Monday, October 14, 2019


A New Dark Age: California’s Blackouts Are Self-Inflicted

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Jarrett Stepman
By Jarrett Stepman | October 14, 2019 | 12:30 PM EDT

(Getty Images)
California, the richest state in the nation—and one that’s often portrayed as the progressive harbinger of the future for the rest of the country—has been hit with its latest Third World-style disaster.
On top of high poverty rates, skyrocketing homelessness, rising crime, and the return of medieval-sounding diseases, the state—specifically, the San Francisco Bay Area—has been hit with a mass blackout.
About 1 million people in one of the most densely populated parts of the country have had their power shut off by the utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric.
The local utility, PG&E, initiated the blackout in an effort to limit the potential for mass wildfires, which ravaged the state in 2018 and bankrupted the company. Exposed power lines and infrastructure make the likelihood of sparking fires much greater in places where there is ample dry fuel (more on that later). Still, the fires are back this year.
The blackout, which has hit cities throughout Northern California, is causing chaos: businesses have to shut down, people can’t go to work, and in some blacked-out areas, curfews have been put in place to prevent crime.
It’s a mess.
Much of the blame for the blackout has been hurled at the utility, with some even turning to vandalizing PG&E offices and shooting at its trucks
Though it’s easy to criticize PG&E, which hardly looks good in this whole mess, there is a lot of blame to go around—and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with “climate change.”
Poor land management has been a major contributing factor to the uptick in massive wildfires in the West and around the country. California is particularly susceptible.
Fires need heat, and they need fuel. At certain times of the year in California, the state is hot as dry winds blow in from Nevada, a combustible environment for fire. That’s hardly a new situation in the Golden State.

(Getty Images)
Unfortunately, there’s now far more fuel in our forests that has built up over decades because of a change in forest management strategy.
Former California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who now lives in Texas, has done a great job of highlighting this issue and explaining how the blackout crisis was largely caused by politicians.
Renewable energy has been prioritized over reliable infrastructure, DeVore recently wrote in The Federalist, while there has been an uptick of vulnerable power lines to connect distant wind farms to urban centers.
PG&E shifted its priority to the overpriced renewables at the behest of politicians, The Wall Street Journal explained in an article aptly titled “California’s Dark Ages.”
For years, the utility skimped on safety upgrades and repairs while pumping billions into green energy and electric-car subsidies to please its overlords in Sacramento. Credit Suisse has estimated that long-term contracts with developers of renewables cost the utility $2.2 billion annually more than current market power rates.
Now, in large parts of California, if you want to keep the lights on during the blackouts, you better have a flashlight or a gas lamp. Twenty-first century green dreams have led to 19th-century realities.
The Dark Ages indeed.
Worse than the misguided green energy push and poor infrastructure, of course, has been the shifting forest management strategy—mostly the result of misguided environmentalist ideology—that turned large swaths of the state into a tinderbox.
“With a decline in the harvest came a decline in the allied efforts to clear brush, build and maintain access roads and firebreaks,” DeVore wrote in The Federalist. “This led inexorably to a decades’ long build-up in the fuel load. Federal funds set aside for increasingly unpopular forest-management efforts were instead shifted to fire-suppression expenses.”
One failure led to another as poor forest management has necessitated vastly increased budgets for putting out the fires, which will undoubtedly continue to be a threat.
Further, DeVore noted, these fires pose more danger to people than ever before as middle-class Californians flee the state’s expensive urban areas to the more affordable, but also more at-risk parts of the state.
So, the current blackouts are ultimately the result of short-term reality and long-term dysfunctional governance.
California is a wealthy state with vast natural advantages and near-limitless potential for growth. It’s why so many Americans have moved there over the past century.
Despite those attributes, California’s future success looks, well, a whole lot darker due to political dysfunction and the inability to address the growing problems facing the state.
Let us all hope that America’s future is a lot brighter than California’s.

Los Angeles was meanwhile, and this was back 

in 2013, squandering $2370 per citizen 

household on welfare for people who are 

neither U.S. citizens nor legal guests of the 

United States.

If you're an immensely wealthy Google employee, California is Heaven.  If you're not, it's becoming more and more like Hell.

