Saturday, January 31, 2015

Philadelphia, Twenty-Two Years Later

I was bruised and battered, I couldn't tell what I felt.
I was unrecognizable to myself.
Saw my reflection in a window and didn't know my own face.
Oh brother are you gonna leave me wastin' away

(from Philadelphia, by Bruce Springsteen)

This past weekend, one of the local digital channels dedicated to showcasing old classics rebroadcasted Philadelphia, Actor/Comedian Tom Hanks is a stunning professional on screen. From a humdrum start on one-season sitcom Bosom Buddies, Hanks would explode on the cinema scene, and enjoy the well-deserved distinction of two Best Actor Oscars in a row only a decade later, for Philadelphia and then Forrest Gump.

In his first Oscar-winning turn, he played lawyer Andrew Beckett, terminated from a prestigious law firm. A closeted homosexual who comes out because he contracted AIDS, Beckett files a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employers, claiming that they fired him because of his sexuality.

After two decades, the film offers a commendable, realistic ensemble, including the law firm's senior partner under lawsuit, played by Jason Robards. Avoiding the board stereotypes of malevolent and angelic, the movie treats both sides of the case with respect and dignity. In a compelling opposite performance, Denzel Washington plays Beckett's attorney, Joe Miler, himself homophobic, yet coming to grips with the reality that he is representing a human being who claims wrongful termination and gets his day in court.

The film removes much of the negative reporting surrounding homosexual conduct, yet during the final moments of the courtroom scenes, Beckett acknowledges the risky behavior he engaged in, including anonymous, casual sex in porn theaters show-casing gay sex. Removing hype and prejudices, the films exposes then as well as now just the frustrations of men and women struggling with marginalized sexual feelings, and the consequences of acting out on those sentiments.

In one scene, Beckett is dancing with his partner Miguel Alvarez, played by upcoming star Antonio Bandares. Two great actors making the most out of another act: that two men could create the conjugal love between one man and one woman. What comes across to the audience, however, is no longer the offense or the novelty of the "gay party", but rather the sad and unseemly attempts at normalcy. Two men, two "lovers" dressed as naval officers, come off as only two men trying to fulfill themselves in something that is not true. A chorus of gay men singing "Mr. Sandman" is no longer provocative or disturbing, but pathetic, even regressive. What kind of love can a man expect from another man?

Tom Hanks in 1989 (Alan Light)

Still, the movie did a great job of presenting these hurting men and women, individuals still trying to establish an identity in the world, grappling with societal views diametrically opposed to theirs, which ignored their humanity while shaming them for their perverse inclinations. Beckett has a loving family, both a mom and a dad who have not abandoned him, but stand with him until his death. The even-handed treatment of straight people dealing with homosexual conduct, and the people who identify with it, comes through with relevance and insight. Even the attorney representing Beckett's former law firm, played by a tough but fair Mary Steenbergen, winces after confronting the wronged lawyer with a mirror on the witness stand.

At the end of the movie, after Miller wins the case (and millions of dollars in back pay and punitive damages), Beckett's family and friends witness their loved one's life ebb away. In a celebration of life at the Beckett family's home, the audience watches old movie clips of the young James Beckett,  a boy as warm  and buoyant as any other child. From here, I depart from the argument that this film is a gay-friendly paean celebrating homosexuals and applauding the courage of men and women who step out and identify with homosexual conduct. This is a film which recognizes the fraught realities of broken people trying to make sense of uncertain motives and inescapable consequences. All the indicators in the film then point to the grander problems now.

After twenty-one years, with the upheavals in the court systems and the media promoting gay marriage and homosexuality as an ideology, startling facts about homosexual conduct have not changed. The prevalence of disease among homosexuals, figured in the steady and painful decline of main character Beckett, plus the dysfunction of same-sex partners looking for love has not disappeared. Granted, in the movie Beckett's attorney Miller overcomes many of his prejudices about Beckett, acknowledging not only his reticence about homosexuals, but coming to grips with the fact that no matter how one lives, he still has feelings, he still carries hurts. After their final preliminary meeting before Beckett's direct and cross examination, Miller meets a frail man who loves opera, who sings along with key refrains, who dances.

He goes home, hugs his baby daughter, and lies down next to his wife, comforts her as she sleeps. The contrast could not be more striking. Beckett has no family, no generative legacy. Miller has a family, a child he brought to life with a loving wife. Even if homosexuals can marry, they can never have children, build a legacy, participate in the warmth and wonder of blessed domesticity. For all the glories of men and women "being themselves", homosexuality has very little to offer beyond disease, dysfunction, and death. Even though the films end with a multi-million dollar judgment against Beckett's former employers, they vow to appeal, and he still dies at the end.
Denzel Washington (Faulkenauge)

The audience can sympathize with a man dying, yet his death rests on his choices, his taking risks, as lawyer Steenbergen would remind him the next day. The deeper tragedy follows from the decisions of an admirable lawyer behaving in an unseemly fashion, suffering an unsavory demise. Putting aside Hollywood's inevitable neglect of the un-cinematic statistics and reports which detail the profligate problems associated with homosexuality, Philadelphia demonstrates that real brotherly love cannot be found in brothel-like interactions or same-sex couplings.

