by Lou Binninger

Vermont nine-year-old Milo Cress wondered why plastic straws were automatically given with drinks at restaurants and believed they were causing an ecological disaster. That’s debatable along with his amazing claim that Americans are using “500 million straws each day.”

However, video clips showing straws floating around waterways and one protruding out of a turtle’s nose sent California legislators over the edge. There had to be a law. Everything must be monitored and managed in the Golden State.

Milo, now 17, started his own organization “Be Straw Free.” Some companies like Starbucks, McDonalds, and Alaskan Airlines embraced the movement and today are “no straw” crusaders.

Now, California full-service restaurants are forbidden to hand straws out automatically. Customers must request the evil straw and experience a little shame. According to the law, the first and second violation of its provisions can result in a fine of $25 for each day the restaurant is in violation. However, the fines would not exceed an annual total of $300.

Of course, there will have to be straw police, an office to manage citations and people to collect revenues. Government must expand to save the world from getting a straw up the nose.

Milo has good motives but legislators couldn’t let the free market forces catch-on to the boy’s mission. Politicians have to again tell business owners how to operate and us how to live.

Gov. Brown has also signed AB 626 to supposedly make home kitchens legal. When government is intrusive people begin to ignore the rules. So, folks have been slingin’ tamales, bar-b-que, wedding cakes and pies, lunches-to-go and doing catering gigs etc. out of their homes with no license. Welfare is legal but cooking or baking for a living would make you a criminal.

Now, home cookin’ for sale “can” be legal with numerous conditions where before it was totally out of bounds. Cities and counties can allow residents to operate these establishments in a private home with no commercial kitchen. Look for local health departments to make this so difficult that the underground food movement will continue. Holding power over people is just too intoxicating.

New law says participants must have food handler training, be open for inspections and cannot sell over $50,000 annually. If you are too successful, politicians want more of your flesh.

For those who have traveled to foreign countries and appreciate people selling their specialty dishes and drinks from food carts Governor Brown did California street vendors a solid. He signed Senate Bill 946, legislation that allows and regulates street vending practices statewide. Also known as the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act, the law requires cities and counties to maintain rules when interacting with street vendors. In other words they cannot forbid them.

Violent felons are being pardoned, cash bail has ended, felons in jail can vote and selling tamales on the street may no longer be a crime. Thank you Jesus!

The law says that California cities cannot ban vending in parks. Cities cannot specify

where vendors locate unless there is a health, safety, or welfare concern. Street vendors don’t need to ask permission from adjacent businesses to operate.

There has been a war on street or sidewalk vendors in many jurisdictions. This new law does not eliminate the ability of cities and counties to make it difficult on vendors. Politicians could treat them like strip clubs and force them into undesirable locations. That would be shameful and a violation of the spirit of the new law. But, politicians routinely violate ordinances they don’t like.

Many wildly successful businesses started from a cart or out of a garage. Given maximum freedom by cities and counties this new perspective on street vendors and cooks could give entrepreneurs and start-ups an opportunity for success.

Carts provide customers a quick fix for their hunger or thirst when they don’t have time to sit down at a restaurant and aren’t near a drive through. In cities, people can just walk outside their office for service.

Whether plastic straws, home cooking for cash or running a food cart, the government has its nose in every single aspect of your life. Let’s see how these laws work out.

 

by Lou Binninger

A few years back while giving a talk in a local 6th grade class I wrote on the white board the famous statement of Martin Luther King Jr., “Top of Form

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“Who said it,” I asked?

One unsure boy among about thirty students answered correctly. Others had no idea. This occurred the week after the day remembering King’s sacrifice for the nation. Why set a school holiday aside while children aren’t even taught about the person so honored?

As we passed another September 11th last week troubling stories surfaced about schools ignoring the topic or putting a spin on it. One parent made a comment to their child about the day. The student did not recall the significance of the day and there was no mention of it in his classroom.

Columnist Todd Starnes tells of Marine veteran Ed O'Rourke who discovered by accident about New Jersey’s Glen Meadow Middle School’s lesson in his daughter’s sixth-grade social studies class. Rather than discuss the 9/11 terrorist attacks the girl learned about a fictional Iraqi Muslim boy named Osama whose family moved here after 9/11 to then endure bullying and harassment.

There was no talk of the 9/11 attack, heroes dying attempting to save lives, Navy Seals, or thousands of young people enlisting in the military to join the fight against international terrorism. Instead, children learned about American bullying and being intolerant.

“It would be like, on a day about the Holocaust, doing a made-up lesson about a boy named Adolf being bullied by Jewish kids and saying we shouldn’t blame all Germans — or don’t pick on the poor kid named Adolf on the Jewish holidays,” O'Rourke told his local newspaper. “It’s grotesque.”

O'Rourke knows many people that lost family members in the terrorist attacks that day. He is not blaming all Muslims for the radicals. However, O’Rourke says, “There’s also an ideology of people that causes some people to want to kill us and to not respect women’s rights and that should be taught as well,” he said.

“Instead this teacher was able to influence an entire class with a tainted story made up to show Muslims as victims.”

School leaders said they were unaware the teacher was using the book “My Name is Osama” and the American bullying theme in her class for that day. They said the activity “sort of fell through the cracks.”

Mary Covillaud Elementary School Principal Doug Escheman said that he doubted if a majority of classes in Yuba-Sutter even start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. Covillaud in downtown Marysville not only does a daily Pledge but an annual outdoor remembrance ceremony for the 9/11 tragedy and the national response.

In addition, each Friday everyone starts the day around the flag pole for a song and Pledge together. Covillaud is one of the top performing schools in Northern California and does so with children from some challenging demographic groups in Yuba County. Teaching high-risk children makes a great excuse for poor scores at other schools.

About half the student population comes to Covillaud as inter and intra-district transfers.

Retired Yuba County School Superintendent Ric Teagarden used to remind that we are not just giving young people knowledge or information but we are grooming citizens. American citizens should possess certain values and understandings of their responsibility by knowing what principles the nation was founded upon.

People full of facts and void of American norms may be good at trivia games but not to maintain the republic. Government schools with a few exceptions like Covillaud have become propaganda centers preparing people for socialism.

Revising and minimizing our history is the first step in that process.

 

by Lou Binninger

Hundreds of thousands of your dollars are being spent to sell you a sales tax increase (1% increase to 8.25%) in Yuba County. It’s called Measure K on the November 2018 ballot. This misappropriation of the people’s money is supposed to be against the law, but the government rarely enforces laws against itself.

Supervisor Gary “The Gift” Bradford banters daily on social media about which segments of the community will benefit by the new gush of cash. He spells out how many new deputies, Plumas Lake gets one, how many dollars for fire departments, more dispatchers and correctional officers. He appears to be campaigning for this Measure financed by the taxpayers, both illegal acts.

The ballot argument for K says it makes sure these crimes are prosecuted and justice is served, response times will be improved and more cuts to public safety prevented. “These crimes” in the argument refers to sexual assaults and elder abuse. Really, we are not going to prosecute these crimes any longer without money from K?

The problem is there is no legal compact with the voters to assure these amazing promises. There is no guarantee. How many times have we voted for water bonds for decades and have no new water resources today?

It’s like hiring a contractor to remodel your house with no set of plans and no written contract, just a promise and a description. It’s hard enough to get people today to honor a contract and now we will trust the word of politicians and bureaucrats? Where has that been working?

Proponents argue, “Funding can only be spent locally on vital services like public safety.” Is anyone personally liable for breaking this promise? Can anyone be sued?

What are these “vital services?” Can the non-vital services of the county be eliminated or severely reduced to move dollars to public safety? Why doesn’t the county get out of the non-vital service business? The state furloughs “Nonessential Services” employees in times of financial trouble, why not scrub them altogether?

The ballot argument states Measure K will “make sure a sheriff’s deputy, medical responder or firefighter can show-up when you call.” Does that mean if the tax increase fails then we get no emergency response in the county?

Bi-County Ambulance (BCA) is a private business that responds to all medical emergencies and structure fires in Yuba and Sutter Counties. When “911” is called BCA is dispatched. Each ambulance has an emergency medical technician and paramedic on board, is in contact with the hospital and their response times are not controlled by the county budget. Units are staged throughout the two counties to insure the best possible response.

