Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

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.
  • Breaking: John Wiley Price Arrested

    Saturday, July 26th, 2014

    Dallas County Commissioner and longtime influential Dallas black politician John Wiley Price has been arrested:

    Price was under arrest, charged with eleven counts of bribery, mail fraud, and tax fraud.

    His life, and his image, had permanently changed.

    “All told, Commissioner Price took in more than $1.1 million that he did not report to the proper authorities,” said Sarah Saldana, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

    “Mr. Price allegedly defrauded the citizens of Dallas County, the state of Texas, and the federal government,” said Diego Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Dallas.

    Kathy Nealy, a Dallas political consultant and long-time associate of Price, was prominent in the indictment. The charges allege she paid Price to sway votes before the Dallas County Commissioners.

    “At the same time, Ms. Nealy was paying bribes to Commissioner Price, she actively evaded nearly $600,000 in income tax, which she admittedly owes,” Saldana said.

    Between them, Price and Nealy face 16 counts of bribery, mail and tax fraud.

    The FBI has been investigating Price for more than three years.

    Texas vs. California Update for July 16, 2014

    Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

    Some other stuff bubbling up, so here’s a Texas vs. California update to tide you over for a while:

  • Former Calpers CEO Pleads Guilty to Corruption Conspiracy.
  • As part of his plea, Fred Buenrostro also agreed to testify to testify against his friend and former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos. Sing, canary, sing!
  • How CalPERs corrupts California politics.
  • Jobs are leaving California and coming to Texas.
  • Texas’ low-tax, low-regulation approach favors job creation.
  • How Texas compares to both California and New York.
  • Why California’s high speed rail boondoggle is still doomed.
  • Stockton’s bankruptcy judge may declare that CalPERS is just another creditor.
  • Bell City Councilman sentenced.
  • Texas vs. California Update for July 3, 2014

    Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

    Enjoy Independence Day tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby wasn’t the only important Supreme Court case last year. The Harris vs. Quinn decision, invalidating mandatory union fees for home health care workers, could have a huge impact on SEIU in California. “where 400,000 state-paid in-home care workers are represented by the SEIU.”
  • Former CalPERS CEO to plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges.
  • At least 1,500 Bay Area employees have racked up $50,000 in yearly overtime. “A Monterey County jail guard who worked enough overtime to nearly triple his annual base pay to $264,000 last year.”
  • Wonder why San Bernardino is bankrupt?

    “San Bernardino, California, said that to exit bankruptcy it must terminate a union contract that pays an average annual salary of $190,000 to each of its top 40 firefighters,” according to an article in Bloomberg. That’s just salary. Firefighters receive the generous “3 percent at 50″ retirement package that allows them to retire with 90 percent of their final years’ pay at age 50. And there are lots of pension-spiking gimmicks and other benefits on top of that.

    “These cities are run for the benefit of those who work there. Public services are a side matter at best.”

  • Murrieta, California Protesters greet Obama Administration shipment of illegal aliens with protests, blocking them from being dumped in their community.
  • Judge strikes down Pacific Grove pension initiative.
  • Some bay-area California cities want to hike they local minimum wage. Hey, that won’t hurt businesses here in Texas, so knock yourselves out…
  • More on Toyota’s relocation to Texas, along with some tidbits on the Texas economy:

    Toyota’s move to Texas is a high-profile relocation, but Texas has been used to adding — and filling — new jobs at a superlative pace. The state added more than 1.9 million new jobs over the period from December 1999 to April 2014, more than 35 percent of the entire nation’s total for that 15-year period, noted Michael Cox, an economics professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And Texas had an unemployment rate of just 5.1 percent in May, 16th-lowest in the United States.

    Meanwhile, Cox noted, Texas’s median wages are 28th-highest in the nation; and they rank 8th-highest after adjusting for taxes and prices. Texas schools rank 3rd, he said, after adjusting for variations in student demographics, a raw statistic which places Texas 28th in the nation.

    “We’re able to accomplish all this and more because the business environment in our state is largely competitive, and free markets solve problems,” Cox told me. “Texas is a meritocracy, where incentives still work to produce good results.”

