The Electric Age is Coming to New York

Working its way through the New York state assembly right now is bill number 4302, which requires “that one hundred percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks shall be zero-emissions by two thousand thirty-five.” Sponsored by Democrat Steve Englebright, this law is New York’s answer to a nearly identical mandate stalking Californians via a recent executive order from their embattled Governor Newsom.

It would be easy enough to suggest these politicians are jumping onto a green bandwagon without fully understanding the consequences. But their actions are consistent with the goals of some of the most powerful companies on earth. With a market value of over $600 billion, newcomer and electric vehicle pioneer Tesla is now well established. High tech industry heavyweights including Apple and Sony are developing electric vehicles. Taiwan’s Foxcon is partnering with Fiat Chrysler to develop all electric vehicles, and China’s search engine giant Baidu is working with Volvo. And as for legacy automakers, General Motors, attempting to lead the way, has declared they will sell only electric vehicles by 2035.

If electric cars are the corporate choice, destined to be the only consumer option within barely more than 13 years, New York better get ready. This is especially the case if, as appears likely, America’s corporate giants have decided not only to precipitously usher in an all-electric age, but do so with only renewable energy. But are politicians right to follow the lead of these corporate […] Read More

Newsom Allies Want to Dox Recall Petition Signers

During state senate hearings on April 12th, State Senator Josh Newman approached Orrin Heatlie, lead proponent of the Gavin Newsom recall campaign. Heatlie was in attendance to testify against SB 663, sponsored by Senator Newman.

SB 663 will “provide a mechanism for the target of a recall petition to communicate with constituents who may have signed that petition,” and “provide a meaningful opportunity for voters who may have signed a recall petition to withdraw their signatures.”

According to Heatlie, Newman came into the gallery to shake Heatlie’s hand and assure him that because there wasn’t an urgency attached to SB 663, it would not affect the signatures that Heatlie and allied committees have recently submitted to recall the governor.

Newman, having inexplicably clawed his way back into office after being himself recalled by voters in 2018, wants to make sure nobody else has to suffer such indignities. Heatlie, whose principled and steadfast leadership has given birth to a grassroots movement of extraordinary power and potential, was not impressed by Newman’s gesture.

Reached for comment earlier this week, Heatlie acknowledged that the primary threat of SB 663 is to future recall attempts, where, to express its primary provisions in plain English, anyone who signs a recall petition will have their name and address publicly accessible, and will be subject to a “meaningful opportunity” to think better of their decision and withdraw their signature.

And you thought voter harvesting could constitute opportunities for intimidation and fraud. Imagine door to door […] Read More

Fixing K-12 Education in California

Supporters of education reform in California have never had a bigger opportunity than right now. More parents than ever have now witnessed the selfish overreach of the teachers’ unions, at the same time as they’ve experienced, by the millions, creative educational solutions that bypass the traditional public school system. At the same time, an activist army has been formed in California that has already logged one major victory – collecting 2.1 million signatures to force Governor Newsom to defend his record in a special recall election – and they are looking for new battles to fight. When it comes to fixing education in California, here are some battles that need to be fought.

Universal Education Savings Accounts: The reform that would change everything are universal Education Savings Accounts, where the money follows individual students to whatever K-12 school their parents choose for them: traditional public school, charter school, parochial school, private school, or even charter/homeschool and private/homeschool hybrids.

Unchaining the torrent of money that currently pours into traditional public schools without competition and with minimal accountability would be an unprecedented breakthrough. Many of the details of how this could be done have been worked out in SB 1344, introduced by then State Senator Moorlach in 2018. It would allocate education funds mandated under Prop. 98 into education savings accounts, assigning an equal amount for every K-12 student in California. Currently that is about $12,500 per student per year.

A group in California already working on adapting SB 1344 to […] Read More

Why America’s Elites Want to End the Middle Class

A recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson entitled “Radical New Rules for Post-America” lists “ten new ideas that are changing America, maybe permanently.” Hanson offers a thorough description of what’s wrong: Fiscal and monetary negligence, selective enforcement or nonenforcement of laws, anti-white racism, rights and privileges for immigrants over citizens, an infantilized culture, hypocrisy, urban chaos, censorship and cancel culture, politicized “science,” and “woke” as the new religion, with Big Tech as the clergy.

