Right-Wing Calls HSR A Boondoggle To Deflect From Own Boondoggle

Jul 31st, 2012 | Posted by

The rabidly anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is running ads calling high speed rail “the largest boondoggle in American history.” Their goal is to stir public outrage about HSR in order to defeat Prop 30, Governor Jerry Brown’s tax proposal:

“Sacramento politicians have turned their backs on education and public safety and voted to waste billions on the largest boondoggle in American history,” Jon Coupal, president of the association, says in the minute-long ad. “These same politicians are using scare tactics to force tax increases on the working people of California. While they push for more taxes, frivolous spending and political cronyism, they ignore desperately needed reforms to education, pensions and spending.”

This is pretty typical right-wing stuff from HJTA. The attempt to claim HSR comes at the expense of schools and public safety, when in fact it benefits the state budget and those services, is a standard trope of people who are ideologically opposed to public spending.

But the bigger irony is that the HJTA is responsible for one of the biggest boondoggles to actually hit California. Proposition 13, authored by Howard Jarvis himself, gutted California’s schools and public safety. It has cost the state tens of billions of dollars, undermining the middle class which depends on public services in order to find financial security. California’s budget would be in solid shape were it not for Prop 13 and its effects.

California has tried it HJTA’s way for nearly 35 years. It’s time to return to the tried and true method of using infrastructure to stimulate lasting economic growth.

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  1. morris brown
    Jul 31st, 2012 at 23:24
    #1

    I wouldn’t expect you to like the ad Robert. You can listen at:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkvniACfk2I

  2. YESONHSR
    Jul 31st, 2012 at 23:25
    #2

    That what this election is about..old rich white birds for OC and the rest of 1950s Cail /vs New meat..

  3. Stephen Smith
    Jul 31st, 2012 at 23:25
    #3

    Ridiculous. The early transcontinental railroads were the biggest boondoggles.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Not really, they made quite a profit for the government, even with the corruption that CAHSRA seems to be following in grand style. Of course, the Authority is going for all the corruption without any of the government profits (mainly based on land-sales and preferential government goods and passenger rates).

    VBobier Reply:

    Corruption? Where? What proof do You have, You have none that’s what… Put up or shut up, people would like to know, links please, otherwise it’s more right wing garbage…

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Multiple lead contractors as members of the board of directors and CEO of the project, Fresno station siting close to major financial interests of the then vice-chairman, lead contractor interference with SNCF, the whole Los Banos controversy, the refusal to study the best Grapevine alignments, etc.

    VBobier Reply:

    Pure supposition unless You can prove that in a court of law, otherwise it’s worthless and it will not stop HSR.

    VBobier Reply:

    until then.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Who on the CHSRA board besides Morales is (/was) with a lead contractor? I’m seeing a bunch of lawyers, a Fresno developer (Tom Richards – but he’s a still-vice chair according to the website, not a then-VC), and then a bunch of labor folks. Not inspiring much confidence, but aside from Morales (which is obviously a huge conflict of interest), I don’t see anyone who would have an obvious conflict of interest on the vendor side of things (labor, on the other hand…).

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    I’m not sure that I would describe Morales as a conflict of interest. He’s not a partner with equity in the firm as far I ask know. He was simply hired by PB because they realized he could contribute with some of the political issues while not being CEO. It’s entirely possible that PB would have hired Roelef if Morales had been selected as CEO from the get go….

    joe Reply:

    Morales (which is obviously a huge conflict of interest),

    What is his specific conflict of interest?
    What is his finanical stake in PB now that he no longer works for PB?

    For exmaple if he wokred at GM leading their advertising program and he GM left for FORD, would he have a conflcit of interest? No. A GM parts supplier who leaves and works for GM, the compnay he sold product? No.

    Paul H. Reply:

    @PD

    Where would you put the Fresno HSR Station?? At the Chaffee Zoo?! With your thinking, you probably would. The HSR station where it is in Fresno is on the DOWNTOWN AXIS that connects directly with Fulton Mall, the County Courthouse, and City Hall and within walking distance of the Chukchansi Park Stadium and the new residential Mural District. The HSR station at Mariposa is COMMUNITY consensus, not a developers pick. It makes the most sense, any objective observer would say so.

    synonymouse Reply:

    corruption – pulling in a flack from PG&E, the company who blew up San Bruno and tried to blame everybody else.

    corruption – Vill-ovich, running dogs of the Tejon Ranch Co.

    corruption – San Jose, a city on the periphery of the Bay Area trying to claim it is the exact center.

    **** all the above worthies

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Who is this Vill-ovich you’re speaking of?

    synonymouse Reply:

    A chimera built of Antonio Villaraigosa, alcalde of LaLa, and Michael Antonovich, exterminator of Palmdale desert rats. Tools and fools of the Chandlers.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Can you point me to somewhere where I can read all the arguments in favor of the Tejon Ranch conspiracy theory?

    VBobier Reply:

    I just did a Google search and I came up empty on the Tejon Ranch conspiracy theory

    synonymouse Reply:

    Try Richard Tolmach’s position papers.

    jonathan Reply:

    Note that Paul Druce has not substantiated his claims in any way.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The difference between 1869 and today is that then railroads were the only game in town. No automobiles, no airplanes. Building the transcontinental was like building the first generation highways across the US – everybody benefited from it directly and quickly.

    Spokker Reply:

    The difference between 1869 and today is conveniently ignored, even when progressives accuse others of doing the exact same thing.

    I think comparing a time when manifest destiny was public policy to now is illogical. What wasn’t profitable back when there was always more land further West? In those kind of conditions, chaining up your fellow man and forcing him to work cotton fields under threat of punishment and/or death is more profitable than selling goddamn Ipods.

    Who is to say that Robert wouldn’t have been running the GASlaverBlog had he been born in the South? It too was wildly profitable as long as there was more land further West. And then 150 years after slavery we can tell his poor white trash descendants they have inherent privilege. But this paragraph is more off-topic silliness than serious argument. However, I will place the two paragraphs before it into play.

    jonathan Reply:

    Spokker, I realize you’re writing with the handicap of being a knee-jerk reactionary.
    But even you should be aware that the 14th Amendment was passed in 1869.

    however, as you say, one huge difference between 1869 and now is that in 1869, railways were the only option for long-distance, heavy-goods land transportation. (Unless you lived in an area suitable for canals.) The transcontinental railroads were built from the ends inward because that same transcontinental railway was the only option for building a trainscontinental railroad.

    Arguing that we should build HSR from the ends inward because that’s how the Transcontinental Railroad was built is exactly like arguing that HSR should be built with pick-and-shovel manual labor, because that’ show the transcontinental railroad was built. In both cases — ends-in, manual labor — each was the only option at the time. Nowadays, for HSR, neither one is the only option.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @jonathan:

    like arguing that HSR should be built with pick-and-shovel manual labor

    Might be cheaper.

    VBobier Reply:

    On the West Coast Chinese did most of the manual labor from what I’ve read and at far below todays minimum wage, that no one, not even those of Chinese extraction would work for today, as that would be wage slavery and that is wrong no matter what…

    Spokker Reply:

    I wish I could work below minimum wage in order to build up my stock of human capital right now.

    jonathan Reply:

    You want to go to grad school???

    Spokker Reply:

    Been there, done that.

    Interestingly enough, it is the student who is told he can legally work for below minimum wage (at $0/hour) in exchange for experience. Yet teenagers and young adults who are out of school and/or have never been to school are told they cannot do this.

    Even when we allow students to do this (I did it in high school and college), we tell them that they cannot work for any wage between $0 and $6.75/hour. Surely, when I entered the ROP program in 2001, I was worth perhaps $2/hour, and that figure slowly crept up as I gained experience and developed my work ethic. Yet I could only be paid once the employer felt I was worth $6.75 per hour, which they finally did in 2002.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If you read it in the right sources (all on the labor left), you’ll see a lot of criticism of the internship system, for precisely this reason. Employers pretend that you need to be in the mail room for experience, creating a self-reinforcing loop: there are so many applicants for jobs that they can pick the ones who’ve done multiple unpaid internships, and then students will do internships because they have to in order to build up resumes.

