Wednesday, October 26, 2016

All the LA County Tax Propositions Properly Dissed

Mod: Pretty good column from Susan Shelley of the Los Angeles Daily News. If you Google any of the LA County tax measures you won't find a lot in the way of opposition. So it is refreshing to find a source that sorts them all out, and in one convenient setting.

L.A. ballot measures act like pickpockets: Susan Shelley (Los Angeles Daily News link): On Nov. 8, voters in Los Angeles will be asked to vote on seven measures that look innocent but take money right out of your pocket. It’s like being governed by the original Broadway cast of “Oliver.”

The show featured a gang of singing pickpockets, if you’ve never seen it.

L.A. County Measure A is a hike in property taxes to replace the funding from two expiring temporary taxes for parks. Because a temporary tax is a mythical creature, Measure A would levy a property tax of 1.5 cents per square foot of every building every year. The tax would hit businesses and apartment building owners especially hard, leading to higher prices and higher rents, and it’s permanent.

Measure M is a permanent one-half percent sales tax increase for what the county calls a “traffic improvement plan.” It would be the fourth one-half percent sales tax increase since 1980 for transportation. The third one, Measure R, was temporary, but Measure M would make it permanent.

Metro has a detailed plan on its website that shows all the projects Measure M will fund, but many of them count on the highly uncertain availability of billions of dollars in state or federal money. Some sound like outright fantasy. Valley voters are promised a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass, someday. It will do wonders to speed up the commute from Shangri-La to Brigadoon.

Now the bad news about Measure M: there are no guarantees that any of the promised projects will happen. Anything can be changed with a two-thirds vote of the Metro board of directors. And in the meantime, proposed mega-developments of housing or retail that are within one-half mile of a “planned” major transit stop qualify for streamlined approvals with no studies of the projects’ impact on traffic speed or parking, even if the nearby transit is only a watercolor illustration.

The Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees would like voters to authorize another $3.3 billion of borrowed money for more buildings, following the $6 billion the district blew through in the last 15 or so years. The money would be repaid, plus interest, by adding another charge to property tax bills for decades. Although Measure CC has “Affordable Education” and “Job Training” in its name, this is bond money that legally can only be used for land and buildings. It can’t be spent on education, or scholarships, or programs. Incidentally, in 2011, the State Controller reported on massive waste, fraud and mismanagement in the LACCD’s bond program. They promise this time they’ll really fix the bathrooms.

The City of Los Angeles is asking voters to approve Measure HHH, authorizing $1.2 billion of borrowed money to build housing for the homeless. Like the college bond, the money can only be used for land and buildings. Not one penny can legally be spent for services like mental health treatment, addiction counseling, shelters, social workers, law enforcement, or help for victims of domestic violence. The city can buy land, even forcing the sale with eminent domain, and pay developers to build high-density housing. Meanwhile, property tax bills will have an extra charge for decades to pay back the $1.2 billion plus interest.

Three more city measures could be just as costly.

Measure JJJ would require developers building some private residential developments to pay construction workers the “prevailing wage,” a significantly higher hourly rate based on union contracts for public projects. It would also require developers to designate some units in these projects as “affordable housing” at below-market rates. It’s a formula for higher rents: Raising the cost of building housing and making some units more expensive so others can be subsidized.

Measure SSS would increase the cost of public employee pensions, already chewing up about 20 percent of the city’s general fund, by enrolling new airport police officers into the more costly Fire and Police Pensions System.

Measure RRR, a charter amendment supposedly reforming the L.A. Department of Water and Power, actually does nothing to reform the DWP. But it makes it politically easier for the City Council and the mayor to raise water and power rates, hiding the increases in a four-year “strategic plan” that would be approved in advance so rate hikes would take effect later, without another vote. Meanwhile, 8 percent of the gross revenue from electricity sales is transferred to the city treasury every year to cover general expenses.

Our elected officials are addicted to spending. They just can’t say no.

Fortunately, you can.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New York Daily News: Donald Trump hosted wild parties with sex, cocaine and underage models

Mod: Can you imagine if it was the Democratic nominee being accused of these sorts of crazy things? Here is an interesting juxtaposition of two articles that would, in world making a little more sense, appear to clash.

Donald Trump hosted wild parties with sex, cocaine and underage models (New York Daily News): Donald Trump allegedly used to host cocaine-filled and sex-crazed parties at one of his luxurious Manhattan hotels — and invited models as young as 15 to attend them, a bombshell report published Monday claims. Two men who used to attend the parties told the Daily Beast that Trump would regularly throw the bashes in lavish suites at the Plaza Hotel, which he owned between 1988 and 1995.

One of the men, a New York fashion photographer who asked to remain anonymous, said the billionaire businessman would take over entire corner suites at the Plaza for days at a time. He would then invite young models so that they could meet his affluent, older friends who could give them major career boosts, the photographer said.

"There were always dramas because the men threw money and drugs at them to keep them enticed," the photographer said. "It's based on power and dominating girls who can't push back and can be discarded. There's always someone to pick them back up. Nobody wants to call home and say 'Help me.'"

Trump, who was married to his second wife, Marla Maples, at the time, allowed attendants to do whatever drugs they wanted, the photographer said. As people partied hard on coke and top-shelf liquor, the mogul would stroll from room to room and hook up with girls.

"He'd wander off with a couple girls. I saw him. He was getting laid like crazy," the photographer said. "Trump was at the heart of it. He loved the attention and in private, he was a total f-----g beast."

Mod: The rest of this expose' can be accessed here.

44% of White Evangelicals Claim ‘Trump Has Strong Moral Character’ ( Many white evangelicals believe Trump demonstrates strong moral character. A new poll shows 44% of white evangelicals believe Trump demonstrates “strong moral character,” while only 18% of those with no religion agree.

A recent ABC/WaPo poll confirms what many have long suspected concerning the moral judgement of evangelicals, or lack thereof. When asked “Do you think Trump has strong moral character?” 44% of white evangelicals said yes, while only 18% of those without religion agreed.

Mod: You can read it all here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Donut Hole in the City of Sierra Madre's Argument Supporting Measure M

Mod: I haven't been bagging on Sierra Madre City Hall very much lately. There is just so much else going on in the world right now. But when it is something as unfortunate as what follows below, well, it has to at least be noted. Here is how this week's City Council meeting staff report on the Measure M question inadvertently reveals what this unhappiness is all about (link).