While there may not be a more cogent description of the new and radical rules Americans face these days, Hanson’s covering familiar territory. But why? It doesn’t require a conspiracy theorist to suggest these wholesale shifts in American culture are not happening by accident. It doesn’t even necessarily require nefarious intent, at least not among those people occupying the highest rungs of power and influence in America. What motivates the vast majority of the American elite, billionaires and corporate boards alike, to approve of these radical changes?

One answer boils down to this: They believe the lifestyle of the American middle-class is not sustainable, because the planet does not have the carrying capacity to extend an American level of consumption to everyone in the world. By dividing and confusing the American people, while wielding the moral bludgeons of saving the planet and eliminating racism, policies can be implemented that will break the American middle class.

In the name of saving the planet, for example, new suburbs will become almost impossible to construct. Single family detached […] Read More

Public Infrastructure is not a “Progressive” Abomination

President Biden spent a surprising amount of time during his belated first press conference talking about infrastructure. Many of the points Biden made echoed remarks Trump has also made. Paraphrasing from the transcript, about 53 minutes into his press conference, Biden said:

“We are now ranked 85th in the world in infrastructure. The future rests on whether or not we have the best airports that are going to accommodate air travel. Ports that you can get in and out of quickly. What’s the first thing that business asked? What’s the closest access to an interstate highway? How far am I from a freight rail? Is there enough water available for me to conduct my business?”

Biden’s solutions won’t be ideal. If work is authorized by Congress, it will be padded with hundreds of billions going to the public bureaucracies and to the inevitable environmentalist litigants. The work itself will be done under project labor agreements that will also add hundreds of billions in costs. And additional hundreds of billions will be wasted on absurdities, such as “sequestration” projects to inject CO2 into underground caverns.

If Trump were able to manage federal investment in infrastructure in a 2nd term, he would have set more useful priorities. He would have prioritized airports, seaports, roads, rail, the power grid, and he would have fought the pet projects of environmentalists and their corporate allies. He would respect labor, but he’d be a tough negotiator, and he would have hammered on the construction contractors […] Read More

Solving California’s Urban Water Scarcity

A study by the Public Policy Institute of California in 2019 found that per capita urban water use in the state has dropped consistently over the years, from 231 gallons per day in 1990 to 180 gallons per day in 2010, then dropping to 146 gallons per day during the drought in 2015. This clearly bodes well for addressing the next drought, which could be on the way, but doesn’t address the challenges posed by suburban households with yards, which tend to use far more water than average.

In 2014, as Californians coped with the last severe drought, the Pacific Institute compiled data from the water districts serving urban consumers across the state in order to report per capita water use by region. The findings indicated that suburban households in the drier parts of the state were consuming water a per capita rate nearly three times the average; well over an acre foot per year per household.

Confronting this challenge addresses one of the key arguments of the anti-suburb movement: If every one of California’s 13 million households consumed an acre foot of water per year, residential water consumption in the state would be 13 million acre feet per year instead of the current 5 million acre feet per year.

There are many answers to this challenge, but exploring these answers, and the attendant policy solutions, should not merely rest on draconian restrictions on water use combined with a war on new suburban development. The other […] Read More

Movement Grows to Recall Progressive District Attorneys

According to the advocacy group “Fair and Just Prosecution,” the goal of progressive criminal justice reform is to create “a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility.” Starting around 2016, this movement picked up momentum across the U.S., primarily by funding candidates in County District Attorney elections. There are now dozens of cities and counties with elected district attorneys that are enforcing massive shifts in prosecutorial conduct. Reforms were needed. But so far, they have been a disaster.

While the most visible source of funding for these district attorney candidates is the notorious George Soros, the movement is much bigger than one billionaire. It taps a core belief of progressives, that America’s criminal justice system is punitive and disproportionately targets nonwhite and low income communities. It also taps into a sentiment shared by progressives and libertarians, that “victimless” crimes, primarily drug related, should not be crimes at all.

