tagged w/ California
SARATOGA, Calif. (AP) — Family members of a 15-year-old California girl who killed herself after photos of a sexual assault surfaced online said on Friday they suspect the attackers tried to destroy evidence.
Audrie Pott's family went into seclusion after three 16-year-old boys were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of sexual battery in the assault of the girl while she was passed out at a party.
Family's attorney Robert Allard said the arrests "reopened a wound."
The family claim was posted on a Facebook page for a foundation set up in the girl's name.
It did not provide further details on what type of evidence might have been targeted by the suspects. However, it asked any students with information to come forward,
The Santa Clara County sheriff's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the family's allegation.
The Pott family was not alone in wrestling with such circumstances.
In Canada, the cousin of a young woman who committed suicide after an alleged assault and months of bullying issued an emotional appeal to people Thursday not to use violence to avenge her death.
Angella Parsons stood before a somber crowd of about 300 people in a Halifax park to reflect on the short life of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons.
The gathering came after Rehtaeh's family said she hanged herself last week and was taken off life-support Sunday.
In California, Pott posted on Facebook that her life was ruined, "worst day ever," and hanged herself eight days after being sexually assaulted while passed out at a party, Allard said.
For the next eight months, until Thursday's arrests, her family struggled to figure out what happened to their soccer loving, artistic, horse crazy daughter, whose gentle smile, long dark hair and shining eyes belied a struggling soul.
"The family has been trying to understand why their loving daughter would have taken her life at such a young age and to make sure that those responsible would be held accountable," Allard said.
"After an extensive investigation that we have conducted on behalf of the family, there is no doubt in our minds that the victim, then only 15 years old, was savagely assaulted by her fellow high school students while she lay on a bed completely unconscious," he said.
Allard said students used cell phones to share photos of the assaults and the images went viral on the Internet.
Santa Clara County sheriff's Lt. Jose Cardoza said two of the teens were arrested at Saratoga High School and the third, a former Saratoga High student, at Christopher High School in Gilroy. The names of the suspects were not released because they are minors. Details about the assault were also not released.
Cardoza said the suspects were booked into juvenile hall and face two felonies and one misdemeanor each.
The lieutenant said the investigation is ongoing.
The Associated Press does not routinely identify victims of sexual assault. But in this case, Pott's family wanted her name and case known, Allard said. The family also provided a photo to the AP.
The girl's family members have not commented and have requested privacy until a planned news conference on Tuesday. Her father and step-mother, Lawrence and Lisa Pott, along with her mother Sheila Pott, have started the Audrie Pott Foundation to provide music and art scholarships and offer youth counseling and support.
The foundation website alludes to the teen's struggles, but until now neither law enforcement, school officials nor family had discussed the sexual assault.
"She was compassionate about life, her friends, her family, and would never do anything to harm anyone," the site says. "She was in the process of developing the ability to cope with the cruelty of this world but had not quite figured it all out."
Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District Superintendent Bob Mistele offered sympathies to all the families involved in the case.
"Collaborating with our parents, students, staff and community, we will continue to work diligently to maintain a positive climate at our high schools based on respect, responsibility, and open communication that discourages cyberbullying and inappropriate conduct," his statement said.
http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20130412/US--Assaulted.Teen.Suicide/print/SARATOGA, Calif. (AP) — Family members of a 15-year-old California girl who... more
1 month ago
During the Senate Judiciary meeting today to markup a potpourri of bills designed to deny the American people their rights under the Second Amendment and disarm them, Senator Dianne Feinstein opposed an amendment to her so-called assault weapons ban legislation that would allow veterans to continue buying firearms the bill would outlaw.
Feinstein basically said all veterans have PTSD and should have their Second Amendment stripped. In response to the amendment, she said the following:
…this adds an exemption of retired military. As I understand our bill, no issue has arose in this regard during the 10 years the expired ban was effect… and what we did in the other bill was exempt possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States… that included active military. The problem with expanding this is that you know with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how the seller or transferrer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member, or a veteran, and that there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this. So you know I would be happy to sit down with you again and see if we could work something out but I think we have to — if you’re going to do this, find a way that veterans who are incapacitated for one reason or another mentally don’t have access to this kind of weapon.
