Wednesday, December 22, 2010
What Is Social Justice?
I’ve often wondered just what the liberal mantra, “Social Justice,” means.  We hear the expression repeated just about every time there is a discussion about politics and the political parties, and it’s usually used to defend various government programs and so-called “entitlements”, such as Medicare and Social Security, and now Obamacare.
However, the term is never actually defined, except to claim that the various social programs are a “right,” based on the notion that they are somehow guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence, with the words “…that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain “unalienable Rights, that among those are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”
So, if “social justice” is a right, it has been created somewhere in our history by some sort of legislative act.  But, to my knowledge, it has not.
The term “Unalienable rights," is defined as those rights that cannot be surrendered, sold or transferred to someone else, such as the government or to another person.  Such rights are often considered to be "natural" or "God-given" rights (i.e., life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness).
However, "inalienable rights" are those rights that can only be transferred with the consent of the person who possess them.

"Endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights," is the phrase that is famously associated with the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Its intent was to express the truth that every person is a creation of God and has certain rights, simply by virtue of their being created by God. Therefore, those unalienable rights or privileges cannot be transferred or taken away by any man. Those rights as conceived in the Declaration, are "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
This means that Jefferson and the other writers of the Declaration wanted people to believe that God created human beings who have certain rights that should never be taken away, specifically life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. They avoided the word "God" using instead "their creator" to avoid religious disputes because they were preparing to move away from government-sponsored religion.
All of which makes it possible to claim that “social justice” means anything anyone wants it to mean, in whatever situation they want it to apply.
Economist Walter E. Williams commented:
Most people whom we elect to Congress are either ignorant of, have contempt for or are just plain stupid about the United States Constitution. ... Here, in part, is the oath of office that each congressman takes: 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same....'
Here's my question to you: If one takes an oath to uphold and defend, and bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution, at the minimum, shouldn't he know what he's supposed to uphold, defend and be faithful to? If congressmen, judges, the president and other government officials were merely ignorant of our Constitution, there'd be hope -- ignorance is curable through education.
These people in Washington see themselves as our betters and rulers. They have contempt for the limits our Constitution places on the federal government envisioned by James Madison, the father of our Constitution, who explained in the Federalist Paper 45: 'The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.'
Thus, the claim that the Declaration of Independence provides the basis for “social justice” is not just incorrect, it is actually a perversion of the intent of America’s Founders.
© 2010 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Friday, December 10, 2010
Unnecessary protection of some species
By Andy Caldwell

Years ago, our country took steps to insure that no species would go extinct if something could be done to prevent it.  Thus, we created the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The ESA entailed listing species that are on the verge of extinction or critically close- at least this is what the ESA pretends to do!  These many decades later, the Federal government is hard pressed to show that they have successfully recovered any species that was not erroneously listed as endangered in the first place.  Further, the ESA has been so distorted by environmental, judicial and bureaucratic activists that I believe we need to start all over.
I agree with the premise that we should do everything within our power to prevent the extinction of any species.  However, the ESA has been distorted to protect the sub-species of sub-species in remote locales despite the fact that the actual species is in abundant supply in other regions.  For instance, it is true that salmon are extinct or nearly extinct on the Santa Maria River, yet that has more to do with the average annual rainfall in our watershed!  In other parts of the world, there is no shortage of salmon that would bring one to believe this species is on the verge of extinction.  The same goes for the Tiger Salamander and Snowy Plover.  These animals can be found in abundance in regions that have the right geographical and climatic conditions conducive to their well being.
To make matters worse, the ESA has also morphed into a habitat protection plan.  The theory goes that species experience decline as their natural habitat is diminished or impacted primarily due to mankind’s activities.  Thus, vast swaths of lands, in some cases, millions of acres can be determined to be critical habitat for just one species, such as the Reg Legged Frog.  The ESA and the government agencies that enforce it turn a deaf ear and blind eye to natural causes of species decline, including weather patterns, disease and natural predation.  Further, the cost to protect and attempt to recover a species and its habitat is not bound by cost and neither is there any consideration to force private landowners to bear the full brunt of the costs.  The ESA concerns itself with preventing a take of a species with nary a concern for a taking of private property.  Thus, the ESA trumps our Constitutional Bill of Rights that indicates that the government is not allowed to take private property for a public benefit without financial remuneration.
Recently, we saw the County of Santa Barbara fork out $400,000 to set up a conservation easement for Tiger Salamanders near Lompoc.  That really is small change compared to the $15 million tax payers are spending to restore Trout runs on the Santa Ynez River.  And even that is small change compared to the tens of millions of dollars that are going to be spent in one way or another to restore salmon runs on the Santa Maria River. 
The most significant and ridiculous costs associated with the ESA has to do with the Regional Water Board’s role in all this.  The Regional Board lists the Santa Maria River’s dry riverbed as an impaired water body.  They claim that the river should be healthy enough to facilitate enjoyment of the river for water contact recreation (swimming) and fishing!  As a test to see if the water is clean enough for fishing, they figure it has to be clean enough to support bugs the fish might eat as they travel up and down the river to and from their spawning grounds.  For this, they want the farmers to capture and treat all the water that runs off their property and they will eventually ask municipalities to do the same. 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and a 42 year resident of the Central Coast.  For contact information, visit the COLAB website at www.colabsbc.org
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Monday, November 22, 2010