    Next to this, 5 years of living on grad student stipends seems reasonable.

    jonathan Reply:

    I wrote a comment: “Even at Fedderal minimum wage? I doubt it”. Because humans can do only so much with picks and shovels and crowbars. Capital — mechanical equipment — lets us do so much more.

    But I thought that was too obvious, so I cancelled the reply. I guess I was wrong.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Jonathan,

    I wrote a couple days ago that even Fran Pavley has it wrong about the evolution of the transcontinental routes. Effectively, the transcon’s began in the middle as well, as Illinois got out ahead in the 1850s with laws and policies that made it possible to build in areas that were sparsely populated.

    It’s also well documented that Lincoln battled Jeff Davis as Franklin Pierce’s Secretary of War over using federal property on Rock Island to cross the Mississippi in 1854 or so. Securing access for that bridge over the Mighty Mo was effectively the first step in the transcontinental route, even though it’s not attributed to be….

    Spokker Reply:

    “Spokker, I realize you’re writing with the handicap of being a knee-jerk reactionary.
    But even you should be aware that the 14th Amendment was passed in 1869″

    Get your knees checked. I was talking about an era in which there was always more land slightly further West which includes 1869 and many decades prior to that.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And before the 1860’s, in those conditions the free soil system of stealing land from native americans and leveraging it into economic growth was proven sufficiently superior to the slave plantation system of stealing land from native americans and leveraging it into economic growth, in terms of attracting immigration from the poor huddled masses, that the slave states needed a quota system to avoid being over-run by newly established free soil states. Meanwhile the slave-plantation system was more effective at delivering wealth to the top 1% of their states.

    Someone who would support HSR from a pro-labor stance in 2012 would have been more likely to have been a free-soiler in the 1850’s.

    Spokker Reply:

    “Someone who would support HSR from a pro-labor stance in 2012 would have been more likely to have been a free-soiler in the 1850′s.”

    Correct, but… oh it’s not even worth it.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, it is not worth it to either defend nor to try to wriggle away from

    Who is to say that Robert wouldn’t have been running the GASlaverBlog had he been born in the South?

    … as one of the most absurd ad hominem attacks imaginable ~ requiring someone to prove what Robert’s positions would have been had he been born in the south and blogging in the late 1860’s.

    So if admitting that you posted that without thinking it through and withdrawing the statement is not in your behavioral repetoire, you’re stuck with having said it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    oh my, my, my

    All Spokker is saying is that one is stuck in his/her time and its values and has to cope, using the values, mores, conventions, prejudices of that period. Schindler in “Schindler’s List”.

    Spokker Reply:

    For fuck’s sake, I said it was off-topic silliness. You people are completely insane.

    jonathan Reply:

    @Spokker:

    no, you were clearly talking about slavery in 1869 or thereafter. Check your brain. My knees are just fine.

    BruceMcF makes the point that “Manifest Destiny” westward expansion had proven itself economically superior to slavery before the US Civil War. What Bruce McF doesn’t say is that the industrialized, settled North had already overtaken the South economically.

    Spokker Reply:

    No, I was talking about building railroads in an era where there is always more undeveloped land further West. Government probably did not need a land grant program to encourage the railroad to be built. It would have probably been built anyway.

    Slavery was also wildly profitable for similar reasons, which is why I mentioned it, even if the North had overtaken the South economically. This opinion, an example of which I found on Yahoo Answers of all places, is completely wrong. “But slavery would have ended on its own within a decade just because of the social climate and the economics.”

    Impossible to disprove but difficult to swallow.

    jonathan Reply:

    No, Spokker. That may be what was going on in your head, but it was not what you _wrote_.
    What you actually wrote was, indeed, about Robert running a pro-slavery blog in 1869.
    You wrote about 1869 in your first pargraph, and “150 years after slavery” in your third paragraph.

    A simple paragraph break does not, in and of itself, change the context of the conversation by decads.

    You might charitably get away with 1862, on the basis of “150 years after [[sic: US]] slavery”.
    Or perhaps you really think “Manifest Destiny” didn’t exist before 1869. Any Texan could tell you otherwise: the term was in use to support the Mexican-American war.

    Spokker Reply:

    What I learned about the transcontinental railroads in school is that they were build ahead of demand and that if the government had not been involved they would have been built anyway, but more slowly.

    The class was American Economic History at a California State University. The required textbook laid out other opinions but this seemed like the one they sort of went with.

    jonathan Reply:

    Let me ask one question: you write:
    “what you learned about the transcontinental railroad in school”

    Let me guess: this was in a post-Prop 13 California public school, is that right?
    And you’re the one who makes ad-hominem attacks on Robert, the host of this blog, that in the context of 1869 and Manifest Destiny, Robert would be running a pro-slavery blog.

    Spokker, in all sincerity: you’re being your own worst enemy.

    Spokker Reply:

    How is that an ad-hominem attack on anyone? It has nothing to do with anything I know about Robert and is based purely on whether or not you are born in the South in the 19th century.

    “Let me guess: this was in a post-Prop 13 California public school, is that right?”

    Why, yes, I did. Why do you ask?

    jonathan Reply:

    Spokker, if you don’t think accusing someone of being pro-slavery is an ad-hominem, you are a very strange person indeed.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It is an ad hominem attack based on the definition of the term, “ad hominem”:

    ad ho·mi·nem/ˈad ˈhämənəm/ Adverb:
    1. (of an argument or reaction) Arising from or appealing to the emotions and not reason or logic.
    2. Attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain.

    Demanding a disproof that Cruickshank would have had a pro-slavery blog if he had been born in a slave state and blogging in the 1860’s … as a critique of the argument that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Institute spearheading of Proposition 13 is a bigger boondoggle than HSR could
    ever aspire to … that would be an ad hominem argument under definition number 2.

    Jerry Reply:

    Boondoggle??
    Can you say, “Trillion Dollar Iraq War.”?

    VBobier Reply:

    The far right loves war, as it kills off those that they consider a waste, but then they like having cannon fodder…

    Spokker Reply:

    Well, Keynes did say you could dig holes and fill them in to stimulate the economy…

    VBobier Reply:

    Especially if one has plenty of unemployed people to choose from, put them in the Military and send them off to war, as the dead don’t have to be paid anymore, just buried…

    Jay Taylor Reply:

    Vbobier; I take great offence to your view point on military. I’m a OIF vet and went in by choice, not because the military was the only option. I would still be serving today, but my wife wanted me out, and I had to listen to her.You know how it goes ;)
    The idea of all the military being dumb as a box of rocks is about as true as saying everyone in California is a socialist. Yes we had some stumps, and they are the ones that give the rest of us bad names, but we also had a lot of great men and women. Also we were NOT cannon fodder, during my first tour, in 2003 our battalion didn’t lose one person. And no, we were not some REMF unit, we were at the pointy tip.
    The far right loves the military, as they all tend to vote for them, just FYI.
    People really need to separate the war from the worrier.

    jonathan Reply:

    “separate the war from the worrier”? Is that a typo or a very ironic comment alluding back to
    “the far right loves the military”?

    Jay Taylor Reply:

    typo, the point I was trying to make is that I know there is a lot of negativity towards the wars in in Iraq and Afghanistan from your average HSR supporter, and not all of that undeserved. I just hope that we can all support the men and women serve.

    I for one would welcome an edit button.

    VBobier Reply:

    No Yer not, but the far right would love to make it so. I meant no offense, as I have family members including Myself who were in the military and except for Myself, all the rest are deceased. My Dad was a part of the 368th Medical in WWII Europe, they were from what little I know a medical records outfit, what size? I have no idea, He was recommended for commendations on His paperwork for Allied and POW patients, I only found this out after My Mom died, Dad died 5 years before Mom did, I’d found His WWII letters and photos from Him while He was in Europe that were to Her and His letters were not censored, He served as a clerk/courier w/the rank of Corporal from N.Africa, Sicily, Anzio, N.France and then Occupied Germany up to 1946, Dad & My Uncle on My Mom’s side volunteered for service in early 1942, My Uncle served in the USAAF in the Pacific flying P39 aircraft as a Warrant Officer, My Brother served for 20 Years in the US Navy(1962-1982), Plus I have one ancestor who was a Civil War 2 star Union Army General, His nickname was Pearl(I even have a picture of Him online on Facebook), He might have known Custer. No one in My family was ever Drafted, all served honorably, including Myself.