Philadelphia twenty-two years later,  praised because of its sympathetic portrayal of homosexuals and their victimized status in a straight society, gets props for giving a straight portrayal of the perilous and discouraging realities of homosexuality, and the glowing glories of men and women who have families and grow.

Night has fallen, I'm lyin' awake,
I can feel myself fading away,
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss,
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of Philadelphia.

Friday, January 30, 2015

De Leon's Unsightly Lack of Insight on Oversight

Quid custodiet ipsos custodes?

Indeed, who will watch the watchers themselves in Sacramento?

Late last year, newly installed state senator Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles?) eliminated the State State government oversight office.

All while the FBI was investigating a piece of Kevin De Leon's legislation, a bill which did not pass out of committee in 2013, which the Senate President Pro Tem is keen on trying to pass again.

One paragraph in the column stands out:

De León was not named in the formal charges against either of his colleagues. But the FBI’s affidavit in the Calderon case was leaked in late 2013 and included de León’s name 56 times. It said he took $5,000 in campaign contributions from the undercover agent who was working to befriend Calderon. De León returned the money as soon as he learned it came from an FBI agent.


Here are some excerpts from the article on De Leon's upending the Oversight Committee last year:

California Senate leader Kevin de León has eliminated a legislative staff unit that focused on government oversight, a creation of his predecessor, former Sen. Darrell Steinberg.

Steinberg created the Senate’s Office of Oversight and Outcomes in 2008, staffing it with a team of former journalists who dug into the functions of numerous state agencies. Over the years, the office produced more than two dozen reports critical of many aspects of state government. The hubris of state legislators is staggering at times. Do they really think that they can get away with these maneuvers?
State Senate President Pro Tem De Leon
De Leon's spokesman Anthony Reyes gave no explanation for De Leon's suspicious moves: Reyes’ statement did not say why the office was not retained, but said the Senate would “continue to be served by the comprehensive and robust oversight functions provided by our budget and policy committees, as well as our Joint Legislative Audit Committee and Legislative Analyst’s Office.”

No reasons why, aside from asking the voters, the reading public to believe that the state senators will look over the legislation and make sure that they are playing by the rules. How did that work out last year? Four Democratic state senators arrested, incited, and/or convicted.  Today, the Sacramento reports the state senator Carol Liu's office was also raided by FBI officials. Still need no oversight?

Today, De Leon announced that the oversight responsibilities will rest with the policy committees:

Government oversight is the responsibility of every California senator and Senate staff member, not “the job of a small group of individuals in a room,” Senate leader Kevin de León said during a speech Thursday to the Sacramento Press Club, where he laid out broad policy priorities for the year.

Really? De Leon's clear lack of insight on oversight should not be overlooked during this legislative session. The Oversight Committee was made up of retired journalists and legislative analysts, watchers outside of Sacramento politics.

Quid custodiet? How about getting a custodian to clean out the unsightly pay-for-play corruption, starting with State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon?

Gary Miller (or the Miller Effect) for US Senate!

The rumblings about the race for California's US Senate seat are heating up. 2010 was a welcome attempt for Republicans to unseat incumbent Barbara Boxer, who has enjoyed relatively low approval ratings throughout her tenure. In the two prior contests, Republicans promoted a weak candidate, Matt Fong, in 1998, then a non-starter in 2004, the former Secretary of State Bill Jones, who did not have the money to finance a statewide media campaign.

Carly Fiorina challenged Boxer in a watershed year against Democrats, yet the Republican wave crashed along the Sierra Nevada, and Boxer held her seat with a nine-point lead over Fiorina, whose poor campaigning and flawed resume (a severed CEO from Hewlett-Packard who had laid off thousands) hurt her chances.

In 2016, Boxer will not be running, but already in 2015 Democratic officials are lining up or stepping aside. Attorney General Kamala Harris has announced her intentions for the seat, while a long slew of "Who's Who" in Democratic circles have declined.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has said no, angling for the Governor's seat in 2018, when Governor Jerry Brown has to step down (the term limits will count against him this time). Then again, he may be deflated one more time in his quest for the Presidency, since his resume on paper and in the media suggests a somewhat semblance of governance and authority, with tenable, balanced budgets and a modicum of fiscal prudence. For the progressives lusting for a leftist hardliner, he can appeal to the policies which have turned California into the largest sanctuary state for illegal immigration.

Attorney General Kamala Harris
As for the US Senate race, these heavy-duty legislative posts usually draw the most liberal and partisan of candidates. Kammy Harris fits the legal bill perfectly, including her arbitrary discretion not to defend Prop 8, while relenting on the mandated, expedited process for releasing concealed carry permits to California residents. There is plenty in this woman's resume for Republicans to attack, and to galvanize even the  most contrarian of Republicans to vote for Anyone But Kammy.

Who is else is running, or interested in running for US Senate in California?

Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is mulling a bid. He should. He has more executive experience, and federal appeal, since he presided over the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Would Latino voters turn out of him? Reform Democrat Gloria Romero is not thrilled with him, already on board the Krazy Kammy train. He has appealed to California mayors, and the rising Democratic divide between the Bay Area and the South Bay (Los Angeles) is reasserting itself.  Congressman Adam Schiff (Glendale) could also carry the banner of the oft-neglected Southern California Democratic delegation, too.