County taxpayers are on the hook for $400,000 to fund a conservation easement, ostensibly for the death of one tiger salamander. That is a steep price to pay for a dead salamander, considering you can buy live tiger salamanders over the Internet for as little as $2 each. Why the mark-up?

It is a complicated story of environmental, bureaucratic and judicial activism, but suffice it to say, we have come to the point that each and every isolated population of critters is considered so unique that they are worthy of federal protection, even though in other areas of the country and state, they may be ubiquitous.

In the case of salamanders and tiger salamanders, they are so plentiful that they are sold in bait shops in minimum quantities of 50 per purchase. Yet, here in Santa Barbara County, a tiger salamander fell into a construction trench, died from dehydration, and taxpayers ended up footing the bill, thanks in large part to our county Board of Supervisors' poor negotiating skills with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The Board of Supervisors kept as many of the details of its deal secret as long as they could. After I badgered them in an open meeting, they finally coughed up the details as to what transpired.

The county was building a project in Orcutt and a dead salamander was discovered. Subsequent to this event, the county also got caught digging another trench without having observed all the safety protocols necessary to avoid another salamander kill, also called a "take" of an endangered species. So, the USFWS threatened to throw the book at the county. The fines didn't amount to all that much, perhaps $50,000 in total for both violations. The real kicker, according to the supervisors, was the potential loss of incidental take permits and the probable application of permit requirements upon agriculture to prevent impacts to salamanders. Allow me to explain.

The county does a lot of work along rivers, streams and creeks via its Flood Control District. It also does a lot of work along roads and bridges via the Public Works Department. Inherent in this routine work is the risk of harming an endangered species. This risk is heightened in Santa Barbara County because activists in our area have managed to get more species on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list than any other county in the continental United States.

The USFWS and other government agencies allow for "incidental take" when projects are covered under formal and established protocols governing how the work is completed. In view of the take of the salamander, the USFWS was threatening to abrogate the incidental take agreements with the county. This means the county would have been mired in red tape and wouldn't be able to get anything done sans permits and the threat of felony prosecution if there were any damage to all the various critters they come across in a day's work.

The second threat was to hold the county responsible for requiring farmers and ranchers to have to apply for permits for routine day-to-day operations including disking their fields. Because it can take literally years and cost tens of thousands of dollars to get a permit from the USFWS and the county, this would have been the death of agriculture throughout most of the county. One requirement imposed on property owners right now is the requirement to monitor a field for a couple of years to see if any salamander pops up out of a hole in the ground Nothing can be done with the land until the survey is complete. This is a big deal, as the tiger salamander, thanks to the activists, lays claim to 180,000 acres all by itself. Throw in the red legged frog, steelhead trout, various birds, insects and weeds that are on the ESA list and, well, there is virtually no ag land left that is not encumbered by the ESA and related critical habitat designations.

