Statistical Tidbits

by Jack

USA – As of today we have 14,760 US deaths reported due to Covids-19 aka coronavirus.  Only 451 of those deaths came from California.  Keep in mind, CA has 40M people and by contrast 451 is really low.  On another level, we’ll have about 45k deaths from cancer statewide.  Given the trajectory of Covids, it seems we’ll have about 75% more cancer deaths this year than from the coronavirus.  In rural places like Chico, the death rate from coronavirus is currently nil.

 

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California Cities Near Bankruptcy

California Cities in Critical Condition

By Edward Ring
March 18, 2020

The specter of California’s cities and counties becoming insolvent is nothing new. Three major California cities have already declared bankruptcy, Vallejo in 2008, Stockton and San Bernardino in 2012. In October 2019, the California State Auditor’s Office reported on the fiscal health of 471 California cities.

On what the California State Auditor’s office describes as a “Local Government High Risk Dashboard,” they identified 18 high risk communities: Compton, Atwater, Blythe, Lindsay, Calexico, San Fernando, El Cerrito, San Gabriel, Maywood, Monrovia, Vernon, Richmond, Oakland, Ione, Del Rey Oaks, Marysville, West Covina, and La Habra.

This so-called “dashboard” includes data for all the 471 cities on financial variables such as liquidity, debt, reserves, pensions and other retirement benefits. It also provides an excellent map. On this zoomed in segment, the financially troubled cities of (from north to south) Richmond and El Cerrito (contiguous), and Oakland can be seen highlighted in red.

Southern California also has its share of financially troubled cities, as shown on the next map segment taken from the California State Auditor’s dashboard. Clockwise, starting from the top, the most financially endangered cities are Monrovia, West Covina, La Habra, Compton, Vernon and Commerce (contiguous), and San Gabriel.

Back in October 2019 when the California State Auditor warned Californians about 18 cities in immediate financial peril, the overall economic situation looked very different than it does today. And at that time, articles that reported on the auditor’s warning published by ReasonGoverning, and Associated Press all pointed to underfunded pensions as a primary cause of their financial distress.

Not long ago, but still prior to the events of the past few weeks, during a hearing in the California State Assembly on February 26, the California State Auditor requested authorization to conduct in-depth audits of the financial health of five California cities, BlytheEl CerritoLindsaySan Gabriel, and West Covina.

The one financial threat that was mentioned in all five of the California State Auditor’s requests was pensions.

“Blythe has incurred substantial debt and increasing liabilities pertaining to its city employee retirement costs, which could result in the city needing to divert more of its general fund resources to cover these costs in lieu of providing essential public services.”

“El Cerrito has not developed a long-term approach to improve its financial condition and has not addressed its increasing pension costs.”

“Lindsay anticipates its pension and other post-employment benefit costs to at least double by fiscal year 2025-26.”

“My office identified San Gabriel as the eighth most fiscally challenged city in California primarily because it has insufficient cash and financial reserves to pay its ongoing bills and it faces challenges in paying for employee retirement benefits.”

“West Covina’s unfunded pension liability is very high compared to its annual revenues, and it has only set aside a portion of the funding it will need to pay for the pension benefits already earned by its employees. Its growing pension costs will also put additional pressure on its finances.”

The Market Correction Will Affect More Than Pension Payments

It’s interesting to wonder why California’s State Auditor selected five relatively small cities for the scrutiny of a state audit. The most troubled of the five, Blythe, was number three on the auditor’s ranking by overall financial risk, behind Compton and Atwater. The City of West Covina was number 17. So why not big cities? Why not Oakland, ranked number 13, or San Jose, ranked number 23, or big Los Angeles, ranked number 32? When the denominator is 471, being ranked 32 is not good – that puts Los Angeles in the worst seven percent.

But now what? Now that the economy is slowing, and the value of investments are correcting dramatically downward?

No matter what position one may take on the financial wisdom of offering defined benefit pension plans to public employees, one point needs to be reiterated at a time like this: While it is true that an 80 percent funded status is considered adequate for a pension fund, it refers to an average across the business cycle. It does not represent what should be necessary at the end of a bull market. California’s public employee pension funds, a few weeks ago and at what we now know was the end of an 11 year bull market, were only about 70 percent funded.

This cannot be stressed enough, because it puts into proper perspective what has to be faced today. A healthy pension system at the end of over a decade of extraordinary investment returns should be overfunded. Perhaps it is credible to be sanguine about falling a bit short of the 80 percent threshold after ten years of investment doldrums, but it is absurd, and dangerous, to pretend such a level of funding is adequate after ten or more years of spectacular investment gains.