California has seen this North-South Dem fight before. In 1992, Congresswoman Barbara Boxer (Marin County) faced off against Congressman Meldon Levine (South Bay) for the Democratic primary. The Waxman-Berman Machine was blasting at full steam to get their West LA candidate to the US Senate, but Boxer pulled through. She barely defeated Bruce Herschensohn in the 1992 general election.

Twenty-four years later, and Democrats may blow themselves up with their own machines and give the moribund but not dead Republicans a chance to sneak in the victory. Latino Democrats continue to get snubbed, and may line up behind Villaraigosa. Republicans have looked over the Congressional delegation, even though Congressman Darrell Issa has already declined. . Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also said no. Reps Dana Rohrabacher (Surf City) and Tom McClintock (Elk Grove) have not said yes or no. Former California Republican State Party Chairmen Duff Sundheim and Tom Del Beccaro have announced their interest.

I have another name that should be consider: Retired Congressman Gary Miller (R-Redlands).

Congressman Gary Miller (R-Redlands)
He landed on the national spotlight early in 2012, when he moved from his former Orange County region to the newly-drawn 31st Congressional district. The seat was majority Democrat, but Miller stepped in anyway. The large number of Democrats running in the seat split up the vote, and allowed two Republicans to advance to the general election under the state's new Jungle Primary system. Miler has a unique history in California politics, too, since his election restored the Republicans in the State Assembly to the majority in 1995 after a special election. Miller has overcome controversies and setbacks throughout his career. He is a loyal conservative without a record of conflicts. Surely he could unite consensus conservatives and moderates looking for a qualified candidate.

If not Miller, why not at least find a way so that California Republicans can take advantage of a divided Democratic vote in 2016, and get two Republicans into the general election? This is not a far-fetched idea.

Former State Senate Pro Tem Admitted to Voter Fraud in Sacramento

David Gunshots provided the following link, with a clip of former State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg admitting on camera that four other state legislators were involved in the voter fraud which brought down former state senator, now convicted felon Roderick Wright.

Darrell Steinberg
On the audio, you can hear Steinberg say the following:

Senator [Roderick] Wright's situation is similar to four other members in the state legislature. The DA's, the District Attorneys chose not to bring charges against them.


Had enough of this Cult of Corruption in Sacramento?

Call your state legislator, assemblyman or state senator, and demand that they investigate ongoing allegations of voter fraud in Sacramento!


Where Do CA State Senators Live?

A California Patriot known as David Gunshots has been confronting state senators in Sacramento about fraud and corruption.

He has reached out to me last year, with video and audio clips identifying members who were complicit or actively engaging in voter fraud in the state capitol.

Here are his comments:

Former State Senate Pr Tem Darrell Steinberg

California has been plauged with a cesspool of voter fraud, so I have taken it upon myself, along with some close friends, to investigate a few senators we know to be involved because the Pro Tem Senator Darrell Steinberg, openly admitted to knowing of voter fraud in California, all while the district attorneys have turned a blind eye.  More shockingly, Democratic (and pro gun advocate) Rodrick Wright was singled out for his voter fraud, all while 90% of the legislation is guilty of the same thing. Senator Steinberg openly admitted that most of the legislator are renting out apartments and living in Sacramento, all while suppose to be living in their respective districts. Rodrick Wright was seriously, singled out, no joke.  He did not fit in line with California democrats and was permanently suspended with pay, and a convicted felon.

Video below of us asking Steinberg about voter fraud "during coffee with your Senator" on April 1, 2014:

Dr. Richard PAn

Then we have Dr Richard Pan, running for Senator in Sacramento in 2014, however, he lives in a different district as well, in Natomas.  Darrell Steinberg admitted that Richard Pan is in fact, carpetbagging, a term used in California when a senator or assemblyman lives in a different district than the one they are suppose to be representing.  We have witnessed Dr Richard Pan in Natomas checking his mailbox and have photos of him running to his mail box and running back inside to try and hide from us watching him.  Not only did Senator Darrell Steinberg call out Dr Richard Pan, but he also called out Mimi Walters and Jim Neilsen, as they are all invoved in the same type of voter fraud the Rodrick Wright was involved in.

Audio below taken during "coffee with your Senator" on May 5, 2014:

We have visited Pan's place in Sacramento, and we have knocked on the door for days on end and no one has answered.

Now for the big question:  Why was Senator Wright singled out, but not the rest?  This is also not a single party issue, both parties are involved and both parties should pay for this!  Those District Attorneys need to also be investigated for their inaction in these matters.

When will our elected representative and law enforcement officials do what is right and charge criminal behavior as it is documented rather than support the oligarchy?

He then shared in another post:

I also contacted everyone I could, DAs, sheriffs, legislators, SOS, Attouney General, etc.... NOTHING IS BEING DONE ART! NOTHING!!!

Ladies and gentlemen of the state of California: it is all time for us to do something!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tim Goodrich: "I Don't Want You To Look Foolish."