    The far right is paranoid, crazy, loony, they like the Military and would love another war, they don’t care one bit about You or Me. That’s My opinion of them, I have respect for the Military itself, just not in some that are not in the Military who would want to do more Military invasions like Iraq, based on faulty intelligence and wanting to believe that someone had that they feared, more than anything else…

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    At least there are still Iraqis in Iraq. Can’t say the same about the Plains Indians and the plains.

    Spokker Reply:

    On a similar note, I wonder if there are still any British in Britain. That opening ceremony had me wondering. I thought we were supposed to be the great melting pot. Go figure.

    Jon Reply:

    Oh, do fuck off. You don’t get to decide who’s British and who isn’t.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Oh, do fuck off.

    Judging by your idiom, the British are alive and well….

    Spokker Reply:

    As an American, I’m used to looking out into the world and seeing countries like Japan that are Japanese. Countries like India that are Indian. Countries like Russia that are Russian, and so on.

    It is interesting to see which countries are expected to be diverse and which ones are not. Nobody tells Japan that it needs more diversity or immigration to be or remain a global power. It tends to be the Western nations that are expected to do that, and we sort of shot ourselves in the foot with that whole “unwashed masses” thing, but Britain was never a nation of immigrants.

    So when I look at Britain expecting to see British people, and see a bunch of Somalians and Pakstanis, it’s a bit odd. You tend to expect that when you look at the United States. I’m not saying it’s a completely negative thing. I’m sure there are pros and cons.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’re wrong about all three countries. India is an amazingly diverse country, with a double-digit number of official languages, a lot of internal politics involving minority languages and minority ethnicities, and internal religious conflicts. If all Indians look alike to you, consider how in Singapore all Westerners look alike.

    Likewise, Russia is also very diverse, though it does have one dominant ethnic group, which mistreats the rest (and as a result, there’s tons of animosity toward Russia in many countries that it used to control, especially the Baltics).

    Now, Japan is ethnically homogeneous, enforced by racism that dwarfs that of Western countries. And it’s dying as a result – it has a shortage of young people and a shortage of unskilled labor. People are in fact telling it to let more Koreans and Chinese and Thai and Filipinos in, but the national politicians have their heads up their butts; one has openly said there are worse things than a national dying out. Again, just because you haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Spokker Reply:

    Sucks about India and Russia. I wish the Japanese the best of luck.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The thing about India (and to some extent China and Russia, except they have a dominant ethnic group and India doesn’t) is that it’s so big it’s more comparable to Europe than to a European country. Europe of 1900, even, with the vergonha in full bloom, Germany oppressing the Poles, Britain still in control of Ireland, Germanic Europe and France looking down on Southern Europe, and everybody hating the Jews.

    Spokker Reply:

    I don’t think we’ll see eye to eye on this. Yes, I understand India has internal strife, but it’s Indian strife. Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, it’s all Indian and what I would expect to hear if I went to India. Would it help if I show up and start making demands? Of course not. They’ve been through shit like that already.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not about seeing eye to eye. It’s about knowing that around a fifth of India speaks languages that are less similar to Hindi than Spanish is similar to English. Because of internal migration, people speaking different languages end up in the same cities, and especially within Northern India, people are multilingual, same as in Europe. It’s all Indian? Sure, and if all of the Western hemisphere were one country, you could say that Central American resentment of Yankee domination is all American. India even has its own equivalent of Native Americans. The only difference with the first world is that India doesn’t have huge inflows of international migration.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, it’s all Indian”

    well in that case: French, Polish, Spanish, it’s all European

    Spokker Reply:

    Urdu and Hindi are often used interchangeably. How’s that for ignorance?

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    Fair enough. I’ll rephrase that:

    “Czech, Slovak, German, it’s all European”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Finnish, Georgian, Basque, it’s all European.

    Andy M Reply:

    Disagree. Most Indians I know when you ask them about Indian history, still like to moan about how bad British rule was. And if you ask about how India was before the Britishers, they moan about what an awful lot the Moguls were. and Alexander the Great, he was a nasty one too. The summary of Indian history appears to be “foreign people came to India and made things worse”. The “all this diversity makes us stronger” is very much in second place to that.

    Spokker Reply:

    Diversity certainly has its pros and cons. I heard a presentation about this in college and I thought we were all going to be arrested for thoughtcrime.

    The study they were presenting wasn’t perfect, but it essentially said there are problems with homogeneity and problems with too much diversity. They advocated a sweet spot.

    Jon Reply:

    “So when I look at Britain expecting to see British people, and see a bunch of Somalians and Pakstanis, it’s a bit odd.”

    See, that’s your problem. You’re looking at people and deciding what nationality they are based on how they look. Those ‘Somalians’ and ‘Pakistanis’ were probably born in the UK, have British passports, and have values just as British as any white British person. They help define the British identity, not dilute it. Your statement is like a non-American looking at Oakland and saying “These are a bunch of Africans, where are the Americans?”

    Your problem is also called ‘racism’, of course.

    Spokker Reply:

    “Those ‘Somalians’ and ‘Pakistanis’ were probably born in the UK, have British passports, and have values just as British as any white British person. ”

    True, but not always.

    http://i.imgur.com/P6x93.jpg

    And then there is the story of the 14-year-old girl arrested for racism. A national identity, even a weak one, is important and there will be problems if assimilation is not a priority. In the US, famous and effective teacher Jaime Escalante was vilified for his anti-bilingual education stance. Accommodation is a road to hell paved with good intentions.

    “Your statement is like a non-American looking at Oakland and saying “These are a bunch of Africans, where are the Americans?””

    A specific group of blacks in Oakland are neither African nor American, but an entirely different kind of underclass. Few want to talk about it.

    “The murders, says Mr Tagami, tend to happen in the two or three areas where black former prisoners—by his estimate, about 7.5% of Oakland’s population of 400,000—are to be found. Most of them go in and out of prison, getting more brutal as they go. “Three-time offenders are killing four-time offenders,” he says, because younger criminals are fighting for the turf of older ones, and for the respect of their peer group.

    Oakland’s liberal politicians, at least as left-wing as their colleagues in Berkeley and San Francisco, do not know what to do about the problem or even, according to Mr Starr, how to talk about it. This “nihilist insurgency”, he says, leaves them tongue-tied: at the ceremony for the fallen policemen, Ronald Dellums, Oakland’s current mayor—a black hero of the anti-apartheid era—had nothing to say at all.”

    Poverty nor racism can explain it.

    Jon Reply:

    You’re citing the Daily Mail and the News of the World as references? Jeez, all that proves is that racism sells newspapers to the gullible.

    You’re backing up blanket assertions you made about certain ethnic groups with fabricated scare stories about the individuals who in some cases belong to a completely different ethnic group. But, they’re all the same to you, right?

    You’re pretty much defining racism right there. Also, we need some HSR news to escape from this EPIC THREAD DRIFT.

    Spokker Reply:

    I also cited BBC that, with even all of its political correctness, can print a wacky story about a girl wrongly arrested for racism. How is that for alienating an entire group?

    Another BBC story about race and crime.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6753695.stm

    Of course, it’s okay to write about race and crime when you blame it on the usual suspects that are slowly but surely losing their explanatory values. So yeah, you need to go elsewhere for honest discussion and alternative viewpoints.

    jonathan Reply:

    Or bigotry. Do note that Spokker doesn’t see accusing Robert of being pro-slavery in the 1860s as an ad-hominem.

    Spokker Reply:

    It has nothing to do with Robert specifically. If you are born in a certain era and region, it makes sense that you would be a product of that time and region.

    Spokker Reply:

    “Your problem is also called ‘racism’, of course.”

    Wait until they find out that I’m also MRA, and then I’ll really be persona non grata.

    Jon Reply:

    Let me guess, you’re white, male, and middle class, right?

    Just wondering.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You’re a Mail Retrieval Agent? While you are out there could ya’ pick the newpaper too?

    Spokker Reply:

    “Let me guess, you’re white, male, and middle class, right?”

    I can provide you with census information if you wish. spokker@gmail.com

    Oh, that is, if you really care and aren’t just being catty.

    blankslate Reply:

    This blog can be really depressing at times.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    You do realize that unlike every OTHER European colonial power, the British are fairly good about allowing their “children” to repatriate to the mother country without being utterly assimilated beyond all comprehension.

