Blue State Blues

I hope Meep is planning to do all of the states eventually, or at least of of the states in fiscal distress. But that is a tall order. To date she’s done California and Illinois.

First up: States Under Fiscal Pressure: California.

The second one is that, unlike the federal government, they don’t have a money printer, and they really need tax revenue.

Governor Newsom of California announced yesterday that he is relaxing the statewide lockdown sooner than he had said he would.

What gives? I think Newsom is finally recognizing tradeoffs. He started the fiscal year with an expected budget surplus. He now expects a state government deficit of $54.3 billion.

At least they had a surplus going in to this mess. It shows some level of discipline. Unlike Illinois.

Illinois has some serious problems. States Under Fiscal Pressure: Illinois.

They’ve been issuing bonds with some of the highest yields in the muni market because of course they are.

So let’s hit the issues, in no particular order.
Illinois looking to raise public employees’ salaries

Wirepoints: Big raises for Chicago Teachers Union, state’s AFSCME shows where federal aid to Illinois will end up – Wirepoints

As hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans are getting laid off or seeing their pay slashed as a result of the economic shutdown, Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been quietly finalizing the $1.5 billion, five-year contract she negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union six months ago.

So they’re broke. Beyond broke. And they are handing out raises, and holding their hand out for a handout from the rest of us. Yeah, count me out.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Self-defense… Even in the People’s Republic of California, it works. EPD: One person dead and another injured in Eureka altercation, appears to be self-defense.

He told a rowdy group to leave the area. Two responded by coming onto his property and one entered his house. He tried to use pepper spray, but it didn’t work.

At least one subject entered the residence and attempted to assault the resident, according to the EPD. Officials said during the altercation inside the home, the resident fired multiple shots from a handgun, which he had retrieved from inside the residence, striking the subject who was assaulting him.

This subject was pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the captain. A second subject, who was on the porch, was struck in the leg by gunfire, the EPD said.

So far, it looks like justifiable self-defense, even to the detectives.

Self-defense is a human-right.

Because Keeping Criminals in Jail is Unfair

This might just be a record for least time to re-offend. California man allegedly proceeded to strangle a child just 10 minutes after being released from jail.

He was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and driving the wrong way. He was released from jail the next day.

“Not more than 10 minutes later Orozco forced a female out of her car in the parking lot of Natividad Medical Center. The female refused to give up the keys to her car so Orozco began to strangle the female’s 11 year old child,” the post continued.

According to police, the female then gave up her keys and pulled her child out of the car before Orozco sped off.

Cops caught up with him, and thru him back in jail. No word on if he will again be released under “zero bail.”

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Hand CuffsArmed self-defense. It might be legal in California. Burglars evade gunfire from Sunol homeowner, but not arrest.

A homeowner interrupts 2 people burglarizing his car. Then things turn nasty.

The homeowner, who was not identified, said he began shooting at the suspects when they intentionally drove at him in a vehicle and tried to run him over, Kelly said. The homeowner was lawfully defending himself, [Sgt. Ray] Kelly said.

Neither burglar was hit, but the car was, and cops were able to identify it and arrest two would-be miscreants, separately, later. A man and a woman, both in their 30s were arrested. The man is being held without bail on burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. He was on probation for felony burglary. The woman has bail set, and is charged with burglary.

Self-defense is a human-right.

Armed Self-defense In California

crime scene tapeEven in that deep blue state, it works. Liquor store clerk shoots robbery suspect in Lindsay, police say.

According to police, three males entered the store, and at least one of the suspects was armed with what appeared to be a handgun.

The manager took out his own gun, shooting one of the suspects — a male juvenile.

The one felon was taken to a local hospital, the other two ran like rabbits.

Self-defense is a human-right, and it might be your legal right in California, though I wouldn’t bet on it.

You Do NOT Have the Right to Protest

Not in California. Forget about the 1st Amendment, you do NOT have the right to Peaceably Assemble. You have the right to do exactly what they tell you to do. Encinitas, Ca., Protesters Threatened With Legal Action For Daring To Protest.