In retrospect, as bad as it is to have spent $400,000 for one salamander, we were even more outraged to learn that Supervisor Janet Wolf voted against the deal because she opted to throw our farmers and ranchers under the bus to save the county from having to pay for their own mistake. That is right. She voted to tie up the farmers and ranchers from being able to use their land for years to come to avoid the county having to pay for the county's own violation on its own construction project. To think she was one of the negotiators with USFWS makes me shudder. Supervisor Wolf is no friend of farmers and ranchers.


Andy Caldwell

The author is the executive director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture & Business, and hosts a daily talk show on AM 1290, Monday-Friday from 3-5 p.m.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010
Disappointed Is An Understatement
By Harris Sherline

To say that I am disappointed in the results of the election is putting it mildly. Waking up at 6:00 in the morning to catch the early news and hoping for some sign that the voters in California had at last come to their senses and not elected another crop of liberal clones to office was obviously too much to ask for.
For example, I wasn’t too thrilled with Meg Whitman as a candidate for Governor, but to return Jerry Brown to the office where he earned the nickname “Moonbeam” feels more like some sort of punishment to me, especially after we have suffered through almost eight years of the faux conservative governor Schwarzenegger, who accomplished little more than burnishing his personal resume. Some of Brown’s more egregious positions have included his long standing opposition to Proposition 13 and his recent unwillingness to acknowledge or respond to the allegation that someone in his office referred to Meg Whitman as a “whore.”
For Lieutenant Governor we got Gavin Newsome, the ultra liberal former Mayor of San Francisco. In addition, Barbra Boxer, perhaps the most do-nothing Senator in Congress, won going away over Carly Fiorina, a woman who worked her way up from the bottom of the corporate ladder to head one of America’s largest companies.
In the race for state Controller, I was disappointed that Tony Strickland, who is currently a state Senator and an ardent believer in the free market, did not win out over John Chiang, who has opposed oil drilling in California.
We also had a disappointing but not surprising result in Santa Barbara County, another center of liberal sensibilities in California: Das Williams, who has almost never held an actual job in his life, defeated conservative Mike Stoker in the competition to replace Pedro Nava in the state Assembly, where he (Nava) was termed out.
Moving on to the California ballot propositions, I was disappointed that Proposition 23 didn’t pass. That’s the one that would have suspended California’s cap and trade bill, AB 32, until unemployment falls below 5.5% for a year. AB 32, which does not take full effect until 2012, requires the development of regulations to reduce California’s greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, to their 1990 levels by 2020. This legislation may ultimately prove to be the economic undoing of the state, largely by imposing such restrictive and costly limitations on trucking that many if not most independent truckers will be forced out of business. The net result can only drive up the costs of transporting goods throughout the state which in turn will raise the price of goods to consumers, especially produce.
Fortunately, Proposition 24, which would have eliminated three business tax deductions, was another example of feel good legislation that would only have induced more businesses to leave the state.  The targeted tax breaks included allowing the way multi-state corporations are taxed, allowing corporations to seek tax refunds by “carrying back” current year losses to the two prior years, and distributing tax credits among corporate affiliates. California's tax regulators estimated that about 120,000 businesses in the state would have higher taxes, if Proposition 24 had been approved by voters.
Proposition 25, which enables the state legislature to pass budget related legislation with a simple majority rather than a 2/3rds approval also passed. The problem with this is that it also makes it possible for legislators to label a new tax as a “budget” measure, a legislative trick for making it easier to impose new taxes on unsuspecting taxpayers.
One ray of sunshine was the change to Republican control and leadership of the House of Representatives, which was only slightly marred by the fact that Nancy Pelosi was re-elected to another term of office in her home district of San Francisco. At least I won’t have to see or hear her pontificating any longer from the dais at press conferences and photo ops for the administration, making such outrageous statements as, “But we have to pass the (health care) bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Huh?
In addition, another disappointment to me was Harry Reid winning another term as the senior Senator from Nevada and his continued leadership of the Senate, where the Democrats managed to maintain control, notwithstanding a substantial increase in the ranks of the Republicans, who couldn’t quite reach the magic number needed to wrest control from the Democrats.   
Finally, I was and am most disappointed in the vicious personal attacks on candidates by both sides. For me, it reached a point of such intense revulsion that, after a time, I simply tuned out all campaign advertising. I’ve read that it was effective. Maybe so, but it simply left me disgusted.
Obviously, there are a great many people who see the election results differently than I do. But, as has sometimes been said, “That’s what makes horse races.”
© 2010 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Read more of Harris Sherline’s commentaries on his blog at www.opinionfest.com
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Friday, October 22, 2010
My Birthday Wish List
By Harris Sherline

