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A note about Crazyfornia. I moved to California in 1970, when it was just a silly place.

A selection of examples


Examples: The state constitution says the legislature should agree on a budget by July 1st. The legislature would merely cover the clock and continue being silly.

Local news items in the 1970s

  • Someone tried to break into an Oakland school, fell through the gymnasium skylight, got badly hurt, collected $10 million from the school district instead of jail time.

  • If you gave 1st aid to someone who needed it, you would likely be sued.
    ( In the U.S., the defendant pays for his/hers/its own defense, hence the many "black-mail" suits. )

  • And the "Twinkie Defense" - some guy got irritated at the San Francisco City Council, went home got a gun came back, and in hippie talk "blew away" two elected officials - the clever attorney defense was that sugar candy made him do it - the jury bought it - he got 7 years for the double murder - called "voluntary manslaughter" - out in 5.

  • And the hooker who got hit by a city trolley - claimed the accident ruined her business as she was now so hot that she gave "it" away instead of selling "it" - so sued - and won.
Now, 2 generations later, the state legislature we vote for really can't afford to be so silly.

  • But the state legislature no longer even bothers to cover the clock.

  • The legislature wants to sell $17 billion in bonds, "guaranteed" by future profits from the state lottery, to keep up the spending rate this year (2011).
    (The state lottery was originally sold to the voters as a method of increasing money for education - but that tale is long forgotten.)
    ( Also, the legislature lied, the money for education was not increased)

  • The legislature is considering making a state legal holiday in honor of just one of the two San Francisco officials "blown away" in the 1970s (above) - only the self proclaimed gay one -

  • Sept 2009 - seems the state has passed legislation to tax the cities, so the cities are laying off school teachers and cops. The state is talking about releasing 7,000 prision inmates early because the prisons are so crappy a federal judge is involved. The 7,000 inmates to be released, are facing a job market where there is a reported 11% unemployment. The currently unemployed have better job qualifications and cleaner records. So fewer cops are going to face more desperate crooks. Happy days :-|
    - Feb 2014 - Still same game, state lawyers petitioning court to delay action for another 2 years. State talking of releasing 30,000 "non-violent" fellons, examples - burglers, dope peddlers, swindlers of old ladies, ...

I could give more examples - but - who here cares - The rather new California "healthy families" program is still funded.

And the folks we sent to congress aren't so great either.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, "the great millionaire fund raiser", sprinkles some campaign funds amongst her fellow representatives, some say it is her family money, and is promptly elected "Speaker of the House". (Who says money doesn't talk?) I think her only talent is screaming at rock concerts.

And the show goes on -
from "The San Diego Union-Tribune" March 13, 2009

.pdf of actual article here. Local copy

Stem cell institute puts 2 in same post
Joint appointment for vice chairman

By Terri Somers
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. March 13, 2009

Job sharing came to the state stem cell institute yesterday when its board appointed two people to the post of vice chairman: San Diego biotechnology veteran Duane Roth and Art Torres, a former state senator and outgoing chairman of the California Democratic Party.

The positions are considered part time. Torres will be paid $75,000 plus health benefits.


BART opens race's doors to funding ... allow contributions from contractors


- from the Argus (Alameda County) August 11, 2008
- my head line would have been "Encouraging corruption of elected officials"

"BART" is short for "Bay Area Rapid Transit" our subway and elevated train.
.pdf of actual article here. 232 K bytes

BART opens race's doors to funding

Four incumbents to run under relaxed rules,
which allow contributions from contractors

By Denis Cuff

Four BART Board members have filed to run for reelection, kicking off the first board race in 12 years in which incumbents can accept campaign contributions from contractors seeking business with BART jobs.