Remember, the City of Sierra Madre has already spent a lot of money in the effort to defeat the 710 Tunnel. $50,000 is the number that comes to mind, though it could be more. Which in my opinion was a very good thing to do. It was money wisely spent.

However, here is the problem as I see it. While Los Angeles County authorities such as Metro and CalTRANS, along with such regional deplorables as SCAG, have worked very hard to assure people that Measure M funds will never be used in any way to help plan - or God forbid build - the 710 Tunnel, there is nothing at all about any restrictions on the already existing funds that this new sales tax revenue will likely free up. We're talking about Prop R and other similar money pots.

By using new Prop M moneys to pay for some of the things these other funds have been covering until now, couldn't that quite possibly free up some ready cash elsewhere to help push forward the 710 TunnelOf course it could. It would merely be a matter of shifting around some of those already existing revenues. And what control would you have over that?

Unlike with Measure M, there are no such restrictions in place for already existing fund sources such as Props R. Measure M will raise an additional $121 billion dollars. Wouldn't that free up a lot of cash from any previous propositions and tax money streams, money that could then easily be used in other ways?

And there is absolutely nothing anywhere that says any freed up funds from those other propositions and tax resources will never be used to help pay for the 710 Tunnel.

Better to just Vote NO. Why take the chance?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

NY Daily News: Porn Star Jessica Drake Claims Donald Trump Offered Her $10G, Use Of His Private Jet For Sex

Mod: Of course, if Randy Don is elected president he could turn Air Force One into his very own personal porn star delivery service. Wouldn't that help make America great again?

Porn star Jessica Drake claims Donald Trump offered her $10G, use of his private jet for sex (New York Daily News) - An award-winning porn star accused a creepy Donald Trump of offering $10,000 and the use of his private jet if she agreed to spend the night with him.

Jessica Drake said the GOP presidential hopeful’s unwanted sexual come-ons occurred 10 years ago during a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Calif. When she rebuffed Trump’s sexual overtures, Drake told a news conference Saturday, he asked her two questions: “What do you want? How much?”

Drake said her spurned suitor continued to pursue her despite her rejection.

“I received another call from Donald or a male calling on his behalf offering me $10,000,” she said. “I declined once again, and once more gave as an excuse that I had to return to Los Angeles for work.

“I was then told Mr. Trump would allow me the use of his private jet to take me home if I accepted his invitation.”

Her allegation follows the claims of 11 other women who accused Trump of groping them. The boorish billionaire vowed Saturday to sue them all once the presidential race is done.

The most recent woman to charge Trump was wellness expert Karena Virginia, who accused him of brazenly touching her breast outside the U.S. Open in 1998.

“Don’t you know who I am?” he asked while slipping away.

Drake said Trump started hitting on her as soon as they met — although he was married at the time to third wife Melania.

“His words and actions are a huge testament to his character — that of uncontrollable misogyny, entitlement and being a sexual assault apologist,” said Drake.

Mod: Link to the New York Daily News article here.

Eric Trump tricked into taking photo with woman wearing shirt that says ‘AGAINST Trump’ in Spanish (New York Daily News link): Looks like Eric Trump has a muy mal understanding of Spanish.

The Donald’s middle son was played for a fool at a North Carolina rally when he posed for a photo with a young woman wearing a “Latinas Contra Trump” shirt.

“No one at the rally realized my shirt said AGAINST TRUMP,” a giddy Annie Cardelle, 23, tweeted along with the photo.

“Congrats, y'all played yourselves.”

Uday is not the smartest of the Trump children.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

So What The Deuce Is Going On In Arcadia?

Richard McDonald
Mod: As much as I hate to tear myself away from our non compos mentis presidential election, duty calls. What follows is an article printed in the current edition of The Foothill Advocate, a small weekly news publication hot out of Pasadena. I must confess to not knowing too much about the topic. At least not yet. However, I can tell you this. The same state laws that enabled the ethnically dictated political gerrymandering of the Pasadena Unified School District are in play here. Ironically, and as you probably recall, an effort that left PUSD's Board of Ed with no increase in minority representation. Folks still didn't vote. Another bone of contention is the presence of Richard McDonald, the same wily attorney that represents those locally controversial CETT McMansionites at One Carter in Sierra Madre. He is apparently intimately involved in this dust up as well. Something that suggests the usual development suspects might be a driving force behind what is described below. And yes, it's probably about the money. 

Asian group claims Arcadia denies civil rights (The Foothill Advocate link): An Asian-American civil rights organization has demanded that the City of Arcadia retire its at-large electoral system in favor of City Council elections by district.

A letter to Mayor Tom Beck from an attorney representing the Chinese American Equalization Association outlined several reasons for the demand including the under-representation of Asians on the City Council. The demand is similar to one submitted in August to Monrovia officials by The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).

“In fact, U.S. Census and State population data shows that Asian-Americans constitute 60 percent of the City of Arcadia’s population, and 50 percent of its registered voters,” the HQH letter, written by Pasadena attorney Richard McDonald says. “However, it appears that only one of the current members of the City Council is Asian-American.”

Additionally HQH wants the city to write an ordinance and ask voters to approve City Council districts.

McDonald’s letter asks Arcadia officials to respond by Nov. 15, or face further legal action.

City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto said Arcadia has attorneys reviewing the letter. He said the City Council will take up the matter in a closed session. He also said that there’s no telling how long the process could take.

Lazzarretto referenced the demand filed by Hispanic rights group MALDEF in Monrovia, saying that he’s been aware of nearby cities fielding similar demands.

HQH President Ted Tian also said he was familiar with the MALDEF demands. In fact, he was inspired by those efforts.

“I heard something like this was happening in Monrovia,” he said. “And I thought ‘We should do that.’”

But HQH’s demand is unique in that an Asian-American group is behind it. In March 2015, the City of Fullerton received a similar demand letter from Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles and the ACLU of Southern California. Just four months later, Fullerton decided to settle the lawsuit and let voters decide on whether to adopt districts this November.

Although HQH won’t be the first Asian-American organization to make such a demand, Tian still hopes to make history.