  • “Six current and former members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were found guilty Tuesday of obstruction of justice.
  • Grand Jury:”Hey, you might want to consider a pension reform task force.” City of Napa: “Get stuffed.”
  • Santa Ana-based Corithhian Colleges could be headed for bankruptcy.
  • Texas is now home to more Fortune 1000 Companies than any other state.
  • Liberals are still upset that Texas’ red state model is kicking the ass of California’s blue state model. Enter the Texas Tribune, which admits that:

    Drive almost anywhere in the vast Lone Star State and you will see evidence of the “Texas miracle” economy that policymakers like Gov. Rick Perry can’t quit talking about….

    This hot economy, politicians say, is the direct result of their zealous opposition to over-regulation, greedy trial lawyers and profligate government spending. Perry now regularly recruits companies from other states, telling them the grass is greener here. And his likely successor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has made keeping it that way his campaign mantra.

    It’s hard to argue with the job creation numbers they tout. Since 2003, a third of the net new jobs created in the United States were in Texas. And there are real people in those jobs, people with families to feed.

    But the piece also notes that Texas has led the nation in worker fatalities for seven of the last ten years. I’m not going to get into the details of worker compensation that make up the bulk of the piece, and it is quite possible there is some room for improvement in worker safety. But I do want to note that, as the second largest state in the union, and the one with the biggest oil and gas industry, it’s not terribly surprising that Texas would have the largest number of fatalities, since oil and gas has a fairly high fatality rate (though not injury rate) compared to other industries (see page 14 here).

  • LinkSwarm for June 18, 2014

    Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

    There’s so much news going on in the world that it’s hard to sit down and focus on one story to get a single blog post out of it when there’s another huge story coming down the pike. Iraq, Ukraine, the VA Scandal, the dog eating Lois Lerner’s emails (“Barack Obama has brought us Jimmy Carter’s economy and Richard Nixon’s excuses”); too damn much going on to focus on one thing. So here’s a LinkSwarm instead:

  • Barack Obama is not interested in war, but war is interested in Obama.
  • Obama golfs while the world burns. “Oh Lord, I was born a golfing man!/I get in a round whenever I can…”
  • Obama Administration admits that ObamaCare will cost people more for health care, even with the subsidies.
  • Russia cuts off natural gas supplies to Ukraine.
  • Russian tanks appear in eastern Ukraine.
  • Russia’s top anti-corruption cop decides to take up flying.
  • One reason the IRS went after the Tea Party: Chuck Schumer asked them to.
  • “The Obama administration has reached levels of hitherto unknown incompetence.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • A majority of Americans do not believe that Obama is trustworthy. You don’t say.
  • Another day, another 48 people dead at the hands of Jihadists in Kenya. There are days when 48 people killed at a hotel would top the news…
  • The Obama Administration also released 12 Jihadists in Afghanistan.
  • Won’t someone please think about poor, impoverished Hillary Clinton?
  • The Obama Administration’s intentionally lax border control enforcement is letting letting Mexican gang members waltz into the country.
  • “Thousands of young, poor would-be immigrants—90,000 this year alone—have swarmed across the border, the logical fruition of the entire cynical approach of the Obama administration toward illegal immigration.”
  • Bill Gates wants to propagandize you into accepting illegal alien amnesty. Actually, what Gates and his high tech baron compatriots really want is more H1-B visas, but since that doesn’t help the Democratic Party as much as illegal alien amnesty, it gets rolled into the giant “comprehensive immigration reform” ball.
  • Should Obama have erased the IRS emails Nixon have erased the tapes?
  • Turning point in the Brat campaign: crashing a staged event to prove Cantor was lying about amnesty.
  • “Prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders” in Venezuela.
  • Argentina runs out of rope.
  • European cab drivers protest Uber by halting traffic. Result? Uber sees 850% increase in signups.
  • I’m going to boil this down to the essentials: Never open an account with a Georgia bank.
  • But maybe they need to seize your money to pay for all that food stamp fraud.
  • Does anyone really think West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant is any more “pro-coal” or “pro-gun” than Bart Stupak was “pro-life”?
  • Another year, another lefty writer caught plagiarizing the work of others. And not just any lefty writer, but a Pulitzer Prize winner to boot…
  • Chelsea Clinton got paid $600,000 by MSNBC. That worked out to $26,724 for each minute she was on the air. In other news, your betters in the overclass really don’t care what you think of the financial compensation one member of the class gives to another…
  • Millions in “urban redevelopment” money in Democratic-controlled Philadelphia ends up in certain people’s pockets with almost nothing to show for it. Try to contain your shock. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • South Carolina university professors: “How dare you make us teach the Constitution?”
  • Violence and subway strike in advance of Brazil’s World Cup.
  • New guidelines for ignoring due process in accusations of college campus sexual assault = Lawsuitapalooza!
  • Erick Erickson calls out Ted Cruz for not endorsing more conservatives.
  • Dwight does some gun geeking for you Smith & Wesson fans.
  • Dear anyone who’s ever self-published their own book: you’re a fascist Ayn Rand supporter, using your evil individualism to bypass the holy gatekeepers of traditional publishing.
  • And if you think that’s the stupidest left-wing essay you’ll read today, think again.
  • There was enough voter fraud in a Weslaco City Commissioner Race for the judge to order a new election. “Some of the disallowed ballots were cast by voters claiming Rivera’s childhood home as their address.” Note: Weslaco is down in the valley right next to Donna, Texas, which had its own voting scandal.
  • Doggies! (Patriotic doggies, no less.) (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “This harlot-sized ensemble will make you the envy of your trampish posse on your fraudulent wedding day.”
  • Texas vs. California Update for April 15, 2014

    Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

    Today sucks if you still have to finish your taxes. It sucks more in California than Texas, since you have to pay state income taxes as well. That includes a marginal tax rate of 9.3% for all those millionaires making more than $49,774 a year. As opposed to Texas’ marginal rate of 0.0% for all…

  • Rich Californians don’t seem to mind that their green fantasies are screwing the poor.
  • California Democrats are trying to write racial quotas into the state Constitution. Oddly enough, Asian Americans are actually objecting to their children getting screwed out of college admissions. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “A combination of unfriendly tax policies, military budget cuts and cutthroat competition is wreaking havoc on California’s storied aerospace industry, a new study cautions.” ​​More here, which notes that:

    Texas and Washington offer low corporate income tax and no personal income tax, while providing a stable business climate and skilled work force. Many high-profile corporations have relocated their operations to new states. Recent examples include Northrop Grumman, which moved its headquarters to Northern Virginia; Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, which moved its headquarters to McKinney, Texas; and Boeing, which moved two aircraft modernization programs, for the C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and the B-1 bomber, from Long Beach to Oklahoma City.

  • CalPERS latest report proves conclusively that the fund spontaneously generates unicorns, rainbows and jobs. The Wall Street Journal examines the claims, wipes the vaguely yellow liquid off their legs and concludes “This political report offers one more reason why taxpayers and public workers shouldn’t trust Calpers with their money and would be better served by defined-contribution retirement plans that employees own and control.”
  • The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced it faces $73.7 billion in long-term liabilities. “CalSTRS has a $71 billion unfunded pension liability.”
  • Both CalPERS and CalSTARS are desperately in need of reform.

    The state teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, needs an extra $4.5 billion each year for 30 years to pay off its unfunded liabilities. CalPERS’ local government members will see costs increase by 50 percent during the next six years. And the state needs to contribute $1 billion more per year for retiree health care benefits.

    These obligations for benefits already earned must be paid, and over the next decade, they will continue to drain funding from essential services such as education, public safety, transportation and health care.

    Yet, powerful interests remain all too eager to kick the can down the road and push our pension problems onto future generations.

  • Why California has an affordable housing crisis.
  • Is there a way out of Taxifornia? As such a solution would require liberals to stop acting like liberals, the answer is: probably not.
  • Bell’s corrupt officials agree to plea bargain deal. Bonus: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo gets 33 months on federal tax evasion charges. (Hat tip: Dwight, who has been all over the Bell story.)
  • At least 60 companies have relocated from California to Texas. But Elk Grove, California is striking back, trying to lure Texas companies to California. “The slogan: ‘Don’t wait for high taxes and stifling regulation to come to you, end the suspense and move to California’ just doesn’t seem too appealing to me.”
  • Continuing troubles with California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Sports equipment maker MonkeySports is relocating from Corona, California to Allen, Texas, adding up to some 225 Texas jobs over two years.
  • A closer look at relocations to the Austin area.
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 24, 2014

    Monday, March 24th, 2014

    In California, I would say that March Madness is ignoring the looming pension crisis, except that madness extends to every other month as well…

  • Where is income inequality worst in the U.S.? Well, for one thing, in California:

    Perhaps no place is inequality more evident than in the rural reaches of California, the nation’s richest agricultural state. The Golden State is now home to 111 billionaires, by far the most of any state; California billionaires personally hold assets worth $485 billion, more than the entire GDP of all but 24 countries in the world. Yet the state also suffers the highest poverty rate in the country (adjusted for housing costs), above 23%, and a leviathan welfare state. As of 2012, with roughly 12% of the population, California accounted for roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

    With the farm economy increasingly mechanized and industrial growth stifled largely by regulation, many rural Californians particularly Latinos, are downwardly mobile, and doing worse than their parents; native-born Latinos actually have shorter lifespans than their parents, according to a 2011 report. Although unemployment remains high in many of the state’s largest urban counties, the highest unemployment is concentrated in the rural counties of the interior. Fresno was found in one study to have the least well-off Congressional district.

    The vast expanse of economic decline in the midst of unprecedented, but very narrow urban luxury has been characterized as “liberal apartheid.” The well-heeled, largely white and Asian coastal denizens live in an economically inaccessible bubble insulated from the largely poor, working-class, heavily Latino communities in the eastern interior of the state.

  • The Myth of the California Renaissance:

    California also has the nation’s highest poverty rate and the most food stamp recipients, and policymakers have done little to address profligate spending, unfunded pensions, and ever-growing retiree health-care obligations.”

    Inland California, from Imperial in the south to Modoc in the north, remains one of the poorest regions in the nation. Though the state unemployment rate fell in February to 8.1 percent, inland unemployment ranges from 9.5 percent in Riverside to 25.9 percent in Colusa. Of the 20 counties in the United States with the largest unemployment rates, 11 are in California.

  • California only has the second highest taxes in the nation! Thank God for New York!
  • Unfavorable ballot language stymies a California pension reform effort
  • …but pension reform advocates are regrouping to make another push in 2016.
  • Indeed, pension reform will be the biggest issue for southern California voters this fall.
  • More on how government at the state and national level is destroying California agriculture in the name of protecting the Delta Smelt.
  • There’s speculation that California Governor Jerry Brown actually wants to see the illegal, underfunded, and ill-fated “bullet train to nowhere” die, he just doesn’t want to get the blame for killing it.
  • How Texas job growth has outpaced both the nation and California.
  • Occidental Petroleum is moving its headquarters to Houston and spinning off its California operations as a separate company.
  • Rick Perry raids again.
  • Telecom company Channell Commercial is relocating from Temecula, California to Rockwell, Texas. “Blaming California for an oppressive business climate for manufacturing growth, Channell said the costs to do business here have made expansion in this state no longer feasible.”
  • And I missed this story from last year on Chevron building a 50 story office building in Houston. That could mean the days of their California headquarters are numbered…
  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Ukrainian Dictators

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

    First word came that Yanukovich had left Ukraine for various rumored destinations from Russia to Dubai. Then came word that Yanukovich was denied exit from the country.

    But the delight of the day was ordinary Ukrainians touring the abandoned Presidential vacation palace, which such amenities as:

  • A classic car collection
  • A private zoo
  • A gold toilet
  • An actual galleon (helpfully named GALLEON; this pretty much confirms what we suspected of the vast range of Mr. Yanukovich’s imagination…) floating on an artificial lake.
  • Some Tweets on the theme:

    Also, Russia has a sad.

    Texas vs. California Update for February 11, 2014

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    Meant to put this up at lunch, but Stuff. And Things.

  • How California overprotects public employee union contracts. If the paper from Volokh the Younger is too heavy-sledding for non-lawyers, here’s a nice summary.
  • CalPERS is demographically doomed.
  • The people of San Bernardino vote all the bums out. “After Tuesday night, six of seven council members are now on record as saying they want to explore reducing San Bernardino’s pensions, along with [Carey] Davis, the new mayor, and a new city attorney, Gary Saenz.”
  • Another California city, Placentia, drifts toward bakruptcy. “Placentia has been papering over a structural $1.5 million deficit in its $30 million budget for at least five years, plugging the hole with lucky money (more soberly called ‘one-time revenues’).”
  • Stockton: Hey, we’re in bankruptcy! I guess that means we can just kill our shelter animals willy nilly. Federal judge: Not so fast.
  • Los Angeles firefighter compensation averages $218,000 an employee. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.).
  • Are even California’s Democratic legislators waking up to the problem?
  • California university workers plan a strike. See, no matter how broke you are, unions still want wage hikes…
  • Unions want to ensure that Bob Filner’s closest ally is elected Mayor of San Diego to keep their gravy train coming…
  • Union membership in California is down to 16.4% of the workforce.
  • Jerry Brown: Hey, Supreme Court, reverse that high speed rail decision! High Speed Rail Contractor: Thanks, Jer! Here’s $27,000.
  • Websense is relocating from San Diego to Austin. Dropbox is also moving additional jobs to Austin.
  • Charles Schuab is relocating jobs from San Francisco to Texas.
  • California industrial brush company relocates to Utah.
  • The Texas labor force keeps growing.
  • LinkSwarm for February 10, 2014

