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I went out on my front porch just about fifteen minutes ago to sit in the shade and do some grading but the air was so smoky I had to retreat back inside. I live in Claremont, about 25 miles north of the Norco/Corona area where a wildfire is raging out of control. Earlier I went for a run and the air had been clear. Yesterday evening I was at Mount San Antonio College watching my daughter run in a track meet and could see the distinctive brownish-greyish smoke rising in the distance.

The fire, which broke out around 6:12 p.m. Saturday, remains at 15 percent containment.

Firefighters received reports of trees on fire in Chino. Nearly 335 firefighters were called to the scene and two water-dropped helicopters and air tankers were deployed.

The fire quickly spread over to Norco, and mandatory evacuations were in place for residents living on Bluff, Homestead and Stagecoach roads. There were no reports of damaged structures.

Cal Fire, the Riverside County Fire Department and the Corona Fire Department, among other agencies, battled the blaze, which has been dubbed the "Highway Fire." The thick vegetation in the area hasn't burned for decades. ABC 7 Los Angeles

I was born and raised in California and we are used to wildfires, but what used to be a fire season that began in late September and October, and would last for a few months when enough rain had fallen to mitigate the danger, is now a never ending, year round phenomenon.

In a September 2014 interview, Ken Pimlott, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director, spoke with the Washington Post.

. . . Pimlott said his agency has fought almost 5,000 fires this year, a thousand more than the five-year average. Over the last five years, CalFire has battled an average of 3,951 fires between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20. This year, the agency has fought 4,974 fires throughout the state.

In truth, the dry conditions mean fire season never stops. State fire fighters started the year fighting a 330-acre fire in Humboldt County, one of the wettest counties in the continental United States.

“We’ve been in year-round fire season conditions since April or so of 2013. We haven’t been out of fire season for a year and a half and quite honestly don’t anticipate going out of fire season this year unless we see a significant change in the weather,” Pimlott said.

Fortunately an evacuation order for 300 homes has been lifted this morning, although the fire is only 15% contained and with shifting winds hampering fire fighters in the tinder dry Prado Basin, this story is far from over.

Meteorologists are predicting a chance of light rain midweek so this is good news. The bad news is that we are only half-way through April and any rain we do get will only provide temporary relief. With prolonged drought and record high temperatures, we should be in for a long, dry summer.

Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Received this e-mail today from Rep. Tammy Duckworth's (D. IL) U.S. Senate campaign on behalf of herself and California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D. CA) and Rep. Donna Edwards' (D. MD) U.S. Senate campaigns:
During my Army service, I always earned equal pay for equal work. The military's policy of fairness has not only created opportunities for women, but also contributes to making our military the best in the world.

Every woman in America deserves the same treatment. But we're not there yet. Today is Equal Pay Day, the date that marks how far into the year women must work, on average, to earn what their male counterparts earned the previous year.

So today, I'm joining Kamala Harris and Donna Edwards - fellow Democratic women running for Senate - to demand that Congress take action on equal pay. Add your name too:

Illinois women can earn an average of nearly $12,000 less than men annually. This isn't just a matter of equality - it's an economic problem that's making it hard for women in our state to support themselves and their families.

Today is an important opportunity to remind Congress that women everywhere are calling for an end to the wage gap, once and for all.

Thank you for adding your voice,


Click here to add your name:

And click here to donate and/or get involved with Duckworth, Harris and Edwards' campaigns:
7/8/14 2:18:05 PM -- Washington, DC, U.S.A  -- Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., is interviewed by USA TODAY Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page for a Capital Download segment. --    Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY staff ORG XMIT:  JG 131093 CAPDOWN EDWARDS 7/8/2014 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
Reposted from Doctor Jazz by Doctor Jazz
In preparation for a Presidential bid, failed CEO and failed Senatorial Candidate, Carly Fiorina, has been busy establishing her conservative credentials accusing liberals and environmentalists of causing the California drought. Yes, you heard that right folks, libs and tree huggers are to blame. Without any hint that she recognizes the irony in her statement, science denier Fiorina calls the drought "man made". She made her case to Glenn Beck.

'It is a man-made disaster,' she told Glenn Beck during a Monday radio interview. 'With different policies over the last 20 years, all of this could be avoided.'