I am republishing this part of my previous post on the January 27th, 2015 City Council Meeting:

At that time [during the Council's first recess], I was surprised that Councilmember Tim Goodrich approached me. He told me that he had read my post about the Community Choice Aggregation agenda item, 12B, then told me that it would not be wise to share my concerns about project.

"I don't want you to look foolish", Goodrich said to me, because I was talking about something that I may not understand. I responded to him that I am entitled to say what I want to about.

Tim Goodrich

After a second recess, Goodrich approached me, so that we could discuss this matter further.

One of the most frustrating aspects about the progressive world view, one which Mr. Goodrich espouses, rests on the argument that if Government creates a organization or a business, then offers a service in contrast to a private company, that consumers have a choice. Such is the case with the arguments for Community Choice Aggregation. Government agencies do not operate fully according to market forces, because their funding comes from taxes, not from free trade. Private firms must compete for business and profit. In California, SoCal residents get electricity from one provider, SoCal Edison. Proving customers a choice is a welcome idea, but not through the aggregated control of different cities entering into a complicated, potentially dysfunctional joint-powers agreement.

I reminded Goodrich that there is nothing foolish about members of the city sharing their concerns with the city council and Torrance residents. Rather than being offended, I was grateful that the councilmember approached me, because I could express my thoughts, and prepare my remarks for the entire city council.

Here is a link with a long list of information about CCA, including its critics and its costs.

I am reposing this exchange which took place between me and the Councilmember.

After I shared the Jan. 27 post about the City Council meeting, one reader responded:

"This is EXTREMELY disturbing Arthur Christopher Schaper - that a city councilman would approach a citizen to try and shut down the discussion. EXTREMELY disturbing. I can't say it enough."

Her next comment mocked the pretense of the councilmember's comment:

"In other words, you are too stupid to do your own research, you have no idea what you are talking about, it's only because you aren't smart enough to understand it. That's big government's approach to squash the dissent."

I invite anyone reading this post to share their concerns with the City Council.

I am happy to report that Mayor Pat Furey sat down with me yesterday (January 28) for an hour over breakfast, and listened to a number of my concerns. Other members of the city council, including Mike Griffiths, Geoff Rizzo, Heidi Ashcraft, and Kurt Weideman have meet with me to discuss city matters. They have answered a number of my questions. They may not agree with every point I share, but we have respected each other's differences of opinion none the less.

Contact Councilman Goodrich, and tell him to respect the opinions of all city residents, whether they agree or  disagree with his policies.

3031 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, Calif. 90503
Phone: (310) 618-2801
Fax: (310) 618-5841


Islam Has a Problem (I am Not Saying This Myself)

Political Correctness is falling away, taking heavier hits these days, as Radical Islam forces lovers of liberty and freedom to rethink the meaning of tolerance, and look into the deeper elements of Islam itself.

Is this religions a system of beliefs based on peace, or riddled with calls for violence and fierce opposition to another reference of religion?

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has invited discussion (and invoked controversy) by suggesting the following:

“If Islam does not support what is happening in the name of Islam, then they need to stand up and stop it. . .Many Islamic leaders argue that these are the acts of a radical few.

“And the fact is that radical Islamists do not believe in freedom or common decency nor are they willing to accommodate them in any way and anywhere. We need to stop pretending otherwise.

“How many Muslims in this world agree with these radicals? I have no idea, I hope it is a small minority. But it is clear that far too many do, and it is clear that they must be stopped.


“Let me be blunt about this. I want America’s allies to trust us and respect us, and I want our enemies to fear us. Every day our enemies spend their time trying to avoid our justice is a day they are not plotting against us. And I fear that in recent years this has not been the case.”

In short: Islam has a problem. . .

Is Jindal an out-of-touch right-wing nutjob? Or do we have to face the fact that Islam has a problem? National Review recognizes that Jindal gets something about Islam which many government officials want to ignore.

Frankly, he is not alone in his sentiments.

Fareed Zakaria

From CNN's Fareed Zakaria:

I know all the arguments against speaking of Islam as violent and reactionary. It is a vast world of 1.6 billion people. . .but let's be honest.  Islam has a problem today. In 2013, according to the State Department, of the top ten groups who perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim.

Of the top ten countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim majority countries.

Zakaria included India and the Philippines in that list, yet those countries are neither officially Muslim nor recognized as majority Muslim countries. Hinduism is a dominant religion in India, while the Philippines identifies as a Catholic country with animist cohorts.

The Pew Research Center rates countries on levels of restrictions governments impose on the free exercise of  religion. Of the twenty-four most restrictive countries, nineteen are Muslim majority.

There is a cancer of extremism within Islam today.

Zakaria then suggested that only a small minority of Muslims approve terrorist acts. . .

While some moderates confront these extremists, not enough do so, and the protests are not loud enough. How many mass rallies have been held against ISIS in the Arab World today?