    Monday, February 10th, 2014

    These LinkSwarms tend to get pushed back to days when there’s not a big story jumping up and requiring my attention. It seems like the Olympics have created a bit of a news lull

  • Democratic congressmen abandoning ObamaCare in droves.
  • Obama’s fake recovery sucks in comparison to Reagan’s real recovery. Why? ObamaCare.
  • People who overestimate their income, thus getting a subsidy rather than thrown into Medicaid, might be in for a nasty surprise come tax time.
  • Today’s Democratic representative retiring after getting caught with his hand in the till comes to you from Rep. Ron Andrews of New Jersey.
  • Today’s example of a Democratic member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns being convicted of a felony (in this case bribery) also comes to you from New Jersey, in the form of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack. But as you observe all this Democratic malfeasance in New Jersey, never lose sight of the truly important thing: Chris Christie might have closed a bridge!
  • Here’s a fascinating piece from Ace of Spades HQ on class identification among the gentry left.
  • And this piece on “Love in the Time of Obama” is well worth reading on its own.
  • Massachusetts state Democrat Rep. Carlos Henriquez’s schedule: 1. Smack my bitch up, 2. Mark my bills up. Yes, assaulting a woman is evidently no reason to keep him from working as a legislator…
  • More black Chicago residents question what the Democratic Party has done for the black community.

    Heartening, but I can’t help but notice that some of the same people appear in this video as the one from that town hall meeting in December. Makes it hard to gauge just how widespread black America’s dissatisfaction with Obama is…

  • The Turncoat Diaries: “The conversions of Charlie Crist, from Republican to independent to Democrat, make up one of the least inspiring tales in modern politics. To take it seriously is to admit you’re the sort of person who takes Scientology stress tests and supplies credit card info to anyone who claims to need help from Nigeria.”
  • People move from high tax, high regulation states bleeding jobs to low-tax, low-regulation states gaining jobs. Gee, who knew?
  • How Russia is trying to keep control of Ukraine.
  • NBC calls the end of the Soviet Union “bittersweet”. Much like Hitler’s suicide…

  • Tweets from Sochi: Missing floors, open manholes, yellow tap water, and “cakes in ass.”
  • More: “Three of the nine mountain hotels have not been completed.”
  • Title company executive dead in nailgun “suicide.” Patrick Bateman wanted for questioning.
  • Inside the Red Light Camera Bribe Machine. Redflex has done business with several cities, including “Austin, El Paso, Plano, Corpus Christi, Grand Prairie, North Richland Hills, Hurst, Port Lavaca, League City, Carrollton, Killeen, Mesquite, and Longview.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Even Howard YEAGGGGHHH Dean thinks the Iran deal sucks.
  • When principled lefty Alan Derschowitz says the Dinesh D’Souza case is “selective prosecution,” perhaps we should listen.
  • New York City schools Harrison Bergeron a gifted students course because of their unacceptable albedo index. (Hat tip: Indapundit.)
  • Michael Totten visits some of the least-crappy parts of Cuba.
  • When I think “high tech giants,” certainly the first name that comes to mind is Chelsea Clinton. Nepotism much, SXSW? (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty in NRO.
  • Slashdot users in open revolt over a redesign. Take one look at the Beta site and you know why: It is indeed a big, festering mound of suck.
  • Adobe to release new DRM scheme that’s annoying, useless, and screws older customers.
  • Ten scenes from Blazing Saddles too politically incorrect to be made today.
  • Did Bill Clinton add Elizabeth Hurley to his list of in-White House conquests?
  • Round Rock ISD committee chairman tries to bypass laws to make changes to sex ed.
  • On tour with the Sex Pistols in Texas.