Posts Tagged ‘California’

Alternative to What? Evidently Profitability

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Via Dwight comes word that alternative weekly the San Francisco Bay Guardian has ceased publication. Alternative weeklies used to have a market niche as carrier mediums of left-wing opinion, music gig listings and porn ads. The Internet has taken over the music and porn listings, and the left-wing opinion market is glutted not only online, but with MSNBC, New York Times, CNN, NBC, CBS, Washington Post, NPR, etc.

But if you can’t make money with an alternative weekly in San Francisco, where can you? (And keep in mind that this was after they received a settlement from rival SF Weekly.)

Well, probably Austin. At least as long as you have an enormous, money-making music festival attached to it…

(Flashback: “I missed the Bay Guardian’s coverage of their investor’s indictment on child prostitution charges.”)

Blogroll Addition: Pension Tsunami

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Since they linked to me yesterday, I’ve finally done what I’ve meant to do for a long time, namely get up off my ass and add Pension Tsunami to the Blogroll. They offer a great daily news roundup on the looming unionized public sector pension crisis that threatens to bankrupt cities and states across the country (especially California).

I’ve also added the new “California/Pensions/Unions/Etc.” link category and moved Kausfiles there as well.

Expect more additions to that blog category Real Soon Now.

Texas vs. California Roundup for October 9, 2014

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • If Stockton bankruptcy judge’s ruling is upheld, a lot of California cities could actually start working for citizens again, rather than public employee unions.
  • There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Stockton’s bankruptcy. Too bad Stockton’s officials seem unwilling to learn them:

    Pension contributions for public-safety workers now amount to 41 percent of payroll. That would put the total cost of salary, health benefits, and pensions at about $120,000 annually for a fifth-year officer…The long saga of Stockton’s decline dramatizes the inefficiency and illogic of union-dominated, monopolistic, government-labor markets.

  • But letting cities escape their crushing public sector union pension burdens doesn’t sit well with California’s looter class. Solution: propose eliminating Chapter 9 bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • According to the September labor report, California did manage to add 313,900 jobs between August 2013 and August 2014. But Texas added 395,200. (Hat tip: WILLisms Twitter feed.)
  • California legislature decides that students don’t need any of that stinking due process.
  • Hey, remember those “temporary” tax hikes Jerry Brown got voters to approve? Guess what?
  • California’s roads are among the worst in the country.
  • Someone should tell that to the city of Stanton, California, which reached for tax hikes rather than cutting the pay of unionized workers.
  • How San Jose reformed their finances using transparency. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How California browbeat Toyota over closing a money-losing plant.
  • The California-based manufacturing facility of Colorado-based Boulder Electric Vehicle shuts down after receiving a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission.
  • How California’s for-profit Thomas Jefferson Law School got itself into serious financial trouble through excessive dependence on loans (both the student type and the tax-exempt bond type).
  • Americans don’t want their state to secede so much as they want to kick California out of the union. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn of KRTraining.)
  • A look at PSAT participation rates in Texas. (Also via WILLisms.)
  • Californian Trip Hawkins, of EA, Apple and 3DO fame, filed for bankruptcy in 2011. This year, the 9th circuit ruled that a profligate life style (for certain values of “profligate”), does not, in fact, constitute a “willful” attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Mr. Hawkins seemed to be living well, but not necessarily living large
  • California owner of Akron, Ohio mall abandoned since 2008 declares bankruptcy. And since it’s the Halloween season, and abandoned malls are wonderfully creepy places, here’s a pic:

  • A Quick Look At Texas Migration Patterns

    Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

    Will Franklin of WILLisms put up an interesting link on his Twitter feed: A PDF of Texas relocation data from the Texas Association of Realtors.

    There’s lots of interesting information to be gleaned:

    The 2014 Texas Relocation Report shows that Texas continues to be a national leader in relocation activity and a sought- after location for households moving out of state.