“We believe that if we do this, other places will follow,” he said.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sad! Al Smith Charity Dinner Crowd Rains Boos on Donald Trump

Mod: Apparently there was not a whole lot of forgiveness for the boorish behavior of Donald Trump last night. Nobody appears to have been very amused. Trump actually did manage to get himself "booed by a room full of Priests." (link)

Al Smith Charity Dinner Crowd Rains Boos on Donald Trump (Daily Beast link): Thursday’s Al Smith Memorial Dinner offered America the opportunity to take a desperate breath from the trash swamp America’s been drowning in for the last year and a half. It delivered, but then again, 45 minutes of footage of a stranger yelling would have been more enjoyable than most of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Al Smith, the white tie event’s namesake, was the first Catholic to run for president, and the multi-thousand dollar per plate ticket price supports Catholic charity work. For reasons that might seem opaque to the casual observer, this particular charity event features almost every four years the two major party presidential candidates delivering jokes from behind a podium. It’s the world’s fanciest open mic.

What’s the difference between an open mic comic and Donald Trump? One spends hours every week spitting idiotic lines in front of an audience of hopeless losers in hopes that they’ll gain fame, and the other is a comedian.

The Republican nominee for president hit some high notes, like the plagiarism joke about wife Melania’s Republican National Convention speech, which was cribbed in part from a speech Michelle Obama had given. But then he gestured to his wife, ordering her to stand up while the crowd cheered, a bizarre break in momentum.

He further lost the crowd with a joke about Hillary Clinton hating Catholics that was met with boos. Then came another one about Donna Brazile sharing all of the jokes from the dinner in advance. More boos. Then one about Hillary Clinton destroying Haitian villages, which was borderline inscrutable and met with silence. If Trump is half as effective at bombing ISIS as he is at bombing stand-up routines, he’s ready to be commander-in-chief.

Donald Trump Heckled by New York Elite at Charity Dinner (New York Times link): Donald J. Trump began this quadrennial exercise in campaign humility and self-deprecation on Thursday by comparing himself to the son of God — just another “carpenter working for his father” in his youth.

By the end, facing cascading and uncomfortable jeers from a crowd full of white ties and gowns, he had called Hillary Clinton Catholic-hating, “so corrupt” and potentially jail-bound in a prospective Trump administration.

“I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I,” Mr. Trump said sheepishly from the dais, turning to his opponent amid the heckling.

It seemed clear to everyone else. Mr. Trump was being booed at a charity dinner.

So it went at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in Manhattan, a presidential campaign ritual of levity and feigned warmth — upended, like so much else in this election season, by the gale-force bid of Mr. Trump.

Breaking with decades of tradition at the gathering once he took the microphone, Mr. Trump set off on a blistering, grievance-filled performance that translated poorly to the staid setting, stunning many of the well-heeled guests who had filed into the Waldorf Astoria hotel for an uncommon spectacle: an attempted d├ętente in a campaign so caustic that the candidates, less than 24 hours earlier, declined to shake hands on a debate stage.

Trump sides with Putin over U.S. intelligence (Politico link): Donald Trump angrily insisted on Wednesday night that he is not Vladimir Putin’s “puppet.”

But at a minimum, in recent months he has often sounded like the Russian president’s lawyer—defending Putin against a variety of specific charges, from political killings to the 2014 downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine, despite the weight of intelligence, legal findings and expert opinion.

Wednesday, for instance, Trump dismissed Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Russia was behind the recent hacking of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails. “She has no idea whether it’s Russia or China or anybody else,” Trump retorted. “Our country has no idea.”

As Clinton tried to explain that the Russian role is the finding of 17 military and civilian intelligence agencies, Trump cut her off: “I doubt it.”

On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a joint statement saying that the U.S. intelligence community “is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” That finding has also been relayed directly to Trump in the classified national security briefings he receives as a major party nominee.

Amid 'rigged' election charges, Russia wants to monitor U.S. vote (USA Today link): In an apparent move to embarrass the United States over Donald Trump's claims of a "rigged" presidential election, Russia sought to send monitors to U.S. polling stations for the Nov. 8 vote, Russian media revealed Thursday.

The bid was sharply rebuffed by the State Department, and one state election official threatened criminal action if Russian monitors showed up, according to state-controlled Izvestia daily and broadcaster RT.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner called the Russian effort a "PR stunt" and denied that the United States blocked Russian diplomats from observing the election.

A spokeswoman for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who received a request to allow Russian monitors, called it a "propaganda ploy."

"We've allowed observers from overseas in the past from other countries, never from Russia," Meg Casper said. She added that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security also "told us not to do this."

Trump, who is behind in most polls, has complained for weeks about potential election fraud. In Wednesday night's debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Republican nominee refused to say whether he would abide by the results on Election Day.

With Empty Rooms and Bookings Plummeting, Trump Hotels Are Taking a Beating (NBC News link): Donald Trump may already be calling for a recount of votes in what he claims will be a rigged election — but he may also want to recount the empty rooms at his hotels.

The Republican presidential nominee's actions out on the campaign trail don't seem to be doing much for occupancy rates at his chain of five-star Trump-branded hotels.

Bookings at the newly opened Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue also seem to be bearing the brunt of this contentious election cycle.

When it had its soft opening in September, rack rates for the basic 410-square "deluxe" rooms started at over $575 a night.

Checking the hotel's online booking site, that same room type is now available for an unrestricted rate of $505, with a discount to $404 for AAA members, for at least the next two weekends and for the weekend after the presidential election.

By comparison, when searching Expedia for a five-star hotel in Washington, D.C., next weekend, a room at the St. Regis Washington, D.C. is available for $655 a night, while the Hay-Adams and others show as sold out.

The Trump family plans an official ribbon-cutting and press conference for the D.C. hotel on October 26, but for now, it's the falling room rates that are getting noticed.

Despite its prime location and promotional mentions by Donald Trump himself, "empty rooms have forced hotel to reduce rates during the peak season," noted New York Magazine.

Red State Stupidity Confirmed: 9 Of The 10 Least Educated States Voted Republican (PoliticusUSA link): According to data compiled in a new study, 9 of the 10 least educated states in America also voted Republican in the last presidential election.

24/7 Wall St used educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau to rank all 50 states in terms of higher education level. The results were not surprising to those who pay attention to our national discourse.

All ten of the most educated states in the United States voted for President Obama in 2012. The ten most educated states were Minnesota, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado, Massachusetts. Only one of the ten least educated states (Nevada) voted for President Obama in 2012.

