Rants & Raves

16 Comments

  1. Has anyone really thought through the current “Cap & Trade” proposal? I agree that we should hold polluters accountable for their pollutants. This is currently (rather poorly) done via emissions regulations. But C&T implemented on a national level has two severe problems, one of which has been pointed out by some folks.

    First, and currently being pointed out, it is nothing less than a tax boondoggle for Washington. Imagine $600B+ in new tax revenue for our “trusted” representatives to apportion as they see fit. Sure, Obama’s plan calls for returning it to those most affected by this regressive energy tax…for now. But what about when public outrage over ginormous deficits for as far as the eye can see arises? Don’t think for one second that Congress won’t start taking the give-backs away in the interest of “fiscal responsibility” (if that’s even a phrase that exists in the beltway lexicon!).

    Second, and much worse from an economic perspective, is that C&T will drive business out of the U.S. Just like our relatively higher wages had companies fleeing to lower wage countries like China, India, Thailand, etc, a C&T tax, unless implemented globally, will drive energy dependent businesses out of the country. Don’t believe me? Go back and look at what the aluminum industry did in the 80’s when Oregon tried to “normalize” consumer electricity rates by burdening the aluminum companies’ electricity bills. Go count the number of aluminum companies doing business in Oregon today.

    I urge you to write your representatives and ask them to take a closer look at the consequences of implementing a national Cap & Trade program. It could well be the biggest disaster that Congress has ever considered foisting on an unsuspecting populace.

  2. I commend George Shirakawa, Junior, for his earnest effort to bring other alternatives to the 49ers.  There is a silly naysayer who has no idea how much I and others regard George as both a friend and a hard working booster of his community.  I disagree with George on the selection of the old Fairgrounds as a stadium site given its lack accessibility, and the fact Santa Clara has excellent transit access and infrastructure.

    Even Santa Clara’s fiscal conservatives are backing the stadium proposal because they see it as a win-win for the community.  George’s efforts just serve to underscore how committed good people like him and many members of the public are in supporting the idea of a South Bay stadium.  These are the people who matter in the community.  Tom McEnery may get a lot of criticism from me, but I still shake his hand and believe in Tom as a true architect of community success.

    Dare to dream, or sit in your basement, like the Mad Tesserec who appears on Mercury News forums attacking minorities and flouridated water.

  3. Pat, I completely agree with you about this stupid C&T tax. Furthermore, I think this whole global warming panic is simply overblown. See:

    http://tinyurl.com/d35b4o

    http://tinyurl.com/amdq8d

    Congratulations to the New York Post for standing up to attempted censorship:
    “EDITOR’S NOTE: For space reasons, The Post was unable to run the earlier George Will column that the one below follows up on. However, the leftist group Media Matters contacted us urging that we not run the new article. We are therefore running it.”

    Wherever you stand on the global warming debate, it’s appalling that Media Matters is attempting to stifle debate rather than encouraging all points of view to be heard. After all, the “solutions” to global warming will prolong this country’s economic problems.

    Meanwhile, the VTA watch blog has an interesting update from a VTA Board workshop yesterday:
    http://vtawatch.blogspot.com/

    A partial quote:

    “At yesterday’s VTA board workshop, the boardmembers who naively believed in Michael Burns’ words last fall now found themselves “shocked” and “astonished” over the bleak financial projections presented by staff and consultants.”

    “They were also “surprised” to hear that the BART project could only be built in phases. VTA released its updated costs for the BART project, which VTA insisted that it must be withheld from the public before last year’s election. Overall, the total cost for the line to Santa Clara has grown to $6.1 billion, which is not escalated to the year of completion, and does not include financing cost.”

    Those of us who voted against Measure B are not surprised by this at all.

  4. After listening to President Obama’s speech I was extremely disappointed that nuclear power was not mentioned once. While wind and solar have their place the only thing that can possibly replace fossil fuel is nuclear power. We could also put hundreds of thousands to people to work building nuclear plants immediately. 80% of the country now supports nuclear; why aren’t our leaders listening? We will soon be paying $5, 6 or 7 a gallon for gas while driving our business to other countries. Wake up, Washington.

  5. Sorry, but the idea of bringing the 49ers to the fairgrounds is a joke. Not only is the access crap, but what of the public funds issue? Santa Clara residents have been pointing at this roadblock all long. You think the whole county is going to approve “San Francisco” marking our tree at our expense? Maybe Shirakawa found some kind of vote-evading loophole in this site selection, though. Wouldn’t that be classy.

  6. 3. The George Will column was widely criticized for being full of outright falsehoods. But I guess you could argue that newspapers shouldn’t be restricted to printing only facts and matters of opinion.

  7. This is not the first time VTA board members have heard that the past sales tax projections were pure fiction. 

    From my time on the board and advisory committees, I’ve raised the issue with 10 of the 12 current board members, either in public meetings or in private conversations. 

    For them to express “shock” is inexcusable.  If they didn’t know, it was because they refused to discuss the topic.