I’ve never paid much attention to birthdays, my own, that is. Marking another year off the calendar of my life doesn’t mean much to me. However, as the years have continued to add up, I suppose like many elderly people, I find myself thinking less about what direction I want to personally go in the future and more about what I would like to see happen in the world around me. I rarely think about the past, at least on a personal level.
I will soon be 82-years-of-age. It’s a milestone I never expected to see, and since my birthday is the day after the November elections, I’ve decided to make a Wish List, put it under my pillow the night before and see if, when I wake up in the morning, the Good Fairy has made any of them come true.
I realize this is probably a pointless exercise because I’m old enough to know that wishing doesn’t make it so, but nonetheless, following is a list of my birthday wishes. Just for fun, you might try a similar exercise at the appropriate time and see how we compare:
Here is my birthday Wish List, in no particular order:
1) I wish for World Peace: This may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but since it seems to be the perennial wish of beauty contestants, I figure I might as well join in by starting with a really big, all encompassing wish.
2) I wish we would capture or kill Osama bin Laden, although I doubt that we will. I’m not sure it would make much difference at this point in time or affect the ability of our enemies to attack us, but it would certainly be a morale booster for those of us on the receiving end of his campaign to destroy America and Western society in general.
3) I wish our political leaders would stop spending money as if we had it. Unlike most of the general public, far too many of our politicians seem to think they can continue to spend money as if there’s no tomorrow and expect to never run out.
4) I wish America would turn back from its descent into the mindset that every thought or idea that anyone has is a good thing, regardless of who says it or its impact on our society. For example, equal rights. The concept is good, but when you think about it, people may have equal rights but this does not mean that they are or should be assured of equal outcomes. 
5) I might as well join many other Americans and resolve to lose some weight. I am seriously overweight, and although I’ve reached the age where I’d like to think it really doesn’t matter a whole lot, I know it does. Getting old shouldn’t and doesn’t necessarily mean getting fat, so I have my work cut out for me.
6) I also wish for the good health and success of my friends, and I suspect like most everyone else, there are probably some people I don’t want to see succeed, especially president Obama with his policy agenda.
7) Also in the matter of health, I wish for continued progress in managing a problem I’ve had with my eyes, which at one point had the potential of seriously impairing or causing the loss of my vision. Fortunately, under the care of two outstanding doctors, I’ve managed to dodge that bullet.
8) Politically, I hope the Conservatives (not necessarily Republicans) prevail big time in the November elections. It looks as though we’re headed in that direction, but we will see come November 2 and in the two years that follow. I also hope they don’t revert to type and act like the rest of our political leaders, who are spending us into oblivion at every level of government.
9) I wish for the success and happiness (whatever that may mean to them) of my three children and six grandchildren, but I worry about the world that everyone’s grandchildren will inherit from their elders, who really should have done a better job of managing the affairs of the nation.
10) I wish Obama would grow up and become a real leader, who cares more about the people than he does himself.
11) I also wish that Obama would stop running around the country making speeches. I’m sick of seeing him pop up on the TV screen just about every day, pontificating about everything from his policies and legislative initiatives to how we should live. The hypocrisy of a leader who constantly preaches to the rest of us about health care but can’t quit smoking is truly irritating.
12) I wish America could get out of the many wars around the world in which we are engaged, without just walking away and letting our enemies gain ascendency.
13) I wish people of different faiths would stop attacking those who don’t believe as they do.
14) I wish for less cruelty in the world. Two notable examples are the recent behavior of the governments in Iran, stoning people to death, and in Saudi Arabia, amputating a criminal’s right hand for stealing. It’s mindboggling to me that anyone could believe that their god would demand such violent and cruel forms of punishment. There are, of course, many other places around the world that engage in similar practices.
I could go on, but I will wind this up for now with the wish that I get a really big piece of birthday cake on November 3.
Thanks for listening.
© 2010 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Thursday, October 7, 2010
How the Marines welcome the Commander in Chief -AMAZING
 How the Marines welcome the Commander in Chief -AMAZING