The ten least educated states were:

10). Idaho

9). Indiana

8). Oklahoma

7). Alabama

6). Nevada

5). Louisiana

4). Kentucky

3). Arkansas

2). Mississippi

1). West Virginia

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Paddy Power Is Already Paying Presidential Election Bettors Their Winnings

Mod: If you placed your presidential election bets this year with Ireland's Paddy Power, and you picked Hillary Clinton to take the prize, then your check is already in the mail. It's three weeks or so before election day, and they've already declared the winner. 

One of the biggest political betting markets is already assuming Hillary Clinton is going to win (Business Insider UK link): Paddy Power, an Irish betting market with a large presence in the UK, has already declared a winner of the US presidential election.

The market said Tuesday that it is paying out more than $1 million worth of bets on the Democratic nominee because it looks as though Clinton has sealed a win over Republican nominee Donald Trump.

"With national polls showing a healthy lead for the Democratic candidate and Donald Trump's campaign running into scandal after scandal, Paddy Power believes it's a done deal and that Hillary is a nailed-on certainty to occupy the Oval Office," Paddy Power said in a statement.

The move by the betting market comes as Clinton's odds have edged up in most models, including hitting 85% on the data site FiveThirtyEight's polls-plus model and 91% on The New York Times' Upshot model. She has also expanded her lead in national polls to an average of 6.9 points, according to RealClearPolitics.

Who in the world is Evan McMullen?
Mod: Don't look now, but there is a third party independent candidate for President who might actually get a few Electoral College votes. According to the polls McMullen has now become the leading presidential contender in the state of Utah.

Evan McMullin takes the lead in latest Utah presidential poll (Salt Lake City Tribune link): Evan McMullin, the Provo-born independent, has seized his first lead in Utah's fluid presidential race. The Emerson College poll, released Wednesday, found McMullin with 31 percent, followed by Republican Donald Trump at 27 percent and Democrat Hillary Clinton at 24 percent.

The last 20 polls conducted in Utah had Trump either ahead or in a tie. In this survey, McMullin's advantage is at the edge of the 3.9 percent margin of error.

"We are very excited. We are humbled by the support," McMullin said about the poll moments after accepting the endorsements of some Republican state lawmakers. "We believe this momentum will spill over into neighboring states both in advance of the election and beyond. We are building a new conservative movement and we believe it begins here.

McMullin has surged in the days since the "Access Hollywood" video emerged showing Trump caught on a hot mic bragging about groping women. Since then, Trump's numbers have fallen, McMullin has surged and Clinton has remained steady. CNN, Fox News and NBC all have now declared Utah a toss-up.

Donald Trump has stumbled while trying to capitalize on WikiLeaks (Los Angeles Times link): Hillary Clinton challenged Donald Trump in their final presidential debate to condemn Russian email hacking that she alleges is aimed at influencing the election. He declined.

Trump flatly rejected the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian government was responsible for infiltrating Democratic Party emails, a major headache for Clinton in the campaign’s closing weeks.

Hillary, you have no idea” whether Russia is responsible for the hacking, Trump said, adding that the U.S. also has no idea about it. “I doubt it,” he said.

On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement saying the U.S. intelligence community was confident that the Russian government was responsible for the hacking.

“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” the statement said. Moreover, they said, the hacking was authorized by Russia’s top officials.

Mod: Nobody should be too surprised at the possibly seditious actions of Donald Trump. After all, he is Putin's Puppet, and only doing as ordered.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Peace In Our Time? Donald Trump Brings President Obama and Bill O'Reilly Together for the First Time Ever

Mod: Can it be that there is a Nobel Peace Prize in Donald's future? 

Barack Obama and Bill O’Reilly Tell Donald Trump to Stop Whining (New York Magazine): There is broad, bipartisan consensus that Donald Trump’s sense of entitlement is in need of reform. The Republican nominee has spent the past two weeks trying to energize his base … by informing them that their votes probably won’t matter, since a cabal of international bankers — working in coordination with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, a bunch of ugly, lying women, and “certain communities” in Philadelphia — will probably just rig the election, anyway.

Which is to say: The standard-bearer of the “party of personal responsibility” has spent most of this month blaming everyone but himself for his plummeting poll numbers.

Now, (virtually) everyone from Barack Obama to Bill O’Reilly thinks it’s time for Trump to end his tour of the whine country.

“You start whining before the game is even over?” Obama asked an imaginary Trump, incredulously, during a presser in the White House Rose Garden with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi. “If, whenever things are going bad for you and you lose, you start blaming somebody else? You don’t have what it takes to do this job.”

Obama went on to note the paucity of evidence for large-scale voter fraud in the United States — and how difficult such a scheme would be to pull off, given how decentralized the American voting system is.

On Monday night, Bill O’Reilly offered a more terse version of the same message, telling Stephen Colbert, that his recommendation to Trump was, “Stop whining … Nobody cares about the ‘rigged’ stuff.”

Mod: The rest of this inspiring account can be read here.

Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez chose not to stay in a Trump hotel, but he didn't want it to be news (Los Angeles Times link): From behind the Dodgers bench, Adrian Gonzalez glanced at his teammates who were taking their first rounds of batting practice during an afternoon workout. He looked down and sighed.

Gonzalez was suddenly part of the national conversation about the upcoming presidential election, courtesy of actions he had quietly taken five months earlier.

The Mexican American first baseman had refused to stay with his team at a Chicago property owned by Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The story became known Sunday night, and some people on social media were celebrating him as a hero as he and the other Dodgers were preparing for their Tuesday showdown against the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series 

Except … “I don’t want this to be a story,” the first baseman said. “I did it for myself,” he explained.

Gonzalez doesn’t want to be another Colin Kaepernick, who is kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Gonzalez said that his views on social issues were a private matter. He might do something in protest, as he did when he asked the Dodgers to not provide Trump with business on his behalf, but he thinks that isn’t for anyone else to know.

“I wasn’t doing it for publicity, I wasn’t doing it for people to look at me or talk about me,” he said. “That’s not who I am. I just have my own values and morals that I want to live by.”

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Mod: Just one more reason to love the Dodgers.

Clinton holds clear advantage in new battleground polls (Washington Post link): Based on the results from the 15 state surveys, along with assumptions of the likely outcomes in other states that have consistently voted for one party or the other, Clinton, the Democratic nominee, holds leads of four percentage points or more among likely voters in states that add up to 304 electoral votes.