Board President Gail Murray of Walnut Creek, Bob Franklin of Oakland, and Tom Radulovich and Lynette Sweet, both of San Francisco, all filed by Friday's deadline to retain their seats in their districts.
Board member Zoyd Luce of Dublin decided not to run. Filing for his seat remains open through 5 p.m. Wednesday.
As of late Friday afternoon, Radulovich faced at least one challenger, Peter Klivans of San Francisco, and no one had filed to run against the other three incumbents. But it will take until Monday before election officials in the three BART counties can process candidate paperwork and say whether other hopefuls entered the race.
The race could be pricier this year because of relaxed campaign funding rules. The board voted 6-2 in December to scrap a ban on board members soliciting or receiving campaign contributions from contractors bidding on BART jobs or seeking no-bid contracts for specialized work or services.
The ban was enacted in 1996 in response to a well publicized FBI investigation that resulted in two board members - Wilfred Ussery and Margaret Pryor - pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about money they took from BART contractors. Both were put on probation and no longer hold office.
"I voted for the rule (ban) in 1996 to improve BART's credibility with the public, but this is a different board and different time," said Joel Keller, a BART board member from Antioch. "I trust this board."
At Keller's suggestion, the board replaced the ban with a contribution limit of $1,000 from would-be contractors.
The limit applies to BART board members throughout their term, and to challenger candidates once they file to run.
Board members Sweet and Radulovich said they wanted to keep the ban to prevent even the appearance of undue influence from campaign donors.
"I think the ban was a good check," Radulovich said. "I agree with Joel that we have a more responsible board today than in the early 1990s. But I don't want any problem with fundraising to mar the functioning of this board."
Keller said the ban served its purpose. But in the last 12 years, campaign costs have soared for mailers and other political advertising, he said.
In low-profile special district races such as BART, there often are few donors other than family members, friends and transit contractors who are willing to make contributions, he said.
Keller also asserted that the old ban gave an unfair advantage to challengers over incumbents. Board members could not accept contributions from winning bidders until three months after they landed a contract, yet a challenger could accept a contribution from the same firm during that period as long as he hadn't filed to run for office yet.
The new rule says the $1,000 contribution limit for a company is lifted once the contract has been awarded.
Franklin, the BART board member from Oakland, said he thinks the new $1,000 limit on contractor contributions is a reasonable one to prevent against undue influence.
"When I accept a contribution from someone, I'm not selling my vote," Franklin said.

Reach Denis Cuff at 925-943 8267 or dcuff@

Do you have a chance if you are 'straight' ??

I'm too lazy and gullible to verify the following
- I must be turning into a journalist :-((
- Sept 2011
Chief Heather Fong (left), is the first SFPD female, lesbian Chief of Police.

Theresa Sparks (center), a former male, is president of the San Francisco Police Commission, CEO of a multimillion-dollar sex toy retailer,and a transgender woman.

Sgt. Stephan Thorne (right), a former female, is the first transgender male SFPD police officer.

Their Representative in Congress is Nancy Pelosi.

Screwing the under-dog or "challenged"

- Added July 2012 by Ed Thelen
Crazyfornia has a long and distinguished history of screwing folks :-))

  1. I suppose, but cannot prove, that bigger, more aggressive gangs (tribes) of Indians chased smaller weaker tribes from nicer lands - groups of animals ( including us ) are often that way.

  2. The Spanish/Mexicans took the Indian lands. The King of Spain gave nice big Land Grants to people who were or might be helpful to him.

  3. The American '49ers, looking for gold and fortune, gave lip service to the Spanish Land Grants - but the holders of the grants needed American legal help prove/defend their grants.
    Soon the American lawyers owned the land grants
    and happily sold off most of the parcels to "the rest of us". :-))
    Every one who counted was happy :-))

  4. Some of the lovely old screw-you rules and laws are still in effect today. :-))
    If you have a trust fund or some other money,
    - and are judged incapacitated,
    some friendly elected judge will appoint one of his cronies,
    - to assure that you don't squander your money,
    - before the crony has eaten it all up with fees and expenses.

    The San Jose Mercury (July 1, 2012) finally did something useful by making a big three page expose' of one of the more egregious examples of
    a court appointed crony performing the customary malfeasance (lining his pockets).

    In summary:
    Some dude got hit by cars
    - and is "brain-injured and partially paralyzed".
    A trust fund was set up for his life-time care.
    The court appointed "trustee"
    - who billed 30% of the total trust fund in the first year,
    - friends of the victim complained,
    - and then the fun began :-))
    - the "trustee" billed and collected another 30% to defend himself :-))

    You gotta love this place, a laugh a minute. :-))

    From the San Jose Mercury News,
    web page, another web page and from Center for Elders and the Courts :-))

    In case the San Jose Mercury News removes the above stories from the Internet, here are three pages in .pdf format, about 600 KBytes each.
    Front page Sunday July 1, 2012, page 15, page 16.