The comments are included in the C-Span video above
Thankfully, Feinstein’s bill will most certainly be dead on arrival and – for now – the American people (with the exception of Americans unfortunate enough to live in New York state) will have their Second Amendment rights spared.
Feinstein’s remark, however, reveals a deep-seated mistrust and contempt for America’s veterans. It also reveals the fear by government of the revolutionary potential of veterans, a fear dutifully expressed by the Department of Homeland Security when it said returning veterans are “right wing extremists” who may challenge the government.
Incidentally, Feinstein is way off the mark. Although PTSD is a relatively new definition, soldiers returning from combat have experienced anxiety disorders since time immemorial. It is nothing new. She is merely exploiting a modern psychology term in order to add substance to her argument that veterans are insane and as such must have their Second Amendment rights nullified.
.During the Senate Judiciary meeting today to markup a potpourri of bills designed to... more
Following Becky’s line of thinking that everyone protesting during the 60s was a Hippie and protests were nonsence Then all black folk are “Black Panther Revolutionaries”anyone who enjoys a rainbow is Gay. (Not that there is anything wrong with it) And because you teach, have worked for the Media and post a blog you can write.Following Becky’s line of thinking that everyone protesting during the 60s was a... more
“Last Minutes with Oden” is a deeply engaging, extremely heart-wrenching 6-minute documentary short film directed and edited by Eliot Rausch, in association with PhosPictures and Uber Content. The film was named Best Documentary and Best Video at the 2010 Vimeo Awards, chosen from over 6500 film and video submissions.
“Last Minutes with Oden” tells a story about Jason Wood (Woody), an ex-convict who is saying a final farewell to his best friend, of the man’s last minutes with his dog before he has to have it euthanized for health reasons. The documentary is a beautiful elegy that calls attention to certain heartbreaking moments most of us experience, which is an incredibly powerful reminder of the importance of family and friendships in all our lives.
This piece presents a number of colorful photographs and two emotionally touching documentary short films.
http://disembedded.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/last-minutes-with-oden-a-powerful-elegy-on-love-loss-and-grief/“Last Minutes with Oden” is a deeply engaging, extremely heart-wrenching... more
One city did something no one other city has done. A California official said the sale of former redevelopment property was “illicit.”One city did something no one other city has done. A California official said the sale... more
Winds that weather experts said normally arrive in force in the late fall fueled flames in the Springs fire that quickly chewed through 6,500 of acres of dry brush.
William Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada, said that Southern California’s weather has been out-of-whack, with Santa Ana winds descending on Southern California much earlier than they usually do and low moisture levels.
“It was promising up to December and then all of sudden Mother Nature turned off the spigot,” he said. “It’s remarkable to get Santa Anas in May.… Every way you look at it, it’s been remarkable, unusual and incendiary.”
Southern California, like much of the state, has experienced record levels of dry conditions since the nominal “rain year” began last July. With only about five inches of rain since that time, Los Angeles is headed toward its fourth-driest year since 1877. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which protects about a third of the state, said that it has dealt with more than 150 blazes this year compared to 2012.
Patzert said Saturday and Sunday should see some cooling, with the possibility of drizzle on the tail end of the weekend. But there’s no logical reason to expect Southern California to get significant rain until late in the year. Since the New Year, downtown L.A. has experienced less than two inches of rain through months that are almost always the year’s wettest.
Average for this point in the rain year is more than 11 inches of rainfall.
“We are at 17%. That is exceptional,” he said. "Our hope for a drought buster was dashed and an early fire season was guaranteed."
More at the link
World Continues To Warm In 2012 in spite of La Nina.Winds that weather experts said normally arrive in force in the late fall fueled... more
The home of the Hollywood liberals is the nation’s newest battleground on fracking.