    According to the report, Texas gained more out-of-state residents than any other state in 2013, with 584,034 people moving to Texas from out of state. A majority of these residents originated from California (66,318), followed by Florida (32,619), Oklahoma (29,169), Louisiana (29,042), and Illinois (28,900).

    Texas ranked third in the nation for number of residents moving out of state in 2013 (409,977), coming in behind California (581,689) and Florida (423,995) and topping New York (401,440), and Illinois (304,674). Like with incoming residents, a majority of the residents who moved out of state moved to California (32,290), followed by Oklahoma (27,391), Florida (24,226), Colorado (23,490), and Louisiana (21,747).

    Overall, Texas had a net gain of out-of-state residents in 2013, with 138,057 more people moving into Texas than Texas residents moving out of state in 2013.

    So roughly twice as many people moved from California to Texas as vice versa.

    Other nuggets from the report:

  • Both Harris and Dallas counties had net negative outflows, though their surrounding counties more than made up for it in population growth.
  • Williamson county had the third largest net population inflow, with Hays fourth, behind Denton and Brazos counties, but well ahead of Travis. Indeed, Williamson’s population growth was three times that of Travis.
  • Despite that, Travis got more out-of-state migration inflow than Williamson, which I take to mean that Travis got more Californians and Williamson got more Texans fleeing The People’s Republic of Austin.
  • If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the report, it actually says most of Williamson’s in-state inflow came from Travis, but numbers of people moving from Williamson to Travis are so low they’re not even in the the top five. Indeed, more people moved to Walker County (home to Huntsville) than to Travis.
  • What does this mean politically? As Ace of Spades noted in their ginormous .PNG, conservative areas of the state are gaining population, while liberal strongholds are losing ground. The two largest liberal counties (Bexar and Travis) to gain population were outpaced by population growth in conservative Denton County alone.

    Conclusion: Despite Democrats talking up demographic shifts, don’t expect Texas to turn blue anytime soon…

    Texas vs. California: Hispanic Edition

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    I don’t know how I missed this Mike Gonzalez editorial in the Dallas Morning News from early September, but it’s well worth your attention. It goes into some detail on how Texas Hispanics are radically outperforming California Hispanics.

    The relative advantage that Hispanic Texans have in key cultural indicators is strongly related to the state’s dynamic economic growth and small government. But because Texas’ smaller government has allowed civil society to grow organically, there is a strong cultural background that must be considered.

    In fact, when factoring in both economic and cultural factors, one can say that California and Texas stand for two completely different faces of the Hispanic experience in America or, more to the point, the Mexican-American experience. The question is whether the two states will continue to lead two different Mexican-American subcultures in the future, or whether one approach will come to be the dominant one nationwide.

    Let’s first look at the statistics, starting with one of the most important ones: unemployment. In 2013, Texas’ Hispanic population boasted an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. That was more than 2 percentage points lower than the national Hispanic average (9.1 percent). More important, it was better than the overall national average of 7.4 percent and only six-tenths of a percent higher than Texas’ overall rate (6.3 percent).

    Meanwhile, California’s Hispanics lagged across the aboard. Their unemployment rate of 10.2 percent underperformed all the national averages and was 1.3 percentage points higher than California’s overall unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.

    One thing that may account for the lower Hispanic unemployment in Texas is that Hispanics in the Lone Star State are much more entrepreneurial than those in the Golden State. Texas’ rate of Hispanic-owned businesses as a percentage of the Hispanic population is 57 percent, whereas California’s is 45 percent.

    Texas Hispanics also do better when it comes to social statistics than do their California counterparts:

    Hispanics in Texas are 10 percent more likely to be married than those in California (47 percent to 43 percent), and close to 20 percent less likely never to have been married (36.9 percent to 43.5 percent), one-third more likely to have served in the military (4.1 percent to 2.8 percent), and one-third as likely to have received Supplemental Security Income public assistance (2.4 percent to 6.2 percent).