“That’s the tragedy of California, because of liberal environmentalists’ insistence — despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled,” Fiorina said. Politico

Now Fiorina is not a scientist, and neither am I, but her logic here is stunningly myopic. She is correct that environmentalists have opposed building new dams, for good reason. But of course Fiorina and other conservatives do not think that saving habitat for birds, frogs and fish are good reasons for allowing rainfall to run into the ocean.

"In California, fish and frogs and flies are really important — far more important apparently than the 40 percent unemployment rate in certain parts of central valley," Fiorina said. Newsmax

There are currently 36 reservoirs that contain over 200,000 acre feet (0.25 km3) of water at maximum capacity, and there are many more as well.

The state has more than one thousand major reservoirs, of which the largest two hundred have a combined capacity of over 41,000,000 acre feet (51 km3).[1] Most large reservoirs in California are located in the central and northern portions of the state, especially along the large and flood-prone rivers of the Central Valley. Eleven reservoirs have a storage capacity greater than or equal to 1,000,000 acre feet (1.2 km3); all of these except one are in or on drainages that feed into the Central Valley. The largest single reservoir in California is Shasta Lake, with a full volume of more than 4,552,000 acre feet (5.615 km3).
Republicans, including former Governor Schwarzenegger, have tried unsuccessfully to get more water storage capacity for the state in recent years, having not only been frustrated by environmentalists but also by costs. In 2009 Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought emergency and called for a 20% reduction in water usage and his 2006 water bond issue would have cost $35 billion.
The governor and Republicans in the Legislature have for several years pushed unsuccessfully for bonds to build new reservoirs. Some are calling for construction of a canal to divert water around the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin delta. LA Times

Fiorina of course fails to mention that current Governor Brown did manage to negotiate a bi-partisan water bill, which included, to the dismay of many environmentalists, $2.7 billion for "water storage".  Considering the thousand or so "major reservoirs" already in place, it is hard to believe two more storage sites would provide anything more than minimal relief for Fiorina's constituents, corporate farmers in the Central Valley who are growing water-intensive crops like almonds to ship to China. And many experts have argued that there really isn't enough water in California to justify building further water storage facilities. Newsmax

The Sierra Club, one of the liberal environmental groups Fiorina blames for the drought crisis, responded to Fiorina's claim that more storage would have mitigated the California drought, with facts.

"For more than 100 years, environmentalists have failed to stop the damming of nearly every significant river in California. And yet all of the hundreds of dams out there have done nothing to produce rain or snow pack over the last four years. That's because you can't store what's not there," said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club's California chapter. "We simply don't have rain or snow pack and are suffering the worst California drought since water agencies and weather trackers started keeping records."

"What we are seeing is exactly what climate scientists have predicted would happen in California with the onset of human-caused climate disruption: Weather and precipitation would become less predictable and droughts would become more frequent and more severe," Phillips added. Huffington Post

How bad is the drought? After a somewhat hopeful December, January 2015 was one of California’s driest on record. San Francisco and Sacramento, for instance, each got zero precipitation for the month.
California experienced record temperatures during March 2015.

Scientists agree that record-high temperatures have exacerbated the current drought, sapping moisture from the soil and preventing snow from building up the “frozen reservoir” in the Sierra. The latest measurement had the Sierra snowpack at 6% of normal for this time of year. Drought Watch 2015

In spite of the fact that more water storage would have absolutely no impact on preventing the persistent California drought, this is the kind of talk that instantly catapults one into consideration as a serious candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, and Fiorina left no doubt -- well actually a little less than 10% doubt -- that she was going to enter the race.  In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Fiorina said there is a "higher than 90 percent" chance that she will run for president. She added she would make an announcement in late April or early May.

Reposted from delphine by poopdogcomedy

Let me start by saying that California has been living beyond our means in terms of water pretty much forever.  Especially in Southern California, where about 85% of our water is imported.  I mean, forget it, it's Chinatown, right?

But . . . you're in denial and delusional if you think that California's drought is simply California's problem, even beyond the availability of CA-grown fruit in your neighborhood grocery store.

As Governor Brown pointed out, California's deepening drought is indeed the "new normal".  It's not simply caused by overuse of water but by higher temperatures and lack of precipitation.  The climate is changing.  That's not a California issue; that's a global issue.