California is the latest state to embark on a fierce debate over whether and how to regulate the oil- and gas-extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing — a controversy already roiling politics in rural Pennsylvania and inspiring an endless soap opera in New York state.
But California could provide an even bigger stage for the drama: It’s not only the most populous U.S. state but also a Democratic stronghold, known for its strict air pollution regulations and some of the world’s most advanced green energy projects. And industry supporters have drawn encouragement from recent comments by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has expressed openness to the technology while speaking about the “extraordinary” potential of the state’s fossil fuel deposits.
“This would be the first state that many view as being a strong Democratic state and fairly progressive that would potentially move forward with the activity on a large scale,” said John Krohn of the industry campaign Energy in Depth. “If and when that happens, it will be a lot harder to paint the practice as an extreme process that risks the health and safety of individuals.”
Environmentalists, concerned about potential risks like water pollution, want the Golden State to set a different national precedent by imposing tough regulations.
“As California goes, so goes the nation in some ways when it comes to environmental protection,” said Damon Nagami, senior attorney and director of the Southern California Ecosystems Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re hoping to do that with fracking and oil development as well.”
Nagami said many in California were surprised to see their state suddenly in the cross hairs of the fracking debate.
“A lot of us are really only now beginning to understand that this was happening over the last year or so,” he said. “This is something that started to pop up on many people’s radars.”
The stakes for industry are big: California is home to the oil-rich Monterey Shale, which by some estimates may hold enough oil to displace five years of petroleum imports to the U.S.
Oil companies in California have used fracking to tap those supplies for decades, but the state is just beginning to craft specific regulations to cover it.
Critics and some lawmakers have said the potential rules offered by Brown’s administration are too weak. Brown defended his regulators’ work last month, however, while saying any decisions about fracking will be based on “science.”
“The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary,” he told reporters, adding that the state has to find a “balance” in producing energy and protecting the environment. “We want to get the greenhouse gas emissions down, but we also want to keep our economy going.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/california-energy-fracking-battleground-90397.html#ixzz2REBrTdd4
More at the linkThe home of the Hollywood liberals is the nation’s newest battleground on... more
California lawmakers are pushing a bill that would exempt the state from federal laws authorizing indefinite detention of citizens.
The California Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the California Liberty Preservation Act, which was introduced by Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled committee 6-0 with the support of a wide-ranging coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union, Tenth Amendment Center, San Francisco 99% Coalition, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Libertarian Party of California.
Full Story: http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/12/california-bill-to-nullify-ndaa-unanimously-passes-committee/#ixzz2QRMqZ12NCalifornia lawmakers are pushing a bill that would exempt the state from federal laws... more
Gov. Jerry Brown's prison program blamed in fatal stabbing
San Bernardino County officials cite the case of a suspect who was killed by a CHP officer as proof that realignment is a failure. State officials say the blame is misplaced.
The case of a convicted felon who allegedly stabbed a woman to death at a Fontana park-and-ride has exposed flaws in Gov. Jerry Brown's controversial plan to give local governments responsibility for nonviolent prisoners, San Bernardino County authorities said Tuesday.
David Mulder, 43, a transient with a history of drug-related convictions, was shot and killed Sunday night by a California Highway Patrol officer responding to a report of a woman being attacked in a car near the San Bernardino Freeway. Elisa VanCleve, 49, of Rialto was in the car with Mulder and died of stab wounds.
County probation officials said Mulder was released from state prison Sept. 25 under the governor's realignment program, which transferred supervision of prisoners and probationers convicted of nonviolent and non-sex-related crimes to local agencies.
Realignment was approved after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld federal oversight of California's overcrowded prisons. Local law enforcement agencies have complained of being overrun by prisoners and parolees sent to county jails, treatment programs and probation supervision — even with additional state funding.
A week before the killing, another felon released to county supervision under the program allegedly raped a woman in a Fontana motel room, according to the Fontana Police Department. Juan Francisco Aguilera, 30, had convictions for grand theft auto, drug possession, receiving stolen property and robbery.
Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones called both cases prime examples of the failure of realignment.
"Dangerous prisoners that belong in state prison continue to be released early, time and time again, to return to our communities and endanger our families and friends," Jones said.
A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said blaming realignment for Mulder's release was misguided and inaccurate. Mulder had finished his prison sentence and would have been released to San Bernardino County, where he was originally sentenced, regardless, agency spokesman Luis Patino said.
"The guy served his prison time and we had no authority to hold him beyond that. Whether he was on parole or probation, he still would have been in their county," Patino said.
Patino said more than $152 million in state funding has been allocated to San Bernardino County since 2011 to handle the increased responsibilities under prison realignment. Mulder's early release from county jail after being arrested for a probation violation was responsible for him being on the street Sunday, not state prison realignment, Patino said.
San Bernardino County's Chief Probation Officer Michelle Scray Brown said that although her agency is equipped to handle the increased caseload under realignment, Mulder was among those prisoners being released who are "simply not appropriate for community supervision."
Although his crimes were nonviolent, Mulder had been sent to state prison eight times since 1990, primarily for drug possession convictions, but he had a history of violating parole and skirting probation officers.
"We arrested this guy several times for violations," Probation Officer Brown said. "Clearly, this guy was a high risk to the community."
After his release from state prison in September, Mulder enrolled in a sober-living facility in Upland. In December, a county probation officer found that Mulder had disappeared and failed to report a change of address. Mulder was arrested March 25. Three days later, a San Bernardino County judge sentenced him to 30 days in county jail for violating the terms of his probation, giving him credit for 11 days already served.
Mulder was released from jail five days later.
San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller said Mulder was released from custody April 1 after receiving 14 days of credit for good behavior and work time based on the judge's sentence.
Chris Condon, a spokesman for the probation agency, said it's not surprising that Mulder would have been released early because the county jails are filled with inmates who, in previous years, would be in state prison.
"We do not have sufficient bed space to house this population," Condon said.
For the Record, 10:36 a.m. April 10: An earlier version of this report contained a photo caption with a misattributed quote.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fontana-slaying-20130410,0,3363080.storyGov. Jerry Brown's prison program blamed in fatal stabbing
San Bernardino... more
Two years ago, the mayor, a Republican, decided to leverage the incessant Antelope Valley sun so that Lancaster could become the solar capital “of the world,” he said. Then he reconsidered. “Of the universe,” he said, the brio in his tone indicating that it would be parsimonious to confine his ambition to any one planet.
“We want to be the first city that produces more electricity from solar energy than we consume on a daily basis,” he said. This means Lancaster’s rooftops, alfalfa fields and parking lots must be covered with solar panels to generate a total of 126 megawatts of solar power above the 39 megawatts already being generated and the 50 megawatts under construction.
To that end, Lancaster just did what former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to do in 2006: require that almost all new homes either come equipped with solar panels or be in subdivisions that produce one kilowatt of solar energy per house. He also was able to recruit the home building giant KB Home to implement his vision, despite the industry’s overall resistance to solar power.
“Lancaster is breaking new ground,” said Michelle Kinman, a clean energy advocate at Environment California, a research and lobbying group. Ms. Kinman, who tracks the growth of solar energy in the state, calculates that the city tripled the number of residential installations in the past 18 months.
The city’s pursuit of solar self-sufficiency may exceed that of other municipalities, but California has long outpaced the country in its embrace of that technology. Cities like San Diego, near the Mexican border, and counties like Sonoma, in Northern California’s wine country, have been aggressive in converting sunshine into electricity.
The lifetime costs of a large solar facility are expected to be about 15 percent more than electricity bought from the state’s grid. Those projected costs are now roughly half of what they were five years ago, state figures show.