    It’s not a melting pot, it’s the Commonwealth.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Pretty soon you have a Belgium in constant conflict of wallons vs. flamands.

    At least we got rid of the monarchy and titled aristocracy.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    We’d have been better off with the monarchy and a titled aristocracy than what resulted.

    Jon Reply:

    I would love to see Spokker head over to Brick Lane or Brixton and tell those guys that they’re not really British.

    jonathan Reply:

    One wonders if he’s ever heard Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, and wondered about Brixton Town Hall. Let’s not even mention the SPG and Blair Peach.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I dunno about Brick Lane or Brixton but I do know that there’s a continuing problem with New Yorkers only being considered Real Americans(tm) on September 11th. The rest of the year they are those East Coast Libbbruls, many of whom eat bagels. And the ones who don’t eat bagels, eat too much garlic. Well so do the ones who eat bagels. All of the are reasonably comfortable with the values in San Francisco. So much so that the majority of them don’t have a problem with who gets married to who as long as it’s between consenting adults not closely related to one another….

    Jon Reply:

    Slightly missing the point. The UK is less divided into ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ areas than the US is, and plenty examples of both cultural attitudes can be found in London.

    The only way to interpret Spokker’s comment in the context it was made is regarding race and ethnicity as related to national identity. He’s saying that diversity makes Britain less British, for which he can fuck off.

    You can sub in Harlem and Chinatown for Brixton and Brick Lane if you need an equivalent phrase for NYC.

    Spokker Reply:

    Do you tell Japan to fuck off too?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Are the Japanese concerned about demographic trends in the U.K.?

    Spokker Reply:

    Hey, does the UK have this phenomenon too?

    http://i.imgur.com/zXkyw.jpg

    Jon Reply:

    “Do you tell Japan to fuck off too?”

    I would tell a Japanese person to fuck off if he made an equivalent statement to yours. As Alon notes above, Japan has a fucked up attitude towards race and national identity that rivals the crazier parts of American society.

    Spokker Reply:

    “I would love to see Spokker head over to Brick Lane or Brixton and tell those guys that they’re not really British.”

    What would happen to me?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Actually, Spokker, I think you could get on alright in a tough place(Brixton has a tough rep) because you have a sense of humor and don’t seem pretentious.

    Spokker Reply:

    I have never heard of Brixton, understandably, but Jon suggested Harlem as more or less the American equivalent.

    I have heard of gentrification in Harlem. This, at its core, means the movement of whites into Harlem. However, this gentrification is often opposed by liberal and progressive groups because it changes the character of a neighborhood. It certainly does, and lifelong residents and activists work to preserve the culture of these places. They have every right to. A recent play called “Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale” satirized gentrification.

    Yet if I were to oppose the movement of non-whites into white neighborhoods in order to preserve some kind of Anglo culture, even gently in a sort of “don’t forget the people who built the neighborhood” sort of way that opponents of gentrification sometimes do, this would be a completely unacceptable opinion. In fact, I posed this issue once to someone and he said, “What white culture?”

    You can write an article titled “Mixed feelings over Harlem’s gentrification” without much fuss. You cannot write an article about mixed feelings of the pouring of non-whites into white countries no matter how gently you put it without causing a firestorm. See also David Starkey.

    Let me be clear, I do not claim that the United States is a white country, though I do have some problems with illegal immigration and a HUGE problem with political correctness here.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It was a pretty big deal when the Victoria tube line was extended to Brixton. I think partly because it was a poor area that really needed the service and it was the first extension of the Tube in a long time.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    However, this gentrification is often opposed by liberal and progressive groups because it changes the character of a neighborhood. It certainly does, and lifelong residents and activists work to preserve the culture of these places.

    The anti-gentrification activists are not complaining about character. They’re complaining about rising rents. The hardcore anti-gentrification groups also complain about transients, like students, because they’re less likely to complain about leaky ceilings and such, which is a hidden variable equivalent to their paying more in rent. All groups also complain about shady city deals, and this is independent of ethnicity – for example, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn was actually headed by a white guy.

    Even the legitimately racist people who oppose gentrification are still talking about rents first. In Harlem, one radical preacher said he’s going to boycott all Harlem businesses except his, in order to cause an economic collapse and bring rents down. He didn’t say he’s going to boycott white businesses; he’s against economic development in general.

    Spokker Reply:

    “The anti-gentrification activists are not complaining about character. They’re complaining about rising rents.”

    Rent is part of it but preserving culture is another big part of it and it’s no secret.

    Even then, you get into all sorts of value judgements. Can rents not be allowed to rise because an area is predominantly black? Can rents rise in Latino, white and Asian neighborhoods?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wait a minute, if the culture in Harlem was so wonderful wouldn’t the long time residents… be ling time residents. The ones with stabilized or controlled apartments. It’s very very difficult to evict a “good” tenant – one who pays the rent on time etc…. Though, people who have controlled apartments are increasingly rare.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There are anti-gentrification activists in all kinds of neighborhoods; I’ve heard of this happening in white Austin, too.

    And yes, it’s the sort of activism that frequently invites the neighborhood racists. Personally I’ve seen more racism directed by white Queens people against Chinese immigrants than by black and Dominican Upper Manhattanites against (mostly white) students, but I’m willing to accept that my exposure to Upper Manhattan anti-gentrification advocacy has been to the more sanitized version. Plus, in Upper Manhattan it’s easier to blame big developers and Columbia, whereas in Central Queens it’s easier to blame Chinese people, since Asian population growth there is very rapid and visible while whites aren’t 10% of Harlem.

    Jon Reply:

    Actually, if you’re talking about gentrification, Brick Lane (i.e. Whitechapel) would be a better example. It’s kinda equivalent to San Francisco’s Mission District in that it’s an ethnic minority area (formerly Jewish, now Bengali) that has seen rising rents due to the influx of hipsters in recent years.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Whitechapel, as in the Ripper?

    jonathan Reply:

    I don’t think Brixton is nothing like Harlem. Mostly because the geographic spread of London is nothing like New York, let alone Manhattan.

    I’d suggest LA South Central as a closer analogy.

    @Jon: did Whitechapel have discarded syringes cluttering its parks 15 years ago?

    Andy M Reply:

    “In Harlem, one radical preacher said he’s going to boycott all Harlem businesses except his, in order to cause an economic collapse and bring rents down. He didn’t say he’s going to boycott white businesses; he’s against economic development in general.” But that is pretty much code for saying, “we don’t want no whiteys in Harlem.” It always surprises me how liberals can be so blind to certain forms of racism and so offended by others.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Can you say, “Trillion Dollar Iraq War.”?

    The Iraq War and CHSRA use the same exact military contractors.

    Fresno, Baghdad — it’s all the same to these guys.

    Joe Reply:

    Certainly that is true for peninsula residents.

    jonathan Reply:

    Certainly not. Not the educated ones. The ones in Morris’ generation, maybe.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Fresno, Baghdad — it’s all the same to these guys.

    Yes, that’s true…but PB isn’t a military contractor. The oversight issue has more to do with federal contractors of all stripes and the Congressional appropriation process. In other words, PB is hard to rein in because defense contractors are given free reign, but if you put better cost controls on military spending, you would by default make it tougher on the PB’s of the world….

    VBobier Reply:

    No bid contracts need to be ended, yesterday, as costs are out of control, so Congress wants more money for the Military just about as Eisenhower feared, the Military Industrial Complex.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Ridiculous. The early transcontinental railroads were the biggest boondoggles.

    You don’t actually believe this, I bet. You are just putting this out there to get juicy quotes from the hoi polloi for your next article, right? You certainly haven’t put out any corollary arguments as to why you think this…

  4. Derek
    Jul 31st, 2012 at 23:30
    #4

    Prop 13 privatizes gains and socializes losses. People get to keep their capital gains while offloading their property taxes onto new homeowners. It’s a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not at all true. Prop 13 allows ordinary people to stay in their houses over the long term, stabilize neighborhoods, and remain in the State. This is one case where a law designed to benefit the corps and the rich by accident benefited the humble. and lower middle class.