    I suppose the goode olde dayzes of "Rip and Tear" may come to an end :-((
    - before I figure how to get on this gravy train :-((
    But, money talks, and it may take Crazyfornia another generation or three. :-))

    I'm told that my father was part of a large group which helped stamp out this practice in Minnesota in the late 1940s.

Different State Cultures

- Added Feb 2014 - circulating around the Internet (still free :-)

  • The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor's dog, then bites the Governor.

  • The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie "Bambi" and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.

  • He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $2,000 testing it for diseases and $5,000 for relocating it.

  • He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $2,000 testing it for diseases.

  • The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and getting his bite wound bandaged.

  • The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.

  • The Governor spends $500,000 in state funds implementing a "coyote awareness program" for residents of the area.

  • The State Legislature spends $20 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world. (All the money is spent on "admistrative costs".)

  • The Governor's security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. Agent sues for illegal termination, wins $10 million (attorney gets 30%) and goes on permanent disability for stress related problems. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re: the nature of coyotes.

  • PETA protests the coyote's relocation and files a $50 million suit against the state.

  • The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.

  • The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging.

  • The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.

  • The buzzards eat the dead coyote.
  • And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not.

    The Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland - Added Oct 23, 2014
    "Machine Design" article on line

    Wanna Buy A Bridge?

    Aug 19, 2014 - Stephen Mraz | Machine Design

    When a major section of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco collapsed during the 1989 Loma Preita earthquake, officials at the California Dept. of Transportation (Caltrans) leapt into action to replace the span. Their team of experts estimated it would cost $1 billion and be finished by 2003, give or take.

    The bridge was completed late last year at a cost of $6.4 billion, so far. By the time all the bills and interest get paid, it will likely tally over $12 billion. Were there any warning signs that the project would be so late and so expensive? You tell me:

    Was it wise to assign a lawyer to be project manager? He had no engineering training and his previous job was Assistant Chief Counsel for California. While he was overseeing bridge construction, he fired or reassigned several experts in welding, testing, and bridge construction when they raised concerns about safety and quality. A least two of these mentioned that the project manager “repeatedly told them not to record their concerns in writing, either on paper or e-mail, but rather to communicate orally,” according to a California Senate report that looked into the cost overruns on the bridge.

    Firing whistle-blowers is standard operating procedure (one of the unwritten ones) at Caltrans, where the motto seems to be “Go after the troublemaker, not the trouble,” according to a California State Senator.

    Was it wise to hire a Chinese crane-building firm that had never built a bridge to handle the construction? Apparently the Chinese firm was the low bidder, coming in $250 million below the nearest competitor. What could go wrong?

    Soon after production began in China, it was discovered the firm was welding in wet and rainy conditions, a cardinal sin, according to welding experts. They continued welding in the rain for years on the project. Wet welds are prone to hydrogen contamination, one of the major causes of cracked welds. The company also stored completed bridge sections outside in the rain where they partially filled with water. A report was filed saying this would cause corrosion in inaccessible areas of the parts. The prime contractor dismissed concerns saying any rust “would be insignificant and unmeasurable.” Caltrans accepted this without comment for parts that would be suspended for 150 years (hopefully) in a foggy environment close to seawater.

    In a telling anecdote, the prime contractor and others kicked in a total of $500,000 to train Chinese welders in proper techniques. Many, if not all, of the workers skipped the training, and nothing was done.

    I hope the bridge lasts its 150-year design life, but I fear that will have as much to do with dumb luck as good engineering.

    (For more details on this project, check Charles Piller’s coverage in the Sacramento Bee.)

    Since this article appeared, the bridge roadway expansion joints are to be replaced - the Chinese joints are defective, cracking and chipping the bridge concrete.

    Dr. Abolhassan Astaneh (UC Berkeley):
    On the piss-poor bolts:
    On the seismic safety (the purpose of the new and extremely expensive bridge in the first place)
    On explosion resistance:

    High Speed Rail, LA to SF - Added May 28, 2016
    A quick comment -
    Most California public projects have cost over-runs of about 7 to 1.
         Example the Bay Bridge @ 12 to 1
    This says the the bullet train to cost $98.5. Rounding it up 1.6% gives $100 billion.
    that estimate, times seven, gives $700 billion
    Google says in 2014 there were 38.8 million residents in California, lets round that up to 40 million
    Assuming 1/6 of Californians work and pay taxes
    That is 6.7 million California residents pay taxes, that is over $100,000 each
    ?? A real bargain for the few of us who want to go between LA and SF a few times a year. ??