Escape from CA: Why Workers, Taxpayers, and Businesses Should Leave


Escape from LA is a 1996 post-apocalyptic movie that features a villain who can cut off the world's power supply. California's inability to prevent wildfires has led to a massive power shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of people without power, refrigeration and, if they are dependent on wells, running water. This, along with the state's high taxes and cost of living, $4 or more a gallon gasoline, and the fact that its major cities are turning into open sewers where sidewalks serve as gender-neutral toilets, is a strong argument for workers, taxpayers, and businesses to go elsewhere. The same goes for other big cities that are governed almost universally by the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party.
The Big City: What is it Good For?
The answer is the same as that in the song about war: "absolutely nothing," except possibly for museums, theaters, and other downtown attractions. Cities were otherwise obsolete a century ago as described accurately by Henry Ford in My Life and Work (1922). Emphasis is mine:
"And finally, the overhead expense of living or doing business in the great cities is becoming so large as to be unbearable. It places so great a tax upon life that there is no surplus over to live on. The politicians have found it easy to borrow money and they have borrowed to the limit. Within the last decade the expense of running every city in the country has tremendously increased. A good part of that expense is for interest upon money borrowed; the money has gone either into non-productive brick, stone, and mortar, or into necessities of city life, such as water supplies and sewage systems at far above a reasonable cost. The cost of maintaining these works, the cost of keeping in order great masses of people and traffic is greater than the advantages derived from community life. The modern city has been prodigal, it is to-day bankrupt, and to-morrow it will cease to be."
Cities evolved for exactly two purposes, neither of which they serve today. These were (1) as centers of commerce, and (2) defensible positions around which one could build a wall. Long gone are the days when you had to make a trip into "the big city" to buy what you wanted, and cities are now nothing more than dense targets for enemy bombers and ballistic missiles.
San Francisco: A Literal "Outhouse City"
San Francisco, whose Board of Supervisors called the National Rifle Association and its millions of law-abiding members a domestic terrorist organization, deserves a new city seal whose central feature is the smiling poo emoji, and whose motto is "Gardyloo;" the warning shout required when emptying a chamber pot into the streets of a medieval city. The city mascot is now the hepatitis virus (all three versions, A, B, and C) noting that the disease is transmitted by excrement and also discarded hypodermic needles, while the equally appropriate plague-carrying rat has already been taken by Baltimore.
San Francisco is indeed an "outhouse city" -- I am using a family-friendly and radio-safe version of the word Donald Trump used for certain countries -- in terms of more than sanitation. The cost of living is more than three times than the average in the United States. Employers who are mandated to pay $15.59 an hour should therefore move the jobs, if possible, to a state like Michigan or Pennsylvania and pay the minimum wage workers $7.80 an hour: a 50% reduction in labor costs and a 50% pay increase for the workers. $7.80 buys 50% more in most of Pennsylvania and Michigan than $15.59 buys in San Francisco.
This is by no means a recommendation that employers pay workers as little as possible. Bosses who pay as little as they can have no right to complain when their employees do as little work as they can. It means the organization should similarly consider moving $50 an hour jobs out and paying $25 an hour instead. When studio apartments rent for roughly $3000 a month, the organization and its stakeholders might as well be throwing $10 or even $15 an hour per worker down the nearest sewer. This means higher prices for customers, lower profits for investors, and no benefits whatsoever for the workers.
Los Angeles was meanwhile, and this was back in 2013, squandering $2370 per citizen household on welfare for people who are neither U.S. citizens nor legal guests of the United States. The city now plans to squander $700,000 per apartment to house homeless people. To put this in perspective, a clean working class house can be purchased in Allentown PA for a tenth of this money. The Quonset hut, a practical shelter once used extensively by the Armed Forces, can be built for $13 or less per square foot. Quonset huts can be built to resist hurricanes and, more importantly in Los Angeles, earthquakes.
The productive citizen households, the makers who contribute to their community's economy, should therefore relocate and let the takers, who include the government of California, fend for themselves. Will the last worker to leave California please turn out the lights, unless PGE takes care of this first?
Escape from New York
The movie of this title depicts Manhattan as a maximum security prison, and maybe Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio will need to make it into one to prevent the workers, taxpayers, and employers from leaving once they wake up to the fact that the entire city is, like LA and SF, a pay-more-get-less waste of money. Here, for example, is a good question for users of legal services. Do some New York City lawyers charge $1000 an hour because they are outstanding lawyers, or because the median price of a 1-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is $710,000? You, the individual or business client, are paying not only for the attorney's skills but also to carry New York City's bloated cost of living, sky-high city and state taxes, and whatever inflated rent the law firm must pay for office space. The result is that you pay a lot more than you should, and the attorney receives less real compensation than he or she should. Shoppers in downtown New York are similarly carrying the retailer's sky-high rent and New York City taxes.
Henry Ford added of prestigious office buildings, "We will not put up elaborate buildings as monuments to our success. The interest on the investment and the cost of their upkeep only serve to add uselessly to the cost of what is produced…" A New York City (or SF, or LA) address doesn't tell me you're a high-quality, top-of-the-line business; it tells me you are squandering my money as a customer along with your investors' return on investment and your employees' wages. When investors, workers, and customers wake up to this fact, the big cities that are managed almost exclusively by the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party will lose their disproportionate influence on the nation's politics.

