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Archive for the 'Crazifornia' Category

April 2nd 2010

Crazifornia Update

Hello … is anybody out there?

I last posted in July to say C-SM was going on hiatus so I could work on my book, Crazifornia, about how the liberal-environmentalist-public employee troika has tarnished – perhaps permanently – the Golden State.  That turned out to be a bottomless subject, and I’m still plowing away on it.

For regular updates and outrageous news of California, follow Crazifornia on Twitter.

Here’s an update on the book’s status:  In a nutshell, I’m 50 to 60 percent done and I have a hard-working agent, Frank Breeden of Premiere Authors.  He has represented Mike Huckabee among other notable conservative writers, and their affiliated speakers bureau handles Huckabee, Glenn Beck and Ben Stein, among others.

Frank has been busy placing my book proposal before editors.  We’ve gotten very encouraging words from some, and one is now giving it a good consideration.  We’re just getting started, though – this may well be just the learning cycle, taking from the feedback we get, tweaking the proposal and moving to round two.  Or the one who’s considering it may see its genius.  It’s in God’s hands.

I’ve also been collecting endorsements.  Here are three:

Hugh Hewitt, host of the Hugh Hewitt Show, Town Hall columnist, blogger.

Laer has a terrific ideal in Crazifornia - in fact, when he ran the idea by me last summer, I wished I had come up with it myself.  I talk a lot about California on the Hugh Hewitt Show, even though my audience is national, because what h appens in California does matter deeply to the rest of the country … and because it makes great radio.  My audience loves to hear about what a train wreck the state has become, and is always eager to hear the next great story.

I’ve know Laer for 15 years; he’s a genuinely wonderful guy with a big heart that’s being broken by California’s decline and he’s the right guy to write this book.  He’s one of the few people who has a firm grasp on the complex issues facing the state and the ability to write about it with clarity and humor. I think Crazifornia has the potential to be a very popular book, not just here in California, but with politically engaged people around the country. As soon as it’s published, I’m looking forward to having Laer on the show, because I know his stories will fascinate my readers.

Jon Fleishman, publisher of California’s top conservative news aggregator, California Flash Report and vice chairman of the California Republican Party

Laer Pearce provided me with two sample chapters from his book, Crazifornia, and based on them, I believe his idea of exposing regulatory overkill and legislative inanity in California has the potential to tap into a meme that could assure the book’s popularity.   As the publisher of FlashReport, the leading Conservative news portal on California politics, every day I see stories about new bills and regulations that would make California less competitive, less functional and less free. Bringing this insanity to light has proven to be a successful business model for FlashReport because there is both an un-ending flow of outrageous news from Sacramento, and an insatiable desire from my growing readership to learn more.

People in California are hungry for information they can use to turn the state around – or justify a decision to get the heck out.  And people around the country want to know what’s going on here so they can fight California’s influence when it comes their way.  A book like Crazifornia will be of great interest to these people, as it is to me. I can’t wait to read the rest of it.

Lucy Dunn, CEO, Orange County Business Council, Former Director of Housing and Community Development for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California State Legislature “Woman of the Year” in 1997 and in 2009, and blogger.

In my career in both government and private industry, I have tried to champion freedom and innovation, especially in a time when burdensome government regulations cripple economic growth.  I have worked with Laer on so many issues and know him to be an insightful and creative problem-solver of the most difficult issues. Laer has one of the best strategic minds in his business, but he also has a sharp wit that frequently makes laughter break out in the midst of tense meetings.  He has a special knack for digesting numbingly complex issues and writing about them with clarity, so I know that Crazifornia will be an entertaining and important book.

I’m always looking for new stories about over-regulation and legislative ineptitude in California, so please contact me with idea – and recommendations … or an interested publisher!

That’s all for now.