    Get rid of it and all you will do is drive out the old people. The “big dogs” never lose a penny – they own the blinking guvmint.

    VBobier Reply:

    Only if they didn’t use their house as so many did as a piggy bank… Otherwise yer not saving much.

    Spokker Reply:

    Homeowners? Accused of doing something… wrong? Why, I’ve never heard of such a thing. I thought such impure thoughts were considered blasphemy to utter about the 99%.

    VBobier Reply:

    Howard Jarvis was no homeowner, He owned apartments and He hated any Government, as He wanted no interference, no cops to worry about and the ability be a slum lord and squeeze people dry, but then His apartments were a Corporation and He got 13 passed not to make seniors more secure, as seniors could just postpone their taxes until they died(not anymore), but to kill all Governments in California…

    VBobier Reply:

    That should be “property taxes”.

    Spokker Reply:

    What an amazing man. He’s probably still waiting for that taxi driver in heaven.

    Derek Reply:

    Not at all true. Prop 13 allows ordinary people to stay in their houses over the long term, stabilize neighborhoods, and remain in the State.

    How does that conflict with what I wrote?

    This is one case where a law designed to benefit the corps and the rich by accident benefited the humble. and lower middle class.

    Are these benefits worth the higher property taxes paid by new homeowners?

    Get rid of it and all you will do is drive out the old people.

    Don’t worry. With their windfall profits, they can afford it.

    Spokker Reply:

    “Are these benefits worth the higher property taxes paid by new homeowners?”

    Couldn’t the taxes for new homeowners simply be lowered if that’s such a concern?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so you’d have lower taxes on legacy homeowners via the reductions Prop 13 implements and lower taxes on newer homeowners, by whatever mechanism. The government could just be run with volunteers. And you personally could host a homeless family in your garage. ( homeless because welfare had been reduced or eliminated and they couldn’t pay rent anymore )

    Derek Reply:

    Couldn’t the taxes for new homeowners simply be lowered if that’s such a concern?

    Then property taxes would be unrelated to property value. That’s not such a bad idea. You could base them instead on the property’s total burden on the community. A longer street-facing side would require more street and supporting infrastructure, and would therefore result in a higher property tax. This would encourage more compact development and create less street parking, making transit more competitive with driving.

    Joe Reply:

    Or simply stop requiring added parking accomidations for new development projects.

    Since I do not own the street or parking in front of my home, taxing me for that public space makes no sense.

    Derek Reply:

    You may not own it, but you make use of it more than other people. Why shouldn’t a person pay for a resource in proportion to the benefit he receives from it?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If he is required to have off street parking it’s of little or any benefit for him. There are suburbs that ban on street parking altogether, would ruin the bucolic charm if those nasty cars were parked on their lovely streets. Many more that ban parking, at really odd hours, supposedly for street cleaing, so that you can’t have overnight guests. On street parking is manipulated in many many ways adn the costs aren’t being allocated fairly.

    Derek Reply:

    In any case, the longer the street in front of your house, the more of a burden it places on the city. Not recovering those costs from those who caused them, creates a cross subsidy and distorts the property market. This is bad for everyone.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most places, where your property taxes are based on market value, the market value is determined by… how wide the lot is. Most places where the property taxes are determined by market value, there’s an algorithm used to verify the evaluation using things like how wide and deep the lot is how many square feet there are in the house, how many kitchens and baths etc. YMMV depending on the jurisdiction. In California that is determined mostly by when the house was last sold which can distort things much more than determining current market value.

    Derek Reply:

    But does more street raise property taxes by at least the cost of the additional street?

    A gilded fountain on the city-owned sidewalk in front of my house might raise my property taxes, but would it raise them enough to pay for that fountain?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A gilded fountain would be an amenity for the whole neighborhood and depending on how gilded it’s would probably be covered by the increased valuation of the properties in the neighborhood.
    Roadway in residential neighborhoods is moderately cheap, the road budget for the local roads comes out of property taxes so yeah, there’s a rough relationship between the width of the road in front of your house and your property tax bill.

    joe Reply:

    Derek – you clearly don’t own a house. This thought experiment lacks grounding.

    As a home owner, I am responsible for co-maintaining and repairing the city sidewalk in front of my home.

    You want to tax stuff but haven’t really figured out how and who yet.

    The way they tax parking is they put up parking meters – you might use google to see what they look like. Or possibly issue a residential parking sticker and charge for parking and limit the number per permits per residential property.

    My property assessment includes the maturity of the trees on my block, the width of the street and other community attributes – both public and private. I just did a re-fi in December 2011.

    I propose a tax on stupid tax suggestions.

    Derek Reply:

    As a home owner, I am responsible for co-maintaining and repairing the city sidewalk in front of my home.

    Don’t tell me you also maintain and repair the road, because I won’t believe it.

    joe Reply:

    I haven’t looked into that responsibility for Gilroy but it’s true (or was) for Chicago IL.

    As a kid I distinctly recall my parents petitioned the neighborhood to get City Hall to stop or delay the street paving since that required each home owner to pay a non-trivial fraction well over 1K in 69-71 dollars. That fee was based on the amount of street in front of their home.

    VBobier Reply:

    Don’t forget that when someone refinances their Mortgage, their taxes then go up to whatever the current value is assumed to be, right or wrong.

    Joe Reply:

    My 93 year old neighbor owned since 78 and paid 5% of what I paid in property tax.
    He died last year and the home sold.

    His is not the problem. He needed the tax break and it is now gone.

    Corporations are deathless and forever benefit from the Prop13 loophole.
    That is where we are being ripped off.

    Derek Reply:

    If he “needed” the tax break, it’s only because he didn’t want to move to a location more appropriate for his retirement savings. It’s pretty obvious he could afford to move since his property increased in value so much that he was paying only 5% in property taxes of what you paid.

    joe Reply:

    Tell us about your retirement plan for a 93 year life.

    I haven’t much interst in debating stupid – elderly being force dout of homes is THE reason Prop 13 was passed. The abuses with corproate personhood need to be rectified.

    Glibiterian economics seem better when stoned and drunk.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are solutions to letting a 93 year old remain in his house that don’t require giving everybody a tax break.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No, there aren’t in Nancy’s and Jerry’s California. Their select friends would receive the tax break; everybody else is screwed.

    What about Kimiko Burton, daughter of the machine boss, appointed to the position overseeing anti-nepotism laws don’t you get?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    sure there are, limiting senior citizen’s property tax rate to 5 % of their income. Easily and effciently admistered by the same people who collect the income taxes. Or let them defer paying them by putting a lien on the property payable when all of the owners are dead. Many many others.

    joe Reply:

    Such as….

    Derek Reply:

    Such as giving tax breaks to people aged 93 years old and older.

    joe Reply:

    Murdoch gets a tax break?

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr Reply:

    There are places – in this country – where senior citizens may perform volunteer work (e.g. in schools) in exchange for property-tax credit (or reduction). I read an article about this some years back; I believe that one such place was Ohio.

    Having seen the difference that one senior citizen – just one (although a paid employee) – made at a good-sized high school, I’d have to say this is an idea worth pursuing. Just my opinion.

    it’s true that the person described above, affectionately known by students and staff alike as “Granny,” was not “aged 93 years old” (I asked; she said she was 70). That, I think, is beside the point.

    Derek Reply:

    Tell us about your retirement plan for a 93 year life.

    With the property tax reduced to 0.5% thanks to a repeal of Prop 13, I put the money I’m saving into my 401(k), earning me an additional $400-500k by the time I retire. If the value of my property rises so much that I can’t afford the property taxes, I take my windfall profit and move to a cheaper place.

    joe Reply:

    Fascinating.

    We pay hypothetically $5500 a year at the current rate so you cut that in about half or a bit more.

    Say 3000 a year savings. You need 113 years to accumulate 400K (Investment keeps pace with inflation and no wall street ass steal that money). More likely 30 years savings or 90,000.

    You have saved 310K elsewhere and have 400K in hand. Most people have 170K. You are doing very well. If you live to 93, that provides you with 15K a year.

    You have this windfall with your home which is a deprecating asset that needs repair and insurance. How much windfall ? Of course you must own that home 30 years prior to retiring so you have a chance to own long enough to build up that windfall.

    My guess my neighbor’s estate made a 250 K windfall since 1978 – and that is generous since they had an agent to pay.