So if you drive a car powered by fossil fuel, or burn fuel oil, or your energy comes from coal, or you choose to run your heater all when you can put on a sweater, or your house has inefficient windows or insulation, or you eat meat (especially beef), or use styrofoam cups or plastic utensils, or get plastic bags at the grocers, or burn wood in your fireplace, or don't recycle or compost, or don't purchase food and products locally, or throw paper into a landfill after someone cut down trees and polluted a waterway to make it, if you buy anything packaged in one of those death-slice clamshells or other unnecessary packaging, and if you aren't running your house on alternative energy, you are contributing to California's drought.  

And you are contributing to endless snow in Boston, and the size of hurricanes and typhoons in the rest of the world.  

You are contributing to toxic fracking pollution and oil spills every time you put a time in an oil company's pocket.  If no one bought oil, no one would suck it out of the earth to sell it to us.

So yes, California is nipping around the edges of a massive and devastating crisis when we should be banning lawns, utilizing recycled water (way cheaper than desalination) and grey water, have water usage limits (or make it WAY more expensive).  We need to close down Nestle's water sleight of hand (by the way, if you buy bottled water you're doubly responsible . . .), and completely rethink how we can sustain our agricultural industry - or whether we should.

Yes, all that and more.

But California is just another canary in the coal mine - almost literally - and if the rest of the world thinks they are not contributing to the problem, they are in denial and delusional about California's drought as well.

We all need to rethink the way we live our lives and stop relying on politicians and corporations to do the right thing.

The climate is changing, and not just in California.  

Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

99 Rise was founded about 3 years ago in Los Angeles by my friend Kai Newkirk.

99 Rise is the tip of the spear in the movement to overturn Citizens United and get money out of politics.

Today these five 99 Risers were arrested in the US Supreme Court;

 photo 6b72901a-65c7-40e9-b9f0-7e497181694f_zpspn0oba2i.jpg

Protesters again disrupt U.S. Supreme Court proceedings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Protesters disrupted U.S. Supreme Court proceedings for the third time in just over a year on Wednesday, with several people shouting out before the nine justices heard oral arguments in a bankruptcy case.

The protesters criticized two court rulings that pared back campaign finance restrictions.

5 arrested at Supreme Court after courtroom protest of campaign finance decisions
The first protester rose from his seat among spectators in the courtroom just after the justices took the bench at 10 a.m. "I rise to claim our democracy, one person, one vote," he said.

Chief Justice John Roberts initially joked that he didn't think the court's scheduled arguments in bankruptcy cases "would attract such attention." But Roberts turned serious as the protests continued and warned that anyone disrupting proceedings could be charged with criminal contempt.

This is the third time 99 Rise activists get arrested in the Supreme Court.

This is the video of the first arrest back in February 2014;

It is the only video ever taken inside the Supreme Court.

This was an impressive act of civil disobedience by my friend Kai. So I decided to support his organization and I help them with the March for Democracy.

The March for Democracy arrives in Sacramento on Sunday

The march was joined along the way by many famous people including Lawrence Lessig and Dolores Huerta.  And many Kossacks joined us in the Capitol, including Meteor Blades and navajo.

Many organizations and activists are doing what they can, 99 Rise specializes in non-violent civil disobedience.  And 99 Rise is now a nationwide organization.

Any support is welcome.

Below the fold is the 99 Rise press release

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Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 04:23 PM PDT

Los Angeles Kossacks - Let's Talk

by susans

I've been sick with one thing or another for weeks, so have been almost entirely inactive here. I'm better now and am thinking we should have an open thread to discuss what's what.


I can participate in an open thread on

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Reposted from mettle fatigue by mettle fatigue
Revision is continual: send corrections, additions, mergers, "ceased activity", etc. HERE.
If you use this directory, RECing and republishing will help more kosaks find and use it too.

      GROUPS capability was launched in 2011 to rev up local and specialized DK publishing and collective political activism, nationally and beyond. But the GROUPS link (at the top of each page below Daily and Kos) only searches by 4 laborious methods (Most Recent means "most recently created"); so, Where the Kogs Are links all DK local-focus/geographic groups, publish-only and meet-up groups alike (see event notices across the US at Connect! Unite! Act! under navajo's aegis Community-Building Director of Daily Kos).


     US states, non-voting-delegate territories/possessions/districts, and regions are in one alphabetical order, their groups listed under each by name (e.g., "Motor City Kossacks" is listed as such under Michigan, not as Detroit). If there's no group near you, get to know neighboring groups and make friends. In fact, do that regardless.