It seems the peasants were protesting overreach by the .gov, which didn’t make the overreaching-bureaucrats happy.

If you are doing any of these things within the parameters of social distancing, what’s the problem? Oh, right, power mad little dictator wannabees (who’ve forgotten there are these things called “elections”). So, the people protested, as allowed by the federal and state constitutions.

Of course the way to get out of trouble is to claim to be an illegal alien, because they have special rights in San Diego County.

Yes, San Diego County is a sanctuary jurisdiction. But, hey, why not put these ladies in jail for following the Constitution, while releasing all sorts of criminals, including a killer?

More protests are planned, and you can bet lawsuits will emerge if the county dares to fine or prosecute. Heck, they should file a suit just on the threats by the sheriff alone

Self-defense Aids Cops

Hand CuffsHe should have surrendered. It would have been less painful. Sheriff: Homeowner Shoots Pursuit Suspect Running From Deputies.

According to authorities, the suspect was wanted in connection to an attempted robbery in Rocklin over the weekend. Police say the suspect’s black SUV rammed into three businesses in an attempt to rob them.

So a cop spotted the vehicle and a chase took place. The suspect ran into a residential area and encountered an armed homeowner. (Even in California, they exist.) The homeowner shot the bad-guy.

At this point, the homeowner is not facing any charges.

“We believe the homeowner was in fear for his life and in fear for his life did use deadly force on the suspect,” Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tess Deterding said.

Even in The People’s Republic of California, self-defense is a human-right. Though I wouldn’t count on it being your legal right in all parts of the state.

Welcome to the Police State

Some cops are getting up every morning and putting on their jackboots. Crackdowns on Lone Surfers and Paddleboarders Threaten to Erode Respect for Law Enforcement Even Further.

So LA Sheriff’s department has ticketed a lone surfer and a paddleboarder. For the paddleboard, they had to use 2 boats, because he was 25 yards from the pier. Yeah that makes sense, because being 25 yards from the nearest person is a violation of social distance. Or something.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department ticketed people for sitting in their car, watching a sunset.

You disrespected their authority to control every aspect of your life. Or they were just following orders. Either way, sounds like a police state.

As for the insanity, it is hard to miss.

While sheriff’s deputies, police officers, and park rangers made sure the beaches and recreation areas of Southern California were kept free of people, the skid row area was just as teeming as ever, with tents lining the sidewalks in unambiguous violation of the law, and with the denizens free to roam and congregate as they please, undeterred by the prospect of arrest for their drug use or any of the other crimes they so routinely commit. One such encampment thrives along the 101 Freeway where it can be viewed from the nearby Hall of Justice, the headquarters for both the L.A. County District Attorney and, yes, the Sheriff’s Department.

Hat tip to Second City Cop, who notes that Mayor Lightfoot, not so affectionately known as Groot to SCC, threw some officers under the bus for doing exactly what she told them to do.

Closing down church services? Conducting checkpoints on the public way? “Sweeping the corners” without warnings and making arrests without any sort of dispersal order as happened on the west side last week? And then promptly disavowed by the mayor? You can guess exactly where that one is going….and you better be sure you’re ready, willing and able to take that ride under the bus.

“I was just following orders,” hasn’t worked as an excuse in more than 50 years.

Dams and Earthquakes

Not a winning combination. Feds Order Anderson Reservoir to be Emptied.

It should be no surprise that this dam is in California.

A 2009 study concluded the possibility that a 6.6M earthquake with an epicenter right at the dam or a 7.2M one up to a mile away, could cause dam failure due to liquefaction.

Here’s a short video of what soil liquefaction looks like after an earthquake. That isn’t something you want to happen to dam, that has the potential to flood a populated area.

Despite that study, the reservoir stayed full until another study, in 2019, showed what a wall of water would do if the dam collapsed with that much water behind it. The dam has been kept at 58% capacity since then, but now the feds want it drained.

Another result of the [2009] study was the inception of the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project costing about $550 million to strengthen the dam against a strong earthquake, however a “complicated and time consuming” process including securing a number of permits amidst changing state and federal regulations has delayed the project for over a decade.