    Now you have close to 25k a year and you need to pay rent and live near services since you are older. You can’t be in a moderate crime area or remote area to live cheap.

    Where ?

    Derek Reply:

    Say 3000 a year savings. You need 113 years to accumulate 400K (Investment keeps pace with inflation and no wall street ass steal that money).

    No, only 33-34 years at 8% annual interest compounded annually.

    …your home which is a deprecating asset…

    If it’s depreciating, Prop 13 wouldn’t have helped at all.

    You can’t be in a moderate crime area or remote area to live cheap. Where ?

    There are plenty of good places in the country to retire to.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Where/

    Arizona? Florida? Believe it or not, New Jersey is a popular retirement destination. Lots of places.

    joe Reply:

    Derek

    Expecting an 8% annual interest compounded annually is planning to grow a magic beanstalk.
    That’s uninsured, high risk, invest in mortgages and asset bubble finance.

    Homes are depreciating assets. The property value goes up. Taxes go up. The home depreciates – it needs maintenance and eventually needs to be replaced.

    You can own valuable property but the service it provides – housing costs money. Dishonest to suggest otherwise. You’re driven out due to the boom driving up taxes on a fixed income.

    Move to low cost Arizona and Florida Oh my, didn’t they also have housing bubbles ?
    Assets bubbles are American as apple pie. Maybe Mexico.

    BTW FL and AZ – Interesting that I can carry concealed weapons in both states – awesome suggestion. Get off my lawn.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maintenance costs are going to be similar wherever you live. Higher but not that much more if you live in Palo Alto and lower but not that much more if you live in Barstow. No matter where you won property there will be maintenance costs.

    jonathan Reply:

    … which is why smart retirees sell their houses and move to low-maintenance houses.
    Brick walls. Aluminium window-frames. Better roofs than normal in California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Jonathan

    The em-effing architects claim bricks are not safe in California but high-rises are. Sometimes the windows pop out of high-rises like scales off a fish and those facing material slabs have been know to just crack off and fall in the street.

    I assume it is the lumber industry and the contractors pulling strings. They are making a fortune off of termite damage – my house has the little bastards and I have been trying to put in some pressure treated – siding is relatively easy but framing is another story. Forget latterday redwood – they eat it. Cedar might work a little better. I also used Hardie cement siding and trim too.

    **** architects – they are the authors of Brutalism.

    StevieB Reply:

    It is time for split roll taxes. Prop13 enjoys too much public support for split rolls to pass at present. More education about the costs to the public caused by low corporate property tax rates that are not reassessed is needed.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Not at all true. Prop 13 allows ordinary people to stay in their houses over the long term, stabilize neighborhoods, and remain in the State. This is one case where a law designed to benefit the corps and the rich by accident benefited the humble. and lower middle class.

    Actually, no. The major beneficiaries of Prop 13 are people who lived in independent school districts outside the major cities. Those neighborhoods were almost universally white and not lower middle class at all. And because of immigration and the value of school districts in real estate, nearly everyone has sold out and the neighborhoods are now much more upscale.

    Prop 13 was designed to react to the California Legislature becoming full-time. What it actually did was resegregate the state after Shelly v. Kramer overturned racial covenants and create a mostly white fedual class that owns property for much less than newcomers.

    joe Reply:

    I disagree with your vulcan 3-dimensional chess explanation of Prop13. I do think prop 13 was sold o n helping the little guy but it’s abused by the corporation.

    My 80 year old mother has her home paid off and lives on a fixed income. My 80 year old father in-law pays 65% of his income on rent. We help him.

    Prop 13 allows me to plan for a retirement and I have a plan in place that will allow me to own my home when I hit 67. At that time I have fixed housing expense with utilities and tax to pay with a 401K savings account. I can plan for that future – I cannot plan for the next Goldman-Sachs asset bubble and subsequent tax swings.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thank you, Joe, for a very good explanation of how Prop 13, almost certainly unintentionally, is good for the lower middle and upper lower class homeowner. You have to chose a house that works for you over the decades and hang in there.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What happens to your very careful planning when Prop 13 is repealed in 2018?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Eat dog food? I dunno. Maybe we could hire Mr. Noguez away from LA to do our local assessments.

    Did the move the end of the Mayan Calendar to 2018?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Try “they move” for “the”

    joe Reply:

    And what is a good plan for retiring? Stabilize your housing expense. That’s not a bad thing to offer the middle class.

    Why can’t Prop 13 be reformed to exclude corporations which will never die and never see their taxes rise? That’s the large loop hole which hurts revenue. Maybe cap the tax rate hike to the SS COLA and not allow the tax break to be passed on to kids.

    CA could pass laws like Texas has which restrict using homes as an ATM and consequently Texas did not have a large asset bubble.

    Boom and bust are bad. Prop13 over-reacted to a property Boom.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Unless you’re owning weird financial assets, “fixed income” is actually “fixed inflation-adjusted income.”

    So what you should be worried about is that property values are too high. So what have you done to support upzoning in your general area?

    VBobier Reply:

    I’m glad the 80 Year old has help with His rent, for Me there is no help on the rent, anyone who could is dead and gone, what’s left can’t help or won’t, I may as well have no relatives since I can’t rely on what I have left to Me, not even for moving, although when I moved out here, they sure were quick to move Me away from them…

  5. VBobier
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 00:12
    #5

    Yes California was in better shape 35 years ago, so were it’s cities, if Prop 30 fails to pass, watch schools close and other ideas hated by libertarians fail cause of a lack of proper funding.

    Spokker Reply:

    If libertarians achieve anything they want it will be purely by accident. They have little representation or support.

    VBobier Reply:

    Repugnicans in power today are the real RhINOS, they espouse Libertarian policies once in office and they don’t listen to anybody who isn’t a rabid follower, like Paul Ryan’s never passed 2013 House budget, it’s pure drek, so toxic that they don’t want people to know what their up to until their safely in office, safe from the voters wrath and hip deep in their campaign contributors deep pockets, who expect something for their extreme largesse in return, swimming around like Scrooge McDuck in a vault full of proverbial gold coins, hoarding wealth that just gets dusty and doesn’t do a thing for the economy since the libers don’t want to be a part of it…

    The Libertarian Con: Favorite ‘Rebel’ Ideology of the Ruling Class, as espoused by Repugnicans in office today

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Great link, V–but I wish the writer didn’t have potty-mouth!!

    VBobier Reply:

    No one’s perfect, as everyone is different.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, the author can’t distinguish between Reason/Koch and the Paulistas. Those people don’t generally like each other. The Shame Project people are incapable of making those distinctions, because they’re the left’s equivalent of the people protesting with signs that Obama is a communist atheist Islamist Nazi.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    .. who want to keep the Guvmint out of their Medicare….

    synonymouse Reply:

    California was in better shape 35 years ago because Nancy Pelosi had just arrived from Baltimore, carpetbag in hand.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And far too many vowels in her maiden name and married name to be a Real American(tm). Tell me, did she arrive with the instruction manual for using her mind rays in her carpetbag or did she get one when she arrived in California? And was it a skill she learned in California or one she learned back in Maryland.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Synonymouse seems to forget that for all the I-talian thuggery that Nancy must have brought with her straight from the mean streets of B-more that San Francisco was already run by mostly Irish political machines since World War II…

    Now, while I’m always heartened to hear how wonderful the Irish Mob is compared to those other guys from the Lower East Side…I think Synonymouse is merely bemoaning that Pelosi’ real achievement is that she figured out how to take the Burton-Pelosi-Brown-Kamala-Fazio-Bildaberg political machine and apply to Congress.

    I don’t really see, how as a Californian, Synon-a-gogy could be upset with that development….

    synonymouse Reply:

    I liked Joe Alioto and it would appear Angelo Rossi was a good Mayor, but unfortunately I missed out on the City before the War.

    Things really went sour with cash welfare payouts bringing in bums from everywhere, especially under Art Agnos.

    VBobier Reply:

    Big seal, I have the same number and type of vowels in My family name… I’m just as American as anybody else.