From a wider, historical perspective on Islam, Zakaria argues that Islam is for the most part a religion of peace, and mentions that Muslims and Jews coexisted for centuries in a number of countries. What the host neglects is that the core tenets of Islam advocate for violent means against infidels, and that there are a number of accounts in which Muslim fighters and their countries engaged in the most extreme acts of violence and desecration against non-Muslim countries. While Zakaria incorrectly faulted critics of Islam as oversimplifying the issue, even Zakaria's focus on extremism in Islam cannot be ignored.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi

Egypt’s new President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared the following:

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. . .. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma  is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.

 That thinking—I am not saying ‘religion’ but ‘thinking’—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!
Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants— seven billion of them—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema [religious authorities] —Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.
All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.
Now, the President of Egypt, the largest country in the Middle East, is calling for a revolution in how Islam is understood and practiced. He has not problem with the religion, but rather its political applications and implications.
Mosab Hassan Yousef
The son of one of Hamas' Founders, Mosab Hassan Yousef, takes a more radical view, declaring the very God of Islam is evil. Here are some of his most devastating critiques of Islam:
The problem is in the god of Islam. This is shocking and unfortunately this is the reality about this god. He's the god of torture. He's a god, the deceit god. . .I'm not trying to offend Muslims.  I love them. Those Muslims are my family. Some of them will be offended, but many of them will wake up.
. . .
Every Muslim who reads the Koran, and they allow themselves to listen to this Koran and believe it at the same time, that this is from God, I think they are sick, and they need help. I believe that Islam is collapsing already. It looks from the outside [that] it's growing, but from the inside it's collapsing. It's not giving answers to the people, it's not improving their lives.
. . .
They [Hamas] are starting to suspect everyone. They tortured and killed their own people. . . Hamas leaders are responsible for torturing their own members.
Yousef recounted that the sheiks and Islamic teachers focus on certain parts of the book. What Yousef described as a bipolar religion, Islam permits believers to hold onto whatever beliefs they want to, including tenets which justify violence, yet at the same time define Islam as a religion of peace.  "Islam is the most bipolar religion on earth, that you can find whatever you want."

Richard Dawkins, a well-known British atheist and academic, repeatedly demanded devout Muslims to inform him and the British audience of the consequences of apostasy in Islamic countries, yet they refused a number of times to answer the question. What are the consequences? Death.

Visit this website, and learn about the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, men and women who have renounced the religion, citing numerous concerns, including Political and Legal Status of Apostates in Islam.

Bill Maher

Charlie Rose interviewed confirmed atheist and modern liberal apologist/comedian Bill Maher. In this segment, Maher dismisses Rose's naiveté about Islam:

I think that liberals should stop booing me for pointing out that Islam is not like other religions, it is a unique threat. . .

Maher slammed Howard Dean claiming that he is just as Muslim as anyone else in the world, and then said:

There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe  that if you leave the Christian religion, you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ, you should get killed for it. Most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think.

From secular reports to Muslim accounts, to atheistic philosophers' questions and comments, and the research, statistics, and accounts which they refer to, it is evident that there is something wrong with Islam, and I am not just saying this myself.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Torrance Says Yes to CCA Study

Torrance, CA

The January 27th, 2015 Torrance City Council meeting was eventful and busy.

Because the city council did not meet last week, and will not meet again until February 10, the council faced a large number of consent, financial, and administrative items.

Pat Furey

Mayor Pat Furey decided to expedite agenda items where a larger number of the public wanted to comment.

Two items which stood out were:

9A. Community Services - Review the triathlon held in 2014 and approve contract for 2nd annual triathlon to be held in September 2015 near Torrance Beach.
Recommendation of the Community Services Director that City Council review the findings from staff and approve Pacific Sports LLC hosting a 2nd annual triathlon Sunday, September 13, 2015 near Torrance Beach with the following conditions:
1)Meet all conditions of the City of Torrance and the Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors;
2)Ensure all deposits, permits, and reimbursable fees are paid to the City by September 1, 2015;
3)Establish a City Administrative Fee of 15% of Gross Receipts for the percentage of the event that takes place on city property matching the requirement by Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors as all fees are paid by the City for this event; and
4)Direct staff to enter into a contract with Pacific Sports to ensure fees are paid and liability is covered for this event.

Some of the residents complained about the course, while other residents complimented the city on the event, and hoped that they would continue sponsoring it.

Because of extended discussion on the time, the city council moved for a recess.

At that time, I was surprised that Councilmember Tim Goodrich approached me. He told me that he had read my post about the Community Choice Aggregation agenda item, 12B, then told me that it would not be wise to share my concerns about project.

"I don't want you to look foolish", because you are talking about something that you may not understand. I responded that I am entitled to say what I want to about.

Tim Goodrich

After a second recess, Goodrich approached me, so that I could discuss this matter further.

One of the most frustrating aspects about the progressive world view, one which Mr. Goodrich espouses, rests on the argument that if Government creates a organization or a business, then offers a service in contrast to a private company, that consumers have a choice. Such is the case with the arguments for Community Choice Aggregation. Government agencies do not operate fully according to market forces, because their funding comes from taxes, not from free trade. Private firms must compete for business and profit. In California, SoCal residents get electricity from one provide, SoCal Edison. Proving customers a choice is a welcome idea, but not through the aggregated control of different cities entering into a complicated, potentially dysfunctional joint-powers agreement with other cities.