The REACH helicopter posted at the Yuba County Airport is also a nongovernment service that will continue to provide excellent care to county residents. An annual $65 fee can also provide no-cost air ambulance transportation in a medical emergency for anyone in the household to the nearest hospital.

Foothill fire departments have always been primarily a volunteer effort and proudly so, just like the majority of firefighters in the nation. There is no guarantee in Measure K to make them a paid fire unit but it is being portrayed that way.

What is not mentioned anytime or anywhere regarding Measure K is the “P” word, pensions. Spiking pension and health benefit payments are the cause of budget deficits. Politicians’ eyes were bigger than the taxpayers’ wallets when giving out gifts to employee unions.

Taxpayers are unlikely to vote new taxes for government Cadillac benefit plans that they cannot afford themselves. So public relations firms hired by Yuba County say hide the ugly benefits problem in the closet. It’s tough to sell a tax with a straight face to pay for a pension that is 2-3 times as much as the median household income in the county.

Measure K consultants collecting nearly $7000 each month in tax dollars are counting on their campaign instilling fear and misinforming voters. It wins elections.

Sep102018

 

by Lou Binninger

As the summer wanes away so does a row of once beautiful evergreen trees at the northeast corner of Brown Town. Planted a couple of decades ago as a visual barrier to an unsightly PG and E substation (Nadene Drive at Glenn Street) the trees flourished making a pleasant view for adjacent residents.

Then someone quit watering and tending the planting. Now, some are dead and others are dying. Was it P G and E, Cal Water Service or the City of Marysville? Residents have sought help with no response. Two monopolies and city government should be able to keep trees alive or cut them down, but nothing so far.

Sutter County is crafting their homeless program after the “Yuba County Model.” That approach amounts to the Tuff Shed complex otherwise known as 14 Forward, 14 Sideways or the Bendorf Zoo. There is also a homeless assimilation center. For government, there are no rules, permits or etiquette to follow when launching its own project.

No informational meetings or fancy mailings giving neighborhoods a chance to oppose the siting of the “zoo.” It was installed with no proper water, drainage or sewage facilities. A water feed was mooched from the Twin Cities Rescue Mission leaving them with the bill. Then, the mission was asked to provide their shower facilities for “Zoo” residents.

The county recently installed their own drinking water outlet and zoo residents now grab showers 12 blocks away at the service center for the homeless at 2nd and F Streets. Shed dwellers continue to dine at the mission across the fence next door.

Meanwhile, West Marysville has been transformed into a hovel for transients, “spun” bicyclists darting in between cars or against traffic and folks just sleeping around. Basically, there is one law for the law-abiding renters and homeowners, and then no law for the other folks.

After spending more than a half million dollars on “The Model” the once purged illegal camps are now being repopulated along the river. Marysville City Councilman Dale Whitmore wanted to transform the riverside areas into camp grounds with easy public access ala Yuba City’s park area under the 10th Street Bridge. But, there have been no improvements. Nature and the homeless abhor a vacuum. So, this is Homeless Camp Chapter 2.

Sutter County Supervisors, after ignoring their own citizen committee’s recommendation to site a homeless center at Church of Glad Tidings, chose instead to go with the Behavioral Health site (1965 Live Oak Blvd) surrounded by housing, senior care homes, near a school, and opposed by Behavioral Health leadership.

At a July Supervisors meeting, Attorney Steve Gimblin spun a yarn about the Church of Glad Tidings housing sex-offenders and asking for an immediate investigation. Without allowing any rebuttal to his story, the supervisors made a decision and then asked for public comment. No facts necessary when the mind is made up.

With two Supervisors under investigation for improper sex acts or sexual harassment these proceedings are deserving of a reality show.

The only areas Gimblin was not concerned for was protecting the Spotted Owl and wanting a ban on travel to Glad Tidings from terrorist countries. The attorney lives on the west side of Hwy 99 just north of Eager Road, but there is no record of his request to Sutter County Sheriff’s Department to stop sex-offenders from using the freeway in front of his residence.

Sheriff’s detectives did take Gimblin’s tale seriously and visited the church ready to purge the 35-acre campus of sex registrant housing. When advised that no such housing existed, the church worker was accused of “not being cooperative.” After dropping the “f-bomb” in frustration the deputies assured the worker that they, not parole or probation, are in charge of the county.

Further, the church was informed that no sex-registrant could attend Glad Tidings but they could attend any other church. All such people would be arrested said the detective. There was no time for sandwiches and coffee after the informative exchange.

And so the Homeless Show moves down the street to Behavioral Health. The real story is that the decision makers don’t really give a damn about the homeless, just the “wall of money” (the millions of state dollars) coming to local government. Next to farming the homeless gig can become one of our biggest industries.

by Lou Binninger

The recent decision by Yuba County and the Maidu people to part ways over the use of the Sycamore Ranch campground brings into question the government’s role in removing tax dollars from one group and benefitting another. Yes, it’s done routinely, but it is un-Constitutional and unethical.

James Madison is the acknowledged father of the Constitution. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief for French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo (now Haiti) to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison said disapprovingly, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

Madison's perspective was later reiterated by Rep. William Giles of Virginia, who condemned a relief measure for fire victims. Giles insisted that it was neither the purpose nor a right of Congress to "attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require."

President Grover Cleveland vetoed many congressional appropriations, often saying there was no Constitutional authority for such an appropriation. Vetoing a bill for relief charity, President Cleveland said, "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit."

Constitutionally ignorant people might argue that the document’s "General Welfare" clause justifies today's trillions in benevolence doled out by Congress. James Madison said: "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions." Thomas Jefferson agreed, saying in a letter to Pennsylvania Rep. Albert Gallatin, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

If there was a misunderstanding with the Maidu people it is the Supervisors being confused about their job. If a group of any flavor wants a refuge, cultural experience, museum or gallery they can purchase or rent property and carry-out their purpose with their own funding. The government owes them nothing and should stay out of their business if they are obeying the law.

Yuba County owns the Sycamore property located between Hwy 20 and the Yuba River. Yuba County Public Works and the Office of Education worked to clean-up and make the area into a beautiful park-like acreage for day visitors and campers. It is a true asset for residents and tourists to enjoy.

No one asked the taxpayers their view on giving a special deal for the use of a portion of the area to a particular group on a long-term arrangement. Yuba “Co.” Water Agency also gave a truck to the tribe. That is amazing as well and again brings up the question of who owns the Water Agency anyway.

Smiling politicians glad-handing and taking credit while giving the public’s property away is hypocritical. It’s also a rip-off. When officials decide to turn down a nonprofit’s request for the community’s money they call it a gift of public funds which is supposedly forbidden. If the gift will benefit politicians, then somehow no rules are violated.

Government practices crony capitalism (favors to business) and crony socialism (gifts to nonprofits). Officials pick winners and losers by playing Santa Claus based on who has been naughty and nice to them. It is corrupt.

If businesses and nonprofits cannot make it on their own with community support, then let them come to pass. It’s called creative destruction and we are all better for it. That includes art centers, social service nongovernment organizations, sports groups etc. If politicians want to give out of their own pockets then so be it, but not out of the public’s wallet.

If the government or a quasi-government agency has surplus property and equipment it should offer the assets for auction and the money used wisely to improve the jurisdiction. Or, the funds could be returned to taxpayers.

We need a far smaller government that does far less and takes far fewer dollars from the citizenry.

by Lou Binninger

As a justification of slavery was once firmly embedded in the conscience of much of America and in the Constitution, killing unborn babies by various barbaric means has a more widespread acceptance, tolerance and financial and legal backing today.

Tax dollars are taken from pro-abortion and pro-life citizens and given to organizations like Planned Parenthood to kill babies. Democrats fully support killing children while Republicans are hypocritical, saying they’re against it but then voting to fund it.

Americans are the most generous people on the planet, giving to both national and international needs. Liberals are more tight-fisted than conservatives, exactly the opposite of the way the media portrays “compassionate” democrats.