     REGION-named groups ▬Appalachia ■ Asian/Pacific ■ Caribbean ■ Four Corners ■ Koscadia ■ New England ■ Pacific Northwest ■ Southern ■  Southwestern▬ are only cross-listed with states/locales they cover if their profiles give those details or if the details are kosmailed to mettle fatigue. CANADA, INDIA, MEXICO, and other non-U.S. places with kog groups actually there, are listed last. General/national groups are listed first. As yet, Kossacks on Mars is not an actual geo-group. Words "kossack", "Dailykos", etc., are generally omitted as redundant.

      The diary list (posting history) and members access links are information-rich for how recently/often/actively the group publishes, on what concerns, and who the administrators, editors and contributors are. (Where profile or contact is the link, group formation was in-process at last contact with mettle fatigue.) Groups that have no admins can't add or promote members, and if also no editors they can't publish; in effect, those groups have ceased activity but remaining members may still be contactable for forming a new group.

     A local-looking name doesn't obligate a group to add members, publish, arrange meet-ups, or answer messages (real life may intervene). A kosmail-to-group —asking to join it, requesting diary republication, etc.— goes only to admins and eds without putting a New Message alert at the MESSAGES line in anyone's WELCOME BACK box; so, they may not see it timely. Try kosmailing to specific admins or eds (check how recently their profiles show comments or diaries). If that gets no response, and if the group hasn't published in some time (to see pub'g dates, click on "list" at Diaries (list) below the group name at any of its pages), consider contacting active members about starting a new group in the area, and coordinating with&via navajo i.e., get organized together rather than fragment or collide yourselves apart.

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Reposted from greendogdemo by susans

In 2014, my firm, GreenDog Campaigns ran an Assembly race in California's 10th Assembly District for Community College Trustee Diana Conti. She was running to oust a "moderate" Democrat, Marc Levine, who had been elected in 2012. In this overwhelmingly Democratic District, she could easily have come in second to take on the incumbent in the fall, (Califonria has a top two primary, which has seen brutal Dem on Dem fights since 2010), if it were not for some last minute "independent" mailers that boosted the Republican's chances int he primary.

Consequently our candidate was edged out of second place by the Republican, thereby assuring a win for the moderate Dem. We saw a similar thing happen in the special election in District 7 this year. The election in May is now between a moderate Democrat and a more progressive Democrat. If Republicans come out to vote for the moderate, we could see another progressive District go the way of the dodo bird.

This Sacramento Bee article describes the phenomenon:

Reposted from Doctor Jazz by Doctor Jazz

Today KPCC's Deepa Fernandes reported on a twenty year USC study released Wednesday that found Children's lung development in urban Los Angeles has significantly improved due to better air quality.

The research, published in the March 5th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, found the region’s steep decline in air pollution since the mid-1990s is strongly associated with “statistically and clinically significant improvements” in children’s lung function and growth." (

The Los Angeles Basin was once notorious for smog. The indigenous Chumash peoples called it the "Valley of Smoke." I remember after playing tennis in Long Beach in the 1980s my lungs actually ached and I couldn't breathe normally for two days.

But "Southern California's air has cleared up dramatically in response to years of strict pollution-control rules targeting cars, diesel trucks, power plants, sea ports, consumer products and factories." ( The improvement in air quality is something that has been verified scientifically for a long time, but what is significant here is that this study proves the direct relationship of this cleaner air to the pulmonary function of our children.

This is something that has a direct impact on my own family, as my 15 year old daughter is a nationally ranked high school distance runner, and as a sophomore is already receiving letters of interest from Division I schools. I have to believe that if she had been born 20 years earlier these opportunities might not be available to her. In contrast, my wife grew up in Riverside, CA in the 1970s, and had the double whammy of being raised by cigarette smoking parents. Her lungs have always been weak and about seven years ago she was diagnosed with life threatening pulmonary disease that doctors essentially blame on childhood exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution. She basically has the lungs of a smoker even though she was never a smoker herself. In fact about three years ago she was actually put on the waiting list for a lung transplant, a very frightening reality for us all. Fortunately, with medication, yoga, careful living, oxygen, some alternative therapies and substantially improved air quality she has actually shown improved lung function and was taken off the transplant list.