Around the country, photovoltaic energy is increasingly being embraced as panel prices fall. Nationally, photovoltaic generating capacity rose 76 percent in 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association; more than 40 percent of the country’s solar capacity of 7,700 megawatts came on line last year.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/us/lancaster-calif-focuses-on-becoming-solar-capital-of-universe.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130409&_r=0Two years ago, the mayor, a Republican, decided to leverage the incessant Antelope... more
In response to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, a federal judge ruled today that the Obama administration violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County, without considering all the risks that fracking poses to water, air and wildlife.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2013/fracking-04-08-2013.htmlIn response to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, a... more
One of the most dangerous cities in America has just declared bankruptcy, leaving creditors out hundreds of millions of dollars.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein said the bankruptcy declaration was needed to allow the city to continue to provide basic services.
“It’s apparent to me the city would not be able to perform its obligations to its citizens on fundamental public safety as well as other basic government services without the ability to have the muscle of the contract-impairing power of federal bankruptcy law,” Klein said.
The city of nearly 300,000 people has become emblematic of government excess and the financial calamity that resulted when the nation’s housing bubble burst.
Its salaries, benefits and borrowing were based on anticipated long-term developer fees and increasing property tax revenue. But those were lost in a flurry of foreclosures beginning in the mid-2000s and a 70 percent decline in the city’s tax base.
Attorneys for the city said the city’s budget and services had been cut to the bone.
“There’s nothing to celebrate about bankruptcy,” said Bob Deis, Stockton’s city manager. “But it is a vindication of what we’ve been saying for nine months.”
The Chapter 9 bankruptcy case is being closely watched nationally for potential precedent-setting implications.
The $900 million that Stockton owes to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to cover pension promises is its biggest debt. So far Stockton has kept up with pension payments while it has reneged on other debts, maintaining that it needs a strong pension plan to retain its pared-down workforce.
By 2009 Stockton had accumulated nearly $1 billion in debt on civic improvements, money owed to pay pension contributions, and the most generous health care benefit in the state—coverage for life for all retirees plus a dependent, no matter how long they had worked for the city.
Creditors, who invested tens of millions of dollars into city bonds to help cover pension payment shortages have been left holding the bag. And now, with the city officially bankrupt, even those pensions are under threat.
Stockton is the first of many large cities that will soon declare bankruptcy, with more troubled local city councils likely to seek bankruptcy protection in the near future.
Like many indebted citizens of America, the Stockton government based their salaries, pensions and city development plans on the notion that economic growth could never end.
Their plan worked until it didn’t.
This is only the beginning.
First, we’ll see major cities across America lay off hundreds of thousands of employees, a trend that has been gaining momentum over the last several years.
Then, entire States, likely starting with California, Illinois, and New York, will fall under the weight of billions of dollars in debt....
http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/broke-stockton-goes-bankrupt-precedent-setting-implications_04012013One of the most dangerous cities in America has just declared bankruptcy, leaving... more
1 month ago
A group of Bay Area and Los Angeles cannabis activists are working to fulfill the dream of late activist Jack Herer with a proposed ballot initiative that would legalize the cannabis hemp plant in its entirety. The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 is still in the beginning stages, but the group behind the initiative is hoping to drum up enough support to get it on the November 2014 ballot.
"This initiative's goal is to end the prohibition of cannabis similar to how we did with alcohol and wine," said Santa Cruz-based activist Michael Jolson, a proponent of the initiative.
"If our initiative were to be successful in 2015, we would begin the proliferation of the hemp industry of growing hemp for all its uses."
The initiative would legalize the cultivation and distribution of cannabis hemp for industrial and medicinal uses as well as personal use for people at least 21 years old.
The real thrust of the initiative, Jolson said, is the legalization of industrial hemp farming to allow the plant to be used for fuels, medicine, food, paper and textiles, paints, plastics and building materials.
"There are over 10,000 varieties of the plant and 50,000 products. In California, that means just on that, now we will be allowed to start growing a plant that has all these uses, so then we feel here if we can get this initiative going that eventually it can generate a trillion dollars."
The initiative was originally drafted by Herer, an author who died in 2010.