And it isn’t just pensions, anymore, that are going to affect the financial health of cities across California, from San Jose and Oakland in the north down to Los Angeles in the south. The recent and long overdue correction in the stock market was triggered by a global pandemic that is going to paralyze huge segments of the U.S. and global economy for the next several weeks, if not months. This will cause sales tax revenues to crater for as long as “social distancing” mandates remain in place, and afterwards, even an extraordinary rebound is unlikely to make up for the loss.

The impact of investment losses will impact the pension funds in two ways. Obviously they are going to have to require more from taxpayers to cover their losses, and they were already phasing in a near doubling of their required contributions – which California’s cities and counties had no idea how they were going to pay for. But the other impact, lower revenue, will pose a much bigger challenge, affecting the ability of cities and counties to pay for anything, including the pension funds.

Not only will sales tax revenue falter, but state income tax revenues will fall. California’s state government is highly dependent on income tax revenue from the wealthiest Californians. As reported by Cal Matters, “California’s tax system, which relies heavily on the wealthy for state income, is prone to boom-and-bust cycles. While it delivers big returns from the rich whenever Wall Street goes on a bull run, it forces state and local governments to cut services, raise taxes or borrow money in a downturn.”

California’s state and local governments have had over a decade to get their financial house in order. Instead, they have largely ignored the pension problem, with even Gov. Jerry Brown calling the PEPRA reforms of 2014 an inadequate compromise offering only incremental improvements. They have continued to make punitive demands on businesses, increasing taxes and spending at every opportunity. They have enacted regulations that make affordable housing and energy financially impossible for private sector interests to develop. They have emptied the prisons and opened the borders, putting additional stress on public services. They have created a state where one little push will end the good times.

That push has come.

Even the nonreligious may find an apt parable for today’s dilemma in Genesis chapter 41, verses 17 through 33. During good years, you prepare for bad years. Too bad the wisdom of the ages emphatically does not apply in woke California.

*   *   *

Edward Ring is a co-founder of the California Policy Center and served as its first president. This article originally appeared in the California Globe.

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Call for an Audit on State’s Wasteful Spending on Homeless Projects

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Do we have a Shortage of Ventilators or Not?

by Jack

If CA is in short supply of ventilators, why are we sending our ventilators to a central depository for loan to other states?

Story #1.  California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier the nation’s most populous state would share 500 of its ventilators, a necessary tool to keep struggling patients breathing, with the national stockpile even as it hunts for more of its own supplies.

The state has more than 4,000 ventilators in its stockpile beyond the ones already in hospitals, and Newsom’s goal is to get to 10,000, whether that’s through manufacturing or purchasing ventilators from other countries.

“Thousands more we are confident will be on their way very, very shortly,” Newsom said.

Story #2.

  • California received 170 ventilators from the federal stockpile to help battle the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
  • However, California Governor Gavin Newsom said all of the ventilators sent to Los Angeles County were “broken.”
  •  The ventilators have been sent out for repair.

https://www.businessinsider.com/california-governor-says-us-government-sent-170-broken-ventilators-2020-3

 

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We’re Getting Real Close to a Socialist Takeover

by Jack

California’s Supreme Dear Leader, Gavin Newsom, is leading the charge to procure hotels and motels to give to the bums and junkies that have flooded our state.  These are the people who are coming from all over the USA demanding free stuff.

Many came in on buses known as the “Great Greyhound Movement”.   Many states gladly chipped in for a $100 ticket to send their chronic problems to CA.  And California soon wound up with half the nations most costly tramps and junkies.

It seems to me that the bleeding heart liberals of CA are only too happy to receive them too.  This makes sense, since it’s really about money, your money, from the taxes you pay and the fat bureaucrats that get to choose how those billions are spent.

The homeless population industry has been a real pain in the wallet for hard working residents and small businesses.  However, for democrats it’s a golden opportunity to increase their power and control.   There’s big money to be made running a bureaucracy and great power to wield;  this is a perfect fit for our liberals and we’re just weak enough to let them.

If our founding fathers could only see what these criminals are doing to their grand republic.  This nation and especially CA has been entrusted to modern day Benedict Arnolds.  What an insult to the founders.

Turning hotels into homeless shelters is not a new concept for leftists in the city of Sacramento. A homeless shelter with services is currently open in the Capitol Park Hotel, a single-room occupancy hotel downtown, where more than 100 homeless men and women are currently living. City Councilman Jeff Harris has previously proposed converting the Motel 6 on Alhambra Boulevard into a temporary homeless shelter by October. I’m sure San Francisco will be doing the same at the Mark Hopkins, Marriott and others.  Question…who pays to resupply the little booze fridge found in each room?

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who co-chairs Commissar-governor Newsom’s homelessness task force, said the occasion illustrated the importance of a statewide mandate to require cities meet aggressive goals to house the homeless or face court action. The task force is asking for the mandate to be placed on the November ballot.