This video has received a lot of attention. As of right now, it is showing well over a half a million hits since it was posted on March 1. It is also controversial. Many Obama supporters have claimed to debunk the video by pointing out that the events were not comparable. They argue that the event in Anbar province that President Bush attended in September 2007 was informal. The Camp Lejune event that President Obama attended, on the other hand, was more formal. They point out that it is not fair to compare two events in which the Marines are subject to different rules of behavior.

In fairness, they are correct. The events were different in many ways and the Marines present were subject to different behavioral expectations. There is, however, more to this video than that. If the content of this video were that easily debunked it would not still be drawing tens of thousands of hits per day. The different degrees of formality aside, this video is quite revealing.

In the video, the Marines exhibit obvious love and respect for President Bush. His visit was not an event that followed closely on the heels of 9/11. This video was taken after the worst days of the war and after the surge created major progress in the region. The president is visiting the troops in Anbar Province, the home of the infamous Falluja and Ar Ramadi killing grounds. This visit took place after the province had been pacified. In other words, the Marines showed their love of Mr. Bush even after the darkest days of the war.

The Lejune video, on the other hand, shows Obama entering with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal visit to the peasants. Hail to the Chief plays in the background; something that President Bush didnt allow during his military visits. Obama knows that keeping the Marines locked at the position of attention means that no comparison can ever be made to the loving reception President Bush regularly received from the troops. Obama knows how the Marines feel and will always treat them exactly like the rabble he sees.

This is the real truth of the video and why it is so popular. It warms the heart of Bush supporters to see President Bush receive the love, gratitude and respect of these warriors. It angers Obama supporters because they also see the love President Bush receives and they know their man will never see anything similar from the troops. They know that these warriors loved the last president and will never give similar respect to this one.

A good YouTube video stirs the emotions and this one does that. It elicits different emotions in different people but the underlying truth that is the catalyst for the emotional response is the same for everyone. The Marines loved President Bush in a way they will never love President Obama.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010
D.C. Tea Party shows how angry people really are
By Phil Kiver

I spent the 9/11 weekend hanging out in downtown Washington, D.C. observing the various Tea Party rallies. Honestly, the last one I attended was in Gonzales in October 2009, and the one before that was a health care protest in Austin.

I will make a bold prediction here. Whatever the highest number of congressional seats the experts say are vulnerable, I will go 50 seats higher than that. I am talking about total number of new representatives of both parties.

Judging by people’s anger I predict it will be an absolute blood bath and we may see higher voter turnout than at anytime in our memories.

The streets will flow with the blood of the non-believers...I confess I got that line from a captured terrorist while serving in Iraq who was commenting on their (Iraq’s) first free elections in 2005. As for my prediction, go back a few issues in this paper and read that in July, I told the prosecutor in Chicago to offer the former governor a deal. Yes, sometimes I can see the future unfortunately it is never very far.