"Part of Jack's message is that we need to legalize the plant completely, but keep the government at bay and keep them from overly regulating and over taxing," Jolson said.
http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_22843108/cannabis-activists-raising-awareness-new-legalization-initiative-2014A group of Bay Area and Los Angeles cannabis activists are working to fulfill the... more
In a ridiculous statement, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) claimed that it is currently legal in the US to “hunt humans”.
Feinstein also opposed an ammendment to her gun grab bill that would see military veterans exempt. Feinstein suggested that veterans may have post traumatic stress disorder and could be mentally ill, so should be prevented from purchasing high capacity firearms.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: If I understand this, this adds an exemption of retired military. As I understand our bill, no issue has arose in this regard during the 10 years the expired ban was in effect and what we did in the other bill was exempt possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States. So that included active military.
The problem with expanding this is that, you know, with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how the seller or transferrer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member, or a veteran, and that there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this.
So, you know, I would be happy to sit down with you again and see if we could work something out but I think we have to– if you’re going to do this, find a way that veterans who are incapacitated for one reason or another mentally don’t have access to this kind of weapon.
http://www.infowars.com/feinstein-veterans-should-not-be-exempt-from-assault-weapons-ban/In a ridiculous statement, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) claimed that it is... more
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce officials, who sent a representative on Gov. Rick Perry’s recent California recruiting trip, report a spike in Golden State companies inquiring about relocating to Central Texas.
Californians seem responsive to Texas’ low tax message, especially since the most recent state election in November, when income and sales taxes increases were approved by California’s voters in a measure called Proposition 30.
“We have had a spike of double or triple the amount of normal (business relocation) activity since the November election in California,” said Dave Porter, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Perry underscored that message in a conference call with reporters Wednesday as the governor, accompanied by several officials from Texas cities, wrapped up his four-day trip that caught the national media’s attention with its cheeky tone that included a back-and-forth with California Gov. Jerry Brown.
During his call, Perry said he was using racing terminology when he said in San Francisco that California is “looking at our backside” after Brown dismissed Perry’s $24,000 radio ad as “barely a fart.”
Perry, a Republican with presidential aspirations, said he doesn’t wish California any ill will.
“This isn’t about bashing California,” he said. “As much as I talk about California’s high taxes and overregulation, I also believe the state has to succeed. It’s too important to the country.”
He said Texas, which leans as much Republican as California leans Democrat, offers a different vision for business owners, particularly after the November tax hikes to re-balance that state’s finances.
The California income tax increases are aimed primarily at those with incomes above $250,000 a year.
Porter said the new tax measure seems to have rubbed some California tech entrepreneurs the wrong way.
“I think the tech companies there have had enough,” Porter said. “We are seeing mid-sized tech companies say, ‘This is it.’”
The Austin chamber regularly recruits in California, sending about eight delegations of chamber members a year to talk with various business prospects in that state.
Many California tech companies are familiar with Austin because of its existing tech community, the presence of the University of Texas at Austin and the local tech workforce.
Now, with the California tax hikes, Porter said, the chamber is getting inquiries and visits from high-tech executives who are considering relocating their headquarters operations out of California to avoid that state’s income taxes.
“We have had tons of prospects and inquiries from California,” Porter said. “And the common theme is: the sooner (the move out of California) the better.”
But Jon Roberts, a principal with the TIP Strategies economic development consulting firm in Austin, said it is premature to expect a flood of companies into Texas from the Golden State.
Other states, including Nevada and Michigan, also are competing for relocation projects from California, and they are actively offering tax incentives, Roberts said.
Austin’s latest business recruit from California was Visa Inc., which decided in December to create nearly 800 technology jobs here over the next five years. Visa will receive $1.6 million in city of Austin incentives and another $7.9 million from the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund to create a “global information center” at 12301 Research Blvd.
Visa officials visited Austin last week and said they expected the new Austin center will concentrate its work on software development for cybersecurity and e-commerce, Porter said.
Visa didn’t respond this week to requests for comment.