Americans most often give through churches and nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, because humans with sinful tendencies are involved in leading these entities money given for an expected end can be diverted to a cause that the giver would never support.

A recent example is United Way (UW). Existing in many communities, money is raised and redistributed to vetted organizations thought worthy of the help. Most donors believe UW to be a safe home for their contributions.

However, 2ndVote, a watchdog organization, has been reviewing IRS 990 filings and “found 62 United Way affiliates sent $2,756,799 to Planned Parenthood (PP) organizations in tax year 2016. 2ndVote’s latest findings indicate an increase of $168,806 from the $2,590,994 United Way funneled to Planned Parenthood in 2015.”

2ndVote’s Executive Director Robert Kuykendall concludes that “According to Planned Parenthood, an abortion can cost up to $950. This means United Way dollars essentially paid for the equivalent of at least 2,901 Planned Parenthood abortions over the course of a single year.”

The 62 UW affiliates that helped PPs were located in 29 states. UW’s defense is that this is a “small number” and “United Way Worldwide does not control funding decisions by local United Ways...... Out of 1,129 local United Ways in the United States, only a small number (less than 3 percent) provide direct support to Planned Parenthood. The amount of financial support represents less than one tenth of one percent of total United Way revenue.”

So, the answer is we are big, have no control and we didn’t give a lot to kill babies.

Then there is the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation that has been wildly successful in raising research funding. It is no secret that for years Komen has diverted millions to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. When the truth came out the Komen board defended the practice.

Since most people that support Komen do so under the assumption their dollars go for breast cancer research, Komen Foundation’s endorsement of this diversion of funding, rather than condemnation of the same, is inexcusable.

Komen, like UW, attempts to minimize the misappropriation of funds or suggest that the money goes for other services. Since the donations are fungible only the simple-minded buy the argument that the monies don’t kill babies.

In the case of Komen another bitter twist is the connection between abortion and breast cancer. According to Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a breast surgical oncologist and co-director of the Steeplechase Cancer Center, “29 out of 38 worldwide epidemiological studies show an increased risk of breast cancer of approximately 30% among women who have had an abortion.”

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer concludes, “It cannot be said that all women who have breast cancer have had abortions. Similarly, not all women who have had abortions will get breast cancer. Nevertheless, abortion is the most preventable risk factor for breast cancer.”

No one likes to hear that their lifestyle, choices or behavior may have contributed to their current struggle, and the abortion industry vehemently denies the science to soothe the conscience of their clients.

When it comes to philanthropy, “Whatever you expect, inspect.” Do your research. Otherwise, you may be giving to save lives and instead be ending them.

by Lou Binninger

Prior to passage of Senate Bill 1, the road tax and motor vehicle fee increase, while the state doubled in population there has been a forty-year legislative resistance to spending money to maintain or add roadways and bridges in California.

The objective was to make citizens so miserable sitting in stalled traffic on freeways and dodging potholes that commuters would beg to turn-in their fossil-fuel cars in exasperation. (LA is now number one nationally in gridlock time and the state 49th poorest in road quality.)

The socialist options - well, there is no intelligent alternative offered to citizens. Luxury- priced inefficient electric cars, unworkable bus systems, and bicycling or riding a horse are choices to get back and forth to school, work, appointments and getting supplies for the family.

There never has been a shortage of money to maintain and expand what once was considered the premier road system in the country. If you heard about a shortage that is a lie.

Democrats squandered road funds on foolish social programs and government employee union demands. Meanwhile, there are many new trails, save a beetle research grants and inefficient bus and lite rail systems in the rural north state.

Who would have dreamed bureaucrats could have made the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) even worse, a socialist-model fiasco to waste your time and money. One DMV official advised a complaining Yuba-Sutter resident to “Just set aside a couple days and wait your turn.”

Kommifornia today resembles a cynical joke Soviet communists once told one another about their inhumane government. During those years there was a 10-year delay to purchase an automobile and only one of seven families could even afford a car. There was much bureaucracy to survive and then all the money was paid in advance. So it was in those days in Communist nations. Lots of questioning, long waits, little money and pay in advance.

As the Soviets tell the joke, the auto purchaser puts down his money, signs the papers and the bureaucrat then says, “OK, your car will be ready in ten years.” The excited new owner asks “Morning or afternoon?”

The bureaucrat then says, “Well ten years from now, what difference does it make?” The car buyer answered, “The plumber is coming in the morning.” So goes the “golden state.”

State Senator Moorlach wrote Bill X1-9 to make Caltrans operate more like other states, able to contract out up to 50% of architectural and engineering services (It’s a 10% limit now). Caltrans administration costs are 5 times more and road repairs 2.5 times more than other states. The engineers’ union defeated the bill.

A 2016 study for the American Council of Engineering Companies found that contracting out highway construction is a huge savings. The cost for one year of employing a government design team member was $349,734, compared to just $262,866 for a private firm. Potential savings: $86,868 per employee. So if 500 new positions are filled at Caltrans, hiring private contractors would save $43.4 million a year. And combining this study with the 3,500 in “overstaffing” found by the Legislative Analyst’s Office in May 2014 and that’s $1.22 billion wasted.

And who can forget the state auditors’ list of abuses at Caltrans that included one employee playing golf for 55 days, and his supervisors approved his time sheets.

Now, Gov. Brown is using your increased road taxes for pay raises (road designers, planner and project managers.) A two-year agreement with Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) includes general wage increases of 4.5 percent immediately and another 4 percent July 2019.

In addition, the engineers with 20-years of experience and up are in line for a series of extra longevity raises to keep them around.

The proposed longevity increases are 2 percent for engineers with 20 years of experience or more as of July 1, 2018; 3 percent for engineers with 21 years of experience or more as of July 1, 2019; 4 percent for engineers with 22 years of experience or more as of July 1, 2020; and 5.5 percent for engineers with 23 years of experience or more as of July 1, 2021

These changes will cost $93 million in the current budget year, and $171 million next year. An overstaffed Caltrans is now understaffed according to Gov. Brown.

If this all sounds too much to handle the options are move out of state or vote to repeal the increased road and DMV costs. Vote Yes on Proposition 6 on November 6 to repeal.

by Lou Binninger

Possibly the most incompetent managed entity in the state is our government. So, why would government employees continue to support their retirement funds being directed by the blundering corrupt people at CalPERS? Where is the revolution?

Maybe, employees are hoping that the lowly taxpayers will get stuck paying all these pensions regardless of CalPERS and its supporting jurisdictions going broke. Or maybe they just feel stuck with a system that came along with a career choice.

An investment consultant recently justified CalPERS losing $500 million when selling off almost 80% of its $2 billion forestland portfolio saying it was not “a panicked move.”

Andrew Junkin of Wilshire Consulting says, “Forestland, real estate, and infrastructure make up the three components of the CalPERS $37.5 billion real assets program, but unlike returns for real estate and infrastructure over the last few years, forestland investments have been a money loser for the system.

With all the politically correct socially sensitive types on the CalPERS investment committee it’s amazing that they would invest in timber in the first place. Environmentalists who manipulate state decision-making hate the timber industry and have sued it into oblivion.

Junkin acknowledged that CalPERS’s timing was “poor,” buying the forestland before a financial crash, but that “you can’t know in advance that the market’s going to collapse.” That sounds like the Marysville City Council’s excuse after burying the residents $17 million in debt by buying 5 acres of property overlooking Ellis Lake.

Too bad government employees can’t take their money out of CalPERS, but that’s the problem. The money really is not there and does not belong to them. Once retired, they just get checks until they die. And cities, counties etc. have not fully funded the pensions because they don’t have the money to cover their commitments to employee unions. Oh, the unions control CalPERS as well.

Essentially, employee unions have open access to the wallets of taxpayers. They get what they want from politicians, manage or mismanage the pension fund and demand what they wish from vested jurisdictions like Yuba-Sutter Counties and their cities when CalPERS falls short of funds.

In other state news, the chair of the California LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and now Q for questioning) Caucus recently introduced a bill to outlaw Christians and others with a Biblical view of sexuality from helping people with unwanted same-sex desires or gender identity confusion. It passed the Senate.