It would be a mistake to assume that no legitimate motivations inform these progressive district attorneys and their donors. Along with the careerism, hatred for American institutions, desire to wreak havoc on our society, and even well-intentioned but hideously misapplied desire for social justice, there are problems that need to be fixed and ideas that ought to be tried. But so far, in every city and county where progressive district attorneys have taken office, crime is rising, with entire neighborhoods awash in filth, chaos, and lawlessness.

Places where progressive district attorneys are now elected […] Read More

U.S. District Court Judge Carter Faces Historic Decision on Homeless

In March 2020 a coalition of downtown businesses and homeowners filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles, arguing that conditions on the streets of Los Angeles are inhumane, and tax money spent on homeless response has been wasted. After a year of hearings without substantial progress, on March 4, 2021, the coalition submitted a notice of intent with the court to file a Preliminary Injunction, which would require thousands of new beds in the coming months to be immediately paired with available public spaces.

It is possible that the judge on the case, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who is an outspoken critic of how the City and County have handled the homeless crisis, will proceed with the injunction. This could happen any day. If Judge Carter issues the injunction, it would be the first step towards placing the City and County into a court-supervised receivership to more decisively address homeless issues.

Receivership is not a new concept, and has been invoked in California previously. In 2005, Federal District Judge Thelton Henderson put the California state prison health care system into receivership. After months of consent decrees, hearings, expert testimony and negotiation, Judge Henderson commented on the California prison health care system’s “depravity” and ruled that it violated the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Judge Henderson stated, “The Court is simply at the end of the road with nowhere else to turn. Indeed, it […] Read More

What Does the Republican Party Stand For?

For two fleeting years after Trump was elected president, the GOP controlled the White House and both houses of the U.S. Congress. This level of one party control for the GOP was almost without precedent. Apart from 2003-2007 – the 2nd half of GW Bush’s first term in office and the 1st half of his second term – you have to go back all the way to 1953, the 1st half of Dwight Eisenhower’s first term as president to find a GOP president and a GOP controlled U.S. Congress.

What the GOP did with those two years was uninspiring, and once the Democrats took over the House in January 2019, the opportunity was lost. The issues haven’t gone away. It’s been barely more than two years since the GOP lost their golden opportunity. GOP voters are disheartened by what is now obviously a rigged bureaucracy, a rigged media, and mountains of evidence of rigged elections. And the pandemic has overshadowed everything. But the core issues remain.

So what does the Republican party stand for?

On March 20 GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted the following: “The Republican Party stands for reopening our schools, reopening our businesses, and protecting the border!”

Notwithstanding the fact that reopening schools and businesses is an overdue objective fraught with long-term threats to freedoms we’d previously taken for granted, schools and businesses will reopen. So what else does the GOP stand for?

“Protecting the border.”

That is the one enduring plank upon which Ronna McDaniel, and […] Read More

Fighting, and Winning, School Choice in California

There is going to be a school choice initiative on the state ballot in November 2022.

While this is not an absolute certainty, the grassroots support for school choice is strong, and the infrastructure necessary to nurture a grassroots effort is now in place. The RecallGavin2020 campaign has proven the model, and fed up parents from Chula Vista to Crescent City are ready to strike.

What is far from certain however is the form a school choice measure will take, or the consequences of having it on the ballot. Evaluating these consequences in advance should guide school choice advocates as they consider what sort of product to hand over to the troops for signature gathering.

Broadly speaking, there are two avenues that a school choice initiative can take. Empowering charter schools, or creating education savings accounts, or ESAs. The California School Choice Foundation is already actively researching an ESA ballot initiative. These two options might be loosely summarized as follows:

SCHOOL CHOICE IN CALIFORNIA – EMPOWER CHARTER SCHOOLS

1 – Charter schools can be approved by the following entities: The state board of education, any county board of education, any school district school board, any mayor, and any public or private accredited university.

2 – There will be no cap established by the state or any public agency on the number of charter schools, or the number of charter school students.

3 – Renewal applications for charter schools that are denied by school districts shall have the right […] Read More