Trump, the GOP nominee, has the advantage in states with an estimated electoral vote total of 138. Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Texas, which account for 96 electoral votes, remain as toss-ups. All results in the 15 state surveys are based on ballot tests that include Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

The results underscore the importance for Trump of Wednesday’s final presidential debate, in Las Vegas. National polls have moved in Clinton’s direction since the exchanges began in late September. Her current average margin is seven points in polling averages from the Huffington Post Pollster and RealClearPolitics.

The effect of the shift toward Clinton in national polls is evident in the new 15-state study. In late August, The Post, using SurveyMonkey’s online methodology, conducted individual polls in all 50 states among registered voters. At that time, Clinton led in states that added up to 244 electoral votes, while Trump led in states accounting for 126. Toss-up states equaled 168 electoral votes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Video ties Trump to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Link Here.

(From The Hill - link): The spot puts together a clip of Trump appearing on Jones’s show, hosted by his website Infowars, saying, “I will not let you down. You will be very, very impressed, I hope, and I think we’ll be speaking a lot.”

It's followed by a series of clips of Jones saying that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, 9/11 was an inside job and that Clinton is a “freaking demon” who smells like sulfur.

“And I’ll tell you, it is surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later,” Jones adds. Election Forecast (October 18 - link)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Politico: Clinton’s team unleashes Watergate attack against Trump

Mod: Are Russia's hacks of DNC email the modern equivalent of the Watergate break-in?

 Clinton’s team unleashes Watergate attack against Trump (Politico) - In an essay shared with POLITICO, the campaign accuses Trump and Russia of criminal theft. Four decades after five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is trying to frame the hacking of her campaign chairman’s email as a repeat of the most famous political scandal in American history – and to directly implicate Donald Trump.

“What did Trump know, and when did he know it?” the campaign asks in an essay that will post on Medium, a play on the famous line from the Senate’s Watergate investigation. (“What did the President know and when did he know it?” Sen. Howard Baker asked then.)

“We’re witnessing another effort to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election,” Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin writes in an early version of the post, which was shared with POLITICO. “Only this time, instead of filing cabinets, it’s people’s emails they’re breaking into…and a foreign government is behind it.”

Clinton’s campaign has been increasingly frustrated by media coverage of campaign chairman John Podesta’s stolen emails, which are being released by the thousands every morning on Wikileaks.

Major news outlets have treated the internal correspondence of top campaign officials as a treasure trove of unfiltered information about how Clinton’s operatives navigated a thorny and prolonged primary challenge, and dealt with the almost-crippling State Department email scandal, which defined the early months of Clinton's campaign.

Private email conversations about Chelsea Clinton, where former presidential aide Doug Band accused her of acting like a "spoiled brat kid" who "hasn't found her way and has a lack of focus in her life" have had internal repercussions.

And portions of Clinton's secretive paid speeches in front of Wall Street banks -- where she touts the importance of having a "public and a private position" on contentious political issues -- could still have reverberations for the former secretary of state down the line.

But the Democrat’s campaign has argued that newsrooms should ignore the emails or at least identify them as hacked – not leaked – documents.

Clinton press secretary, and former Justice Department spokesman, Brian Fallon, first compared the Wiki release to Watergate last week in a tweet. But Saturday’s Medium post marks the start of a more deliberate push that will carry through the final three weeks of the campaign to frame the emails as part of a criminal hack – and to make the electronic files seem as compromised to the media and to voters as reading and reporting on a stolen physical document.

The campaign will lean into the suggestion that Trump or his close advisers are connected directly to the hack, which is widely believed to be tied to Russia.

Donald Trump needs to condemn these illegal hacks and denounce Russian efforts to intervene in our election,” Caplin writes. “Why is Trump protecting Putin by lying about Russia’s role in these hacks? What did his campaign know and when did they know it? Why won’t he condemn this? With less than a month until Election Day, these are the questions we need answered — and soon.”

Mod: You can read the rest of this Politico article here.

WikiLeaks: Assange's internet link 'severed' by state actor (San Francisco Chronicle) - WikiLeaks says that founder Julian Assange's internet access has been cut by an unidentified state actor. Few other details were immediately available.

Assange has been up holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than four years after skipping bail to avoid being extradited over sex crimes allegations.

The cramped quarters haven't prevented the Australian transparency activist from working and WikiLeaks continues to deliver scoops, including revelations that have rattled Hillary Clinton's campaign for president as the U.S. election enters its final stretch.

Calls, texts and emails left with WikiLeaks weren't immediately returned Monday. A woman who picked up the phone at the embassy said: "I cannot disclose any information." An email to Ecuador's ambassador wasn't immediately answered. London's Metropolitan Police declined comment.

Mod: Click here for the rest.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

CNN: US finds growing evidence Russia feeding emails to WikiLeaks

Mod: It used to be that those Americans the Russians labeled "useful idiots" were left wing types who fatuously viewed the old Soviet Union as somehow being the hero of the working classes. But that was back in the day. Today it would appear to be the American right that is willingly serving as Moscow's happy poodles. So how much support is Russia giving to Donald Trump this election? Are they hacking the American government to benefit his candidacy? Done knowing that should Trump be elected he would become a weak and naive president they could easily manipulate? And why would those who so easily proclaim themselves to be "Patriots" be serving the cause of a hostile foreign power? We live in frightening times.

US finds growing evidence Russia feeding emails to WikiLeaks (CNN link): There is mounting evidence that the Russian government is supplying WikiLeaks with hacked emails pertaining to the US presidential election, US officials familiar with the investigation have told CNN.

As WikiLeaks continues to publish emails belonging to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, US officials told CNN that there is growing evidence that Russia is using the organization as a delivery vehicle for the messages and other stolen information.

The methods of the disclosures "suggest Moscow is at least providing the information or is possibly directly responsible for the leaks," one US official said.

US intelligence officials are still investigating the degree of connection between Russia and WikiLeaks but they remain confident that Russia is behind the leaks themselves.

CNN attempted to reach WikiLeaks for comment but received no response. WikiLeaks's founder, Julian Assange, has previously denied any connection to or cooperation with Russia.