Assemblyman Evan Low’s AB 2943 declares “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” as illegal under state’s consumer fraud law. It must pass the Assembly by August 31.

Dave Bryan, pastor of Church of Glad Tidings in Yuba City published the following statement concerning AB 2943 in defense of the US Constitution and the 1st Amendment to the US Bill of Rights:

"As an ordained Christian minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I stand with all other true Americans in defending the First Amendment liberties granted by the US Constitution and Bill of Rights as the Supreme Law of these United States; guaranteeing that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’”

"Furthermore, we will stand with any and all American citizens in the defense of this fundamental American right to express our wide and varied beliefs without State control or censorship, so long as these sundry religious expressions are not commonly deemed to be detrimental to the well-being of the community or to specific individuals within the community.

"We are always and forever committed to the defense and preservation of these ideals."

“While this affidavit applies widely to all matters of governmental control over religion, of particular interest just now is the anti-American, anti-Christian AB 2943 recently passed by 25 of the 26 democrat Senators prohibiting the church to counsel anybody of any age regarding sexual identity disorders or gender confusion. This is both unconstitutional and unconscionable for genuine authentic Christian leaders, and demands a response from freedom loving Americans.”

"We will not comply with the unconstitutional and unconscionable California AB 2943 that clearly violates the long-held American values of freedom of speech and freedom of religion; but will instead resist this attempted breach of Constitutional liberty in every way and by all means possible, without compromise or reprieve.”

by Lou Binninger

Yuba County officials have been paying hundreds of thousands of tax dollars for marketing firms to convince citizens by phone and mailer surveys to pay more taxes.

However, the solicitors neglected to ask this question. County employees make 2-3 times more than you do and will retire collecting most of that pay for the rest of their lives. Would you support paying more taxes for that to continue?

In fact, the November 6, 2018 ballot argument for the Measure K sales tax increase never mentions the financial tsunami of employee spiking pension and health costs. The very dysfunction driving the county into insolvency is suspiciously missing.

In 2015, Stanford University’s Pension Tracker found every Yuba County household owed $14,490 each if the pension debt was spread equally to pay for county retirees that year.

The number of government employees along with their pay, pensions and health benefits are out of control and officials at every level of the national bureaucracy have lost their voice. Unions have them by the short hairs.

Steven Greenhut writes, “This is a state where police sergeants routinely earn total compensation packages in the $250,000 to $350,000 range and retire at age 50 with 90 percent or more of their final years’ pay. Many University of California employees earn more than $1 million a year and median firefighter compensation tops $175,000. State employees earn medical packages that would be the envy of royalty everywhere. Then there are those myriad pension-spiking gimmicks (such as allowing managers to earn special pay for ‘management’ duties).” By the way, many executive employees pay nothing into their pension plans. They hit the lottery without even buying a ticket or driving to the store.

At a California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) hearing where city officials from across the state came to describe their plight one representative expressed concerns about bankruptcy, and another noted that in 10 years pension costs will consume 94 cents of every payroll dollar in his city. Maybe it’s time for each household to get a 5 gallon can of asphalt patch to fill cracks in front of their residence.

Did some public employees ever imagine they would retire as millionaires? LA Deputy Police Chief Earl Paysinger retired after 33 years of service cashing out with $1,473,823.20. LA Assistant Fire Chief Emile Mack (33 years) was paid $1,457,638.62 in 2016 to stay home. Statewide there were nearly 700 retirees collecting more than a half a million. That year, there were more than 8.6 million state pension records found by Transparent California. And, nearly 62,000 retirees were collecting 6 figure incomes.

In 1999, there was a pay and pension increase frenzy retroactive to the start of employment as local governments caved in to union pressure. The legislators also passed a union-backed law (SB 400) raising the pension multiplier to 3% (times the number of years of service) that “CalPERS promised wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

It didn’t cost a dime but rather billions of dollars. Yuba County taxpayers do not recall being asked for their opinions via survey prior to the Supervisors’ vote on the pay and pension increases.

The entire government pay and pension debacle can be traced to politicians and unions. The citizens have been shafted by unions promising to elect politicians and by politicians promising to reward union pay contracts. It works beautifully for government workers and politicians. However, like British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher liked to say, “Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money.”

Usually when a marketing campaign is fear-based like the Measure K effort you should be suspect. Proponents are hiding something, in this case the real cause. An honest Measure K would have pitched a sales tax for higher pay, pensions and health costs that few of those paying the bills enjoy. The answer would have been no.

However, with most people being fairly ignorant of ballot measures when voting and with government people bullying and silencing the business community there are good odds for passing Measure K. If it does fail, Supervisors will use more tax dollars for another campaign at the next election cycle.

by Lou Binninger

Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus (Ephesians 4:28) “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing good with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.” Paul was writing to Jesus followers who hadn’t shed the habit of being lazy and mooching off others.

Paul’s message was that there is dignity in work not only to meet personal needs but also the needs of others. Paul was re-teaching Jesus exhortation of loving God and loving your neighbor. However, neither the Bible nor the U.S. Constitution advocates government taking one person’s money to give to another. That is thievery.

Recently, two Woodland men were arrested for tire dumping in Colusa and Sutter Counties. There have been other incidences of discarding hundreds of used tires where the same suspects are also persons of interest. Those arrested are Muhammad Farooq and Ali Quasim, both associated with a tire shop called Fast and Furious in Woodland.

Nothing is as maddening as seeing broken appliances, tattered furniture, trash and worn tires dumped throughout our rural areas. It speaks of laziness, thievery and disrespecting the community. Property owners must stop their productive work to retrieve the waste and then pay to move it to the dump.

Someone said that the world is made up of givers and takers. Look at any community and you can tell which group is prevailing.

Little affirms human dignity more than honest work. Martin Luther King taught “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

One of the surest ways to destroy self-worth is by subsidizing the idleness of able-bodied people. Work is a gift, a calling and a personal responsibility. God worked and created and provided the same for humans to do. God created a mission on earth for every person to discover and accomplish. Depriving or undermining that purpose is to cripple that person.

People will give plenty of reasons why they work each day...bills, rent, child support, retirement. However, life offers no fulfillment without work and knowing the God behind creation. Humans are invited to partner in God’s work in the earth, to care for it and its people. Humans are co-participants in an ever-unfolding creation.

God improves all that He touches. Since people are created in His image they should be masters of the upgrade. That’s what makes the trash and tire dumping so irritating. Graffiti tagging and litter fit here, as well.

The deviant behavior reveals a lack of connectedness to the community. It is an entitlement mind-set that says the nanny state will pick-up after me. It is a “What can I get out of this?” attitude versus “What improvement can I make here?” By the aberrant act the culprit screams “I am on this earth and completely clueless.”

The myriad of government socialist programs have clearly harmed rather than helped God’s prized creation, the apple of his eye. Throwing money at people shows a profound disrespect for their value to society and their self-worth.

Expecting them to contribute and serve says they have potential and something to offer. Unfortunately, most church benevolence efforts as well are more secular than Biblical and look more like government than God’s handiwork.

“Give once you elicit appreciation. Give twice you create anticipation. Give thrice you create expectation. Give four times it becomes entitlement. Give five times you establish dependency.”

Most welfare and benevolence programs empower the giver while disempowering the recipient. That is just the opposite of what should be happening. Even welfare workers have little contact with needy clients now that EBT (welfare/food stamp) cards are refilled electronically. No love, no compassion, no listening, just a mindless financial slopping of the barn animals.

Parents and government have nurtured generations of takers and tire dumpers. Now, this is what we get.

by Lou Binninger

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) filed a lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles for “gross misconduct” when it “illegally spent” close to $1 million in taxpayer funds on political advertising. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement to the County Treasury and civil penalties.

County officials funded a campaign consultant and political advertising to push Measure H, a sales tax increase that was on the ballot in March 2017. The English and Spanish radio and television commercials touted homeless programs that Measure H would make possible. The spots used the tag line, “Measure H, Real Help, Lasting Change, Vote March 7,” but never mentioning about a tax increase to accomplish the feat.

California law allows public funds to provide voters impartial information regarding the pros and cons of a proposed ballot measure, but it forbids government to “‘take sides” in elections or give an unfair advantage to one of several competing factions.” (Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206, 217.)