Report: Gary, Indiana, Named Most ‘Miserable’ U.S. City

6 Oct 20196

The city of Gary, Indiana, was ranked the most “miserable” place to live on a list of the 50 most miserable cities in America, according to a report from Business Insider.

Business Insider ranked Gary, Indiana— just outside of Chicago— as the most miserable city followed by Port Arthur, Texas, and Detroit, Michigan.
The publication said it relied on U.S. Census data— specifically statistics on crime, population changes, drug addiction, job opportunities, household incomes, abandoned homes, and how likely a city would face problems with natural disasters.
The outlet said that what all “miserable” U.S. cities had in common were “few opportunities, devastation from natural disasters, high crime and addiction rates, and often many abandoned houses.”
For example, Gary has one of the highest crime rates in America. Statistics show that the odds of becoming a victim of violent or property crime is one out of 25 in Gary, according to crime rate tracker Neighborhood Scout.
The city was also known for selling a handful of homes for $1 back in January to reverse the decades of blight that had plagued the city.
Many cities in California and New Jersey were the states that made up the remainder of the list, with ten in California and nine in New Jersey.
The ten California cities made a strong showing on the list:
Bell Gardens (14); Compton (41); El Monte (22); Hemet (44); Huntington Park (10); Lancaster (50); Lynwood (21); Montebello (40); Palmdale; and San Bernardino (42).
The nine New Jersey states also made a significant showing on the list:
Camden (8); Newark (5); New Brunswick (11); Passaic (4); Paterson (19); Plainfield (30); Trenton (17); Union City (15); and West New York (29).


The 50 most miserable cities in America

Business InsiderSeptember 28, 2019

·         The most miserable city in the US is Gary, Indiana.
·         The state with the most miserable cities is California with 10.
·         New Jersey is close behind with nine, and Florida comes in third with six.
·         These cities have things in common — few opportunities, devastation from natural disasters, high crime and addiction rates, and often many abandoned houses.
Not the worst, just the most miserable.
We've identified the 50 most miserable cities in the US, using census data from 1,000 cities across the country, taking into consideration population change (because if people are leaving it's usually for a good reason), the percentage of people working, median household incomes, the percentage of people without healthcare, median commute times, and the number of people living in poverty.
Often, these cities have been devastated by natural disasters. They've had to deal with blight, and with high crime rates. Economies have struggled after industry has collapsed. These cities also tend to have high rates of addiction.
The state with the most miserable cities was California, with 10 in the top 50. New Jersey was second with nine, and Florida had six.

Here are the 50 most miserable cities in the US, based on US census data.

50. Lancaster, California

Lancaster, a desert town, has almost 160,000 people, 51% of whom work, and 23% of whom live in poverty. It's had crime problems, both with meth addiction and neo-Nazis. But Mayor R. Rex Parris is doing what he can to kickstart the city, including looking to China for investment.

49. St Louis, Missouri

Colter Peterson / St Louis Post-Dispatch / TNS / Getty
St. Louis has almost 303,000 people, but it lost 5% between 2010 and 2018. Sixty-five percent of people work and one quarter are living in poverty.
The city has had struggled with crime and gun violence. In 2015, killings rose 33% from the year before to 159 deaths. The city has relatively relaxed gun laws, including allowing people to carry loaded guns in cars without permits. Then-Mayor Francis Slay said crime was the No. 1 priority for the city.

48. Pasadena, Texas

Chris Graythen / Getty
Pasadena has 153,000 people, 65% of whom are working, and one-fifth live in poverty. While the median income is $50,207, nearly 29% of people don't have health insurance.
Mostly working-class, the city is based near petrochemical plants, and is known for its race issues. It used to be home to the Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan. Now, it's divided. In the north it's primarily made up of Latino people and to the south it's mostly white people.

47. Macon-Bibb County, Georgia

Grant Blankenship / Macon Telegraph / MCT / Getty
Macon-Bibb County has 153,000 people, but it lost 1.7% of its population between 2010 and 2018. Fifty-six percent are working, and 26% live in poverty.
One of Macon-Bibb County's biggest problems is blight. Across the city there are about 3,700 unoccupied buildings, including dilapidated homes and overgrown yards.

46. Danville, Virginia

Michael Williamson / The Washington Post / Getty
Danville has 40,000 people, but its population fell by 5.5% between 2010 and 2018. Fifty-five percent of people are working and 21% live in poverty.
It used to be one of the richest cities in the Piedmont area. But it's struggled since its tobacco and textile mills shut down. However, the city is fighting for a comeback. It's set up solar farms, and its downtown is in the midst of a rehabilitation to turn abandoned warehouses into mixed-use developments.

