|Not a big Tattler reader.|
Texas Town Experiences 61% Drop in Crime After Firing Their Police Department (The Free Thought Project link): Sharpstown is a Texas community, located just southwest of Houston, and the way they maintain security in this community has gotten our attention.
In 2012, they fired their cops. The Sharpstown Civic Association then hired S.E.A.L. Security Solutions, a private firm, to patrol their streets. “Since we’ve been in there, an independent crime study that they’ve had done [indicates] we’ve reduced the crime by 61%” in just 20 months, says James Alexander, Director of Operations for SEAL.
Government police, despite not acting like it, are still part of the government. This means that any progressive change for the better takes ten times longer than it would in the private sector; if it happens at all. Government police are not driven by efficiency and threats from liability, as neither one of these things are needed when you have a tax farm to rob when things get tight.
Contrary to the government apparatus, private police, must be efficient as well as safe, for one small mistake or claim could end their entire operation. If an inefficiency is spotted within the system, changes must be implemented swiftly to avoid the loss of revenue.
(Mod: A possible solution to the public safety issue should the UUT end up being voted out of existence.)
Agents search Michael Peevey’s home in PG&E judge-shopping case (SF Chronicle link): State investigators seized computers and other items from the homes of former California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey and an ousted Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executive at the heart of the judge-shopping controversy that has embroiled the regulatory agency for months, The Chronicle has learned.
Investigators with the attorney general’s office executed a search warrant Tuesday at the home Peevey and his wife, Democratic state Sen. Carol Liu, share in La Cañada Flintridge (Los Angeles County), court documents show. The agents seized computers, smartphones and a thumb drive, a small data-storage device, according to the records.
State investigators also seized a computer and other items Tuesday from the Orinda home of former PG&E Vice President Brian Cherry, court documents show. He and two other PG&E executives were fired in September when the utility released e-mails showing that Cherry had negotiated with utilities commission officials, including Peevey’s chief of staff, to name a judge the utility preferred to oversee a $1.3 billion rate-setting case.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris and the U.S. attorney’s office opened separate investigations into the judge-shopping case to determine whether any laws were broken. The investigations are also looking into e-mails that PG&E later released in which Cherry said Peevey had solicited contributions from the company for a political cause in 2010 and hinted that, in return, the utilities commission would rule in PG&E’s favor in a separate rate case.
(Mod: Perhaps this is the real reason Carol "Lookie" Liu is resigning as our State Senator?)
So have you seen this yet?
(Mod: Wasn't this supposed to be low income so-called "Duty Man" housing or some such socially conscious whatever?)
After suspending him for fraud, Pasadena officials never dug deeper into embezzlement suspect (Pasadena Star News link): Former Department of Public Works employee Danny Ray Wooten, accused of embezzling $6.4 million from the city, was fired for “time card fraud and abuse of city time,” city documents show.
A claim filed with the city’s insurance provider, which was obtained by this news organization, shows Wooten, 51, a former pastor, was placed on administrative leave in March pending an investigation.
Further details are not provided.
The suspected 11-year-long embezzlement was uncovered in May after a separate City Hall inquiry into an unrelated matter. Wooten was fired in July.
City Manager Michael Beck said despite Wooten’s suspension, no deeper investigation was done and supervisors didn’t immediately discover the financial mismanagement of an underground utility program overseen by Wooten.
“You need to have probable cause,” said Beck. “People have certain rights and you want to be able to respect those rights. When we’re doing an investigation into a specific issue, we try to focus on that specific issue.”
(Mod: So which city is more screwed up do you think? Pasadena or Arcadia?)
Environmental report on 710 Freeway gap: Tunnel would ease traffic more than light rail (Pasadena Star News link): A 710 Freeway tunnel extending 6.3 miles from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra to the 210 Freeway in Pasadena would provide the greatest amount of traffic relief of any transportation alternative and the fewest impacts, according to environmental documents released Friday.
The 2,200-page Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement concludes that the tunnel alternative “would have the largest increase in freeway and arterial performance” but carries the highest price tag. At $5.65 billion, the tunnel would cost more than twice as much as the light-rail alternative, estimated at $2.4 billion.
Four years ago, Caltrans and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) began studying the environmental impacts of continuing the freeway underground, instead of on the surface. Besides the tunnel, the EIR examined four other options: traffic management solutions, a dedicated bus line, a light-rail train or no-build.
(Mod: I think it is pretty obvious that the fix has been in on this one the entire time. It has always been about the tunnel, and this nonsense "process" has been nothing but a public relations stunt designed to bamboozle the gullible into believing they actually had some input. Also, as Sylvia Plummer points out, this report is actually over 26,000 pages long. Not 2,200. Why the Star News reported this far lower number is beyond me.)
China Bulldozing Hundreds Of Mountains To Expand Cities (Think Progress link): China is just about the same size as the United States, but livable land is in short supply. With the population and economy still growing at a rapid clip, the government has undertaken a plan to bulldoze hundreds of mountains to create land for building on.
In a paper published in journal Nature this week, three researchers from Chang’an University in China warn that the scores of mountains already being truncated is leading to air and water pollution, erosion, and flooding. With unprecedented plans to remove over 700 mountains and fill valleys with the debris, they warn that “there has been too little modelling of the costs and benefits of land creation. Inexperience and technical problems delay projects and add costs, and the environment impacts are not being thoroughly considered.”
Totaling several hundred square miles of newly flattened land, mountaintop removal has never been carried out at this scale, warn the authors, not even in strip mining operations common in the United States. These projects in China often ignore environmental regulations in search of profit and unadulterated development. Around one-fifth of China’s population, more than 250 million people, live in mountainous areas.
(Mod: Charming. Maybe that is a solution to the lack of suitable land and space for McMansions here. Bulldoze the San Gabriel Mountains.)