The lawsuit also alleges that the County failed to identify itself as the sponsor of its advertising, and failed to file required campaign disclosures and expenditure reports. Government Code Section 8314 says, “It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee, employee, or consultant, to use or permit others to use public resources for a campaign activity, or personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.”

The law is based on the principle that it would be unfair and undemocratic for officials to use taxpayers’ money for self-serving political campaigns. However, California officials up and down the state are doing just that, with little fear of being pursued by prosecutors or the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

Yuba County Administrator Robert Bendorf and five supervisors have authorized the use of hundreds of thousands of dollars to do exactly what Los Angeles County did – use the taxpayer’s money to convince voters to give wealthy officials more funds.

HJTA complained to the FPPC that LA County should have filed a campaign finance report, but the FPPC refused to act. The county gave TBWB Strategies, a San Francisco consulting firm, a $1 million contract to work on Measure H. So, HJTA filed a lawsuit to challenge the TBWB contract’s legality.

Tax increase measures are a rich cash trough for public relations firms to feed from. Boards and councils are basically copycats willing to all go over the cliff together holding hands. The law and ethics are no hindrance. Officials see no conflict in using the voters’ tax dollars to snooker them.

LA County is also promoting a parcel tax to take more funds to address a deplorable water system that has been ignored for decades. The “parcel tax” on the November ballot will assess 2.5 cents per square foot of “improvements that cannot be permeated by rainwater,” such as driveways. It will lift an estimated $300 million in annual revenue from property owners.

The county will pay a “hired gun” $2 million for “public outreach and education.” The California Taxpayers Association says that an “educational video aired during the (supervisors’) meeting touted the measure as one that would result in ‘better quality of life for everyone in L.A.,’ and ended with the statement: ‘Now let’s do this, before the opportunity dries up.’ ”

Sounds like a slanted presentation and biased approach in violation of the law.

Proposition 6 will also be on the November ballot to repeal SB1, the Gas Tax and DMV Fee increase passed by the legislators. The state is now illegally using taxpayer dollars to convince voters to keep the tax. Senator Ling Ling Chang is challenging the use of Caltrans signage at construction sites celebrating the taxes and fees in light of the citizens’ repeal effort.

Government employees, unions and those benefitting by more road construction are opposing repeal of SB1. The same government employees, their family members and unions will vote for Yuba County’s sales tax.

Yuba County has more than 1,000 employees, plus their families all voting for a bigger handful from the voters’ pockets. That’s the danger of a massive government that can basically vote to take whatever it wants when it wants it. Federal, state, county and city employees now are in control.

 

by Lou Binninger

Last week, U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett approved a $3.5 million settlement on behalf of more than 100 Tea Party Chapters and other groups against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Hundreds of Tea Party and other conservative organizations had been targeted, harassed, investigated and stonewalled when applying for tax exempt status.

The government’s intimidation successfully curbed the growing influence of the libertarian and conservative movement that advocated for a smaller government, reducing spending and the national debt, fewer regulations and opposing tax increases. Though many candidates were elected with Tea Party help, President Obama’s use of government agencies to trouble private citizens was successful in preventing the activists from derailing his campaign for a second term.

The Tea Party movement began following Barack Obama's first presidential inauguration (in January 2009) when his administration announced plans to give financial aid to bankrupt homeowners. That was a tipping point for many passive people to take action.

Though not an official political party, the Tea Party had impact as hundreds of thousands of citizens grew tired of their political party’s impotence and became activists. The movement's name refers to the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, an act of rebellion and protest in the launch of the American Revolution. The 1773 event demonstrated against taxation by the British government without political representation for the American colonists.

Historically, requests for IRS 501(C)3 and 501(C)4 recognition were swiftly determined in a few months based upon answers to standard questions to confirm the entity’s tax exempt purpose. However, that changed when Senator Barack Obama became president.

In May 2013, the media began reporting that the IRS flagged Tea Party and other conservative groups for review of their applications for tax-exempt status during and prior to the 2012 election. This led to both political and public condemnation of the agency, and triggered multiple investigations. President Obama said the first he knew of the controversy was by reading it in the media. This is the same response he offered for the shameful Fast and Furious and Benghazi corruption.

Some groups were asked for members’ names, their affiliations, and donor lists, which are usually a violation of IRS policy. Groups were also asked for details about family members and about their postings on social networking sites. Names of past and future speakers were demanded. Once one set of questions were answered, another list would arrive in the mail.

The Yuba-Sutter Tea Party Patriots was one of the chapters that was targeted with the intimidation and interrogation noted above. Their nonprofit status was eventually improperly and arbitrarily rejected by the Lois Lerner nonprofit department of the IRS. They also were assessed and paid thousands of dollars in corporate fees eventually putting them out of business.

Former local Tea Party secretary Ruth Criddle said that members also had their personal income taxes audited. They felt like they were under assault by one of the nation’s most powerful agencies.

Another target for trouble was a conservative voter organization founded by Catherine Englebrecht called True the Vote. It was active primarily in Texas.

Engelbrecht said she and her husband and their business, Engelbrecht Manufacturing, were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Englebrecht stated that she was targeted because she "worked against voter fraud."

On May 21, 2013, her organization filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia against the IRS over claims that the agency delayed the determination process for its application for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, claiming, "We’ve been waiting for three years to receive a decision from the IRS about our tax exempt status. After answering hundreds of questions and producing thousands of documents, we’re done waiting. The IRS does not have the power to pocket veto our application. Federal law empowers groups like True the Vote to force a decision in court – which is precisely what we aim to do.”

IRS leader Lois Lerner and Commissioner John Koskinen were not cooperative with Congressional committees investigating the wrong doing and now have nice retirements courtesy of those they abused.

by Lou Binninger

California Water Service (CWS) says it has served Marysville since 1930. However, no one at city hall could confirm that or find any official agreement with CWS.

CWS is a private corporation versus a municipal utility like Yuba City, Linda and Olivehurst. In recent years CWS has routinely raised rates to the place where most all of their residential accounts (3,800 total Marysville customers) have discontinued any outdoor watering. It’s just too expensive. As a result Marysville has become Brown Town.

The CWS bill is usually the biggest utility payment for those daring to irrigate outdoors. That’s something when PG&E rates are 60% higher than average power and gas costs in the nation.

Marysville’s water rates have been up to 200% higher than adjacent communities. Even the City of Marysville cannot afford to water the parks. It’s not due to a lack of water. During the state-wide drought the water table in Marysville remained robust and steady. CWS pays nothing for the water it extracts via Marysville wells to deliver to patrons.

Baby boomers from Marysville can remember the time when it was shocking to see a brown lawn anywhere in the city. It was a sign of abandonment or neglect. Parks were pristine with healthy trees lining the streets. Today, hundreds of dead or sickly trees blight city thoroughfares.

A June 2013 Territorial Dispatch article stated, “Since 2003, Californian Water Service (CWS) has bumped rates nearly every year for a net cumulative 121.80% over ten years -- an average 12% annually. Additional increases are proposed -- 18.4% in 2014, 20.1% in 2015 and 9.4% in 2016 or another 47.9 % over 36 months.”

Although the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) did not grant the total increases requested above the CPUC routinely awards higher rates to assure the company a guaranteed return on investment. Dividends have been paid to stockholders for the last 73 years. CWS is great to invest in but horrible to buy water from if you are concerned about money.

Now, CWS is applying for a 16.9% increase over three years (2020, 2021, and 2022). They claim the “typical bill in Marysville of $50.84” will see $3.53, $1.41 and $1.61 monthly increases. Not knowing whether $50.84 is an average or a mean figure, if accurate what is known is the bill reflects people using little water and not irrigating outdoors, just drive around town for a look. People cannot afford the water. New residents are shocked after they move in and receive their water bill.

Many residents could save enough money in a year of lower water bills by relocating across the river to cover a month’s rent payment.

CWS is currently asking CPUC to continue their Water Rate Adjustment Mechanism (WRAM) which charges the customer an amount above the basic service fee and usage to cover CWS costs if the customer does not use enough water. CWS knows Marysville residents cannot afford the water and will be using less, not due to drought or meager supply but due solely to unaffordable usage rates.