45. Shreveport, Louisiana

Deputy Josh Cagle / Bossier Sheriff's Office / Handout / Reuters
Shreveport has about 189,000 people, and lost nearly 6% of its population between 2010 and 2018. Fifty-eight percent of people work, and 26% are living in poverty.
In 2015, it struggled with floods from the Red River. Its murder rate also doubled from 2015 to 2016, up to 42 murders, and the city also had an increase in other crimes, like rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

44. Hemet, California

Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / Getty
Hemet has a population of 85,000 people and between 2010 and 2018, it grew by 8.5%. However, it's struggled since the 2008 recession. Twenty-three percent of people live in poverty, and crime rates are high. In 2016, 623 cars were stolen, 170 robberies were reported, and police logged 398 aggravated assaults — the most this century.

43. Mansfield, Ohio

Eric Thayer / Reuters
Mansfield has 46,000 residents, but lost 2.7% between 2010 and 2018. Forty-eight percent of people are working, and 24% are living in poverty.
It used to have lots of industrial work, with people making things like steel, machinery, and stoves, but that dried up in the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, in 2010, a GM factory closed its doors, leading to more job losses. It's also had a surge in crime, and between 2012 and 2017, violent crimes rose by 37%.

42. San Bernardino, California

AP Photo/Reed Saxon
Of San Bernardino's 216,000 residents, 57% are employed, and 30% live in poverty.
It's 60 miles east of Los Angeles, and has an interesting history. It's where McDonalds began, as well as the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. Along with a tough recession, it had a steel plant and an Air Force base close down, meaning even fewer jobs.

41. Compton, California

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Compton has 96,000 people, 40% of whom aren't working, and 23% live in poverty.
The city struggles with poverty and unemployment. But it's no longer as dangerous as the way it was portrayed in the film "Straight Outta Compton." In 1991 there were 87 murders, and in 2014, it was down to 17.

40. Montebello, California

Frederick J. Brown / AFP / Getty
Of Montebello's 62,632 people, 60% are working, and 14% live in poverty. The average commute time is 33 minutes, and 19% of people don't have health insurance.
A big issue is affordable housing. A home-ownership counselor told the New York Times in 2019 that prospects for first-time buyers weren't good, and that opportunities to live there weren't growing.

39. Harlingen, Texas

Harlingen has 65,000 residents; 56% are working, and 30% live in poverty.
It's a hot city, with little rainfall, although recently, it's been dealing with flooding. It's also one of three cities where 2,000 immigrants were released in 2019, putting pressure on the city to help them.

38. Reading, Pennsylvania

Michael Williamson / The Washington Post / Getty
Reading has 88,495 residents, where almost 62% of people are working, and 36% live in poverty. In 2011, The New York Times said it was the poorest city in the US.
Its economy struggled after factories closed down or downsized, laying people off. An estimated 44% of households are on food stamps, among the most in the country.

37. Hallandale Beach, Florida

Hallandale Beach has about 40,000 people, 60% of whom are working; 20% live in poverty. More than 29% of people are without health insurance.
Halfway between Miami beach and Fort Lauderdale, it's been called a "once scruffy beach town," by the Wall Street Journal. It also has plenty of strip clubs and has been nicknamed "Hound-ale Beach."

36. Palmdale, California

Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / Getty
Palmdale has 156,667 people — 59% are in the workforce, and 19% live in poverty.
It also has a median commute time of 42.7 minutes, which is the highest on the list. It was at one point called "the foreclosure capital of California."

35. Anderson, Indiana

Anderson has 55,000 residents, but lost 2% between 2010 and 2018. Fifty-six percent of people are employed, and one-quarter live in poverty.
Formerly a thriving GM city with 24 factories, things deteriorated when the carmaker closed factories and 23,000 people lost their jobs. It's also been a city that has been dealing with blight. In 2015, the city was given $2.8 million to tear down 100 abandoned homes, and there were hundreds more that could have qualified.

34. Fort Pierce, Florida

Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post / Getty
Fort Pierce has 46,000 people, and grew by almost 10% between 2010 and 2018. Just over half of people there are employed, and almost 36% of people in poverty.
This city used to have an economy based around citrus farming, but struggled with diseases and the effects of trade deals. It also has to replenish the sand on its beaches every few years, because of ocean erosion.

33. North Miami Beach, Florida

North Miami Beach has almost 46,000 people; 65% are working, and just under 20% are living in poverty. But 32% of residents don't have healthcare, and the average commute time is 31 minutes.
Another issue for living in this area could be the tumultuous politics — two recent mayors have faced criminal charges for their spending.

32. Jackson, Mississippi

Jonathon Bachman / Reuters
Jackson has almost 165,000 residents, but between 2010 and 2018 it lost more than 5% of its population. Sixty-two percent of the population is working, and almost 29% live in poverty.
In February, the city threatened to cut off water for 20,000 people, because $45 million worth of bills hadn't been paid. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, elected in 2017, said his goal was to make the city the "most radical" on Earth, by taking on issues like poverty in new ways.

