Sunday, September 23, 2012

More News Than You Can Shake A Stick At

(It's Sunday, but this is no day of rest for the Sierra Madre Tattler. While Sierra Madre may have its vocal proponents for a  more leisure-centered lifestyle, we don't subscribe to it. As a matter of fact, we don't leisure very well here. The reason being it often turns out to more, and harder, work than just, well, working. Lunches must be prepared, children inspired, clothes packed, plans made, and then there is all of that socializing, which invariably requires a lot of standing up. But worst of all is the credit card bill that arrives, like clockwork because these guys don't mess around, 30 days later. No, it is far safer - and more cost effective - to just sit in the back room with the lap top and work on the blog. Let those others "take it easy." We have work to do!)

Panelists blast 710 extension at Pasadena forum (Pasadena Star News click here): ... Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist from Caltech who researches earthquakes, said he has serious concerns  about how the tunnel would hold up in an earthquake. He said although many people think a tunnel would be completely safe, many have collapsed or been damaged in recent global quakes.

John Seinfeld, an atmospheric researcher with Caltech, said the 710 freeway already pumps harmful gases and particles into the air. "Those of us in the field of air quality in urban areas have long considered the 710 freeway to be arguably the dirtiest freeway in the country," Seinfeld said. "And that really is a function of the heavy-duty truck traffic on the freeway.

These particles and gases cause serious health problems for those living or going to school along the freeway, especially children, said Rob McConnell of USC's Keck School of Medicine. He said numerous studies have shown that air pollution can cause asthma, heart disease and lung cancer.

Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage, said the 710 project is "one of the worst transportation proposals in its effect on historic structures." Vibrations from a freeway tunnel and air pollution could pose a serious threat to historic buildings, she said.

Ara Najarian, a Glendale councilman and Metro board member, said his biggest concern is the cost of the proposed tunnel. "Ranges of official estimates that have come through are as low as $1 billion up to $14 billion," Najarian said. "That's crazy, right? How can we start down the road to build something if we have no idea where it is going to end?"

(Mod: A representative from Metro was on hand, and pronounced these findings "biased." But rather than provide any information herself, the Metro person said there would be future events to educate the public about "the benefits.")

Tiger's den jumper wanted 'to be one' with beast, police say (CNN click here): A 25-year old man was charged with trespassing for jumping out of a monorail car into the Bronx Zoo's tiger den because he wanted "to be one" with the animal, police said Saturday.

David Villalobos, who us hospitalized in stable condition, said "his leap was definitely not a suicide attempt, but a desire to be one with the tiger," according to Paul Browne, the NYPD's chief spokesman.

Villalobos was riding on the zoo's Wild Asia monorail around 3 p.m. Friday when he jumped out of the rail car, "cleared the exhibit's perimeter fence," and landing in the den, according to Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny.

Villalobos suffered a broken right shoulder, broken rib, collapsed lung, broken ankle, broken pelvis and puncture wounds, according to police spokesman Brian Sessa. He later claimed to have pet one of the tigers before it backed off," Sessa added.

(Mod: Had authorities allowed the inevitable to occur, Villalobos probably would have become one with the tiger. Most likely by being eaten.)

Independent voters reach record in California (Los Angeles Times click here): More Californians than ever before are registered to vote without affiliating with a political party, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Friday. 

Bowen said the latest registration numbers show 3,672,229, or more than one-fifth of those on the voter rolls, listed no party preference.

Of those affiliating with a party, 43% are Democrats and 30% are Republicans. Most of the rest belong to one of the five minor parties recognized by the state: American Independent, Americans Elect, Green, Libertarian and Peace and Freedom.

(Mod: In the spirit of full disclosure, I recently re-registered as "Decline to state." Which is an inaccurate term. I am quite willing to state that I am no longer affiliated with any political parties, and believe that I just did.)

Spain is breaking up; why not California? (Cal Watchdog click here): Within a decade the majority of Californians will be of Hispanic descent. I'm hoping that, once aging Gringos like Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are retired, some of the best aspects of Hispanic politics will be adopted.

For example, Spain -- la patria -- is breaking up. In particular, wealthy Catalonia is tired of being taxed to death by the centralized regime in Madrid. It's demanding the return of $5 billion stolen by Madrid, as well as tax cuts.

That sounds just like the more productive areas of our state, such as San Diego County and Orange County, "donor counties" that are being robbed by California's centralized wastrels in the state capital.

(Mod: I wonder whatever happened to those "51st state" guys out in the desert. That sounded kind of exciting.)

Survey Finds Most Likely Voters Favor Proposition 30, But Split On Proposition 38 (Noozhawk click here): Half of California likely voters support Proposition 30, the measure Gov. Jerry Brown and others put on the November ballot to raise taxes, primarily for education programs. Support is slightly lower for Proposition 38, the initiative by attorney Molly Munger to raise taxes for schools. These are among they key findings of a statewide survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, with support from the James Irvine Foundation.

When read the Proposition 30 ballot title and label, 52 percent of likely voters say they would vote for it, 40 percent would vote no and 8 percent are undecided. The initiative would increase taxes on earnings of more than $250,000 for seven years and the sales tax by a 1/4-cent for four years to fund schools and guarantee public safety realignment funding.