“Everyone needs to be indoors,” Steinberg said with a straight face Sunday during a City Hall press conference.  Paraphrasing Steinberg, “And if we can use exploit this self made terrible crisis…. to actually take from the rich enough permanent supportive housing, soon to become trashed, we’ve won a great victory over the working people!  We can fake the public into thinking we are reducing the homeless population, yet without expecting any rehabilitation…this is a dream come true for us!  We’re hiding the problem and spending money by the billions-it doesn’t get any better than this!,” said Mayor Steinberg, more or less.

In addition, the state is sending 450 expensive new FEMA travel trailers to locations around the state to help shelter many of the 108,000 bums and junkies living in California, Newsom said.

We could also send them new Cadillacs too, but it will still not fix the problem.  The problem is a burned out brain from drugs and alcohol and a million bad choices made over decades by people who were not to bright to start with.  They should be institutionalized because they need 24 hour supervision to function, not a room at the Top of the Mark.  For others we jokingly call homeless, well, they live outside the norm, beyond the rules and are there by their own choice.  Sure, they will take whatever they’re given and spit in your face at the same time.  Why do you think so many states gave them the boot and paid their way to migrate to California?

“Becoming a bureaucratic state is my top priority now.  In fact, it ranks right up there with me getting elected as president some day.  That shows you how important this is to me and my future!” said California governor Newsom, more or less.  He announced these outrageous and idiotic measures along with the latest overblown figures on the spread of COVID-19 to scare people and get his way at a press conference today.

I wonder, what would be your choice, fight the plague of liberalism that is infecting  America or wait a few more years and let the Chinese do it when they take the lead?

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Good News on the Border with Mexico

By Pie Guevara

Pie Guevara appears in Posts Scripts through the gracious courtesy of Jack Lee and Tina Grazier and is an unregistered trademark of Engulf and Devour Investments LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walton Industries which, in turn, is wholly owned by David Walton.  So there!

Trump border policy and the Trump administration has your back —

  • Under a recently announced agreement with the Mexican government, migrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are apprehended along the Southwest border are being returned to Mexico in an average of 96 minutes.
  • Those migrants are not being given medical exams while in U.S. custody in an effort to limit their exposure to Border Patrol agents in particular and the United States generally.
  • Aliens with serious criminal records or arrest warrants, as well as those who cannot be summarily returned to Mexico, are still being booked into DHS custody.
  • The demographic makeup of migrants seeking illegal entry into the United States has changed significantly in less than a year. In FY 2019, 71 percent of all migrants who were apprehended by Border Patrol along the Southwest border were from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Today, 60 percent are from Mexico.
  • The number of migrants seeking illegal entry has also dropped precipitously, to fewer than 600 per day, down from an average of more than 4,285 per day in May 2019.

Read the rest here. Please note that the Center for Immigration Studies has been excoriated by the lamestream elite as racist, eugenicist white supremacists. They might actually be that even though anything that comes out of the mouths of the left is subject to scrutiny. Nevertheless that doesn’t change the good news the CIS reports which is good news no matter the source. I cite them here because this story contains details not reported elsewhere.

Posted in Constitution and Law, Police, Crime, Security, Politics and Government | 1 Comment

Dear San Francisco

By Pie Guevara

Pie Guevara appears in Posts Scripts through the gracious courtesy of Jack Lee and Tina Grazier and is an unregistered trademark of Engulf and Devour Investments LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walton Industries which, in turn, is wholly owned by David Walton.  So there!

While I am an NRA Endowment Member I completely missed this last September when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously declared the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization. It is worthy to watch the real people of the NRA respond to this fringe group of outrageous, left-wing extremist demagogues who have turned that once beautiful city into an open sewer of used needles and human excrement; where junkies shoot up in the streets and drug dealers are allowed to fragrantly peddle their poisons openly without fear of arrest.

San Francisco, the city that has more has more drug addicts than it has students enrolled in its public high schools.

It seems as if the Chico City Council is hell bent sending our town down that same road with their free needle program and this new threat if Alex Brown gets his way. Please visit Citizens for a Safe Chico and donate. Write or email all the council members telling them you want a safe Chico. Safe for adults. Safe for teens. Safe for young children.

Posted in Constitution and Law, Culture, Health and Medicine, Politics and Government | 1 Comment

9 States Do Not Have Stay at Home Orders

posted by Jack

Although most states have enacted stay-at-home orders, 9 states have yet to take statewide action.  Arkansas response makes a lot of sense, read on:

ArkansasArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has repeatedly defended his decision not to issue a stay-at-home order, suggesting that such a measure would cause loss of jobs.

“We’re trying to make good judgement based upon good public health data that is scientifically based and makes sense for Arkansas,” Hutchinson said in a press conference on Thursday.

He argued that Arkansas residents are already taking precautionary measures by practicing proper social distancing and independently deciding to stay home.