31. Saginaw, Michigan

Saginaw has 48,000 people, and between 2010 and 2018 it lost 6% of its population. Fifty-five percent of people are working and nearly 34% are living in poverty.
Like many other cities on this list, it used to have a lot of manufacturing jobs — at one point around 25,000 with General Motors. But they didn't last.
Some locals reportedly refer to the city as "sag-nasty" because of its issues with crime. In May 2019, violent crime had fallen in the city, with 16 shootings to date, compared to 30 at that point in 2018.

30. Plainfield, New Jersey

Plainfield has 50,693 people, 70% of whom are working, and one-fifth of whom live in poverty. Nearly one-third are without health insurance, and the median commute time is 31 minutes.
It used to be a violent city — in 1990 there were 719 violent crimes, but since then things have improved, although in 2016 there were 12 murders.

29. West New York, New Jersey

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
West New York has nearly 53,000 people, and it grew by 6.6% between 2010 and 2018. Almost 70% are working, and 22% are living in poverty.
Cleanliness and parking are meant to be two of the biggest issues for its new mayor. The median commute time is 37 minutes.

28. Miami Gardens, Florida

Joe Skipper / Reuters
Miami Gardens has 113,000 people — 60% are working, while about 22% live in poverty.
In 2014, it was called the "stop and frisk capital of America," after an investigation showed nearly 57,000 people had been frisked since 2008.
Another issue in the area is the cost of water. Because it comes from a plant owned by the City of North Miami Beach, the cost of living is a little bit higher. In March, the city was suing to fight the extra 25% surcharge.

27. Cleveland, Ohio

Benjamin Lowy / Getty
Cleveland, sometimes called the "mistake by the lake", has 384,000 people. Its population fell 3% between 2010 and 2018. Nearly 59% of the population is working, and 35% live in poverty. An August 2019 report found that half of those living in poverty are working.
The city has struggled for years since losing the bulk of its manufacturing industry. In 2010, Forbes said it was the most miserable city in the US. It also had a bad year for gun violence in 2015, with 85 gun homicides.

26. Youngstown, Ohio

Brian Snyder / Reuters
Youngstown has about 65,000 people, and lost 3% of its population between 2010 and 2018. Just over half of its population is working and nearly 37% of people live in poverty.
It used to have a population of 170,000, and was the third biggest steel producer in the United States, until the factory began downsizing from 1977 onward. It was also recorded as having some of the worst air pollution in Ohio in 2017.

25. North Miami, Florida

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
North Miami has about 63,000 people, 65% of whom are working, while 23% in poverty.
One of the big issues it faces is flooding, even when it doesn't rain. Sometimes, all that's necessary for flooding is a full moon. It is also facing problems around septic tanks (the city has 2,780) that soon might not be able to operate properly, because of rising sea levels. This could result in wastewater ending up in yards and other places it's not meant to be.

24. Huntington, West Virginia

Lexi Browning / Reuters
Huntington has 46,000 people, and it lost 6.4% of its population between 2010 and 2018. Just over half are working, and about a third live in poverty.
Formerly a thriving coal mining town with 90,000 people in 1950, it has since fallen on harder times. In 2008, the city was described as the unhealthiest in America. The severe opioid crisis has led Huntington to be named America's overdose capital. But overdoses have fallen since 2017.

23. Hammond, Indiana

Scott Olson / Getty
Hammond has about 76,000 people, and  its population fell by 6.2% between 2010 and 2018, Sixty-one percent of people are in the labor force, and 22% live in poverty.
A 2014 study found the city was one of the most industrial in the state, and as a result had problems with air and water pollutionLead contamination has been a particular concern for residents.

22. El Monte, California

El Monte has 115,000 residents; 58% of its population is working, and 22% live in poverty. The average commute time is a half hour.
The city, which is located near two freeways and close to Los Angeles, had a lot of revenue coming in from car dealerships, but struggled during the recession, when three dealerships closed, and the city's tax revenue fell. It's continued to have issues with finances, and the city is now divided over the future of marijuana production — one large facility in particular.

21. Lynwood, California

Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times / Getty
Lynwood has 70,500 residents — 60% work and 23% are impoverished. It was once called "the best place to live best." But things didn't stay that way.
The construction of Interstate 105, which cut right through the city, caused many to leave their homes, and 1,000 homes and businesses to be knocked down. More recently, officials have struggled to manage the city's finances, resulting in losses that could have been used to help the city.

20. Huntsville, Texas

Richard Carson / Reuters
Huntsville has 41,500 residents; 39% of its people are working, and almost 35% live in poverty. However, the low employment is in part because those living in prisons are counted in the city's population.
The Department of Criminal Justice is the city's biggest employer, providing nearly 7,000 jobs. Since 1999, Texas' executions have been done exclusively out of Huntsville.