I reminded Goodrich that there is nothing foolish about members of the city sharing their concerns with the city council and Torrance residents. Rather than being offended, I was grateful that the councilmember approached me, because I could share my thoughts, and prepare my remarks for the entire city council.

Agenda Item 12 B appears below:

12B. City Manager - Adopt RESOLUTION to support study of feasibility study of Community Choice Aggregation.
Recommendation of the City Manager that City Council adopt a RESOLUTION to participate in a non-binding study of feasibility of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) for the City of Torrance.

 When this times came up for discussion from the public, I pointed out that arguing for any program based on flawed premises (government systems, based on a combination of local governments into a regional government) would never generate positive, let alone noteworthy results. I argued against taking time on a feasibility study not only because with these green programs, "the devil is in the details'. As Councilwoman Ashcraft had pointed out in previous questions, these programs need to take into account that Torrance is more than commercial and residential. There is also the question of city time and resources spent looking over these proposals. I also reminded the councilmembers that this regional government program would end up raising energy costs, as occurred in Marin County.

Mark Stephenson shared concerns about another government agency emerging, and the increased costs to taxpayers. He pointed out that the CCA would double the size of the city government, and all attending costs.

Three individuals spoke in favor of CCA, including a representative from a business. A young, enthusiastic supporter broke out in emotional approval for this project, saying "I love seeing cities getting together!" The naïve exuberance did not command a great deal of respect.

Joe Galliani
The third speaker in favor of CCA, Joe Galliani, took to the podium wearing a seat and a green tie, with a picture of the earth on it. A passionate environmentalist, he has appeared at other South Bay City Council meetings touting Community Choice Aggregation:

Redondo Beach

Hermosa Beach

Manhattan Beach

After comments from the audience, the city councilmembers remarked their support for the study whether it would be worthwhile for the city to explore joining a CCA. Open-minded and education were the key reasons for those officials who spoke on the matter. Agenda item 12 B passed unanimously.

After the council meeting, I spoke with another city resident, who was upset with councilmembers arguing for the feasibility study so that they can learn about the project. Why not do the research on their own? Why does the city spend time and manpower on this study?

Torrance, CA seal

Yep! Aunt Janice Is Running. . .

The following information is posted on the Torrance Democratic Club's website, informing any interested participants about the Torrance Democrats special guest for January 15:

Featured Event  
15Thu Jan 15, 2015

SPECIAL NIGHT: Rep. Janice Hahn on “2015 & beyond”

Arjay Plaza
23211 Hawthorne Blvd.  3rd floor, (at Lomita Blvd.), Torrance, CA 90505

SPECIAL NIGHT: THURSDAY, Jan. 15, 7pm, with our Featured Speaker Rep. Janice Hahn on “2015 & beyond” sharing her experience in Congress, thoughts about the South Bay area & insights on winning in the upcoming local elections, and addressing issues going forward for Democrats, this new year and the next. Let’s start the year off with our 2011 Special Election champion!

Janice Hahn has a checkered record as a Councilwoman for the 15th District of Los Angeles. He employed a Republican, Gordon Teuber, in her office. On key issues, she refused to give a definitive answer, such a redeveloping the neglected property along Western Ave, adjacent to Rancho Palos Verdes.

But. . .

She has a strong name, and name ID, in her district, and after serving in Congress for the past four years, she can ride her machine ground game to gain the LA County Supervisor District #4 seat.

Below, the Torrance Democratic Club Facebook page posted a map of the LA County Board of Supervisors, District Four Seat, along with the final results polling Congresswoman Hahn against potential contenders for the seat:

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

4th District
January 4, 2015
Updated Post

Survey results in Los Angeles County Supervisorial District 4

The Torrance Democratic Club also printed the following graph, outlining that Hahn would hit the ground running in a run for the seat.

The page comments:

Just FYI, there is a survey from November that shows Rep. Janice Hahn as the CLEAR FRONTRUNNER among potential contenders to fill the seat of retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe in the 4th District. 

 Hahn leads the field for the June 2016 primary election for County Supervisor, regardless of who runs and receives a greater share of the vote (36%) than her three opponents combined in a hypothetical four-way race for supervisor.  The results of the Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates survey clearly show that Janice Hahn is well-known and well-liked in the 4th Los Angeles County supervisorial district and show that Hahn is in a strong position to win the seat in 2016 against any potential contender.

The above poll does not necessarily inform us that Hahn is "well-known" and well-liked". A grand total of 64% of voters would vote for someone else, or have no idea who to vote for. Two other names interested in the position, former mayor Mike Gin of Redondo Beach, and former mayor Frank Scotto of Torrance are not on this list. How would they have fared in a head-to-head match up with Congresswoman Hahn?

Is "Aunt Janice" the inevitable nominee for LA County Board of Supervisor, the same way that Hillary Clinton is destined to be the Democratic nominee for President? Hahn has a better chance of building momentum, since she has spent less time in the lime-light, and has fewer mistakes on her record. Her open displays of solidarity with  Organized Labor in the Harbor region will help her bid, too.