    One of the most eye-popping statistics I have come across is that Hispanics in Texas are much more likely to live in an owner-occupied home than those in California (56.8 percent to 42.9 percent).

    Education? Same thing:

    The educational gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanic white students is much smaller in Texas than in California, where it is statistically significantly higher than it is in the rest of the nation.

    The fourth-grade mathematics gap for Texas was 20 points, below the national average; in California it was 28 points. For the eighth grade, the Texas gap was 24, compared with California’s 33. In reading comprehension, the fourth-grade Texas gap was 22 and California’s was 31, and for eighth-graders, Texas’s gap was 22 and California’s was 28.

    The difference in welfare recipients between Texas and California is dramatic:

    With 12 percent of the total U.S. population, California has 34 percent of the welfare caseload, for an overrepresentation of 238 percent. Or, to put it another way, though only 1 of 8 Americans lives in California, 1 in 3 welfare recipients lives in California.

    California’s 34 percent is not just the highest; the state is the only one in double digits. New York, which has the second-largest percentage of active welfare cases in the country, has a comparatively miserly 7 percent of the nation’s caseload.
    By contrast, Texas, with 8 percent of the U.S. population, has only 3 percent of the U.S. welfare caseload, for an underrepresentation rate of 35 percent.

    Read the whole thing.

    Gun and Crime Roundup for September 23, 2014

    Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

    Been a while since I did a roundup on gun news and examples of criminal stupidity, so here it is:

  • Study shows that banning “assault weapons” has no effect on crime.
  • The Missouri House and Senate override the veto of Democratic governor Jay Nixon for expanded concealed carry.
  • California is evidently cooking up a whole new batch of unconstitutional gun laws. (A repeat from the latest Texas vs. California update, but it certainly fits here as well…)
  • The New Jersey Star-Ledger comes out for mandatory gun confiscation. Perhaps New Jersey gun owners should come up with a boycott of all Star-Ledger advertisers until the editorial board is replaced…. (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
  • A look at the crappy, unverified statistics used by the gun grabbers in Nevada. “The source links given by Nevadans for Background Checks do not lead to any independent research on gun background checks, but lead solely back to statements by a gun-control advocacy group that are unsupported and ignore conflicting evidence.” (Hat tip: Alphecca.)
  • One police officer’s advice on how police can rewin the public’s trust: End the militarization, wear cameras, and end the drug war (or at least the war on marijuana). (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Dear Pennsylvania State Police: Please note that there is no void when searching for a cop killer clause in the Bill of Rights.
  • The Brady Bunch is suing an ammo manufacturer for the crazy Colorado movie shooter? Really? “It does sound like a civil action that is a sure loser, brought in hopes of gaining publicity. That of course runs a big risk of getting hit with sanctions.” (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned)
  • Homeowner’s rights against criminals: “It is called confinement. In the situation where someone has illegally come inside a person’s home or workplace, that person can hold the intruder by force until police get there.”
  • Broken Windows: How a tiny bit of criminality (things stolen from open garages) has escalated to home invasion in an Austin neighborhood. Close your garage doors and lock your doors and windows at night, people…
  • Break into a home, get shot. That’s the Houston way.
  • Speaking of Houston, gun sales there are off 18%.
  • Four Chicago gangbangers decide to execute a 9-year old boy. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • Speaking of murderers of 9-year olds, Texas executed Lisa Coleman on September 17.
  • Pro-tip: If you don’t want to be arrested, try not to smuggle “38 pounds of marijuana, two disassembled .40 caliber semi-automatic weapons and 350 pounds of ammunition” onto a plane at JFK airport.
  • Pro Tip: Don’t try to hold up a man with the gun you’re buying from him off Craigslist. Especially since it’s unloaded. (Hat tip: Sipsy Street.)
  • If you’re going to get drunk and go joyriding, try not to crash in the home of the medieval weapons enthusiast, which will help minimize your chances of being stabbed with a spear. (Hat tip: Sipsy Street.)
  • Texas vs. California Update for September 17, 2014

    Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • The Texas economy continues to hum along:

    During the second quarter, Texas employers added 148,200 net nonfarm jobs—an average of 49,400 per month. This amounts to an 18 percent share of all jobs created nationwide over this period in a state with only 8 percent of the country’s population and about 10 percent of total economic output. Over the last year, the addition of 382,200 net jobs in Texas was more new jobs than any other state. These employment gains increased the annual job growth rate to 3.4 percent, which is higher than those of the national average and other highly populated states.