  6. Spokker
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 00:27
    #6

    Say what you will, but Howard Jarvis was a goddamn genius. He entrenched Prop 13 so deep up California’s ass progressives have been trying to figure out for decades how to pull it out. It’s stuck so far up there nobody even bothers defending it. It’s not going away. It probably should be repealed but that’s about as likely as a libertarian president so why even try.

    VBobier Reply:

    Prop 13 needs to be reformed so Corporate properties are taxed as they should be, then 13 will be fair to all as it should be…

  7. D. P. Lubic
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 02:47
    #7

    Some interesting commentary by William Draves (NineShift) about Republican support for trains (including when rail service will become profitable), gas prices, and Fox News:

    http://nineshift.typepad.com/weblog/2012/07/when-republicans-will-support-trains-and-why.html

    http://nineshift.typepad.com/weblog/2012/08/gas-prices-and-support-for-trains.html

    http://nineshift.typepad.com/

  8. D. P. Lubic
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 03:05
    #8

    I think we’ve had a lot of hand-wringing over a lot of things that may not be that important in the first place.

    Take the Loop vs. Tejon routing question, which is about as straight a route as possible vs. a route that connects a number of smaller cities that individually may not be really huge compared with LA but which do add up to a fair number of people. Some argue that the straight route is superior because it’s faster and shorter, and cheaper to build that way. Others, and I have come to this conclusion as well, would argue that this will still be fast (if challenging to meet the legal time requirements and other things), and that we should include as many Californians as possible.

    What I would add–and what leads me to think the current routing is the right one for now–is that despite the squawks that the route to the smaller cities is too long and too costly, that there is a huge, pent-up demand for this sort of service. It will be much faster than driving, and will be sustainable when flying becomes constrained for oil problems. As others have pointed out, it will probably behave, as far as ridership is concerned, like the NEC–I am imagining several services, some of which run non-stop end-to-end, others making multiple stops, others making every stop–and serving all the towns this way. It will be better than the NEC because it will be true HSR with a new, faster ROW. Because of all of this, ridership will exceed expectations; I would be surprised if they didn’t.

    Now, if you can only minimize the viaducts and come up with some more modest stations (and maybe go with some sort of retro-style in station design, and perhaps car interiors). . .

    Andrew Reply:

    I agree with your logic as far as it goes, but the thing about Palmdale is that they can still have HSR without making it pass thru their town. With a nice electrified commuter line they can get to Santa Clarita (or wherever the connection is) in not much more time than it would take using a high-speed train. From there they can transfer to HSR in both directions. This way they’re nicely served without adding time and cost to every trip taken by the other 99%. And Tejon does not mean I-5 all the way; it just means the shortest and most logical route to Bakersfield.

    Cutting Palmdale also results in a more sensible route for the desert line. If it must be built, this line should go over the Cajon Pass to San Bernardino, whence it can one day reach LAUS sharing tracks with an I-10 line from Tucson, Phoenix, and Palm Springs (Arizona’s not interested now, but the Vegas envy will eventually get to them).

    synonymouse Reply:

    Tejon affords versatility – you have the option of proceeding up the west, middle or east side of the San Joaquin Valley.

    That’s why you can anticipate the Vill-ovich and the Tejon Ranch Co. pulling strings to kill off that west side route thru Bako. That would clearly favor Tejon by making the Grande DeTour even longer, more expensive and slower.

    The people in Bako need to be vigilant about LA subversion.

    VBobier Reply:

    Won’t work as Prop1a says Palmdale must get HSR service, no buts.

    @ syno: To hell with Tejon, it ain’t going to happen…

  9. Billy
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 09:08
    #9

    If you’re calling this the biggest boondoggle in US history you’re an idiot who obviously has never heard of the Vietnam war, or the Cold War, or Iraq, or Afghanistan. I could swear there’s been far more public outcry over health care reform and infrastructure investment than there was about starting two pointless wars that have costs thousands of lives and enough money to provide health insurance for every American, legal AND illegal, for life, plus send them to college without any debt to pay off afterwards. I hope there’s a couple boondogglers reading this statement.

    rant Reply:

    Thank you Billy. I want to add that there should a war tax. Would that mean less wars?

    No, let’s reduce taxes, start two wars and cover Rx’s.

    Jerry Reply:

    @Billy
    Amen

    VBobier Reply:

    @ Billy, Agreed.

  10. Chris G
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 10:09
    #10

    People who use the word boondoggle are immediately tuned out.

  11. John Nachtigall
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 11:55
    #11

    I am confused. The Dems control every aspect of CA government and they apparently hate Prop 13 so why not change it. Why is Prop 30 not a repeal of Prop 13?

    Personally (and I am a Republican), I think Prop 13 is a very bad law. It reduces the most stable form of taxes (property taxes) and cause a higher percentage of income and sales taxes which vary from year to year. The 2/3rd requirement for tax increases has controlled spending, but in a destructive way and reduces flexibility during financial bad times (like now).

    The CA tax system has become too progressive, that is why income tanked so bad compared to other states. Quite frankly, the rich can just move out of the state or work remotely to avoid these taxes.

    “California also gets roughly 54.5 percent of its personal income tax revenue from earners with incomes greater than $200,000 and over 33 percent from earners making more than $500,000, a group which comprises less than 0.67 percent of all tax returns.”

    http://taxfoundation.org/article/folly-california%E2%80%99s-income-tax

    What I don’t understand is if this is a GOP law (as asserted in the blg post) then why the Dems don’t repeal it. it is treated like a 3rd rail in CA, and until it gets changed there will be no way to really impose budget discipline.

    jonathan Reply:

    Too many baby-boomer property owners on both sides support Prop 13.
    Not to mention any and all California land-owning corporations.

    VBobier Reply:

    That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell, so it’s take it a part piece meal in small bites, which so far seems to be working.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Quite frankly, the rich can just move out of the state or work remotely to avoid these taxes.

    Which is why property values on the Peninsula are dropping like a stone, all those rich people moving to Montana. Or property values in “Hollywood” which is a much greater area than just Hollywood. They can just move the entertainment industry to Nebraska.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or metro New York, no reason at all that Wall Street and the other FIRE “industries” need to be on the high cost East Coast. Move it all to South Dakota. And the stuff that goes on in Chicago, Alabama. Midwesterners are used to hot and humid…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Property values did drop like a stone, a rocket assisted stone.

    http://www.jparsons.net/housingbubble/san_francisco.html

    But I am always interested in learning. Why do you think that tax recipts are falling in California while rising elsewhere.

    “Total state tax revenue rose in the fourth quarter of 2011 by 3.6
    percent compared to a year ago, before adjustments for inflation
    and legislated changes”

    “The Far West region showed a decline of 3.9 percent, which is mostly attributable
    to a single state, California, where tax collections fell by 8.3 percent.”

    http://www.rockinst.org/pdf/government_finance/state_revenue_report/2012-04-19-SRR_87.pdf

    So overall revenues are increasing 3.6% and California is declining 8.3% Roll down to table 3 in the above link and you can see CA ranks last in growth (or first in contraction if that makes you feel better)

    You can’t get all your revenue from a few people, it just does not work long term

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Oh the horror, that the inflated property values or 2002 are the inflated property values of 2012. That they declined from their overinflated values of the past few years during the biggest recession since the Great Depression can all be blamed on rich people moving to Kansas.
    and the declining revenues have nothing at all to do with declining or evaporating middle class incomes and everything to do with rich people moving to Kansas.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So basically since the facts and reality don’t back your argument so you are going to resort to some kind of bad sarcasm?

    Tax the rich, you have to, they have the money. What I am saying is that you have to balance that out with some property taxes that are more consistent and broad based. Counting on taxes for bonuses and options is just to volatile

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Your “fact” that property values are dropping is not backed up by the chart you so proudly presented. The values on the Peninsula are the same as they were in 2002, that’s not “dropping like a stone” that just an unfortunate investment for people who were expecting property values to rise forever.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    no matter how far they drop they will be equivalent to some year?

    I would think a 50% reduction in values is pretty significant, but what would you consider a drop…or in your mind what year do they need to be equivant to. 1990? 1980?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Moving the goal posts again are we?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Me! You stated there was no drop. I showed you it has dropped 50%. You are moving the posts not me…I just asked what you would consider a drop

    Peter Reply:

    When bubbles burst, that’s what happens. 2002 appears to be a very good year to compare it to, given that that is where the bubble began to form.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Now you are just maing things up

    http://calculatedriskimages.blogspot.com/2010/06/s-500-june-30-2010.html

    the bubble started in 1998-1999. It had burst by 2001.