I believe at least 125 seats will see a new member elected to congress. Republicans and Democrats alike are in danger. In DC among the thousands of protestors the one common theme was anger at the government, but for various reasons. Spending too much money, too many taxes, no border control, right to life, the wars, the mosque. Literally dozens of issues were bringing people together of all backgrounds in our nation’s capitol.

Folks were dressed up as period patriots, others wore Florida Gators rain coats. State flags from Texas, Maryland, New Mexico, and Georgia waved in the wet mist that could not keep the protestors away from the very grounds that belong to us all.

Signs expressing frustration and outright rage and contempt against the government, were seen in the crowd. I estimate about 30,000-50,000 in attendance, but for every one I saw, I imagine there are a 1,000 more back home cursing the over reach of federal government for one reason or another.

Now let me address a few issues and attacks that have come up against Tea Party supporters. They were people of all ages from teens, young families, and retired civil service workers, even blue collar fireman from New Jersey and New York.

A middle aged couple from Kingston Wa. Hundreds of people from Indiana, Florida, and Massachusetts came in by the bus load,  true patriots willing the give their lives for our Constitution. Even voters who were not white were in the crowd. 

I know its hard to believe that the Tea Party is not just a bunch of racists’ right? Sorry, that sentence rhymes with white. Just a little literary humor.

Let’s see who’s laughing in November. 
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Friday, October 1, 2010
SBCAG Board Does the Right Thing
By Robin Hayhurst

Our Santa Barbara County Association of Government’s Board recently voted 7 to 6 along north/south county lines to do the right thing in the face of persistent environmental advocates who continue to dominate any regional community planning conversation.
The vote in question involved the proposed emission reduction targets identified in the California Air Resource Board’s August 9th staff report: Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets for Automobiles and Light Trucks Pursuant to Senate Bill 375.  Not reflected in this report or SBCAG’s staff report is the economic impact of their recommendations, as each incremental percentage of reduction for emissions is exponential,  requiring huge behavior changes and skyrocketing costs.  Ironically, the centerpiece of these behaviors is the commuter culture of Santa Barbara’s workforce, which becomes more polluting due to lack of affordable housing (in a county which fought the state to lower its RHNA housing numbers) and 101 freeway improvement obstructionists.
SB 375 was passed in 2008 to address regional planning for transportation, housing and greenhouse gasses. The California Air Resources Board set forth on a collaborative process that engaged officials at the local level to identify emission reduction targets associated with land use and transportation that are both ambitious and achievable.  However, CARB staff disregarded the input and analysis provided during the statewide stakeholder process, and instead proposed completely unrealistic reduction targets that were not even discussed or modeled. This has been especially impactful in the Bay area and in Southern California, where the numbers set by CARB were clearly unachievable and counter to their negotiations with local agencies. While we all appreciate the challenge of reaching our climate change goals, the targets recommended by CARB staff fail to balance the goals with California’s need to provide jobs and housing for our residents.

CARB did a brilliant job of cleaning up the air in LA but has also amassed a sizeable and powerful bureaucracy that literally answers to no one.  Those of us who have dealt with them for the past few years regarding their draconian dictates when it comes to on and off road diesel engines are quite familiar with the capricious methods CARB employs. Specifically, CARB has regulations pending that would render today's trucking and heavy construction fleets inoperable in California.