And whom do my family and the rest of us Angelinos have to thank for this improved air quality?  As it turns out, government regulations have actually made the L.A. Basin a healthier place for children to breathe and run and play. Researchers found that "children’s lungs grew faster as air quality improved." Who would have thought? Well, actually progressives, environmentalists, Democrats and, buckle your seat belts, breathe in, breathe out, even some Republicans--the Clean Air Act of 1970 as well as the Environmental Protection Agency were signed into law by President Nixon, and the amendments of 1990 were signed into law by George H. W. Bush.  

The effects of these laws have been very positive. In the United States between 1970 and 2006, citizens enjoyed the following reductions in annual pollution emissions:[2]
carbon monoxide emissions fell from 197 million tons to 89 million tons
nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons
sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 31 million tons to 15 million tons
particulate emissions fell by 80%
lead emissions fell by more than 98%.
The USC study details the two-decade long process of following more than 2,000 children in the same geographic locations. USC researchers say local, state and federal air quality regulations have helped clear the air, and they see the results in kids' lungs.
 Bolding is mine.

Past good acts aside, present day Republicans spend their "pro-child" energy on protecting fetuses and cutting supplemental nutrition assistance, promoting school voucher programs and defunding public education, trying to cut funding for the EPA and restricting access to health care for poor mothers. Federal and State government programs to regulate pollution, which are now proven to help our children, are considered to be job killers.

In the modern day Republican playbook, corporate profits trump the health of our children. After his reelection last November Mitch McConnell stated that his top priority was “to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”

McConnell told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he is convinced that coal has a future and that he feels a “deep responsibility” to stop the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions at coal-burning power plants. He is calling on all Republicans to help him in his crusade to block the Obama administration’s efforts to promote low carbon, clean energy.

We need to shout as loud as we can, over and over, that these government regulations are working to improve the health of our children and as evidenced in California, they do not impede job creation and stunt economic growth. We still have more to do and must continue to move forward toward a cleaner and safer environment. Hands off the EPA Senator McConnell!

Reposted from rdsathene by susans

First published on K12NN Wire on February 25, 2015

"It is not legally or morally acceptable that these so-called "schools of choice" that are concentrated in urban communities and supported with public funds, should be permitted to operate as segregated learning environments where students are more isolated by race, socioeconomic class, disability, and language than the public school district from which they were drawn." — COPAA (Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities p. 42)

Resist the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) putting profits before pupils!

That trashy porn and masseuse ad pennysaver known as the LA Weekly (more like Weakly) has long been a bastion of Ayn Rand Libertarianism. Their propensity to serve as a public relations arm for the Steve Poizner founded, deep pocketed California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and its proxies is nothing new. However, today's vicious attack piece on the Honorable Bennett Kayser would be considered the lowest in bottom feeding even by a Pacific hagfish.

The piece is notable for being entirely devoid of facts. That didn't stop Dan "students must pledge love to capitalism" Chang of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex fundraising foundation (GPS:LA) from giving it love on Twitter though. What can we expect from a guy with a MBA and a license to malpractice reform from billionaire Eli Broad? So while I really wish LA Weakly would interview people besides wealthy CCSA executives and Steve Barr, I know Jill Stewart doesn't let factually complete articles run in her bird cage liner.

Let's take a look at a few of the more egregious errors in the piece.

Aspire: where civil rights are eschewed in the name of "high performance"

On opposition to renewing the charter for the Aspire corporate charter chain, LA Weakly reproduced profiteer Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's words, "morally reprehensible". Truth about Apsire:

"But a look at area special education programs provides insight into the types of students served by Aspire.  ¶ El Dorado's special ed program does not serve a single visual or hearing impaired student nor students with multiple disabilities, orthopedic or brain injuries, according to state reports. L.A. Unified's program serves many of these disabilities, requiring highly-specialized, costly care." (KPCC, April 16, 2014)

Unlike Rodriguez and his ilk, I make no money from education. So I'd be more inclined to state that Aspire's openly discriminating against Students with Disabilities (SWD), while their "CEO," James R. Willcox, stuffed a staggering $293,687.00 in his pocket a year (2012 Form 990, Part VII §A) was "morally reprehensible". That Kayser opposes this most vile form of ableism, is a mark of courage that profiteers like Rodriguez will never understand. To use the phrase "high performing charter" when discussing a school that enrolls no low incidence disability SWD is beyond the pale. Rodriguez, who is either immoral or amoral, depending on how generous one is, has zero credibility when talking about what is "morally reprehensible".