  8. I’ve got two things to talk about.  1 Rant and 1 Rave.

    I see lots of ranting so I figured I’d keep with the theme and maybe try and turn it around at the same time.  San Jose is great folks!

    Rant:
    The other night I saw a drug dealer getting arrested at the corner of 2nd and San Fernando.  It was great!  I hate those thug-money gangster wanabes that walk around trying to intimidate people and cluttering up our streets.  I just wanted to say I thought this was awesome.

    Isn’t it crazy though, that “Drug Street Alley” on San Salvador between 3rd and 4th street is still a constant drug and gang hang out spot?  I’ve seen cops patrolling this area a lot lately but I hate walking that block.  I’m a tall guy that normally isn’t one to get messed with by anyone, but these guys are just relentless.  They’ve tried to pick fights with me or inquire if I want to buy drugs.  Depends on their mood at the moment I suppose.  Not that I ever buy drugs, it just seems unnecessary when it is so blatantly obvious these punks are still there.  So that’s the rant!  I actually wrote about this just the other day on San Jose City Living ( http://sanjosecityliving.com/san-jose-police-department-take-another-drug-dealer-off-the-street/ ) and I’ve got some photos of the drug dealer getting arrested.

    Rave!!!:
    My rave today is just how stoked I am to have Eco City Cycles in Downtown San Jose.  I think this really is a great contribution to the city.  What a great idea.  While being around for some time, it is nice to see it revamped up and introduced into the downtown area.  My girlfriend and I have used them many times to stroll across downtown if we’re headed out to dinner, usually when it is just far enough to not want to walk and not far enough to drive.

    Has anyone else used their services?  I took some photos of them too if you haven’t seen them around: http://sanjosecityliving.com/eco-city-cycles-the-newest-and-coolest-thing-to-hit-downtown/

    Cheers San Jose, I love ya!

    -Andrew

  9. Well, JMC, you still have the hot dog concession in front of the old Bank of America building on First.

    You got Armando’s mayo.  He likes lots and lot of mayo on that dog.

  10. So much for “Change” from Obama

    3/3/09: WASHINGTON – The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to preserve thousands of earmarks in a $410 billion spending bill, brushing aside Sen. John McCain’s claim that President Barack Obama and Congress are merely conducting business as usual in a time of economic hardship.

    McCain’s attempt to strip out an estimated 8,500 earmarks failed on a vote of 63-32. The Arizona senator’s proposal also would have cut roughly $32 billion from the measure and would have kept spending at last year’s levels in several federal agencies.

    Last year’s Republican presidential candidate said both he and Obama said during the campaign to “stop business as usual in Washington,” and he quoted the president as having pledged to go line by line to make sure money was spent wisely.

    The White House has said that Obama intends to sign the legislation

  11. Taxes and spending.  I love to see tangible benefits from government spending.  I’ve raised my share of taxes when I thought it was a good deal, like a dedicated revenue stream to create a school wide flash pass for SJSU or build a system of branch libraries to match our beautiful new main library.

    It seems to work best when revenue streams are dedicated (gas tax paying for highways, etc.)  When government can cook the books and borrow from one to shuffle money for another, it goes down the crapper fast.

    So we’ve got a lot of problems in America, California and most locally and specifically – San Jose.

    The message I get from Washington is its OK to jack up taxes on the rich (because its ok to cheat on your taxes until you have to get confirmed by the Senate for an appointment.)  Sacramento says its ok to raise everyone’s taxes (via vehicle tax hikes, etc) but after all, only rich people drive, so the poorest won’t be affected.

    The message I get in San Jose is that it’s not ok to raise taxes because that’d require political capital that the stair-climbing incumbent office holders don’t want to expend.  Instead they’d like to magically balance a systemically broken budget with mysterious cuts that spread the burden on all departments.  Perhaps we’d like them to vote yes or no on each department and commit a revenue stream dedicated to each.

    It’s a wonderful opportunity to re-examine the whole business of local government to see if what we pay them for is really getting delivered.  Metrics and outcomes matter and cutting basic services (street paving, libraries, code enforcement, police & fire) to preserve non-core services seems to be akin to the management approaches of GM and Chrysler.

    Make the hard choices now and focus on core services.  Even in recession and depression, voters can and will recognize the sense of this and even reward that with enhanced support that could take the form of new taxes and revenue.  But lack the courage to make the cuts first and ask for new revenue and borrowing without making the hard choices shows political cowardice that should be remembered when the incumbents inevitably run for County Supervisor, State Assembly, State Senate and Congress.  Its the same faces and players throughout our local politcal power structure just jumping seats every few years.

    Maybe the incestuous political network could actually help us.  How about an inter-governmental caucus of Silicon Valley political leaders from all levels (school board, city council, state and federal) getting together to discuss priorities in serving our community and agreeing across juristictions to share the effort of achieving these goals.  We’ve let moneyed interests take the initiative with front organizations like the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Labor Council and manipulate the public agenda for too long.  Why can’t we have a real populist group full together all our abundant energy and resources to serve the community better?