CWS is fond of saying the CPUC governs its rates and is a real taskmaster in its role to protect the ratepayer. The problem is that the commission protects utilities and not the people.

Columnist Thomas Elias writes extensively on California utilities and the corrupt nature of the relationship between the commission and utilities. Consumer-advocate attorney and former city attorney for San Diego Michael Aguirre has acquired via court order previously withheld CPUC emails.

These emails from several months in 2014 describe meetings routinely occurring among the top four big energy and water agencies called the Energy Principals and included members of the PUC, Energy Commission, Air Resources Board, Water Resources Control Board, operators of the electric grid and coordinated out of the governor’s office. No Brown Act public notices were ever filed.

Emails revealed that meetings were conducted in Warsaw, Poland, at former CPUC president Michael Peevey’s house in LA and in the home of air board chair Mary Nichols in LA. The CPUC has been caught cutting deals with PG and E regarding their gas explosion costs in the San Bruno disaster and with Southern California Edison Co. for their mismanagement of and costs to close San Onofre nuclear power plant. In short, consumers were stuck with billions of expenses for utility company malfeasance.

Governor Brown’s office says no public notice was required for these meetings, nothing to see here. Bottom line – expect higher water rates in Marysville.

by Lou Binninger

Everyone is talking about wild fires in the West and debating the cause, Global Warming, the End Times, a weather outlier or mismanagement of our forests. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Everything for survival was in the garden but it was incumbent on the residents to be good stewards.

An observant person can note well-cared-for businesses, children, farms and schools and of course for many generations our forests and range lands. Farmers, foresters and ranchers believed they had a duty to care for and nurture the land and took pride in that trust.

Over the course of a century, through a series of homesteading acts – beginning with the Homestead Act of 1862, and up to and including the Stock-Raising Homestead Act of 1916 – the federal government solicited and encouraged the settlement and use of the resources out West. Rugged Americans established successful ranching and other enterprises out of the wilderness and lawless lands of earlier times. They should be revered for their bravery, resilience and hard work.

The 1916 act increased plots up to 640 acres except in lands that could be irrigated. However, in the arid West, even with available water, 640 acres lacked the capacity for raising enough stock to support a family. Ranchers needed to use forage on adjacent “unsettled” federal lands to graze livestock.

The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 created grazing allotments on such lands so ranchers could legally acquire property rights and interests in the forage and water and use the timber for improvements on the allotment.

However, after the turbulent sixties, Vietnam and Watergate, a surge of environmentalism evolved and in its extreme form considered mankind’s enterprises a violation and blight on nature. Extremists wanted the West to be literally “rewilded,” no people allowed.

In 1976, the Federal Lands Policy Management Act (FLPMA) was a declaration of war on ranchers, miners, loggers and settlers that were in generations past recruited by the same government to tame the West to utilize and manage its resources.

Unelected federal bureaucrats waged legal and regulatory war on honest Americans who in many cases had been living on, using and caring for the land for generations. With the deep pockets of the feds, government attorneys began suing, nullifying agreements and creating egregious rules to bankrupt or break the spirit of these salt-of-the-earth type people.

Many families after fighting for decades in court went broke, sold-out, or were evicted leaving the lands some had been on for over 100 years. Others ended their lives. For bureaucrats these victories were celebrated as notches on their “save-the-earth” belts.

Although thousands of families have been devastated most people are now familiar with the Dwight and Steven Hammond families in Oregon, the Bundy and Hage families of Nevada and the political assassination by law enforcement of rancher Levoy Finicum in Oregon. They have all been trashed by the media fake news and in courtrooms as criminals.

President Trump recently pardoned the Hammonds. The government was found criminally at fault in the prosecution of the Bundys in two separate cases. And law enforcement personnel should go to prison for Finicum’s murder.

In destroying family after family the government was found to have lied, cheated, harassed, bullied, withheld evidence....and exhibited “flagrant and willful misconduct.” The behavior has been despicable and tyrannical.

The government colluded with environmental groups to “sue and settle” with agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create more caustic regulations, steal tax dollars and ruin the livelihoods of good people. Loggers were forced off lands because of a bird by faux scientists using nonsensical arguments. Farms were abandoned in Central California after one judge diverted water rights to a fish in the Delta. Entire towns were shuttered and families lost their living.

The rewilded, ignored, over-grown and unmanaged forests and grazing lands have become infernos incinerating everything due to these insane liberal policies. Properly managed and thinned forests and lands occasionally ignite but they lack the fuel of thick undergrowth and dense tree stands to create an ecological Armageddon.

We now have an unmanageable 2 million federal employees who have created 90,000 rules and regulations since 1995. If you are reading this you are in violation of a number of them today. As the government grows, your freedom shrinks. President Regan often said, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

As devastation, ash and foul air have your attention it is brought to you courtesy of the liberal swamp and its environmentalist cousins.

Reveles  8 1 18by Lou Binninger

Yuba County Superintendent of Schools Francisco Reveles did the taxpayers a big favor by closing a government-run child care operation in Plumas Lake that routinely lost $150,000 or more annually for 12 years. If the center were a private business with such losses it would have closed its doors in the first 1-2 years.

However, by utilizing the deep pockets of Yuba Co taxpayers Plumas Lake residents received childcare courtesy of $2 million or more of benevolence from their neighbors to keep the center afloat.

These losses do not include the initial monies invested to develop the facility.

In a capitalist economy, a business closing its doors is called creative destruction. It’s the natural pruning of poorly run businesses, noncompetitive operations and obsolete services or products. When allowed to occur creative destruction ushers in new products or services at competitive pricing.

In the private sector when a failing product or business is “saved” by government’s crony capitalism and bail-outs, the taxpayers lose big. Interference in a struggling economy prolonged the Great Depression. Most remember Presidents Bush and Obama claiming banks and auto makers were “too big to fail.” That’s 100% wrong. Other businesses would have purchased the struggling enterprises without costing taxpayers a dime.

The constitution does not authorize government to take money from citizens to favor certain private enterprises. However, politicians after swearing to defend the Constitution then properly ignore it.

Why didn’t the county school board vote to close the childcare operation long ago? The board had no authority to vote to close the school. However, they could have refused to approve the annual YCOE budget unless the school was closed but the odds of that happening were slim to none.

Prior to Reveles and under School Superintendent Scotia Holmes Sanchez the losses were questioned by some board members but the center continued. That’s why the Reveles move is so bold and refreshing.

California public schools up through high school are tuition-free. In fact, if parents of students are not property owners (pay no property taxes) they have little or no financial stake in their child’s education. It’s an entitlement. Owners of property, even those with no children or children long out of the home, are forced to pay for schools.

In this unique case the Plumas Lake Center charged tuition but still ran $150,000 plus each year in the red. Reveles said that tuition would need to go up 100% just to break even. The center’s costs that make it uncompetitive with the private sector include higher salaries, vacation and health benefits and mandatory employer contributions to state and federal defined benefit retirement systems.

There are some lessons here. Government has priced itself out of competing with the private sector when providing a similar service and charging for those services. Government has become unaffordable. Also, it is nearly impossible to hold government financially accountable.

There is no profit and loss plumb line. There is no accountability when it comes to productivity. When government runs short of funds it finagles a way to take more from the citizens or the general fund, just like Yuba County Office of Education (YCOE) did for 12 years.

Even the business department at YCOE was not particularly nervous about subsidizing a project running at a huge deficit. That’s a standard operating approach in government funding. You get money and you spend money. When you run out then you take more from some other department or from the citizens. There is no assessment of relevance, being effective, costs versus outcomes, etc. There is no reason or incentive to do so in government. That’s why reform is nearly impossible to achieve.

In 1803 the British created a civil service position in which a man was required to stand on the cliffs of Dover with a spyglass. He was to watch for an invasion and ring a bell if the army of Napoleon Bonaparte was approaching. It was a strategic idea at the time, but the position was not eliminated until 1945 long after the world added telephones, radios, radar, television, submarines and airplanes.