On Friday, former Acting CIA Director Mike Morrell said on a conference call organized by the Clinton campaign that it was "absolutely clear ... WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2 are working with the Russians on this."

Russia's highest officials are dismissing accusations that Moscow is trying to sway the US presidential election with cyber attacks, speaking out before the latest accusation concerning WikiLeaks was shared with CNN on Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin ridiculed such talk Wednesday as "hysteria."
"Let them prove it," Sergei Lavrov told CNN's Christiane Amanpour, waving off a US vow to retaliate with a "proportional response."

"If they decided to do something, let them do it," Lavrov told Amanpour. "But to say that Russia is interfering in the United States domestic matters is ridiculous."

The Director of National Intelligence -- representing 19 US intelligence agencies -- and the Department of Homeland Security leveled unambiguous charges against Russia on Friday. And the comments from Moscow did little to quell the growing criticism of Russia Wednesday from the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

"The kinds of disclosures that we've seen, including at WikiLeaks, of stolen e-mails from people who play an important role in our political process is consistent with Russian-directed efforts," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

Podesta, whose emails are being published by WikiLeaks, also pointed the finger at Russia.

'Work of the Russian government'
"It is now clear that the illegal hack of my personal email account was -- just like the other recent, election-related hacks -- the work of the Russian government," Podesta said in a statement. "This level of meddling by a foreign power can only be aimed at boosting Donald Trump and should send chills down the spine of all Americans, regardless of political party."

Trump: Clinton 'has to go to jail' 
Podesta earlier accused Roger Stone, a long-time adviser to Republican nominee Donald Trump, of having advance knowledge of the recent hack and publication of his emails on the website WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange. Stone had penned a tweet in August saying, "Trust me, it will soon (be) the Podesta's time in the barrel.

"I think it's a reasonable assumption to -- or at least a reasonable conclusion -- that Mr. Stone had advanced warning and the Trump campaign had advanced warning about what Assange was going to do," Podesta told reporters Tuesday.

But Stone rejected Podesta's assertion, telling CNN he "had no foreknowledge" of the WikiLeaks publication of Podesta's emails.

The accusations and denials are just the latest and perhaps most extraordinary way that Russia has become a factor in the wildly unpredictable 2016 presidential campaign. Ongoing questions about Trump's ties to Russia are now interspersed with Democratic accusations that Russia is actively trying to help the New York real-estate mogul reach the White House.

"We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election," Clinton said at the second presidential debate on Sunday. "And believe me, they're not doing it to get me elected. They're doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump."

Trump batted back the accusations at a rally in Ocala, Florida, Wednesday. "Anything that goes wrong they blame Russia," Trump told the crowd. "We are being hacked because we have people who don't know what they are doing. They always blame Russia." "They say Donald Trump is friends with Putin. I don't know Putin, folks," Trump added. "What the hell do I have to do with Putin?"

Trump and Putin
At a time when US-Russia relations are the worst they've been in decades, that question -- what does Trump have to do with Putin? -- still lingers.

Trump has called on Moscow to hack into Clinton's computers, downplayed criticism of Putin's authoritarian tendencies, tried to suggest that Russia hasn't hacked US systems and promoted foreign policy positions that jibe more closely with Moscow's than Washington's. He's relied on aides with ties to Russia and most recently, quoted an incorrect Russian news report to raise questions about Clinton.

Russia, US move past Cold War to unpredictable confrontation
For its part, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations formally complained last month about a top UN official's criticism of Trump and right-wing European politicians.

Trump actively called on Russia to help him against Clinton in July, when he called on Moscow to find missing Clinton emails from her tenure as secretary of state.

"Russia, are you listening?" Trump said from the stage of a rally, calling for a foreign country to interfere in an election, an unprecedented moment in presidential politics.

And yet at Sunday's debate, the Republican candidate floated the possibility that Russia isn't behind the hacking at all, saying that Clinton "doesn't know if it's the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking."

In an interview Wednesday with CNN's Brianna Keilar, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said the campaign has no knowledge about the hack. But she said Trump is "of course" concerned about the potential of meddling in US politics.

"Are we going to put this back on Donald Trump?" Conway said. "Is he the hacker?"

After Trump threatened at Sunday's debate to jail Clinton if he wins the White House, former chess world champion Garry Kasparov, a fierce Putin critic, took to Twitter to note that Trump seemed to be emulating Putin's style. Kasparov noted that crackdowns on media and political opponents are "also Putin's checklist."

Trump's foreign policy positions
Trump has taken foreign policy positions that analysts say would please Russia, declaring in March that he would consider pulling the US out of NATO because it's "obsolete" and "is costing us a fortune." The 28-member organization, founded in 1949 to defend against the Soviet Union, is the core US-Atlantic security mechanism.

In August, Trump said Russia wouldn't enter Ukraine, despite Moscow's annexation of Crimea in early 2014. He later clarified to say he meant that Russia wouldn't enter Ukraine if he were president.

At Sunday's debate, Trump insisted that Russia is targeting ISIS in Syria, despite repeated assessments by US security officials that Russian troops are spending more time focused on moderate opposition groups, including those backed by the US.

John Podesta emails: Latest Wikileaks release
Trump campaign advisers have had ties to Russia. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lobbied on behalf of Russian-backed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich. Carter Page, described at one point by the campaign as an informal policy advisor, reportedly had investments in Russian gas company Gazprom and has publicly criticized the US in a speech in Moscow. Trump campaign manager Conway told CNN's Jake Tapper in September that Page is no longer part of the campaign.

A Trump security adviser, Lt. General Mike Flynn, the retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, attended a December gala for the the state-backed Russia Today television network, placed two seats away from Putin, according to Politico.

Trump's refusal to release his tax returns makes it impossible to get a full sense of his investments and whether he has any in Russia, but he does have business ties to Russians. Trump has also written about trying to build a Trump property in Moscow since 1987 in his book "The Art of the Deal," signing his most recent deal to build in Moscow in 2013, according to the Washington Post.

The Republican candidate worked with Russian oligarchs to stage the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013. And his son Trump Jr told a real estate investment conference in 2008 that "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets," adding that they "see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."

More recently, the group Democratic Coalition Against Trump posted to YouTube a 2012 interview with Donald Trump Jr. that shows the candidate's son listing various Russian projects the family is interested in, including golf courses and hotels.