“I understand there is a certain amount of political pressure to do what everyone else is doing,” Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nathan Smith added at the press conference. “What we’re trying to accomplish here is not to be like every other state or tick off a box. What we’re trying to do is flatten that curve.”

Posted in Health and Medicine, Politics and Government | 9 Comments

COVID-19 UPDATED INFORMATION

by Jack

According to the statistics gathered by worldlifexpectancy.com influenza and pneumonia account for the 3rd leading cause of death in 2019 at 3,177,244. Heart disease ranked #1, at about 8.5 million deaths, followed by stroke at about 6.25 million. 

To put the current pandemic for Covids-19 aka “novel coronavirus” into perspective, in the first 4 months of 2020 there were 46,062 deaths worldwide out of 917,913 total cases reported. That is about a 5% mortality rate. However, this varies greatly from country to country, depending on the available healthcare and the prevention measures taken to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The most accepted forecast for coronavirus deaths in the USA for 2020 has a wide range between 100,000 and 200,000; with the highest risk for patients over 60 or those with underlying contributing factors. 

Polling reflects that over 75% of Americans are concerned that we (USA) have overreacted with quarantines that are going to run too long causing unprecedented financial loss; effects that could last for many years.  Similar polling numbers believes that closing borders in a timely manner and a quarantine period up to 3 weeks were reasonable measures.

In an unexpected benefit from the contagion, 9-1-1 calls in the bay area are down by nearly 50%.  Fewer people on the street has led to fewer accidents, fewer crimes and so on.

At this time bay area fire departments are being used for COVIDS testing.  The testing is being done by skilled EMS volunteers working 6-7 day shifts.

The Political Divide: A recent poll showed more women than men were anxious about the growing outbreak, with 81% of women indicated they were “very concerned” or “concerned” about the spread of coronavirus, compared to 64% of men. Democrats were most likely to report concerns, with 82% indicating concern, compared to 75% of independents and 58% of Republicans.  In my opinion, this proves that democrats are more likely to be intimidated by a crisis and guided by emotions, rather than hard data and logic.

 

Note: The average life expectancy in the USA is 78.5 years.  The USA ranks 34th among nations. Japan ranks #1 at 84.5 years.

Posted in Business, Industry and Finance, Health and Medicine, Politics and Government | 36 Comments

Random Thoughts

by Jack

It’s 10:42 am., and as usual I’m sitting alone in my office, working on article for our blog. I’m still sleepy, went to bed late and got up early.  A sure sign this quarantine is starting to wear on me.

The news on TV and internet is all bad.  That doesn’t help my somber mood.  I just heard some engineer deliberately tried to crash his locomotive into the hospital ship Mercy???  As you probably know, its now birthed in the harbor at San Diego to provide medical support for SoCal.  The kamikaze engineer thought the ship is part of a government takeover and he wanted to call attention to his conspiracy suspicions. His next trip will be on a one way ticket to the psychiatric ward.

10:45 a.m. I’m thinking it’s a really nice day out, I should take the dog for a walk in the park.  The park is only 200 feet from my front door.   At that moment the phone rings, its an 800 number. I answer and a recording begins and I am paraphrasing, “This is an alert from Butte County Health Department, the governor of CA is ordering you to stay in your home and avoid any unnecessary travel. Dang it, they got me and just as I was about to take old Riley for a walk! How did they know?

Poor old Riley, he’s been locked up here for 2 weeks. Three days ago, I tried to take him over to the dog park to play, but it’s been padlocked shut. Apparently the pooches were violating the mandatory 6 foot rule.

11:00 am, hey I found a little good news! Some Einstein’s apparently figured out that the price of oil can’t drop forever. Well, imagine that? And this has a caused a slight rebound in the market. The DOW JONES was up about 140 points. Unfortunately, yesterday the DOW was off a 1000 points and prior to that, the markets have given up all the gains since the crash of 29 or something like that.  This is what happens when business is told to stand down until to further notice.

However, this one bright spot of economic news is soon offset by news from MSNBC telling us that nationally, medical personnel are running low on surgical masks and protective gowns. National stock piles are similarly running out and we’ve got a few months to go before this pandemic has run its course. Wondering what’s our back up plan, garbage bags and handkerchiefs? Ok, bad joke, I know our industry is coming to the rescue, just as soon as we can get word to them in China. My hilarity is on a roll.

It’s now 11:30 a.m. I’ve run out of things to write, then I start thinking again about taking the dog out for a walk…then another thought races thru my so-called mind! My head turns slowly towards the Uniden phone sitting next to me in its cradle, “OMG, if that freaking thing rings and its an 800 numbers, I’m going to shoot it.’ Thankfully it does not…TTYL Hang in there, this too shall pass.

 

Posted in News Media | 10 Comments