19. Paterson, New Jersey

Eric Thayer / Reuters
Paterson has 145,000 residents, 57.5% of its population is working, and 29% live in poverty.
It used to produce silk in the 19th century, but it's since struggled. In a cruel twist of fate, the Great Falls, which was used to power factories, ended up flooding the city after Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Between 2009 and 2016, the city's tax revenue fell by 38%. It's also had problems with blight — at one point it had 1,250 abandoned homes, but that dropped to 770 in 2016.

18. Albany, Georgia

Tami Chappell / Reuters
Nicknamed "the good life city," Albany has 75,000 people, although its population fell by almost 3% between 2010 and 2018. Nearly 58% of the population is working, and a third live in poverty.
Along with poverty and crime, it also has been dealing with severe damage and ruined crops from a severe tornado and Hurricane Irma in the last few years.

17. Trenton, New Jersey

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
Trenton has a population of 84,000. Almost 60% of people are working, and 27% are living in poverty.
It used to be an industrial city with a catchphrase, "Trenton makes, the world takes," but has since fallen on harder times. Its violent crime isn't increasing, but neighborhood gangs have been known to fight each other, and gun violence is a problem.

16. Cicero, Illinois

Scott Olson / Getty
Cicero has 81,500 residents, but that fell by 3% between 2010 and 2018. Two-thirds of people are working and just under 20% live in poverty. The median commute time is 31 minutes.
It's known for being Al Capone's "private playground" back in the 1920s, and since then, the city has fought the nickname and crime. In 1999, the city even voted to make gang members leave within 60 days, or face a daily $500 fine.

15. Union City, New Jersey

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
Union City has 68,500 residents, almost 70% are working, while 23% live in poverty. The average commute time is 33 minutes long.
The city is known by some as "Havana on the Hudson," due to 80% of its residents identifying as Hispanic, many of whom fled from Cuba. It's only 1.28 square miles, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the US.

14. Bell Gardens, California

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / Getty
Bell Gardens has 42,300 residents; 63% of people working, and almost 30% are living in poverty.
According to a city official in 1991, the problem with the city was too many people. The city has had to depend on a casino for much of its tax revenue — in 2002, it provided more than half.

13. Hialeah, Florida

C. M. Guerrero / Miami Herald / TNS / Getty
Hialeah has 239,000 residents — 56% of whom are working, while almost 26% live in poverty. Nearly 31% don't have health insurance.
With a primarily Hispanic population, it's one of the least diverse cities in the country. It's also been rated as the worst city in the US for having an active lifestyle.

12. Brownsville, Texas

Sergio Flores / AFP / Getty
Brownsville has 183,000 residents, 56% of people are working, and more than 31% of people are living in poverty. More than 35% don't have health insurance.
The city is on the Mexican border, and often has unauthorized immigrants passing through, making it one of the most patrolled places in the country. According to locals, three different types of helicopter fly overhead. Concern around immigration has also made it difficult for some residents to sell their properties.

11. New Brunswick, New Jersey

New Brunswick has 56,000 residents, 54% of people are working, and 35% are living in poverty. It has had problems with crime – In 2017, the city's assaults with guns rose 64%.

10. Huntington Park, California

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / Getty
Huntington Park, the 10th most miserable city in the US, has 58,000 residents, 63% of people are working, and 28% of people live in poverty. The median commute time is 31 minutes.
It has a checkered history with waste management. A former waste disposal facility situated in the community is being cleaned up, but work was suspended after residents complained about dust and the smell.

9. Warren, Ohio

Alan Freed / Reuters
Warren has 38,000 residents, and its population fell by 7.7% between 2010 and 2018. About half of people are working, and two-thirds live in poverty.
It's had a slow economy for a while, but things weren't helped when General Motors announced in 2018 it would stop work in a plant nearby, meaning people had to leave the city to find work. Along with Youngstown, Warren has the second highest rate of people struggling to find enough food in the country.

8. Camden, New Jersey

Spencer Platt / Getty
Camden has 74,000 residents, and its population fell by 4% between 2010 and 2018. Nearly 57% of people are in the work force, and 37% live in poverty. The average household income is $26,105 — the lowest on this list.
It used to be a manufacturing city, but that fell to pieces between the 1950s and 1970s. It's had a high crime rate and been known as one of the most dangerous cities in the country, but it is improving. In 2017, there were 22 murders, which was the lowest number since 1987, thanks in part to new police procedures.

7. Flint, Michigan

Rebecca Cook / Reuters
Flint has 96,000 residents, and it's fallen by 6% between 2010 and 2018. Just over half of people are working, and 41% of people are living in poverty — the highest on this list.
The city has struggled with a decline in manufacturing. By 1990, General Motors had downsized in the area, leaving many without jobs.
Flint is perhaps best-known for the water crisis it's been facing since 2014, where residents were being poisoned with lead. On top of that, it's got 20,000 abandoned properties to deal with, a consistently high murder rate, and an opioid problem.

6. Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Pine Bluff has 42,000 residents, and between 2010 and 2018, it lost nearly 14% of its population — the biggest loss on this list. Fifty-two percent of people are working, and 30% are living in poverty.
People have been leaving due to the state losing almost 3,000 manufacturing jobs between 2016 and 2017. In 2019, things deteriorated further when the Arkansas River flooded the city.

5. Newark, New Jersey

Kathy Willens/AP Photo
Newark has 282,000 residents, 62% are working, and 28% are living in poverty. The median commute time is over 35 minutes long.
Like Flint, it's had problems with lead poisoning its water supply. The city has also struggled with race relations, which bubbled up in violent riots in 1967, and has it's fair share of violent crimes, particularly in 2013.

4. Passaic, New Jersey

Mark Makela / Getty
Passaic has 70,000 residents — 58% of people working, and a third are living in poverty.

3. Detroit, Michigan

Joshua Lott / Reuters
Detroit has 672,000 people, and between 2010 and 2018, it lost nearly 6%. While 54% of people are working, 38% live in poverty. The median household income is $27,838.
The city already lost many of its residents between 1950 and 1980, when 600,000 people left after the manufacturing industry collapsed. With 43,000 abandoned homes, it's been struggling with blight, and is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

2. Port Arthur, Texas

Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post / Getty
Port Arthur, a city surrounded by oil refineries, has 55,000 residents. Fifty-three percent are working and 30% are living in poverty.
The city was hit by hurricanes in 2005, 2008, and 2017. Harvey, the latest, caused $1.3 billion in damage. Officials fear that if people keep leaving, Port Arthur will fall below 50,000 people and make it ineligible for federal grants.

1. Gary, Indiana

Eric Thayer / Reuters
Gary has 75,000 residents, but lost 6% between 2010 and 2018. Just over half of the population works, and 36% live in poverty. The most miserable city in the US was once a manufacturing mecca, but those days are over.
A drug enforcement agent who grew up in the area told The Guardian in 2017: "We used to be the murder capital of the US, but there is hardly anybody left to kill. We used to be the drug capital of the US, but for that you need money, and there aren't jobs or things to steal here."
When the jobs dried up, most white people left, and now 84% of people living in Gary are African American. The city is experimenting with number of plans to try and revitalize the area, including selling abandoned homes for $1.



Xavier Becerra breaks the news, files suit against Trump administration public-charge rule.

August 19, 2019

More than 22 million people are illegally present in the United States, according to a recent study by scholars at MIT and Yale. Pew Research pegged the figure at 11 million, and for years it stood as the official count for media and government. It now emerges that 11 million is more like the number illegally present in California alone.
“California is home to over 10 million immigrants,” reads a chart displayed by California attorney general Xavier Becerra and governor Gavin Newsom as they announced a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s public-charge rule. “Immigrants,” is California code for “illegals,” a term the state’s ruling class has banned. As Rachel Bovard notes at American Greatness, even a legal immigrant’s ability “to stay off the welfare system must be taken into account when considering qualifications for a green card.”  
California heaps welfare benefits on those illegally present, including nearly $100 million for health care in the recent budget. Many of those 10 million illegals came to California specifically to get those taxpayer-funded benefits. It disturbs Becerra and Newsom that this disqualifies the recipients from any future legal status, but there’s more to it. As attorney Madison Gesiotto explains in The Hill, voting must also be taken into account. 
“Voting as an illegal alien in federal elections is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, deportation, or inadmissibility.” According to a State Department investigation, false-documented illegals have been voting in federal, state and local elections for decades. In 1996, illegals cast 784 votes against Republican Robert Dornan in a congressional race Democrat Loretta Sanchez won by only 984 votes.
If Newsom and Becerra are certain that more than 10 million people illegally reside in the state, they doubtless know how many voted in 2016. Trouble is, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla refused to release any voter information to a federal voter-fraud probe.
Back in 2015, Padilla told the Los Angeles Times, “At the latest, for the 2018 election cycle, I expect millions of new voters on the rolls in the state of California,” with “new voters” code for ineligible voters. True to form, by March, 2018, more than one million “undocumented” immigrants received driver’s licenses from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which automatically registered them to vote under the “Motor Voter” program.
Padilla is now claiming that only six “California residents” were erroneously added to voter rolls for 2018, that it was all due to DMV errors, and that none was guilty of “fraudulently voting or attempting to vote.” To paraphrase John Goodman in The Big Lebowski, this is what happens when the governor’s own department of finance, not the official state auditor, investigates the DMV.
In reality, California officials know full well how many non-citizens voted in 2016 and 2018. With more than 10 million illegals in the state, the ballpark figure of one million illegal voters is probably low. In California, illegals are the Democrats’ electoral college, and the Democrats reward them with welfare benefits and protection from deportation through sanctuary laws. This raises another issue.
Illegals’ use of welfare benefits and practice of voting in federal elections disqualifies them from legal residency and citizenship. This makes for a permanent group of more than 10 million foreign nationals in California alone. In these conditions, Congress should start pushing back.
Public officials who apportion taxpayer-funded benefits for foreign nationals should be required to register as agents of the governments of those foreign nationals. The primary candidates would be the governments of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which Gavin Newsom visited before he had even toured his own state.
State and federal governments should also bill the foreign governments for welfare, medical, education and incarceration costs. Some of this could be alleviated by a tax on remissions, such as the 33.4 billion Mexicans abroad sent back last year. That amount is impossible without massive inputs from U.S. taxpayers. Legitimate citizens and legal immigrants have no obligation to relieve foreign governments of responsibility for their own citizens.
Meanwhile, as Rachel Bovard also notes, the Trump administration’s new rule only updates a 1996 law proclaiming “inadmissible” those aliens likely to become a public charge. The law was supported by Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden and other leading Democrats.  The Trump administration measure gives more definition to what constitutes a welfare benefit, food stamps, Medicaid, public housing assistance and such. Those benefits are all for legitimate citizens and legal immigrants but Bovard cites Census data showing that 63 percent of non-citizens use the welfare system.
Those who thought there were only 11 million illegals nationwide were mistaken. Thanks to Jerry Brown crony Gavin Newsom, and Xavier Becerra, once on Hillary Clinton’s short list as a running mate, Americans now understand that “more than 10 million” illegally reside in California alone, and that might understate the figure.
The MIT-Yale estimate ranges as high as 29.1 million nationwide, more than the population of Australia, with 25,088,636 and a veritable occupation. To all but the willfully blind, politicians have abandoned the rule of law, and made false-documented illegals a protected, privileged class.
This is how a nation loses its sovereignty. 