So here’s a piece of infrastructure, that is somewhat critical to the water supply of the San Francisco Bay Area, that they have been trying to repair for nearly 20 years. Yet they can’t make any progress because of regulators. And they don’t say it, but I’m sure there are environmental suits involved over getting the dam removed.

There is a quote, which I won’t find, that compares our society with Italy in the dark ages. We are surrounded by all these things built by previous generations, and we’re unable to reproduce them, or even maintain them. Soon, we won’t even understand them.

California Was Too Cool to Stay Prepared

Being prepared is for all those crazy people in flyover country, not for the cool kids in California. Calif. was ready for virus, then it wasn’t: State had plenty of emergency supplies, then got rid of them.

Being prepared for an emergency costs money, and they were busy building their high-speed rail to nowhere, which was so much more important than being ready for a pandemic.

After the Avian Flu then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger set up a program to be prepared for the next time.

They were ready to roll whenever disaster struck California: three 200-bed mobile hospitals that could be deployed to the scene of a crisis on flatbed trucks and provide advanced medical care to the injured and sick within 72 hours.

Each hospital would be the size of a football field, with a surgery ward, intensive care unit and X-ray equipment. Medical response teams would also have access to a massive stockpile of emergency supplies: 50 million N95 respirators, 2,400 portable ventilators and kits to set up 21,000 additional patient beds wherever they were needed.

But it wasn’t just the initial cost. (Which was hundreds of millions of dollars.) It was the ongoing costs of maintaining the respirators and other equipment that has use-by dates.

In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown cut off the money to store and maintain the hospitals and equipment.

Much ofthe medical equipment — including the ventilators, critical life-saving tools that are in short supply in the current pandemic — was given to local hospitals and health agencies, former health officials said. But the equipment was donated without any funding to maintain them. The respirators were allowed to expire without being replaced.

Together, these two programs would have positioned California to more rapidly respond as its COVID-19 cases exploded. The annual savings for eliminating both programs? No more than $5.8 million per year, according to state budget records, a tiny fraction of the 2011 budget, which totaled $129 billion.

So what was more important than public health? Their much publicized high-speed rail project kicked off in 2010, though construction didn’t start that year.

And the costs? California’s High-Speed Rail Project: Devolving From Political Pork, To An Ego Monument, To Trump Resistance

With only about a quarter of the $80.3 billion in funding needed to complete the project identified, chances are high that the train will only run in California’s Central Valley, from Merced in the north, 171 miles to Bakersfield in the south—with plain old bus service completing the connection to San Francisco and Los Angeles, making the 800 mile trip slower than flying or even driving down the I-5.

So 80.3 billion dollars for a political pork-barrel bonanza, or 6 million per year for 10 years to safeguard public health in the event of an emergency. It is clear what the priorities are of the politicians in California. But hey, as Forbes notes, they get to say how much they don’t like Trump. (Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.)

California’s Governor Sets Convicted Murderer Free

He said he was sorry. Or something. Gov. Newsom commutes sentence of man convicted in 1987 murder of Bakersfield gas station clerk.

Bradley was convicted for the 1987 murder of gas station attendant Claude Baker. He was sentenced in 1988 to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole and has served 32 years of his sentence.

So not only does California not have the death penalty, they also don’t have “life without the possibility of parole.”

Because that would be unfair. Or something.

If It’s Tourist Season, Why Can’t We Shoot Them?

Strange to see this sentiment in deep blue California. California tourist towns demand outsiders stay home. ‘Someone is going to get shot’.

The title to this post was a bumper-sticker you often saw in Florida. Spring Training being marginally more annoying than Spring Break. Spring Breakers usually would arrive somewhere and mostly stay put. Folks following Spring Training would be driving from one game to the next. Didn’t stop them from drinking. And while it was a joke in Florida, I get the feeling people in California are not laughing.

Mono County over the weekend banned most short-term vacation rentals in an effort to prevent tourists from carrying the new coronavirus into the isolated, resource-strapped community. The decision followed a wave of similar announcements that have derailed ski trips, hobbled backpacking plans, and landed a devastating blow to local tourism-dependent economies across the West.

After Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide shelter-in-place order last week, longstanding tensions between locals and tourists have begun simmering in new ways. Hundreds of thousands of urbanites have crowded trails, swarmed beaches and holed up in vacation homes and rentals across the state. Newsom’s order said people were still allowed to go outside and exercise, but it didn’t set limits on where they could go.

This is not good.

Even in The People’s Republic of California…

crime scene tapeSelf-defense works. El Cerrito Homeowner Fatally Shoots Alleged Home Invasion Suspect.

El Cerrito police said the incident took place at a home on Cutting Bvld around 1:13 a.m. A woman called the 911 dispatch center, telling them she was huddled with her young daughter in a bedroom while her armed husband had gone to confront someone trying to break into their home.

He kept trying to break in, so the husband fired. Cops found the would-be bad-guy’s body a short distance away.

The investigation has led officers to believe that the suspect was in the process of committing a burglary and had most likely been committing other burglaries in the area.

The investigation continues, but self-defense is a human-right.

The Devil is in the Details – St. Francis Dam Collapse

It was 92 years ago today.

This week we get an extra story of engineering failure courtesy of EBL. The St. Francis Dam Disaster. This is the worst US civil engineering failure of the 20th Century.

The St. Francis Dam, was a curved, concrete gravity dam about 40 miles from Los Angeles. It was constructed between 1924 and 1926 and it failed March 12-13, 1928. 400 people died and property damage was estimated to be $7 million, in 1928 dollars.

Click thru the link above for a short video (about 6 and a half minutes) on the dam, the need for water in Los Angeles and William Mulholland, the man who oversaw construction of the dam, some links to info on the dam, and a musical-interlude-video, “St. Francis Dam Disaster” by Frank Black and the Catholics. (Yes, that Frank Black, AKA Black Francis.)

For more details, we can consult Damfailures.org – Case Study: St. Francis Dam (California, 1928).

While the dam’s upstream face exhibited a nearly vertical profile, the downstream side was equipped with a stair step design that resulted in base and crest thicknesses of 175 and 16 feet, respectively. The main structure reached a height of 205 feet and spanned 700 feet along its curvilinear crest.

It was supposed to impound a 1-year-supply of water for the City of Los Angeles.

I suppose I should not be shocked that one part of the design was changed, while the impacts of that change were not accounted for. It is not the first time I’ve run across that, and the opinion of the folks in charge is usually (always?) the same; it is never feasible to start over, even though (as in this case) you should start over. Or at least make some major changes.

Multiple instances of poor judgment by Mulholland and several of his subordinates significantly contributed to the cause of the failure of St. Francis Dam. Plans for the dam were based upon those previously prepared by Mulholland for the Mulholland Dam with little regard for site-specific investigations. When these plans were finalized and after construction began, the height of the dam was raised by ten feet on two separate occasions in order to provide additional reservoir storage needed to sustain the growing community surrounding the dam. Although these modifications increased the dam’s height by twenty feet, no changes were made to its base width. As a result, the intended safety margin for structural stability decreased significantly. Mulholland’s team recognized this effect, however the engineering analysis, acquiring of additional materials, and extended construction time to properly mitigate the height increase were considered to be too costly to the project and to those stakeholders who were financially invested in the completion and operation of the dam.

Those damn engineers and their numbers. Don’t they know how much it costs to build a dam? And it’s only a little higher. What could go wrong?

Of course I’m sure that none of the those financial stakeholders lost lives or property when the dam succumbed to uplift failure.

It isn’t clear that accounting for the changes in height would have saved this dam, because underlying aspects of the geology had been ignored. It was considered another detail, not worth worrying about, and besides we built dams like this before and they are fine. Or something.

Although opinions vary, more recent and more thorough investigations assign the ultimate failure mode to weakening of the left abutment foundation rock due to the saturated condition created by the reservoir which essentially re-activated a large landslide that combined with a destabilizing uplift force on the main dam caused failure to initiate at the dam’s left end. In quick succession as catastrophic failure was occurring at the left end, the maximum height section tilted and rotated which destabilized the right end of the main dam causing catastrophic failure at the right end as well.