It took the British government 142 years to render the spyglass unnecessary and drop a civil service position. Thankfully, it took Superintendent Reveles just a few years at the helm to give the childcare center a decent burial.

By Lou Binninger

Yuba County will vote this November on whether sales taxes should be raised 1% from 7.25% to 8.25% on purchases over the next decade to raise $4.3 million annually. It will take 50% plus 1 more vote to pass. Regardless of promises there are no legal restrictions on where the money is spent.

County Administrator Robert Bendorf each year tells why the county is in trouble. He basically says “Revenues are up, but so is the cost of doing business.” That euphemism “cost of doing business” means the county can’t afford the escalating unfunded pension liability and health care costs.

The problem is fairly simple. Most in the private sector set aside their own money for retirement. (Few employers pay into employee’s retirement.) When people retire they begin collecting a sum each month from an IRA, 401K, savings, sell property etc. There is no guarantee how much they earned from investments. Whatever they have earned they begin enjoying – a lot or a little.

Government retirement is quite different. Each pay period a small percentage of pay is contributed to the state retirement fund CalPERS by the employee and also the employer (taxpayers). Then the employee is promised a designated benefit (a percentage times the number of years worked.) So, if a person worked 30 years at 3% rate then they would get 90% (30 yrs X 3%) of their highest pay year for the rest of their life. It is a guarantee regardless of how much money they paid in or how well the investments fared.

However, county supervisors have made promises to unions that they cannot afford to keep. It is called an unfunded liability. So, CalPERS contacts the county to let them know how much the fund lacks to pay all of their retired county employees. Then that extra money must be sent to cover the shortage.

Let’s look at the predicament for just one job, sheriff. When Sheriff Durfor retires at the end of August there will be three retired Yuba County Sheriffs living, Gary Tindel, Virginia Black and Durfor. Since their retirement funds are not set aside in an account for them to draw from, here’s how it works.

Taxpayers guarantee an agreed upon amount to 3 retired sheriffs and also pay Sheriff – Elect Wendell Anderson. Taxpayers are paying four sheriffs while one works.

Let’s look at some guesstimates on how the money works out. Gary Tindel retired from Yuba County in 1999 and collected $58,539.52 in 2017. He then retired in 2011 from Marin County and collected an additional $42,587.95 in 2017. Virginia Black retired in 2006 and received $134,624.16 in 2017. Let’s guess Sheriff Durfor’s retirement pay at 181,620 annually. And, let’s say Anderson starts out at $185,000 not counting benefits (another $50,000 plus).... a guess.

This all means that Yuba County (and Marin Co for Tindel) taxpayers are paying $417,371 annually for three retirees and then when adding Anderson it brings the total to $602,371 commitment for one sheriff working.

This promise to government employees seems too good to be true. You work and the taxpayers promise to pay you for working plus sustain you in retirement for as long as you live at up to 90% of your top earnings year.

Meanwhile, government employees get automatic raises based on agreements not merit. It’s like participation trophies in soccer. So, the entire Yuba County payroll of $70,951,286 in 2016 automatically grows with no additional employees.

This pay and retirement system is unfair to citizens and is unsustainable. This is what finance investigators call a Ponzi scheme named after Italian swindler and con artist Charles Ponzi. Ponzi promised people that if they gave him their money to invest he would provide 50% return on investment in 45 days and 100% in 90 days.

However, Ponzi was not investing people’s money. He simply paid returns to the first investors off contributions from later investors. The whole scheme lasted just over a year before it collapsed and he was arrested.

Who in their right mind would trust a con man with promises like that? If you had your entire retirement nest egg to invest would you give it to a government agency to invest? DMV now takes all day just to issue a new driver’s license.

Finally, let’s look at Yuba Co 2016 salary comparisons, government versus private sector. Median pay and benefits for fulltime county workers were $83,108 versus $37,103 for nongovernment. More than 200 county workers are making between $100,000 each and $300,000. In 2016, the total county employee payroll costs every resident $960 each. There is 1 full or part-time county employee for every 73 residents.

Government is way too big and expensive for Yuba County folks to afford. That’s the problem.

 

by Lou Binninger

Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper has been trying to divide California, first into 6 and recently into 3 new states. He sees the state as ungovernable.

His Cal 3 initiative qualified for the November 2018 ballot by gathering ample signatures from registered voters. However, the California Supreme Court blocked the initiative from the ballot.

The ruling came after Cal 3 opponents argued that breaking up the state would be a “revision” of the state constitution that requires support by two-thirds of the California Legislature before it can go to voters.

Supreme Court Justices reversed legal precedent that allowed even legally questionable initiatives of the voters to be on the ballot. The thought was that if the measure passed Constitutional challenges could then be addressed.

Draper said, “Whether you agree or not with this initiative, this is not the way democracies are supposed to work. This kind of corruption is what happens in third world countries." So much for a people-driven government, we now have a top down ruling class.

State of Jefferson movement leader Mark Baird said, “The California Supreme Court has ruled that Cal 3 would cause too much disruption! The arrogance of the ruling oligarchy of California defies liberty and defies description. Obviously the California Supreme Court has never read the Constitution of the state it is supposed to serve.” (An oligarchy is a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.)

Baird does not support the Cal 3 idea, but endorses the people’s Constitutional right to decide the future of Cal 3 and the state. Baird offers an applicable portion of the state’s founding document in his statement:

Article 2, Section 1, California Constitution: “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the Right to alter or reform it when public good may require.”

Baird’s statement continues, “Liberty is for everyone and the California Supreme Court has struck a blow for tyranny and oligarchy by denying Constitutional Liberty to the voters of California. Are you the masters of the government which was created to protect your freedom? Or are you the slaves and servants to those who think you too stupid to know what is right and good?”

“This is proof that California is broken beyond repair. We need to start over. We need a Constitutional Republic with far smaller districts, where state representatives are afraid of the voters where government is restricted to its proper role.”

Blocking the people’s right to direct their affairs has been popular lately. The Yuba County Water Agency “Seven” blocked an initiative from the ballot to revise how agency revenues are spent. And, last month Sutter County Judges banned citizens from viewing the 2017-2018 Grand Jury Report. They have all usurped the Constitutional authority of the people to govern themselves.

by Lou Binninger

If you are wondering why you have less as government needs more of your wealth there are reasons and they aren’t the ones you are being told to justify extorting even more of your hard-earned cash.

In July 2016, an article at Open the Books described the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) 'Luxury Art Obsession.' From 2004-2014, the VA spent $19.67 million purchasing art pieces.

Thousands of veterans have died waiting to be treated by the VA. Many calls to the suicide prevention hotline went to voicemail. The healthcare claims appeals process was described as “the hamster wheel.” From 2012-2015, the VA created 40,000 new positions, but hired only 3,600 doctors.

Can any administration fix the VA? The Trump Administration appears to be trying by allowing veterans to finally access private care and then by firing lousy federal employees. But, the VA has been budgeting millions each year for art.

Included in the expenditures is a 27’ artificial Christmas tree for $21,500 delivered to Chillicothe, OH. Two sculptures costing $670,000 were needed for a VA facility in California that serves blind veterans. If given a choice, blind veterans would prefer to see a doctor quickly and could do without the sculptures they can’t see. This is government.

How about the California Prostitutes Education Project receiving $1.49 million from Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2016-17. It was described as a “youth centered initiative” that “works with street prostitutes” to teach “safer sex and needle use” in a way that’s respectful of their clients’ “lifestyle and choices.” Prostitution is illegal in California and 48 other states. Would this be your choice of benevolence spending?

Of course, government needs to insert itself into the condom world. Private enterprise is just not up to funding the creation of a smoother feeling, extra lubricated accessory that is STD proof. It took your $200,061 from HHS to fund Hydroglyde Coatings for their new and improved version that does the above plus enhances satisfaction between partners. Next time you go to the polls remember your government is interested in your survival and personal pleasure.

Does using Facebook (FB) affect the chances of teens trying alcohol? It took $147,686 from HHS to see if viewing alcohol-using versus non-alcohol using profiles would increase the chances of youngsters trying adult beverages. You probably knew the answer but they couldn’t take your word for it, just your money for an over-paid college professor to tell us. Why wouldn’t FB pay for this?