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July 6th 2009

Crazifornia: Zero Intelligence In Concord Schools

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chool days, school days, good old Golden Rule days. Remember that? Oh, how far we have slid down the slope to craziness here in California, the state where the book pictured here is a perpetual best-seller. Today’s lesson comes from the Conta Costa county town of Concord, where the 9th grade math class was just a bit short of Golden Rule behavior:

The ninth-grade students threw things around the room. Shortly after Christmas, students told the Times, someone exploded Play-Doh in the microwave, resulting in a smoke-filled classroom that teacher Michael Huang refused to air out. In other classes Huang taught, they said, students lit trash can fires and smoked cigarettes or even marijuana. (Source)

So, come May, after Huang failed to get his classroom under control – perhaps because the kids just couldn’t understand his thick Taiwanese accent, who knows? – a fifteen-year-old student, referred to in the news articles as Allison Moore’s daughter, videotaped a raging paper ball fight and a friend anonymously sent it to the assistant principle in a plea for discipline so she might, you know, learn something in school.  Seems resonable enough. Except not here.

A friend of Moore’s anonymously sent the video to Dick Nicoll, interim superintendent of the Mt. Diablo school district. The following week, the school suspended Moore’s daughter for two days after she admitted she had taped the class without permission, a violation of the state Education Code.

Confronted with this particular bit of lunacy, the school did not admit an error and provide a lesson in maturity to its students; oh no, anything but that!

Principal Gary Swanson said he could not discuss the suspension. He disputed Moore’s claims, saying students received “appropriate consequences.” Student Services Director Margot Tobias upheld the suspension, and Moore has appealed to the assistant superintendent.

“She may have felt that her purpose was valid,” Tobias wrote about the taping, “but as a result the privacy rights of all involved were violated.”

Privacy rights?! Does the “privacy rights” of disruptive and undisciplined students now supercede any right of a good student to expect having the opportunity to learn?  Apparently not.

Sadly, this story is hardly one limited to California. Across our nation, students are taught by administrations life lessons they will carry with them for a long time: Avoid blame, cover up, avoid making hard decisions, forget morality.

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June 29th 2009

Crazifornia – Regulators Want To Ban Big TVs

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ere’s a simple proposition:  If you want to watch a big TV that uses more electricity, you simply exert your right to pay a bigger electric bill in return for a bigger picture.  That is unless you live in Crazifornia where know-it-all bureaucrats stand ready to strip Californians of their ability – or right – to watch big-screen TVs.

You know Crazifornia – the state where this book is a bestseller.

The effort by the California Energy Commissars … er, Commission … won the bureaucrats a Golden Trashcan from conservative California news aggregator FlashReport. The award is given sparingly to particularly “onerous” – in FashReport publisher Jon Fleischman’s word; I’d use “fascist” – legislation or regulation.

Last March libertarian OC Register columnist Steve Greenhut wrote about the plan:

In their continuing quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, state regulators have uncovered a new villain in the war on global warming : your big screen TV

Couch potatoes, beware.

The California Energy Commission is considering a proposal that would ban California retailers from selling all but the most energy-efficient televisions. Critics say the news standards could take 25 percent of televisions off the market — most of them 40 inches or larger.

I read it back then, but haven’t heard anything else since, and figured maybe the bureaucrats had been slapped back into place.  Not so.  Here’s Fleischman:

I figured that this proposal, like that California Air Resources Board Report [CARB] that talked about banning black cars, would be rolled up and put into a file cabinet somewhere – a bad idea conceived by some government eco-bureaucrat that would never fly in the real world…

But I was wrong – and the CEC is actually DEAD SERIOUS about punching a huge whole in the California economy, and severely limiting consumer choice in big screen televisions, implementing a ban on many of them starting in 2011, with even more being banned starting in 2013.

The CEC is looking to move forward with proposed language for the ban in the coming weeks – under the guise of “adopting energy efficiency standards for televisions.”

You may have heard sporatic chatter that California is once again leading the nation – this time in unemployment, high taxes and barriers to business.  But don’t bother CARB with such trivialities.  Jobs, schmobs.  And who needs state revenues, even if we are bleeding out to the tune of $23 billion?  The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  has published a study that shows by banning big-screen TVs, the state could lose as much as $50 million a year in tax revenue and lose 4,600 jobs in TV sales, distribution and installation. That’s 4,600 tax-paying jobs that would no longer be contributing to the state’s ailing economy.

The worst of it is the dishonesty CARB uses when talking to us about their plan. The bureaucrats must think we are so dumb.  This is from the CARB Web site’s FAQ:

Q: Is California considering banning plasma, large screen or HD televisions?

A: No, the state is not banning any type of TV. Consumers have the freedom to choose any type and size of television that meets the efficiency standard.