"I've been there many times, I've spent quite a bit of time in Moscow looking at deals," Trump Jr. said.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

CNN: Two Additional Women Accuse Trump of Sexual Assault

Mod: It is getting hard to keep track of how many women have now gone public with their claims of being assaulted by an aggressively romantic Donald Trump. It seems like every time you turn on your favorite cable news channel there are disturbing reports about more accusations  Here is the latest account from CNN (link):

Two Additional Women Accuse Trump of Sexual Assault - Two additional women on Friday stepped forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting them, the latest revelations to rock the GOP nominee's campaign.

One woman alleged that Trump slid his fingers under her skirt in the early 1990s. Another, a former "Apprentice" contestant, said Trump grabbed her breast and kissed her aggressively in 2007.

Kristin Anderson and Summer Zervos told their accounts separately.

Anderson, now a 46-year-old photographer living in California, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she was sitting with friends at a Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s when suddenly a man put his hand up her skirt. Moments afterward, she said she recognized the man to be Trump. The two had not spoken or met before the incident occurred, Anderson said.

She first made the allegations to The Washington Post, which reported her claim that Trump touched her vagina.

"He just stuck his hand up my skirt. We just went off the rest of our night," Anderson said. "I pushed him off and I moved away and I sort of didn't ponder it for that long ... He's (denying it) and there are a ton of women saying yes, and more will come out."

When asked if she thought it was assault by Trump at the time, she said no.

"No, I didn't think of it that way, no. But assault in my mind meant something else. Hitting is assault. I was very unaware of mental abuse, manipulation, bullying, that is just straight-up bullying."

"Here's a man who thinks he can do whatever he wants. And deny it. And get away with it," she added.

Zervos claims Trump kissed her twice on the lips during a lunch meeting in his New York City office. On a separate occasion in Beverly Hills, she alleges he kissed her aggressively and touched her breast.

She later pursued a job within the Trump Organization and says Trump asked her to stop calling him.

The former "Apprentice" contestant shared her story in a press conference that was organized by her lawyer Gloria Allred, a women's rights attorney and activist who has represented other women in high-profile sexual assault cases.

Mod: You can read the rest of the CNN piece by clicking the link I provided above.

Former Trump Employee: I 'Absolutely' Believe Sexual Misconduct Allegations (Talking Points Memo link): Barbara Res, a construction executive who worked for Donald Trump for 18 years, told CNN on Thursday morning that based on her observations of Trump throughout her time working for him, she believes the sexual misconduct accusations against Trump that surfaced this week.

"I do believe it. Yes, absolutely," she said on CNN's "New Day," when asked if she believes the allegations.

Res said she "saw him be aggressive in business, and I saw him throw his weight around and use the fact that he had power."

"And I think assault —sexual assault and sexual harassment are really about the abuse of power — 'I can do this to you because I am who I am.' And I do think it went to his head. So much else went to his head that it does make sense to me that he would do something like that."

She said that she had a largely positive experience with Trump and that he treated her like a man for the most part. But she said that Trump gradually became more sexist and recounted one experience when Trump leered at her.

"I worked for him a while ago, and when we started out he was respectful of women," Res told CNN. "He respected and listened to us, and I never saw him comport himself in such a way that, you know, you would turn around and say, that was sexist."

But Res said that eventually, Trump "started asking about women in a different way."

Mod: The rest if the article can be found by clicking the link above.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Los Angeles Times: Michelle Obama Delivers What May Be A Defining Moment In The Presidential Campaign

Video? Click here.

Michelle Obama delivers what may be a defining moment in the presidential campaign (Los Angeles Times link): First Lady Michelle Obama starred in a defining moment of the presidential race Thursday, delivering a stinging and emotional condemnation of Donald Trump’s behavior toward women that framed the election as no longer about ideology, but human decency.

Obama put aside her standard stump speech to express disgust and outrage with Trump’s lewd boasts about forcing himself on women, which multiple women accuse him of acting on. She said Trump’s behavior “has shaken me to my core.”

“I can’t believe I am saying that a candidate for president of the United States has actually bragged about sexually assaulting women,” Obama told the crowd. “I cannot stop thinking about this.” She spoke forcefully about the hurtful impact the GOP nominee’s talk has generally on American women, who still find themselves regularly subjected to humiliating and unwanted advances.

“This is not normal,” Obama said, without once naming Trump, as is her usual practice. “This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. This is intolerable."

In the New Hampshire address, Obama framed the election as a crucial moment for the history of women – not only because the first female nominee of a major party is on the ballot, but also because they can send a message that Trump’s attitudes and behavior toward woman are unacceptable in modern society.

"The men in my life do not talk about women like this,” Obama said. “Strong men, men who are truly role models, don’t need to put down women for themselves to feel powerful."

“This is not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election,” she said. “This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior. … We cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer, not for another minute, let alone for four years.

“Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say, enough is enough. This has got to stop right now.”

Mod: The rest of this article can be found here.

A new Trump video surfaces

Video link here.

Video Just Surfaced Of Trump Defending Rapist Teachers (Occupy Democrats link): New video just surfaced of Republican nominee Donald Trump giving an interview to entertainment TV program “EXTRA” in 2012 in which he excused and defended female teachers who rape underage students. Even EXTRA’s interviewer was shocked by the reality TV star’s casual, yet firm dismissal of what are plainly sex crimes.

TRUMP: “Well, I don’t think the male students have been hurt by it. In fact, they’re going around bragging about it as I understand it.”

EXTRA: “Wow!”

TRUMP: “I don’t see a lot of damage done. But it’s a very unusual situation. I would say her husband cannot be happy.”

Donald Trump has been married three times and cheated on all of his wives — and the worst thing he could say about statutory rape is that it would be only bad if the women were cheating on their husbands. It’s a damning revelation of the mentality of the Republican presidential hopeful: it’s ok to rape.

“From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks,” said Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine at last week’s debate.

After the Trump Tapes were revealed this week, ten more women have stepped forward with sexual assault allegations or impropriety at the pageants he owned.

Now, the Republican nominee’s past statements about women are being given extra scrutiny — and with scary results.

It’s starting to become apparent that Donald Trump left a trail of verbal clues about his serial sexual assaults, just like comedian Bill Cosby did in many of his voluminous recordings. Cosby’s recordings were ignored until someone found him admitting to spiking the bar-b-cue sauce in the creepiest ever joke told on a network television sitcom.