The affected industries made it known to CARB that their numbers simply were not right, and currently by CARB’s own admission they overestimated the affects of emissions of diesel particulate matter and its actual quantity by 200 to 300%. Yet CARB still pushes unrealistic diesel restrictions based on a staff report written by an individual who lied about his qualifications.  A lot of your local businesses have already been forced to purchase or retrofit their equipment at great cost ultimately passed on to the consumer when they deliver food to your markets or graders to your permitted projects.
Miraculously, when suggesting Santa Barbara county’s SB 375 auto and light truck emission requirements, CARB found us the least emission emitting area in the state outside of Lake Tahoe and deemed that we did not have to impose further restrictions on our local citizens.
This was not good enough for the environmental commenter’s on SBCAG’s deliberative process, who insisted that those levels be set higher to match San Luis Obispo County’s hubris in overshooting their CARB dictated mark and show off their commitment to strangling the economy further without sufficient reason.  The cost to consumers and the convoluted selective thinking that has hamstrung affordable housing and revenue development should be the true concern.  Local governments simply do not have the funding to support infrastructure needs nor the planning activities that would be required under enhanced targets.
The process that started as a collaborative effort has turned into a massive new state regulatory program that will create major uncertainty for employers and increase job losses. In order to preserve the spirit of SB 375 and promote a program that will move forward successfully, CARB should go back to the statewide input and analysis that was provided by experts during the stakeholder process, and adopt lower range targets in the Bay area and Southern California that have been modeled and shown to be reasonable and achievable.  These extraordinarily high target levels were not modeled for economic impacts, and are based on entirely impractical assumptions about transportation improvements.  For example, CARB’s targets assume the development of expensive mass transit projects such as high speed rail, that are not likely to be completed anytime soon. 
The local environmental community prefers to expose our businesses and families to unnecessary fines and expensive mitigation fees in a bravado stance that becomes tiresome in the face of the real struggles in our economy.  The Board majority of SBCAG is to be commended for saying enough is enough, and voting in support of reason and pragmatic reality.  Not standing up to monolithic state agencies like CARB would be truly counterproductive given the reality of our current regulatory environment and its ignorance of the real on-the-ground impact of policies not supported by anything but south county style political correctness.  Until these policies are vetted and analyzed for economic impacts, and the public is informed about the ramifications, SBCAG’s Board was right to reject increased target levels.
Robin Hayhurst is a Director on the Boards of COLAB, SBCTA, and Committee INC, and a member of the Bond Oversight Committees for Measure A and C-2004.  She isExecutive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Contractors Association.
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Friday, August 27, 2010
Contact UCLA Chancellor Gene Block
Many politicians and pundits pin the economic travails of the State of California upon our tax rates.  However, my experience leads me to believe that the number one cause for the economic malaise of our once great State emanates from our regulatory climate.  Here is but one example.

    It is most unfortunate that few Californians are aware of the scandal surrounding the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  CARB has been in the process of establishing a Diesel Engine Rule that will require all engines in the State of CA to be replaced twice in the next ten years.  The fiscal impact of this rule can easily cost the California economy in excess of $40 billion.  It will impact trucking, construction, and farming, as these industries rely heavily upon diesel engines.  Is the expense for this rule justified?

    CARB has been arguing that the particulate emissions from diesel engine exhaust causes premature deaths in the State of California.  However, Dr. James Enstrom of UCLA, has proven there is no such health impact and his research has been peer reviewed and replicated by other scholars.  Dr. Enstrom has a PhD in Physics from Stanford, and he has been a research scientist in the University of Ca. for nearly 40 years!

    Additionally, Dr. Enstrom discovered that the lead researcher working for CARB on this project, Hien T. Tran, faked his Ph.D, having purchased it on-line!  Further, the Chair of CARB, Mary Nichols help conceal this fraud from her fellow board members!  

    Yet, after all this, the person being fired is Dr. Enstrom!  Despite the fact that he has been with UCLA for some 34 years, he has been slated for termination simply because his colleagues don’t like the effects of his research.

    This episode mirrors the international Climategate scandal.  As you recall, the leaders of the movement to curtail greenhouse gas emissions were caught in email exchanges discussing how to squelch and punish any researchers who dared challenge their scientific findings.  

    These efforts to squelch debate and silence opposition are an affront to the honesty and integrity of academia and undermine the very foundation of the regulatory efforts underway.

    Dr. Enstrom is a fine gentlemen having had the courage to been one of the only scientists out there who has been willing to go against the current of politically correct junk science.  His research has been a great help to the business community as they attempt to resist the onslaught of regulations threatening to overrun our economy.  He was fired by fellow staff members in a closed meeting.  Some of these fellow staff members have a grudge against him for his work associated with this scandal at CARB!