Never mind that TVs that don’t meet the standard would be, you know, banned. It’s no different from Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs proclaiming that there’s freedom in Iran – it’s the same insolent betrayal of truth by the forces in power.

You can walk into any consumer electronics store and buy an Energy Star-rated big-screen TV, with assurance that it is the most energy efficient brand available. Don’t bother the CARB bureaucrats with such niceties; it’s power of the political sort they’re concerned with, much more than power of the energy sort. And Fleischman reports that CARB itself isn’t too hot on Energy Star:

The CEC, of course, derides the EnergyStar program in their FAQ document, emphasizing that, in essence, because it is a voluntary program, EnergyStar doesn’t go far enough.

I did note that the CEC touts as supporters of this program California’s three heavily state-regulating power utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. So I dropped a call into a longtime [FlashReport] friend who is a prominent executive with one of these companies – this person made it clear to me — after confirming that I would leave their name out of it – that the utilities are in a bind. These regulations are being proposed and advocated by their regulators. So they don’t have a choice but to support them. He said it is now commonplace for the utilities to have to publicly feign support for “social engineering programs” because they simply cannot afford to alienate their regulators.

Quick question: Does what I’ve just described to you sound like the workings of a democratic government or a fascist one?

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June 25th 2009

Crazifornia: Imperial Imperviousness

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esidents of other states may think they know how crazy things are in California, but I don’t think the power of human imagination is anywhere great enough to really capture just how insane this state is.  I mean, it’s like that book on the right is a best-seller here.

So I’m starting this periodic feature, Crazifornia, to help out-of-staters get a better understanding … and in-staters to realize that it’s way past time to throw all the #@$%!s out.

Today’s subject: Rainfall.

You’ve heard about our drought, so you’d think we’d love rain but in San Diego a few years back, the Regional Water Quality Control Board – let’s just call it “the San Diego Board” instead of the alternative SDRWQCB – tried to declare rain to be a toxic substance as soon as it hit the ground.  Why? Why because then they could regulate it even more, of course!  They figured it would pick up all sorts of human-caused nastiness as soon as it touched down, and that would allow the Board to force citizens and businesses to treat it before it left their property – or face nasty fines if they failed to.

That bizarre campaign ulitmately failed, but the spirit lived on.

The Ventura Board – following some very secretive deliberations – just passed a new set of regulations for runoff that requires that all new development (they never hit existing development – voters live in existing development!) to meet strict limits for “effective impervious area,” or EIA.  That would be the portion of the parcel that becomes impervious as roads, roofs, sidewalks and driveways are built over it.

Ventura’s Board figured it would limit EIA to 30 percent for urban infill properties and … gasp … five percent for “greenfield” developments.  You can make more than five percent of a greenfield site impervious, but if you do, you have to capture every single drop that falls on that remainder of the impervious area and either infiltrate it into the ground, use it on the site, or hold it on the site until every last molecule of it evaporates.

As you can imagine, that will drive up the cost of new construction dramatically … and why?  In any good storm, water will run naturally off of more than five percent of any greenfield site.  And if runoff is such a big problem, why not treat it like sewage, let it flow  to a regional treatment, clean it and release it?

We tried to get that cost effective and reasonable idea approved by any number of regional boards, but they said they wanted the conveyance systems – be it a creek or a concrete-lined channel – to be “fishable” and “swimable.”  We had some fun with that, creating this image of what every Southern Californian would rather do than go to a nearby beach.

Up and down the state, Regional Boards are foisting this kind of insanity, pretending its normal human behavior.  And they’re getting away with it.

Now you may have heard that California is in just a bit of a financial squeeze, facing a $24 billion budget deficit and suffering an unemployment rate that’s a couple points higher than the depressing-enough national rate. Encouraging new construction would help get us out of this mess, since each new home generates three new jobs, $300,000 in economic output, $16,000 in state tax revenues and $3,000 in local tax revenues, according to the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

But instead of encouraging the end of the recession, California keeps doing things like these new stormwater regs, which make new homes, factories, schools and hospitals more expensive to build, more difficult to finance, and ultimately less likely to ever happen.  And why?  Even environmental groups report that beach water quality is way up – yet no one sees the need to stop ratcheting up the regulations.

Welcome to Crazifornia.

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For all 'Media Bias 2008' – Click Here

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