California Daydreaming

The Next Big Thing: The Fear Of Climate Change

The last big thing was green tech – from wave-power generators to the smart grid. Hyped in the bipartisan stimulus bill, it  promised gobs of jobs, billions in revenues, and untold riches. Private investors plowed in billions too. It ended up in a massive pileup of capital destruction. Fatalities were everywhere.

California Pension Fund Is Hotel California

Contributed by Chriss Street: The Eagles got it right with Hotel California: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!” The San Jose City Council, facing huge budget deficits, tried to terminate life-time pension benefits for Council members. Turns out, ending wildly expensive benefits may be wildly more expensive than staying in the plan.

Broke Public Pension Funds And Exotic Boondoggles

That state and local government pension funds are going broke isn’t a new problem. That it’s much worse than reported by those pension funds isn’t a new problem either. Last June, Moody’s determined that the already dizzying unfunded pension liabilities were actually three times higher than reported. To top it off, trustees are blowing a bunch of retiree money on an exotic boondoggle.

Chevron Whacked By Record Fine so Small it Might Not Notice

The California Division of Occupational Safety & Health just slammed Chevron with massive, record-breaking penalties related to the refinery in Richmond—the one that ended up in a fireball last August and caused 15,000 people to seek medical treatment. Purpose: to teach the mega-company an excruciatingly painful lesson. Alas….

California Pension Death Star Approaching

Contributed by Chriss Street. With California running new deficits even after raising income taxes to the highest in the nation, homeowners should be prepared for politicians to try to overturn Proposition 13 that for 35 years has limited property tax rate increases.

California’s Budget Goes Off the Cliff

Contributed by Chriss Street. State Controller John Chiang announced that revenue for November fell $806.8 million, or 10.8%, below budget.  Democrats thought they could hammer “the rich” by convincing voters to pass Proposition 30 to create the highest state income tax in the nation.  But it appears high-income earners have “voted-with-their-feet”, resulting in a $1 billion shortfall in taxes, and the beginning of a new financial crisis.

The Worldwide Spectacle Of Banning San Francisco’s Naked Soul

Rarely has a city council received so much worldwide attention as San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. Yesterday, accompanied by booing and heckling and shouts of approval, they voted 6 to 5 to ban public nudity. A close decision, after months of hot debate. And protests, when it wasn’t too cold, by naked people outside City Hall. “Ban” in the San Francisco sense.

For-Profit Colleges: A “Business Model” That Blew Up

Career Education, when it reported its quarterly results, shed light on an industry that had ruthlessly taken advantage of the American way of funding higher education, and that had preyed on gullible prospective students who were trying to better their lives. Then it handed the tab to the taxpayer. A perfect scam. Now the industry is in a vise between government crack-downs and reluctant students.

California’s Brilliant Political Shake-Down Move

Contributed by Chriss Street. Support for Proposition 30, the income and sales tax increase touted by Gov. Brown, has fallen below 50%. Now public employees’ unions are spending fortunes to get voters to rescue their lifestyles. Meanwhile, state politicians have increased deficit spending this year by more than the $6 billion Prop 30 might bring in—and Gov. Brown is threatening with a doomsday scenario if it fails.

California’s Ballyhooed Recovery? Oh Dude!

Despite the current hype about the recovery in California, the manufacturing index suddenly collapsed. And with the star of California, Venture Capital, facing a “dismal fundraising climate,” funding for startups might soon dry up.