Government tends to be fixated on sexual pleasure. When there is an abundant supply of money, ideas to spend it just fall from of the sky. So, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia received $418,579 to look into the sexual behavior of obese girls. They wanted to know for sure if fat girls have fewer dating and sexual experiences. Do they take greater risks and don’t bother with condoms when they get a chance to run the bases? Why couldn’t Weight Watchers pay for this study? Lose weight, get more sex.

If bureaucrats can’t find a sex study to fund they will look to spend money in China. First, money went to study Chinese prostitutes and now it’s instructing Chinese children how to cross the street. Obviously, the grant recipient knows that crossing Chinese streets is an art form unknown to outsiders. But, Chinese kids are much more adept at getting around on subways, buses and crazy traffic without adults than American youth are. Why would westerners try to lecture Asian kids about anything?

Nonetheless, HHS gave University of Alabama $183,750 to develop an app to instruct Chinese children how to navigate traffic. The Chinese, like our Mexican neighbors, think Americans are stupid as they get rich off US political lame brains.

In fiscal year 2016 the federal government awarded 560,771 grants totaling $583 billion. On average, each grant received about $1 billion. HHS gives out 75% of the money. These funds do not include an amazing bureaucracy of thousands of federal “paper weights” managing this process.

Once upon a time people donated to good causes and schools raised money for worthy research making a wasteful government unnecessary.

by Lou Binninger

Government supplanting the private sector to provide services is like the tale of the bankrupt used car dealer. On the wall of the abandoned office the company mission remained, “We lose money on every deal but we make it up in volume.”

In November 2008, 52.6 % of California voters passed Proposition 1A (Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century). Taxpayers will be regretting it for as long as they live.

Prop 1A authorized $9.95 billion in bonds to be sold to get seed money for a “Bullet Train.” There was to be a $19.4 repayment of the bonds over 30 years. Payments would average $647 million annually. “When constructed unknown operation and maintenance costs, probably over $1 billion annually; at least partially, and potentially fully, repaid by passenger fees” read the ballot argument for the train. “Bond payments would be made from the general fund for the 220 mph train” serving travelers going from Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, and San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Can anyone cite another government “business” where ticket prices cover the extraordinary costs of bureaucrat’s “management skill” – the Post Office, AMTRAK? What would a government Amazon or Southwest cost?

Prop 1A arguments from 2008 have the snake oil scent when read today. “California’s transportation system is broken: skyrocketing gasoline prices and gridlocked freeways and airports. High speed trains are the new transportation option that reduces greenhouse gases and dependence on foreign oil. High speed trains are cheaper than building new highways and airports to meet population growth and require: NO NEW TAXES (sic).”

“Proposition 1A will save time and money. Travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 2½ hours for about $50 a person. With gasoline prices today (meaning 2008), a driver of a 20-miles-per-gallon car would spend about $87 and six hours on such a trip.” However at $50 a ticket (now estimated at nearly $100 per person) a family of four would be $200 for the train, $400 if current predictions are accurate. The train is not a family-friendly value.

Today, most cars deliver much better mileage. America is now the world’s largest producer of oil and exports oil to other countries. And it is unclear which month train-advocates chose gas prices for their computations. Fuel costs spiked above $4.00 per gallon in 2008 and then tanked to less than $2.00 by October of that year, so low the hybrid car industry lost money.

There is no proof that the use of fossil fuels to build and maintain trains and infrastructure are less than those for planes, buses and autos. Many of the earth-is-ending Green House Gas “scientists” have been refuted or discredited as science hookers for politicians. Their “carbon dioxide is bad” prophesies are absurd, along with their “we all came from apes” non-science.

The fact is most people spend their commuting time going to work and school, medical appointments, shopping, and to children’s and social activities. Bullet trains meet few of these needs.

So, voters for a “Bullet Train” in 2008 placed a really expensive losing bet. Whatever the ticket price will be there are billions more to pay. Consumers pay twice, once for the ticket and again with general fund tax dollars to shore up a bad business proposition.

The stubborn justification for the “Bullet Train” fetish rests today with Governor Jerry Brown who says, “I like trains.” Of course, unions and politically-connected contractors have his back.

Meanwhile, innovative bus lines are rising up like the Uber / Lyft competition was to the cab cartel often offering quicker, more flexible and cheaper service to destinations of the travelers’ choice. Two months ago German investor-owned parent company FlixMobility started cheap bus routes between Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson.

Now it’s adding another 16 connections throughout central and northern California, as well as Tempe, Ariz. and Reno, Nev. Some of these routes, like Los Angeles to San Francisco, Bakersfield to Fresno and Oakland to Burbank are $9.99.

FLiXBUS recently announced a fare of $14.99 for Sacramento to Los Angeles, or to San Francisco for $4.99 (higher on Thursdays and Fridays.) FLiXBUS vehicles have amenities beyond rowdy colored exteriors aimed at attracting customers. The buses have free Wi-Fi and onboard entertainment, and customers can use an app to book their tickets and track their bus.

Asian-owned bus lines are also providing better service and much cheaper fares in the US. However, if you never ride a privately owned bus it will never cost you a dime. With a government business you pay whether or not you play.

State-run trains will go bankrupt every year if not for general fund taxpayer bailouts.

by Lou Binninger

Government officials investigated by the Sutter County Grand Jury (GJ) have manipulated and intimidated the jury using its confidentiality pledge to hide damning information about those same officials. Sutter County Public Information Officer Chuck Smith maintains the county has nothing to do with the jury except to fund its work.

Smith says the jury’s independence is maintained because it is commissioned to look into various agencies and departments of government. Obviously, the 2017-2018 GJ was not independent of county influence and control. The jury is independent as long as county officials approve of their document’s contents.

So, then who in the county has the right to suppress and silence this GJ that represents Sutter County people? When government figures have something to hide, are unethical or criminal, can they remove the report from the public’s view? That is what happened.

When you think of the most powerful appointed or elected local officials it may be the County Administrator, Superior Court Judges, District Attorney, Sheriff and County Counsel. Any of these could apply political muscle to conceal damning or embarrassing information about the very government that people are paying for.

Government officials threatening to sue jury members and the county suggesting it will not pay to defend jurors will silence must jurors and send them home fearful. They are fearful of putting their loved ones at risk from great financial loss and fearful of remaining in a county of unrestrained vengeful bureaucrats that can ruin people’s lives.

Now, it appears that select department directors and supervisors have copies of the GJ report – all or portions. That’s just great when it was announced that no report would be published. And, of course, these same people believe they are the righteous ones able to handle and discern the truth that the citizens who pay for this government cannot comprehend. What arrogance and deception!

So are GJ members obligated to maintain secrecy about their troublesome findings that were quashed by the investigated “rulers?” No, that is nonsense.

After the GJ resigned without signing a “doctored” edition of the report they have been maligned by gossiping public figures as corrupt and liars. That is shameful. Public figures themselves violate the limits of confidentiality whenever the please. They act above the law.

Jury members undergo vetting and contribute thousands of hours of work to investigate the concerns of the public. After doing so they are trashed by government leaders yet told they must remain honorable and not speak out. This is absurd. The entire county could collapse under mismanagement and corruption as GJ members keep their oath.

Some say complain to the Attorney General, the Department of Justice and the FBI. Have you watched the news over the last couple years? These institutions are in moral free-fall. Planned Parenthood was caught selling body parts of aborted babies and Attorney General Kamala Harris arrested the media whistleblowers. Numerous liars in the FBI and Justice Department plotted the taking down of the President of the United States.

Who can remember a local case referred to the Attorney General where the agency actually accomplished something? These people are white collar welfare recipients.

Our government officials are skilled not at seeking and finding the truth but suppressing the truth and resisting those who pursue it. They are expert at protecting the status quo, commonly called “The Swamp.”

If local citizens will confront their officials, shout the truth from the housetops, expose wrong, fill the meeting halls and take the protest to the county offices, the citizenry will prevail. Being unwilling to invest time, effort and become uncomfortable will assure the status quo. Reform is often like removing a bad tooth. It can be difficult and painful.

The alternative is to move or shut-up and continue to pay-up.