Porter said one of Austin’s shortcomings in recruiting businesses right now is not having enough available high-tech office space for new companies to move into.
The biggest available piece of tech office space is about 300,000 square feet in the Freescale Semiconductor complex on Parmer Lane in Northwest Austin.
The chamber expects to meet with some of its real estate members involved in office development and talk to them about the area’s need for more space suitable for new tech companies.
The chamber reported last year that California was its leading source of business relocations, with 72 locations from that state between 2004 and the end of last year. That represents 28 percent of all corporate relocations to the Austin area during that time.
Roberts noted that lower taxes aren’t the only thing that attracts businesses. An active incentives program works as well.
“There is more to corporate moves than the tax environment,” he said. “The level of incentives in play has gone up dramatically in Nevada.”
Roberts’ company is consulting on economic development strategy with the city of Las Vegas, which also wants to nab its share of companies moving from California.
“Nevada was hammered by the latest recession, and this is a logical response by economic development entities to make sure (businesses moving out of California) find a happy home,” he said.
Roberts ranks Nevada and Texas as the two states most actively recruiting companies that want to relocate from California.
Perry traveled to San Francisco, the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Orange County to meet with business leaders in the high-tech, biotechnology, financial, insurance and film industries. He was accompanied by local economic development officials from at least a dozen Texas cities as well as business representatives from BNSF Railway and Oncor, an electric transmission company.
Adriana Cruz, a former Perry staffer who is vice president of global recruitment and retention for the Austin chamber, also made the trip.
Perry said the team approach works best, especially by allowing California and Texas business owners to talk about the two states’ differences.
“When you have a businessman or woman talking directly to their counterpart, there is a great deal of trust and experience level,” he said. “I think they are substantially more successful trips than just with me.”Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce officials, who sent a representative on Gov. Rick... more
Texas governor Rick Perry knows how to start a rumble. Last week, he spent a mere $24,000 on radio ads in California, urging firms there to move to Texas, with its “zero state income tax, low overall tax burden, sensible regulations, and fair legal system.” The ad goaded Governor Jerry Brown into telling reporters that Perry’s effort wasn’t news. “It’s not a burp,” he sneered. “It’s barely a fart.”
But his insult generated dozens of stories about the differences between Texas and California, playing into Perry’s hands. He begins a four-day barnstorming tour of California today, touting Texas’s virtues to business owners.
The Sacramento Bee, the leading paper in California’s state capital, went beyond Governor Moonbeam’s sneer by running a long editorial that roundly trashed Texas and Perry: “Actually, we think it’s more than a fart. It’s a cry for help. Perry can’t create jobs, he can only steal them from other states. His campaign for the Republican presidential nomination was a joke. His beloved Dallas Cowboys haven’t been in the Super Bowl since 1996.” The liberal Bee then offered to organize a “book drive” to help Texans graduate more high-school students, suggested that the Lone Star State could spend more on “mental health services,” and quoted the late Texas liberal Molly Ivins’s put-down of her native state as “a low-tax, low-service state.” “We can afford to do better,” the Bee quotes Ivins as saying. “We just don’t.”
But several observers acknowledged that Perry has gotten the better of the battle.
“Perry’s getting exactly what he wanted,” Gavin Newsom, the former Democratic mayor of San Francisco and now the state’s lieutenant governor, told radio station KQED. “He’s getting all kinds of press up and down the state, and why? Well, because he’s leaning in. He’s in the game. He’s getting in our heads.” Newsom ought to know. In 2011, he accompanied a group of state legislators on a fact-finding trip to Texas to interview former California business owners about their reasons for moving. Newsom told me at the time: “I am impressed with the focus on job creation I’ve seen here. We need to have a more balanced business climate in California.”
Indeed, in the last five years Texas has gained 400,000 new jobs while California has lost 640,000. The Lone Star State’s rate of job growth was 33 percent higher than California’s last year, even as the Golden State finally pulled out of the recession.