PUC: where "high achieving" means 50% failure

On PUC academic scores being, according to the Weakly, "well above the state average". In 2013 students from Rodriguez's PUC Early College Academy for Leaders and Scholars (ECALS) took the California State University (CSU) entrance exams. Half (50%) of those taking the test FAILED to test proficient in either mathematics or English. The fifty percent that failed had to take remedial high school classes. How does that compare to the state average?

2013 CSU English
50% PUC ECALS Not Proficient in English
32% All California High Schools (i.e. the state average)
2013 CSU mathematics
50% PUC ECALS Not Proficient in mathematics
29% All California High Schools (i.e. the state average)

Please tell us again about how Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's schools are "serving... minority and working-class kids." I'll admit this one thing, they've served his income quite well.

Steve Barr never heard of corporate support for charters?

Regarding Steve Barr's bizarre assertion that he started Green Dot Corporate Charters with his own money only, and his equally strange statement that they've never taken a dime from ideologically charged foundations. Perhaps next time LA Weakly interviews him they might want to ask if he really denies receiving start up funds from right-wing plutocrats Reed Hastings (Netflix) and Don Fisher (Gap). Moreover, they can remind him that Green Dot gets millions from foundations like the Walton Family Foundation every year (e.g. $0.5-Million in 2010). This is easily fact-checked, and there's no need for Barr to pretend he's never heard that Walmart is a corporation. For the record Steve Barr was getting paid by Green Dot some $198,855.00 in 2008 (2008 Form 990, Part VII§A).

Since I'm in law school, I'll do Barr a favor regarding his reckless accusations of libel towards the Honorable Bennett Kayser. Truth is always an affirmative defense to libel causes of action. Claiming the charter chain that made you rich has never taken a penny from the Walton Family Foundation, well, that's something else altogether.

Reposted from Native American Netroots by mettle fatigue Editor's Note: Particular applicability to California and especially to Los Angeles: "[Father Junipero Serra, a fanatical colonizer/enslaver of Native Americans] will be declared a saint by Pope Francis in September 2015. Some Catholics, such as Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, applaud [this sainthood]." -- mettle fatigue

Cultural genocide is a concept expressed by many Native Americans to describe the deliberate destruction of American Indian languages, religions, ways of dress and housing, and interpersonal relations by the invading European powers and by the United States. Cultural genocide has led to the deaths of many American Indians either through deliberate murder or as the intended or unintended consequences of the deliberate destruction of Indian cultures. One of the classic cases of cultural genocide can be seen in California.

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Earlier this week, while driving to work as usual I had my radio tuned to KPCC, the public radio station out of Pasadena, and there was a feature on the moves being made to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles. The central focus of the story was the impact of sports stadiums and the teams that play in them have on the economies of their civic hosts.

"There are a lot of things economists disagree about, but the economic impact of sports stadiums is not one of them." That is how the KPCC story began, and I have to admit I figured that it must mean the consensus was that stadiums and professional sports teams brought financial rewards to their cities.

“If you ever had a consensus in economics, this would be it," said Michael Leeds, a sports economist at Temple University. "There is no impact."

Wait. What?

Leeds studied Chicago – as big a sports town as there is – with five major teams.

“If every sports team in Chicago were to suddenly disappear, the impact on the Chicago economy would be a fraction of 1 percent,” said Leeds.

Leeds pointed out that a major league baseball team has about the same economic impact as a small department store, and that is with 80 home games a year. An NFL team only plays eight home games in a season, unless they are a playoff team with home field advantage, in which case they could get one or two more.

Those of us who live in the greater Los Angeles area, once home to the mighty NFL Rams and Raiders, and for one season the Chargers, have been without an NFL team for about 20 years. Some of us are just fine with that. After all, we have the Lakers, Clippers and Sparks, the Angels and Dodgers; we have the Ducks, Kings and the MLS Galaxy. But many other Angelinos, politicians, developers and business leaders, including basketball legend and sports icon, Magic Johnson, consider an NFL team both a matter of civic pride and an irresistible economic opportunity and are working hard to lure a team to our sprawling metropolis.

As there are three NFL franchises with a connection to the Los Angeles area, the Raiders, the Rams and the Chargers, whose stadium leases expired this year, the fully inflated football franchise tree appears ripe for the picking. The burning questions on the minds of many are which team(s) will it be and where in the L.A. will they play?--or will the city be disappointed as Lucy pulls the proverbial football away from Charlie Brown once again?