  • The city of Los Angeles is at an impasse over police raises: the police union (naturally) wants raises, while the city says they can’t afford them. So what happens next? The issue goes before the Employee Relations Board, which just happens to be packed with union-approved appointees. In one-party Democratic cities and states, it’s always government together with unions against taxpayers. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The ugly reality is that so long as the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS are controlled by public employee union loyalists, pension reforms enacted by state lawmakers and signed by governors will never live up to their billing.”
  • Jerry Brown lies about pension spiking.
  • Why San Antonio’s public-private partnerships are better at dealing with drought than Los Angeles.
  • A FAQ on Costa Mesa’s pension situation. Including answers to such questions as “How could the $228 million in unfunded pension liabilities affect the city budget?”
  • Watsonville, California passes a sales tax hike solely to pay for additional union pension payments.
  • A judge rules that bankrupt San Bernardino can cut firefighter pension benefits in order to exit bankruptcy.
  • A union-sponsored bill tries to increase liabilities for companies that hire contractors.
  • California is evidently cooking up a whole new batch of unconstitutional gun laws.
  • A look at phony baloney jobs numbers for California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Firefly Space Systems is relocating from California to Burnet County, Texas. “King said Firefly was attracted to Texas partly because of its business and regulatory climate.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out California offers a lousy climate for business. Or to put it another way: My days of underestimating California’s ability to improve its business climate are certainly coming to a middle…
  • Drone-maker Ashima is relocating to Reno, Nevada from California.
  • If you hadn’t heard, Tesla is building its battery factory in Nevada, not California.
  • An actual good law out of California: A law that prevents companies from suing customers for negative reviews.
  • North Carolina offered twice as much incentive money to Toyota but still lost out to Texas for relocating their HQ.
  • Your dedicated BART employee in action:

  • Setback to FBI Case Against Leleand Yee?

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

    This story came out while I was away in London, but evidently Leland Yee’s defense attorney is claiming that the FBI’s lead informat is unreliable because he has some baggage of his own:

    the attorney for former San Francisco school board President Keith Jackson, one of 29 defendants caught up in the case, said the FBI had removed an unnamed undercover agent from the probe and reprimanded him because of his own financial misconduct.

    A source familiar with the government’s case identified the agent as the man who went by the last name King when he showed up in the Bay Area in fall 2011 saying he was looking to invest in Bay Area commercial real estate projects.

    The agent paid $37,000 in consulting fees to Jackson, who was raising money for Yee’s mayoral campaign, to help him pursue the real estate opportunities, according to Thursday’s filing in federal court by Jackson attorney James Brosnahan.

    As we earlier reported, King Funding Group was the Atlanta employer listed by an undercover FBI agent who, supposedly with Jackson’s help, allegedly laundered $500 checks to Yee’s campaign in October 2011.

    “King” disappeared from the scene in mid-2012, telling targets in the case that his father had died and he was working on business interests in Panama, Brosnahan’s filing said.

    The filing by Brosnahan, however, suggests that was about the time the agent’s “financial misconduct” was landing him in trouble with the FBI.