Is all lost for the Republicans in Southwest Los Angeles County? As they say in military combat: Know yourself, know your enemy, and you will win every battle. With all the underground momentum pointing toward Hahn's coronation, perhaps grassroots Republicans (and freedom-minded Democrats) should act now looking for someone else who wants to run, and has more to offer than a political dynasty of questionable merit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Notes about CCA - Community Choice Aggregation

I received the following information from a local activist, Tracy Hopkins, who has been following the "green agenda" for a long time, including Community Choice Aggregation.

From her Facebook Page:
This is growing fast and gaining momentum in the South Bay.

If you want to see your tax dollars further siphoned off for feasibility studies and worse get educated and soon.  Coming to your city council for a vote to move forward soon.

Notes CollectionA Community Choice Aggregation is a corporation, controlled by a small group of rich people, who sell you the same electrons PG&E sells, but it is labeled “green”.(2) It comes from centralized corporate solar farms, like Ivanpaw, or coal fired power plants & atomic plants. It costs more & is just as dirty as PG&E. (1)

It created only 12 jobs in Marin. Worst of all, you get nothing free. You get a bill from MCE, not a check from PG&EYou pay the “green” corporations $1.3 billion from your taxes to build a solar farm in Nevada & kill desert tortoises. (2)

And your bill is higher than the one you got from PG&E. Ultimately, it is just a shell game where you trade one giant Utility, MCE, for a different, but still the same, giant PG&E utility.(2)

The lobbyists say, “Shell is out of the CPSF game”, but behind the curtains, Shell is still who will get the $1.3 billion of your tax payers dollars. This is why Ralph Nader, Bill McKibben, Art Agnos, Paul Kangas do not support CCA.

Here are Ralph Nader's comments against CCA.

(1) Solar Times, “Feeding the Beast to green the planet?” June 2013.

(2) SF Weekly, “Who has the power, over your power.” April 10, 2014.
A CCA is a local government-run electricity program that operates as a non-profit entity.  (Is this Marxism/Socialism?)

A Community Choice program makes a long-term commitment to renewable energy.
Manhattan Beach City Council Meeting CCA Resolution

Things go wrong when resources are held in common.

Torrance City Council Agenda for next Tuesday (Dec 9), Item 12B is Community Choice Aggregation.

See page 56 (of 60) there appears to be a sample document for the City of Hermosa Beach.
Apparently whomever is preparing these "studies" already has a template that they can shoot right back.

Added 12/10/14
Community Choice Power In The South Bay Study Session Nov 18, 2014 01h 32m

 Hermosa Beach document

The most viable option to reduce transportation emissions without also increasing emissions due to electricity is for the city to find its own source of energy. For this, we recommend that Hermosa Beach look into Community Choice Aggregation. By creating their own source of energy, Hermosa Beach can have a greater amount of independence and control over their electricity usage, and can collectively decide to generate their energy from a renewable source, like wave power or solar energy, that may produce fewer emissions and will further increase their efforts towards carbon neutrality.

From Torrance City Council:

Community Choice Aggregation and Why It Is Not the Right Choice for Torrance

At a recent Council meeting Councilman Tim Goodrich made a point to remind voters that he ran on a “back to basics” platform which he defined as fixing streets and sidewalks and “getting back to the core government services.”  He then went on to say that improving roads was the # 1 issue facing Torrance noting that the pavement condition index of Torrance roads is 58 – well below the ideal standard of 80.'

How ironic then that the very next week the Council would take on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) – a cause championed and brought forward by the very same Goodrich. There is much room for reasonable minds to differ on the advance of a CCA, but one thing for certain is that implementing a CCA within Torrance is about as far from the “Back to Basics” approach that Goodrich supposedly believes in as you can possibly imagine.

. . .

So what is a CCA exactly?  Essentially it is a government created and controlled middle-man that brokers energy contracts on behalf of consumers.  Instead of paying Southern California Edison (SCE) directly Torrance residents would pay the CCA.  The CCA would then leverage the buying power gained by pooling consumers to purchase energy contracts.  The hope is that the CCA would then use this buying power to purchase energy contracts at an affordable price from sources that provide cleaner energy than SCE would normally offer.
PrintThe choice part of a CCA is that instead of just paying the one rate afforded by SCE, consumers could choose from various cleaner options to meet their energy needs.    Marin Clean Energy (MCE), a CCA touted in the City staff report as a successful model, offers consumers three choices: Light Green (50% renewable), Deep Green (100% renewable), or Sol Shares (100% through local solar farm).  As to be expected, the greener options typically would cost the consumer significantly more.  In the MCE plan, the Sol Shares rates are 30% higher than the rates paid by those that choose the Deep Green option.

I am not impressed with this program. I hope that the city of Torrance finds that this program is not worth the investment.


No More Mr. Nice Mitch

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flexed some majority muscle against the now diminished US Senate Democratic caucus last week.

First, Senator McConnell indicated to his colleagues on both sides of the aisle that the Republican US Senate permitted up-or-down votes on  more amendments in the first month of 2015 compared to all of 2014 under former Majority Leader Harry Reid.

How much longer would the Republican majority permit the Democratic minority to stall on legislation which the vast majority of Americans support, along with the mainstream media and labor groups interested in creating more jobs, increasing the Unite States' energy independence, and granting economic relief to hard-hit American still recovering from the Great Recession?