    On-line story here.

    Los Angeles Times

    May 25, 2016

    State cap-and-trade auction falls far short, hurting bullet train

    By Ralph Vartarbedian

    The latest auction in California’s cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gases fell sharply below expectations, as buyers purchased just 2% of the carbon credits whose sale funds a variety of state programs -- notably, the proposed high-speed rail project.

    The quarterly auction, conducted May 18 and announced Wednesday, will provide just $10 million for state programs, including $2.5 million for the bullet train. The rail authority had been expecting about $150 million.

    The reason is unclear, but state officials and outside experts pointed to several possible causes: less need for the credits, pending litigation that may overturn the entire system and volatility spawned by speculators in a secondary trading market.

    Whatever prompted the lack of buyers, the auction is a stark example of the uncertainty and risk of relying on actively-traded carbon credits to build the bullet train, a problem highlighted in recent legislative testimony by the Legislative Analyst's Office and a peer-review panel for the $64-billion high-speed rail.

    The state rail authority is counting on the greenhouse gas fees to fulfill its legal obligation of matching about $3.5 billion in federal grants. The Federal Railroad Administration just last week modified one of its two grants to allow the state to spend all the federal money by next year but not match it with state funds until 2022.

    The grant modification also allows the federal agency to extend a cash advance, needed by the rail authority to cover a cash-flow problem it has experienced. It is unclear whether the auction shortfall will exacerbate that cash-flow problem or worse, undermine the state's already-stretched financial plan.

    The rail authority's recently released 2016 business plan had counted on getting about $10.6 billion from the greenhouse gas fees through 2050, about half of it by borrowing on the future income stream in about 2025. The plan drew warnings even before the auction that there are no assurances the market will generate the expected revenue or that private lenders would make loans vital to the project without demanding high-risk premiums on the interest rate.

    H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance, said the current budget anticipated that the four quarterly auctions would raise $2.4 billion, with $600 million going to the rail project. Earlier auctions in this fiscal year met expectations, but the poor performance of the May 18 auction leaves the annual total at $1.8 billion, with $450 million going to rail.

    But Palmer noted that there is a $500-million reserve set up in anticipation of volatility that could help close the gap. The use of that reserve will have to be agreed upon by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature, he said.

    In addition to the rail project, the fees provide funding for transit projects, affordable housing and other transportation programs.

    The auction market is designed under the state's Global Warming Solutions Act to curtail the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Companies or organizations that emit those gases have to buy credits issued by the Air Resources Board.

    Buyers at the auction took just 785,000 of the 43 million allowances offered, each of which allow the emission of one metric ton of carbon dioxide. All the permits were bought at the floor price of $12.73.

    But there is a secondary market, where the private parties who own the credits trade them daily. Those credits were recently priced at $12.34, well below the state floor in the auctions. It means that any company needing a credit could buy it more cheaply on the secondary market than in the auction.

    "I don't think we know for sure what happened," said Ross Brown, an expert in the program at the Legislative Analyst's Office. "A lot of theories have been put forward."

    One possible cause is that potential buyers believe a pending lawsuit could overturn the entire system. The California Chamber of Commerce is the lead plaintiff in a suit that contends the fees are a tax that was never authorized by the required two-thirds of the Legislature and that the law never specifically authorized the auctions. The state contends the fees are not taxes, but a consequence of regulations.

    The lawsuit was filed years ago, however, well before the first auction. A judge recently asked a series of questions that perhaps fueled speculation that he might rule in favor of the suit.

    Another serious possibility is that emitters of carbon dioxide are making better-than-expected progress at cutting their gas output. That would mean the program is more successful than expected, but the success would be a blow to the bullet train.

    A third potential cause is that markets sometimes behave irrationally when buyers and sellers make wild swings in their behavior. David Clegern, a spokesman for the state Air Resources Board, said he believed the auction results reflected simple volatility.

    If the auction results reflect a long-term shift in greenhouse gas revenue, it would raise new concerns about the viability of building the bullet train.

    "This is an example of the kinds of uncertainty that we have identified," said Jessica Peters, a Legislative Analyst's Office expert on the bullet train who has testified before the Legislature.

    If you have comments or suggestions, Send e-mail to Ed Thelen

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    Started August 8, 2008
    Updated May 28, 2016