When likely voters are read the ballot title and label for Proposition 38, 45 percent say they would vote for it, 45 percent are opposed and 11 percent undecided. Proposition 38 would increase taxes in earnings for 12 years using a sliding scale, with revenues going to K-12 schools and early childhood programs and, for four years, repaying the state debt.

(Mod: Other California results from the PPIC Poll include a 42% approval rating for Jerry Brown, 22% approval rating for the State Legislature, Prop 31 is going down in flames, Prop 32 is losing by a tiny margin, people don't want the death penalty anymore, and Obama leads Romney by 14% with 8% saying they will vote for 3rd party candidates.)

Enjoy your so-called day off.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

30 comments:

  1. The Metro rep who called the five people who spoke "biased" was accurate.
    Those five people are clearly biased in favor of the health and well-being of the residents of the area, and just as clearly biased against the inanimate objects flooding from China.

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  2. Here is what I find confusing. The residents in the area are against the tunnel. Most of the leading politicians are against it as well. It is an extremely expensive project, and in a state that is flat broke and rapidly sinking further into debt. So who is propping Metro up on this? Why are they even going through the motions? We have never seen the man behind the screen on this stuff. Who is it?

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    Replies
    1. Can you say "politicians beholden to unions"?

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  3. Voting for a "third party" candidate is like voting for Bill Tice. Fun, perhaps, but ultimately futile.

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    1. So is voting for major party candidates. Look at Sacramento. At least by voting third party you can claim it's not your fault.

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    2. True, 8:29. But you don't have to pledge allegiance to one of the big parties in order to vote for one of their candidates. Like the Mod, I'm Decline to State, and it makes my conscience breathe a little easier.

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    3. What if the best candidate is neither a Democrat or a Republican?

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    4. I voted for Ross Perot. So did twenty million (20,000,000) other people.
      Enough said?

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    5. Then the best candidate usually loses, 8:39.

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    6. There has been this two party trap in this country for a long time. And it seems to work. You either vote for their ordained candidates or the greater of two evils wins. People fall for it every time. The result is Sacramento.

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    7. Hey, in California, thanks to Prop 14. we now have open primaries which means you can vote for any candidate in any party. And then, in the general election, you can vote for whomever you want, just like always.

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    8. Prop 14 is the major party preservation act. It won't survive the Court test.

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    9. Not so, 1:53. The open primary created a system where you could only vote for the party you belong to. For instance, if I was a Democrat, I could not have voted in the primary for a Republican candidate. You can vote for anyone in the general election, though.

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    10. The selection of candidates in California for November elections suffers from a lack of diversity. For some offices there is as few as one party on the ballot. It is called Berman/Shermanism.

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    11. Sorry 5:35, but the open primary was recently in effect for the June election and dems had the opportunity to vote for republicans and vice versa. The only seat dems could not vote for was president in the republican party. The theory is that it will always elect moderate middle of the road candidates. Unfortunately, in real life, this is not hoe it works out.

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    12. It would have taken a change in national law to open up the presidential primary to Prop 14 reforms.

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  4. Do you want the best, those who have the public's interests at heart? Then the only solution is to get money, including and perhaps in particular the implicit promise of future wealth that's routinely bestowed upon public servants, out of the equation. How?

    Taxpayer (yes, government) funded elections - no private money; public officials not allowed to engage in any outside work while in office; public officials' investments must be must be held in blind trusts; and no lobbying for at least 5 years after leaving office.

    How about this radical idea: Perhaps certain public officials shouldn't be allowed to work at all for at least 5 years after leaving office. They simply receive their government salaries during that time. Sure it sounds like a gift, but it just may well be a gift to ourselves that inhibits them from bestowing favors while in office on those from whom they wish to profit in the future.

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    Replies
    1. Good luck with that!

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    2. Government in California is organized crime.

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  5. You know what the difference between a Democrat legislator and a Republican legislator is, right? The Democrat takes lobbyist money with his left hand, the Republican with his right.

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    1. Or, as the late Gore Vidal said:

      The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are just two wings of the same bird of PREY.

      I think this is true.

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  6. It's a good idea to vote AGAINST all INCUMBENTS.
    ALMOST ALWAYS - ONE TERM ENOUGH.

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    1. Government is a lot like the human digestive tract. Perfectly good things go in, something quite different comes out.

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  7. I wonder if voters realize that the Prop 30 tax raise will not be going to schools, but to teachers pensions?

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  8. Teacher's pensions contain financial contributions from their paycheck as does every pension program, and then those contributions are invested and the payout pot is built by smart, safe investments. I think the gangster bankers are the ones you should be mad at.

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    Replies
    1. Everybody has their own strawman.

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    2. The teachers do not finance their pensions 100% and there is a huge shortfall in the pension plan - so much so that the pension fund is in danger of going broke, and that's why the huge tax hike. Bankers have nothing to do with California State Pensions.

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    3. I am in the State Teachers Retirement System. I contribute 8% of my salary. So when I started I was contibuting about $1,600 a year, which with raises and inflation is now about $8,000 per year. In return, when I retire at 61 1/2 (yes, that half year is a magic number) I will be receiving over $90,000 a year for life. I don't teach math or finance but I think that's a pretty hefty ROI. Not many teachers are willing to admit to the "generosity" of the system.

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    4. CalPers gets a 7.75% return - that's what the Mayor said!

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    5. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, too. But watch out for the leprechaun. He is big, mean and looks a lot like Josh.

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