For five amendments, the Majority Leader moved to table the amendments from the following legislators with Yea and Nay votes: US Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), then Carper (D-Delaware), Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed (D-RI), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Let's be honest. Aside from Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, the other four amendments offered by the two Rhode Island senators, plus Markey and Leahy, were moot points, since those four senators rejected Keystone during the December lame-duck session, and showed no indication of changing their resistance to the bill. They do not want Keystone constructed, and yet they want to add amendments to the legislation?

Durbin complains about GOP heavy handiness, but not Harry Reid's.

The repeated pleas from Senator Markey were priceless to conservative partisans fed up with the ongoing demands for climate change action, and other liberal talking points which have fallen into disfavor with the American people, weary of progressive posturing. Senate minority leader Dick Durbin raised a fuss on the Senate, sarcastically mocking "the spirited debate" which led up to the votes.

Following the rapid succession of votes to table amendments, Senate Democrats took to Twitter to complain about the lack of debate on five amendments to the Keystone Pipeline bill.  They neglected to mention, however, that Democrats voted with the Republicans to table the Carper Amendment.  Majority Leader McConnell is taking out the boxing gloves, and not playing nice. If only more conservatives, and the American People in general, knew more about this. The Republican Majority should master the art of editing and presenting the new fighting spirit.

Still, how has this aggressive approached worked out so far? Yesterday (January 26), Democrats voted to block debate on the Keystone pipeline, in part because of the rushed tabling of five amendments last week. If Republicans can master the media fight better, they can start presenting the Democratic Party as the new obstructionists in Washington, as the Republicans prepare more bills on bipartisan matters, like Keystone, tax reform, and amending Obamacare.

No More Mr. Nice Mitch!

Another Reason for Plummeting Congressional Approval

1960 joint session of Congress
Reflecting on why the Congress still hovers at a 15% approval rating compared to President Obama, who has climbed back to 50% since the 2014 elections, I wondered why Congress still holds such low esteem among voters. When evaluating what Congress has done in the last six years, one can see why a lot of voters do not like Congress: they have passed very little legislation.

Yet Congress, the Constitution, and the checks and balances infused in to the federal system, were designed precisely to stymie large-scale legislative acts. Alexander Hamilton, one of the Framers, define good governance not just on passing good laws, but preventing many bad ones.

President Obama, despite the neglect of the press, has had to repeal (legally as well as by executive fiat) key portions of his horrendous legacy, Obamacare. Still an unpopular law crammed with regulatory burdens and statutory niceties, Congressional Republicans have fought hard to repeal the unpopular legislation. They should keep trying, even if the mainstream media, and the public opinion which follows, condemns the "Do Nothing" Congress.

Korea President Park US Congress 20130507 08.jpg
Americans criticizes a "Do Nothing" Congress (
Good legislative bodies work had to get rid of bad laws, and work harder to make sure that bad laws never see the light of the statutory record. Even the dreaded, much hated 2014 CRomnibus bill included portions which repealed unpopular, unappealing sections of the sclerotic Dodd-Frank legislation, which has hindering credit unions and small banks in their lending practices.

As far as the Framers are concerned, committed constitutional conservatives are pushing back against a Big Government getting bigger. They would applaud the current Congressional record of accomplishing very little.

Yet for most Americans, they judge the merit of Congress based on how many laws they pass.  This mentality of expecting a  "Do Something!" government is partly due to modern public schooling, which outlines, even praises the federal governments massive encroachments into domestic as well as foreign policy. History books have to write about great men doing great things in order to capture readers' attention. Large corporations and government firms which rely on federal funding also expect Congress to keep the subsidies flowing their way. Apple farmers in Washington want their legislators to provide the extra funding for raising their crops. Private aerospace and military contractors want to make sure that their money continues without interruption from the federal government, as well.

Bureaucracies as a rule want to expand, not contract, and they certainly do not want to submit to the market forces of supply and demand. When Congress is not appropriating billions of dollars to diverse interests throughout the country, no one should be surprised that a vast majority of people are angry with Congress and have no respect for the institution, in the same way that little children get angry with loving parents who do not give them everything they want.

Barack Obama addresses joint session of Congress 2-24-09.jpg
Congress needs to make adults decisions, saying "No!" to Presidential aspirations
(Joyce Boghosian)

A stalled and frustrated Congress is not granting every demand of the American people and their attending interest groups. In contrast, President Obama wants to present himself as the perennial Santa Claus, promising everything to everyone without costing anyone anything. This fantasy thinking was on full display during the President's latest State of the Union Address, where he promised free community college (does he want to pay for it?),  federally-funded daycare, then took credit for an energy revolution which he has frustrated from the beginning of his administration.

The following Sunday, on the latest edition of Sixty Minutes, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner were the adults in the room, declaring: "We can't afford it", followed by "No", and then "Dead on Arrival" to  the majority of the president's flighty, unsustainable proposals. No one likes to hear "No!", but now more than ever this country needs lawmakers who will stop the spending spree, upset the expansion of government programs, and slow President Obama's unconstitutional executive fiat.