    But that is ok, just watch CA tax recipts continue to decline and fall due to volitility.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Are the two of you talking about the same bubble?

    The housing bubble started to form in the 90’s, as did the dotcom bubble. The dotcom bubble burst in 2001. We doubled down on the housing bubble to avoid realizing the losses from the dotcom bubble.

    Of course, avoiding realizing the losses on a bubble is only kicking the can down the road, and so when US private debt / GDP ratio reached 300%, we had the biggest financial collapse since the Great Crash of 1929.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..but rich people had very very low tax rates and made lots of money, two of the important thatng that happened during that time.

  12. Reality Check
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 12:55
    #12

    High-speed rail will shift Highway 99 through Fresno

    Caltrans estimates that it will cost about $226 million and take up to three years to relocate a stretch of Highway 99 through Fresno to make way for high-speed train tracks.

    The estimate by the state’s transportation department includes acquiring the private property needed to shove the freeway west by about 100 feet between Ashlan and Clinton avenues in central Fresno, as well as building new traffic lanes and demolition of the old highway, according to a report to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

    The authority, meeting Thursday in Sacramento, will consider approving an agreement with Caltrans to handle the 2.5-mile construction project. No time frame has been set for when the freeway work would begin.

    The proposed high-speed train line generally would run on the west side of the Union Pacific Railroad freight tracks through Fresno. But between Ashlan and Clinton avenues, the six-lane Highway 99 snuggles up against the Union Pacific rail yard, leaving no room to shoehorn the new tracks into their planned route.

  13. Reality Check
    Aug 1st, 2012 at 13:09
    #13

    PAMPA Attorney Flashman: HSRA insists on 4 tracks

    Efforts to settle a lawsuit filed against the California High-Speed Rail Authority failed nine days after they started because the agency insisted on a four-track system, according to the attorney representing three local cities in the suit.

    “Suffice it to say the mediation was unsuccessful and we’re back on the litigation track,” Stuart Flashman told the Almanac on July 25. He estimated the case will take at least a year now to resolve “one way or the other.”

    Menlo Park, Atherton and Palo Alto sued the authority over aspects of the environmental impact report for the high-speed rail project, including projected ridership figures and the impact of various design scenarios on their cities.

    Mr. Flashman said that one key obstacle to a settlement was the authority’s insistence on a four-track system as recommended in the environmental impact report.

    Even though the lawsuit wends its way slowly through the courts, the actual project got a jump start on July 6 when state lawmakers approved funding for the first phase of the $68 billion project.

    According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, the key funding vote for the Peninsula portion of the project is five to 10 years away. “As most insiders know, the Legislature’s limitation on the use of funds in the initial appropriation is nothing but a smokescreen,” he said. “Those funds won’t be used on the Peninsula except for Caltrain electrification in any case.”

    He said the funding legislation does not permanently prohibit using high-speed rail funds for a four-track system along the Peninsula, despite statements to the contrary from legislators who voted for the bill.

    That assertion puzzled at least one of those legislators. “The language in the legislation that was passed was very clear that those funds that were allocated cannot be used to build anything but a blended system, a non-four-track system,” said Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park. “The high-speed rail authority is, in any current presentation they make, talking very clearly, very openly that it will be a blended system, that the Peninsula will be a blended system that will share facilities with Caltrain.”

    Mr. Gordon noted that he wasn’t privy to the mediation, and so couldn’t comment on why design presented an obstacle to settlement. “The blended system — that’s what we’ve got, that’s what is in the legislation and that’s what the HSRA is committed to building.”

    That’s missing the boat, according to Mr. Flashman, who stands by his criticism of the bill. He said those issues are why Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, voted against it. “This is an indication of why it’s a really a bad idea for legislators to rush through these bills without taking the time to fully understand them. It may have said ‘these funds right now’ can’t be used for a four-track system, but it says nothing about the long-term. The authority’s ultimate intent is to build a four-track system.”

    joe Reply:

    That’s missing the boat, according to Mr. Flashman, who stands by his criticism of the bill. He said those issues are why Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, voted against it. “This is an indication of why it’s a really a bad idea for legislators to rush through these bills without taking the time to fully understand them. It may have said ‘these funds right now’ can’t be used for a four-track system, but it says nothing about the long-term. The authority’s ultimate intent is to build a four-track system.”

    JoeSimitian voted against HSR. HSR passed. Time to enter into the next starge of grief.

    1. Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to PAMPA.”
    2. Anger — “Why PAMPA? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to us?”;
    3. Bargaining — “We’ll do anything for a few more years.”;
    4. Depression — “We’re so sad, why bother with anything?”;
    5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “We can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”

    joe Reply:

    I think this guy is in Stage 2.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My take is the CHSRA scheme is thoroughly unpopular(maybe supermajority in opposition)in PAMPA and Simitian is seen as somewhat opportunistic and soft on PB. Only cheerleaders and PB worshippers would cast him as an anti-rail villain. Santa Clarita makes PAMPA look like rail buffs.

    Clem Reply:

    Flashman is correct. Until the CHSRA publishes a Supplemental Alternatives Analysis that formally withdraws the four-tracks-all-the-way design from further consideration for the San Francisco to San Jose project EIR, it’s still very much on the table. That SAA would be an action; everything else is just words.

    joe Reply:

    Clem

    My understanding is the blended compromise did not remove the 4 track alignment – it delayed implementation. The peer review panel recommended delaying 4 track if/until demand justified the expansion. The EIR was to be for the full build.

    I always thought the initial blended proposal stopped HSR in San Jose and had riders transfer onto electrified Caltrain to SF. I also thought Pelosi had the Pols walk that idea back in about one day after the media event at Menlo Park Caltrain and that they reexplained the blended HSR concept using the Caltrain ROW ofr a single seat to SF. This agreement was the camel’s nose under the tent and HSR was now running along the ROW to SF.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Of course. But what you’re missing is that PAMPA retirees want a guarantee that there won’t be four tracks or grade separations, ever, decades after they’re dead. It’s the Californian equivalent of Chicago’s dead voters.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep…

    Peter Reply:

    And there’s nothing to prevent the Authority (or more likely its successor) from resurrecting the 4-track option at a later point as demand increases.

    Peter Reply:

    Hence why this was probably the sticking point for mediation.

  14. Leroy W. Demery, Jr
    Aug 2nd, 2012 at 20:05
    #14

    The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association has a strong pro-road agenda – that was soundly rejected by state voters back in 1988.

    Governor George Deukmejian proposed a two-stage, $2.3 billion bond issue (that’s roughly $5 billion at today’s prices), with the first $1 billion stage submitted on June 7, 1988. Virtually all the funding was to be used for freeway construction. Deukmejian campaigned vigorously for the highway bonds and even donated money personally to the campaign – but voters rejected the bond measure by a razor-thin margin of 355 votes against. That was a surprise: of the 45 bond measures submitted to state voters between 1982 and 1990, all were approved – but this one.

    Also on the same ballot was the so-called “Emergency Reserve” initiative, authored by anti-tax activist Paul Gann (of “Gann Limit” fame, or infamy). This, in brief, proposed to exempt sales and use taxes collected from motor fuel sales from the “Gan Limit,” and to transfer these revenues (ca. $700 million per year, about $1.5 billion at today’s prices) from the General Fund to the highway fund. This was also rejected, by a 62 percent “no” vote.

    So, in 1988, voters statewide had the chance to provide major new funding for freeways – and to give freeways first priority ahead of other state programs. The reply – quite unexpected in the case of the bond proposal – was “No way.”

    In spite of the very small margin of “No” votes, Deukmejian ruled out out further attempts to secure voter approval for freeway-construction bonds.

    One more point, arcane and probably forgotten by now: a provision in the legislative compromise which put the freeway bond issue onto the ballot — and took effect without regard to the fate of the bond plan. This deleted the last remaining law which gave roads a higher priority than “mass-transit guideways” for funding from motor fuel tax revenues. For the first time, California had a statutory requirement for a minimum mass-transit share of motor fuel tax funds: $75 million per year (ca. $150 million today).

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