Donald Trump – like the famously conservative Bill Cosby – has set in motion events that are sure to seal his downfall, revealing a lifetime of abusing women.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NY Daily News: Donald Trump once joked about wanting to date a 10-year-old girl, as five women claim the GOP candidate groped them

Mod: It is just another day in the cratering Donald Trump campaign. This wild and wacky dude just can't seem to keep his little happy hands off of the babes. 

Donald Trump once joked about wanting to date a 10-year-old girl, as five women claim the GOP candidate groped them (New York Daily News link): Donald Trump, exposed Wednesday as an alleged serial groper, once said he’d spotted his future girlfriend on an escalator — when she was only 10.

The would-be sexist-in-chief made the stomach-turning joke in 1992 when “Entertainment Tonight” taped a Christmas special in Trump TowerTrump, then 46, makes a brief appearance and asks a group of 10-year-old girls if they’re going to take the escalator, according to the footage, reported by CBS News Wednesday. One girl pipes up with a happy “Yes!”

“I’m going to be dating her in 10 years,” Trump leers. “Can you believe it?”

The sickening segue wasn’t even the worst news to break about Trump on Wednesday. Five women came forward to say Trump had groped them against their will — just days after the Republican candidate said his vulgar 2005 boast that he could grab women “by the p---y” was just “locker room talk.”

Thirty years ago, Jessica Leeds of Manhattan encountered Trump on a flight, she told The New York Times.

She said he began to fondle her, grabbed her breasts and tried to snake his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” Leeds, 74, told the Times. “His hands were everywhere. It was an assault.”

Former receptionist Rachel Crooks, meanwhile, said she ran into the misogynist mogul in Trump Tower in 2005. She claims Trump grabbed her and began slobbering on her cheek, and then kissed her on the mouth.

“I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that,” Crooks told the Times.

Trump issued a blanket denial in Sunday night’s debate when asked if he’d ever acted on his bullying “grab ’em by the p---y” brag.

Mod: The rest of this article can be found by clicking on the link provided above.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Affordable housing advocates (SCAG): Build the right way, say no to NIMBY

Mod: SCAG is up to its usual shenanigans. This taxpayer funded so-called Regional Planning Organization has advocated stripping local control over development from cities many times before, and now they are at it again. Here is something from the Orange County Register that lays their latest campaign on behalf of high-density sprawl. As is often the case their theme is "affordable housing." Though the final result is often anything but that.

Affordable housing advocates: Build the right way, say no to NIMBY (Orange County Register link): Opening the floodgates on unfettered construction would lower the cost of housing, an affordable housing advocate told a regional housing conference Tuesday.

But that trickle-down approach will take a long time – 50 years, one study shows – before a new home built today becomes affordable. And by then, it will be old.

“If you build subsidized housing, it becomes affordable immediately,” said Alan Greenlee, executive director of the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing. “The solution is building, but building in an appropriate way.”

Greenlee’s call for increased affordable housing was one of dozens of proposals at the California Housing Summit, a gathering in Los Angeles of about 400 government, business and community leaders seeking solutions to Southern California’s housing affordability crisis.

The summit, organized by the Southern California Association of Governments was part brainstorming and part girding for battle with anti-development forces.

The enemies, speakers said, are NIMBYs (or “not in my backyard” people) who climb the ladders to middle-class life, then pull the ladders up after them.

Their allies: Young adults who can’t afford to live in the communities where they grew up and went to school.

“In the city of Santa Ana and Orange County, people are having difficulties securing affordable housing,” said SCAG President Michele Martinez, a Santa Ana councilwoman.

“I’m not just talking about the poor or the disadvantaged or the homeless. I’m talking about middle- and working-class families. I’m talking about our teachers, our firefighters, our police officers, our nurses, our friends, our parents, our children.”

The cause: “We have not historically been building enough housing at all,” said state Housing Director Ben Metcalf, Gov. Jerry Brown’s chief adviser on housing policy.

The impact: “Rents are high. Incomes have not moved very far,” said USC housing economics professor Raphael Bostic. Southern California rents are up about 30 percent since 2000 in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to a SCAG study. Median household income, meanwhile, is down about 3 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Some speakers issued a rallying cry for leaders to “armor up” against those who are blocking development.

“Say no to NIMBYs,” SCAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata told the gathering. “Allow housing to be built in your cities.”

Sonja Trauss, founder of the pro-development, millennial-dominated SF Bay Area Renters’ Federation, said she’s often confronted by people who don’t want anything built.

“So engaging with them, I don’t see what the point is,” Trauss said. “My job is to organize people who want housing.”

More than two-thirds of coastal California metros have policies aimed at limiting growth, the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported in 2015. At least four Southern California cities – Costa Mesa, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Redondo Beach – have slow-growth ballot initiatives in the works for November or March elections. Dana Point voters passed an initiative in June requiring a vote on plan changes in its downtown business district.

Among the ideas for overcoming barriers to development:

• Locate high-density new housing in underused industrial areas, business parks and commercial corridors to reduce the impact on existing neighborhoods.

“Cities that have done that, I think, have been more successful at getting housing built,” said Steve Kellenberg, an urban planner who helped design the city of Rancho Santa Margarita before joining the Irvine Co.

• Reduce parking requirements for new developments – a solution that may or may not become easier as ride-sharing services become more commonplace. Or build parking structures near high-density areas.

“Parking ratios make a massive difference in the bottom line,” said Mike McKeever, CEO of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

• Address residents’ concerns about water supplies for new housing. Suburban sprawl is the top threat to water sustainability, while infill development and new construction lead to increased efficiency.

“It’s not that we develop, but how we develop,” said Celeste Cantu, general manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Protection Authority.

• Engage neighborhood and citizen groups earlier in the development process to get more residents on board, rather than opposed to development. When developers use the battle cry “NIMBY,” their battle is already lost, one speaker said.

“The question should be, what should be in our backyard,” said Randall Lewis of the Lewis Group of Cos., based in Upland. “We don’t want it to be just yes or no. It should be a thoughtful discussion, and then we move forward.”

Ikhrata said SCAG will follow Tuesday’s summit with a campaign for reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act next year to speed up the homebuilding approval process.

The organization also plans to provide increased housing data to cities and to conduct an education campaign to inform city officials about the peril of not approving more housing.