    We are asking the Chancellor of UCLA to give Dr. Enstrom the due process of a fair hearing that will enable him to hear the charges against him and the opportunity to defend himself.
Please email the Chancellor and ask him to hold a FAIR Hearing on this matter.
The contact for UCLA Chancellor Gene Block is chancellor@conet.ucla.edu 
To hear an interview with Dr. Enstrom follow this link:  
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB, The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.  Andy also hosts a daily radio show on the Central Coast.  For more information, contact Andy at
Posted at 15:27 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Friday, August 20, 2010
Small Businesses Can Be Leaders In Changing Washington
By Janet Cronick
Tomorrow, I and other women business owners from the Southern California area will gather at the Anaheim Sheraton Park Hotel to discuss the challenges we face, and the issues that impact our businesses’ bottom line. Government spending and our nation’s fiscal crisis played a big role in this discussion.

Daily, troubling economic news has left anxious Americans wondering if the worst of the economic crisis is truly behind us.  All Americans have been effected by the financial crisis and ensuing recession, but small business owners have faced particularly tough challenges.  Unfortunately, counter-productive policy and the government's fiscal recklessness have only added to the problems..

The collapse of the housing market destroyed the assets of millions of Americans. With less savings, consumers reduced their spending, which affected the bottom lines of businesses everywhere.  Employers that planned to expand instead laid off valued employees.  Companies and would-be entrepreneurs today find it difficult to obtain loans from a skittish financial sector. 
Companies have been doing more with less as a result of these hard economic times.  Families also have been cutting back.  In contrast, our federal government has been on an unprecedented spending spree with our tax dollars, and the future tax dollars of our children and grandchildren. 

This year alone, the federal government will add $1.5 trillion to the national debt.  While politicians try to justify this borrowing as necessary to bolster the economy, Americans know all to well that too many of our tax dollars are simply being wasted.  Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn recently published a disturbing report highlighting 100 of the most wasteful projects funded by the so-called “economic stimulus” bill.  The examples are jaw dropping: $89,298 for a new sidewalk leading to a ditch; $554,763 for new windows for a closed-down building. 

Such waste is infuriating, but it isn't unexpected.  This is the way that Washington has run for decades.  Policymakers on both sides of the aisle have grown accustomed to using taxpayer money as if it was Monopoly money, to be distributed to favored constituents and interest groups, for projects that would never receive support from the private sector.    Many leaders in Washington have found it more politically expedient to run up debt, while ignoring warning signs about the long-term consequences of their fiscal recklessness.  

The consequences of this profligacy are catching up with us quickly. Our national debt is currently $13.3 trillion, which is equivalent to more than 90 percent of our gross domestic product.

Economists warn that countries with debt in excess of 90 percent of GDP retard their economic growth.  The United States has already surpassed that threshold.  How much worse might our economic problem be down the road?  

And far from reining in spending, just last week Washington passed yet another round of bailouts – this time, $26 billion for states still mired in their own fiscal messes.
As a nation, we must ask ourselves: how can we reverse course so our economy won't drown in a tidal wave of debt? 

The answer is simple: the American people must demand those we elect to Congress make getting the nation’s fiscal house in order. We must hold them accountable. Small business owners have enough problems without the confidence-crushing uncertainty that is coming out of Washington. Elected officials must commit to focusing on this bigger picture of our overall economic health.  Terry Neese, a small business advocate, has a saying, “If you run a business and you’re not involved in public policy, then public policy will run your business.”

Small business owners can serve as leaders in demanding greater responsibility from Washington.  Every day we are making tough decisions, balancing our companies' budgets, economizing, and making prudent investments.  Washington politicians should have to do no less.  

Janet Cronick is owner and CEO of Ultimate Gifts, a promotional products logo merchandise company located in the Orange County, California area.
Posted at 14:48 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

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