    This may or may not be true, and may or may not hinder the FBI’s case against Yee, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and their other co-defenders. But it seemed at least worth mentioning…

    In other Yee indictment news, both defense attorneys and prosecutors agree that the massive case will be split up for separate trails, but there’s no detail yet on when and how. This is not an unusual move for a case with 29 separate defendents…

    Texas vs. California Update for August 25, 2014

    Monday, August 25th, 2014

    Another look at how Texas stacks up to the no-longer-so-Golden state:

  • Problem: Those lousy taxpayers get pension reform passed. Solution: CalPERS uses “99 categories of ‘special pay’” to go on a pension spiking orgy.
  • What are some of those 99 categories? “Clerks who type well. Cops who shoot straight. Librarians who are “assigned to provide direction or resources to library patrons.” I’m too scared to check if “Teachers who don’t rape their students” is an actual category or not…
  • Governor Jerry Brown is sending mixed signals on the pension spiking issue.
  • Who actually owns the CalPERS gap between actual funding and what they’ll need to pay out? “CalPERS can be risky (and it has been) with no consequences. The taxpayers have all the responsibility, but none of the control.”
  • So how much payroll and pension did Stockton trim in their bankruptcy? Zero.
  • There is no California comeback. “Personal income-tax revenues fell by 11 percent in the first quarter of this year and more than 6 percent through June.”
  • California cities are among the slowest to recover from the recession.
  • The only way California can get pensions under control is through a constitutional amendment.
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is asking for more money. They’re also asking Angelinos to overlook their high salaries and lack of accountability.

    City leaders are battling with DWP’s union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, to release financial records of a nonprofit trust, run jointly by labor- and management-appointed trustees, that has run through $40 million in ratepayer money. Brian D’Arcy, IBEW Local 18’s business manager, has refused to turn over the trust’s financial records, and DWP executives have said they don’t know how the money was spent.

  • California voters get to weigh in on a 7.5 billion water bill in November, which seems to have considerably less pork than a previously delayed $11 billion bill.
  • So how does bankrupt San Bernardino plan to climb into the black? Cutting back on outrageous pensions? Ha, you must be high! “Help us, weed, you’re our only hope!”
  • I know this is a shock, but California’s High Speed Rail Authority is behind schedule on buying land for it’s doomed boondoggle.
  • Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz opposes ride share programs like Uber and Lyft. Strangely enough, he’s also received $11,000 in campaign contributions from the taxi industry. Quid pro, meet quo.
  • YTexas helps companies relocating to Texas connect with local businesses.
  • Texas vs. California Roundup for July 30, 2014

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

    Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • How Los Angeles is killing itself. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn.)
  • Texas places five cities on list of top 10 growing cities: Austin, Dallas, McAllen, Houston and San Antonio.

  • California school officials are still grossly overpaid. Including 31 janitors who make more than $100,000 each. (Hat tip (for this and a few more): Pension Tsunami.)
  • And many of these munificently compensated employees are double-dipping: “More than 1,000 retired instructors who had already begun receiving their state-funded pension continued to work and receive a salary from districts in 2013.”
  • Only in California could a bill that requires 32 years to catch up and fund parts of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s current $74 billion in unfunded liability be hailed as a major reform.”
  • Essential school services in California are about to be cut to pay for doubled pension payments.
  • San Francisco landlords are suing the city over a law that requires them to pay as much as two years rent for evicted tenants. Of course, many landlords were evicting people because insane rent control laws make it almost impossible to sell a building that actually has tenants…
  • How the Texas model supports job creation.
  • Evidently male students simply aren’t welcome in California colleges. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Actual headline: “LA Councilman Convicted Of Voter Fraud Will Continue To Collect $116K Annual Pension.”
  • What a conservative Texas budget should look like.
  • California retail apparel chain Love Culture files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Evidently summer bankruptcies for retail stories are very unusual, since this is the time they start stocking up for the holiday season.
  • Another California for-profit university chain shuts down.
  • Oakland Raiders to move to San Antonio?
  • Are inherited IRA’s exempt from bankruptcy hearings in California? It depends on which precedent the judge chooses to follow.
  • Not news: Houston ISD holds job fairs looking for teachers. News: In North Carolina.