Mulholland was entrusted with the dam’s design and construction, not because he was a brilliant engineer, but because he was well known for having completed other water projects for Los Angeles. This is also not the first time that “reputation” was used to substitute for “engineering qualifications.” And so the dam looked like a previous dam he had built, that was in a geologically different area. Details.

Small changes in the details can destroy a project. This is not a lesson we learned in 1928 – because it has come back again and again. I doubt that the powers-that-be, or the media talking heads know that even now. I mean, they can’t divide 500 by 327.

Even in The People’s Republic of California…

Hand CuffsSelf-defense works. Burglar Shot During Brea Home Break-in Expected to Survive.

The victim was shot by the homeowner, [Brea police Sgt. Chris] Haddad said, adding that he was unaware of any efforts to pursue charges against the shooter.

Because even in California, you have some rights to self-defense. The Left truly hates that. As evidenced by the question that is implied. (Namely, “Are you going to charge the homeowner with a crime?”) Hey, it’s “professional journalism.”

When There Are 2 Sets of Rules…

One for the Little People (the peons) and a different set of rules for the powers that be, then you can be pretty sure you live in a police state. LA District Attorney’s Husband Points a Gun at Black Lives Matter Protestors on His Porch.

But in this case, the person waving the gun was the husband of Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Undoubtedly, if any of the little people in L.A. County had opened their door and waved a gun around at people, police would have arrested them and D.A. Lacey would have almost certainly prosecuted them up to and including prison time.

She was sorry, and teary-eyed, and she said he was sorry. It was a news conference of course.

Sorry? Really? When was the last time “sorry” made a unlawful threat to use deadly force OK?

Police State for sure. Western-style democracy was nice while it lasted.

Oakland PD – Paperwork Causes 2-day Wait for 911 Response

Only a politician (or a political bureaucrat) would expect that a serious increase in paperwork wouldn’t take any time at all. Or impact 911 response. Oakland PD Abandons New Policy Which Left Cops Unable To Respond To 911 Calls.

They had to do all this extra paperwork for use-of-force. Hours of paperwork. During the same shift.

As a result, officers have been holed up writing reports for an average of two hours each shift, while high-priority calls for shootings, assaults, robberies, and other 911 calls continue to roll in.

“If you had your house broken into and you needed a police officer to show up, it’s not uncommon now for someone to wait two, three days for a police officer to show up,” OPD Lieutenant Bryan Hubbard told the East Bay Times.

That is procedural insanity at its finest. So after only 2 weeks (or so) the policy was dumped. That is perhaps the MOST amazing thing about this story.

“I don’t think anybody anticipated this,” Oakland Police Commission Chair Regina Jackson said of the reporting policy.

In the words of Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon.”

The Medical Profession Has Lost Its Mind

Because not testing for the current pandemic is standard operating procedure. CDC confirms the first US coronavirus case of ‘unknown’ origin. The California patient was hospitalized for days before getting tested.

The California patient didn’t travel anywhere known to have the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. And the patient wasn’t exposed to anyone known to be infected.

That means this could be the first US case of “community spread” of the virus.

And in the most stunningly stupid thing to come out of government is a really long time…

CDC says Americans’ lives may be disrupted

Gee, ya think? Geniuses. They are geniuses at the CDC.

It’s A Good Thing Guns Aren’t Allowed In California Parks

Someone might get hurt. Oh, wait… Girl, 6, survives mountain lion attack when adult punches animal in ribs.

The mountain lions of California clearly are not afraid of humans. You are only an apex predator when you are armed, and everyone is disarmed.

The victim was walking on a trail with her parents, three other children and some adults Sunday morning in the Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve when a suspected mountain lion leapt at the 6-year-old.

One of the adults punched the mountain lion, believed to be about 160 pounds, in the ribs. The group made loud noises and scared it away.

Because making a loud noise, by busting a cap in the cat would be mean. Or dangerous. Or something.

The park is closed while the authorities search for the cat. No word on what they will do when they find it, because actually saying that they will kill the cat in question would offend the tender sensibilities of the folks on the Left coast.