to 2014-2015, the increase was just 1.7 percent.”
  • Here’s the sticking point — more funding is needed for our public institutions.
    • “In recent decades, the portion of public college funding provided by the state has steadily decreased. To see any significant change, Dow said, the state is going to have to reinvest in its educational institutions.”
  • This means that funds will either need to be diverted from other projects or, more likely, drawn from new sources of revenue (taxes).
    • “Gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa and John Chiang all released statements in response to the report card. Each said education in the state needed to be a priority, but none specifically said they would increase funding.”
    • “The report doesn’t provide any guidelines for how much funding might be necessary. Dow said support can’t be limited just to legislators.”
  • More people with degrees aren’t necessary. More people with quality degrees are necessary.
    • Josh can bring up the story about his supervisor at Target.

Finish High Speed Rail?

  • http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article153955174.html
  • Editorial board argues completing the high speed rail project is just and fair because it will connect the central valley with the rest of California.
    • “San Mateo County’s unemployment rate is 2.5 percent. In Santa Clara County, the rate is 3.1 percent. Statewide, 4.8 percent of the workforce is out of a job. In too much of the other California that straddles Highway 99, times remain tough.”
    • “Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. Madera’s rate is 8.5 percent. Fresno County’s rate sits at 8.8 percent. Merced County’s rate is 10.2 percent.”
    • “At last count, 380 small businesses had a piece of the project. A review of high-speed rail documents through the end of March showed more than $1 billion in construction invoices for work between Madera and Shafter had been approved.”
  • The basic argument is that completing high speed rail will benefit the part of the state that has long been forgotten.
    • “And when it is done, we all will benefit, not just commuters and businesses in the Bay Area. Like the L.A. subway and BART, an improved CalTrain will ease gridlock, enhance economic activity, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The same will be true of high-speed rail.”
    • “The $20 billion Central Valley to Silicon Valley leg won’t carry commuters until 2025, give or take. But once it does, the forgotten part of California that coastal residents fly over or zip past en route to Yosemite will become connected to the rest of the state and gain their share of California’s bounty. That’s not a boondoggle. That’s fair.”

Carpetbagging in the 39th Congressional District

Public Records Act Gets Some Teeth

  • http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/02/states-public-records-act-needs-this-boost-2/
  • “The bill is hailed by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and other First Amendment advocates for putting teeth in the Public Records Act. Those may be baby teeth, but AB1479 would send a huge message: State leaders take open government seriously.”
    • It requires a designated person to be in charge of public records requests
    • Courts could levy fines from $1,000 to $5,000 against agencies that fail to comply with requests or who take too long to respond.
      • Taxpayer money paying the fines for not providing public records requests to taxpayers.
11 May

A Case to Recall CA State Senator Josh Newman

Newman-Ferguson

Today I will heading down to ARCO at 519 S. Harbor Blvd here in Fullerton to participate in the recall effort of CA State Senator Josh Newman. I will be there while KFI640’s John & Ken Show as well as KOGO600’s Carl DeMaio live broadcast while attempting to collect the required signatures. Many people will likely show up both for and against the recall and each will have their own reasons and their own beliefs. But why am I supporting the recall of Senator Newman?

I’ve been asked in various outlets and in person how I could support removing an official who was duly elected.

I’ve been asked if its fair to recall Senator Newman simply because he voted to our raise taxes.

I’ve been asked if there’s even a legal case to recall Senator Josh Newman.

I’ve also been accused of being used in a game of partisan bickering and political grandstanding. Being told that I’m nothing more than a tool of a party that lost all power when Newman beat Ling Ling Change thereby securing the Super-Majority for the Democratic Party.

I’ve also been yelled at quite a bit both online and off for my support of this contentious effort.

Obviously anything with a partisan angle or flair will allow people to adorn their blinders and lock arms with their tribe. For most the very answers to the above questions will depend on whom you ask being that (D)s will say that there is no case or justification for a recall whilst (R)s will clearly state the opposite.

None of that matters to me. As I have never been a member of a political party I am unaffected by tribal political grandstanding. Therefore I am going to answer these questions from the perspective of somebody who voted for Newman and yet is supporting his removal from office. Read More

23 Apr

Another Great High Speed Rail Train Robbery

Jeff Morales, the Chief Executive Officer for California’s High Speed Rail boondoggle is stepping down this summer. After goosing the taxpayers for about $2Million in Salary/Benefits since 2011 he finally has decided to step down before the High Speed Rail gets anywhere near completed or let alone high speed. From 2011-2015 Mr. Morales made just over $1.5Million in Salary/Benefits so unless he miraculously took a pay-cut in 2016 his total compensation comes near or just over the $2Million mark for 5 years of work. Great unaccountable work if you can get it.

Because he’s stepping down, and the position isn’t being eliminated, we’re going to have to replace him with some other goon who’ll get that fat paycheck. No wonder we keep needing to sell bonds to finance this nonsense boondoggle of 19th Century technology.

In the Press Release announcing Morales’ decision to leave they give some highlights of his tenure. Here’s a partial list with my notes in red:

  1. Injected upwards of $4 billion into California’s economy. Bond Debt with no way to pay for it. This is bad.
  2. Supported thousands of jobs in areas that have suffered chronic unemployment and put almost a thousand tradesmen and women to work. Make work jobs for the low-low price of $4 billion so far…
  3. Engaged well over 300 California small and disadvantaged businesses. What does “engaged” even mean here?
  4. Grown from just over a dozen employees to more than 200 employees. MOAR Bureaucracy! MOAR Make-Work! I’m not sure how that’s a good thing.
  5. Managed three successful procurement bids totaling more than $3 billion in contracts for 119 miles of construction, with each bid coming in hundreds of millions of dollars below engineers’ estimates. They are literally selling the point here that he spent $3 Billion. I could spend $3 Billion better for no money, let alone $500K/year. That’s another bad thing.
  6. Advanced the unprecedented environmental approval of the remaining segments. “Unprecedented”. In California? This stuff can’t be made up. For those who think environmental concerns in CA can EVER be “unprecedented” see: Smelt, Delta.
  7. Secured approval of the “d” plan for expenditure of bond funds, with first bond sales occurring this week. More plaudits for spending money we don’t actually have. He’s getting praised for saddling my kids with debt.
  8. Improved the right of way acquisition process, recovering from early delays. Improved? First of all this is something that should have been figured out BEFORE we started spending money and building Not Really High Speed Rail. Second the word “imrproved” is setting the bar pretty low here isn’t it?

I’d continue but you get the point I hope. This man is being applauded for spending money we don’t have, borrowing more money (bonds) we don’t have and getting things slowly moving on a project that will likely never get completed. Or if it does get completed won’t be used unless the State just bans all other forms of transportation. It seems the only thing High Speed about this project is the speed at which they spend money. I await finding out which HSR-Connected private firm Mr. Morales ends up working for after his departure.