There is still the stadium issue here, but the most important green stuff is now in place — the Clippers' recent $2-billion purchase price has made the NFL owners understand this market's enormous financial potential. This realization has led a renewed effort to make a stadium deal happen either downtown, Hollywood Park, City of Industry, or even on Frank McCourt's parking lots — ouch! — in Dodger Stadium.

Like Magic said to Yahoo Sports, "I think for the first time, I truly believe we're going to get a team."

The breaking news since I began writing this diary is that the Raiders and the Chargers have announced they are working on deal to share a yet to be built stadium in Carson, about 18 miles outside of L.A. This is the leading story on most local news programs and the stories are full of happy Carson residents and local politicians smiling broadly and pronouncing their joyous support. Additionally, because one of the investors in the Inglewood property is the owner of the Rams, Stan Kroenke, who is planning to build a stadium there, it is not out the realm of possibility that there may soon be three NFL teams playing in the L.A. area.

This seems like a win for everyone. Los Angeles football fanatics get their gridiron pride back, their NFL mojo if you will, the league gets access to the nation's number two media market, and Los Angeles gets all the jobs, all that money pouring into the city and surrounding communities! Conventional wisdom would have it that major stadiums and the professional sports teams that play in them are an economic boon to their communities. All the pitches made by owners and developers of course include the positive economic impact the endeavor will have on their city.

If you build it, they will come … with wallets bulging, eager to exchange greenbacks for peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs and beer, and T-shirts and ball caps with team logos. And then there is all the business to be generated in sports bars and restaurants and the like.

At least that’s the theory embraced – time and time again – by mayors and city council members hoping to lure professional sports teams to their cities by promising to build new arenas for the teams.

Chris Meany, a senior executive with the joint venture designing and financing the project is leading the effort to build an Inglewood stadium site. Construction has already begun on the 238 acres permitted in 2009.
This summer, Meany hopes Inglewood voters will approve a ballot initiative to add a stadium on 60 more acres, but he stresses that it — and any NFL team — is only the cherry on top.

“We’re going to create something that is active 365 days a year,” he said.

And according to Meany, no tax payer dollars will be used for the project. Wow! That's great. Where do we sign?

But wait, not so fast Mr. Meany. There are people here who are actually paying attention.

But a generation of Angelenos grew up without a local NFL team. Many scorn the idea of sapping public tax dollars for a return to pro football, whether that’s for rearranging roads or reallocating cops on game days.

Politicians, including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, are listening to that constituency.

“The mayor is a fan and would love to see football here in L.A. But we do not support the use of city resources for stadium construction,” said Yusef Robb, Garcetti’s spokesman. “Any deal would have to make sense for our quality of life, our neighborhoods and our economy.”

Ah, there are some key words: "quality of life" and "economy." But more on that later. What is this about "public tax dollars?" Remember Meany was boasting that no tax payer dollars would be used.
While the plan does not include any upfront tax money to build the 298-acre community of homes, offices and entertainment venues, a 187-page outline released by developers includes provisions for multimillion-dollar public paybacks to them over time from tax dollars generated by the project, which would cover costs ranging from installing street lights and fire hydrants to running shuttle buses and providing police security on game days.

The documents submitted to officials in Inglewood, where the stadium would be built, say that if annual tax revenue to the city from the completed project exceeds $25 million as expected, the developers, including a company controlled by the owner of the St. Louis Rams, would be entitled to reimbursements for funds they invested in streets, sewers, parks and other projects deemed dedicated to the public.

"Entitled to reimbursements"--sweet! But those reimbursements are coming from tax revenue which means tax payers would actually be contributing to the project, on the back end, rather than up front when they could see to what they were agreeing before a vote.

Chicago-based sports finance consultant Marc Ganis said claiming no tax money would be used in the project is "hyper-spin" and could damage the project's credibility.

"It's not an outright lie ... but there will be people who think it is," Ganis said. "They might be prospective tax dollars, and it might make sense for Inglewood to contribute them to the project, but they are tax dollars." (Yahoo)

So if you have made it this far, you might be inclined to follow below the fold for the point of this whole piece, how sports stadiums and the teams that play in them actually do nothing for the economy of their civic hosts, and why the NFL, and some other professional leagues are subsidized by us.

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