Joseph Vranich, a California business-relocation expert, agrees that California has a systemic job-creation problem and says it needs to worry about more than just Texas. He says that 15 states are sending delegations to California and seeking to convince firms to relocate or, if they stay in California, to expand their operations out of state. Wealthy individuals such as golfer Phil Mickelson are openly talking about following Tiger Woods and moving to low-tax states such as Florida. EBay, Facebook, and Visa, among others, have recently made major expansions in Texas. “That kind of talk will only intensify now that top earners in California face a 13.3 percent income-tax hit on earnings over $1 million,” says Jon Fleischman, editor of the political blog FlashReport.com. “That’s not only the highest rate in the U.S. It’s the highest rate any state has had since World War II.”
California liberals, including Governor Brown, respond to such criticism by saying that their state’s quality of life remains unmatched and that Texas specializes in creating jobs at or near the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Texans respond that they are creating many middle-class jobs in the energy and manufacturing sectors, and that even minimum-wage workers have it better off in Texas than their counterparts do in California. “California has the third-highest cost of living, while Texas has the second-lowest,” says Chuck DeVore, a former California GOP state legislator who relocated to the Lone Star State to work as an analyst for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “That means California’s $8 minimum wage buys $6.06 worth of goods and services, while Texas’s lower $7.25 wage buys the equivalent of $8.04.” One might even say that California’s high-tax, high-cost model is a form of class warfare against its poorest residents.
Dan Walters, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee, doesn’t dispute that California has an anti-business climate but claimed in a video made for the paper’s website that the Perry PR blitz has a lot to do with restoring the governor’s faltering polls back in Texas. “He would like to run for reelection in 2014,” Walters said. “And he can think of nothing better to get Texans on his side than to tweak those crazy people out there in California, whom all good Texans love to hate.”
Perry may be politically weakened after last year’s failed presidential bid. He has also accumulated many years’ worth of political barnacles since he first held office (as a Democratic state representative) in 1984. But should he choose to run for a fourth term as governor next year, he will have a good story to tell. Texas’s legislature has just trimmed its $188 billion two-year budget by 8 percent, and the state may have more revenue than it can legally spend because it is barred from raising outlays more than the rate of economic growth. “This state is foremost geared to fostering a business climate that creates jobs,” Governor Perry told me last year. “We can do more good in other areas if first we ensure people can support and raise their families.” By contrast, California appears to have different priorities. Many of its residents pride themselves on being on the cutting edge of artistic, political, and social experimentation. My home state can take pride in that, but it has lost sight of the economic basics that provide the foundation for bringing new ideas and products to fruition. When Lieutenant Governor Newsom and California state legislators visited Texas in 2011, they heard testimony from business leaders there that Texas’s tort reforms had improved job creation. At the time, the papers back in the Golden State were touting their legislature’s latest priority: a bill mandating that all public-school children learn the history of disabled and gay Americans.
One businessman who had left California couldn’t contain his frustration during his meeting with Newsom and the legislators. “You can have the most liberated lifestyle on the planet, but if you can’t afford to put gas in your car or a roof over your head, it’s somewhat limited,” I heard him warn them.
A lot of Californians would agree with him. Liberal good intentions don’t help much if the laws and regulations they foster gradually erode the ability of the middle class to stay in the state. That’s why I won’t be surprised at all if Governor Perry eventually brings back some handsome trophies from his recruitment trip to California this week.Texas governor Rick Perry knows how to start a rumble. Last week, he spent a mere... more
Hit hardest will be rural skilled nursing facilities that rely heavily on Medicaid reimbursement to keep the doors open.
There are over 870,000 Medicaid residents in long term care in over 15,000 assisted and skilled nursing facilities across the U.S. For better or worse, their bodies have out lived their savings or chronic medical issues have robbed them of their ability to work and care for themselves.-- They may be forgotten, tucked in little nursing homes throughout our communities, but the poorest and oldest of our citizens are not a spending problem...
http://veracitystew.com/?p=48578Hit hardest will be rural skilled nursing facilities that rely heavily on Medicaid... more