Democrats turning California into a third-world hellhole: Going without electricity edition

Democrats are turning California into a third-world hellhole without electricity, water, and freedom.
Due to Democrats' love for trees, at least 800,000 Californians will be without power for several days.  Instead of properly managing California forests to reduce the chances of big fires, Democrats are saying Californians have to go without lights, refrigerators, and air-conditioning.  Democrats could also avoid this by not making the power company financially liable for all forest fire damages, but since PG&E is a company, not an illegal alien, the Democrats couldn't care less about doing what's best for California.
While they try to blame climate change and the infrastructure, the reality is that neither of those has caused any significant changes in the last ten years — but now, suddenly, due to Democrat policies, Californians have to start living in the 18th century.
The Democrats who run California also refuse to build more water storage capacity even though the state's population has dramatically increased, ensuring that water has to be rationed during droughts.
Democrats are turning California into a third-world country economically.  The income inequality between the ├╝ber-rich Silicon Valley workers and the rest of Californians is huge, just like in third-world countries, while the elites live in luxury and the rest live in squalor. 
Democrats are doing a great job manufacturing poverty and homelessness even as they fail to instill hope in Californians.
California has four times more homeless per capita and three times more poor per capita than the rest of America.  Half the homeless in America are in California, even though California has only 12% of the U.S. population.  Also, blacks are six times more prevalent in the San Francisco homeless population than they are in California in general.
The homeless explosion has brought the return of third-world diseases like typhus to California — not to mention streets littered with human feces.
Democrats are trying to keep people from having cars, just like the people of the Third World.  After all, a car gives people the freedom to move, and freedom is a bad thing in the minds of Democrats since it limits the power the government has over citizens.
Recently, Gavin Newsom, the Democrat governor, transferred millions of dollars that the voters had been ensured would go to improve the state's failing road infrastructure to a fund designed to convince Californians to give up their cars.
Democrats are also working to make cars unaffordable for any but the richest Californians.
Californians pay $1.53 more for a gallon for gasoline than the rest of America.  That's $21 more for a tank of gasoline.  Facebook employees won't notice it, but the poor in California who can't afford to live near their jobs are paying through the teeth.
Like all third-world tyrants, Democrats are doing everything they can to eliminate democracy in California.
The jungle primary, where the top two candidates in the primaries go against each other, has resulted in many races where two Democrats are running against each other, giving voters who don't agree with the Democrats' failed policies no one to vote for.
California is doing nothing to ensure that people who shouldn't vote don't vote.  Instead, the people running the state are doing everything possible to let illegal aliens vote.  When illegal aliens go pick up their driver's licenses, they're automatically enrolled to vote unless they say they're not citizens.
California is also trying to end democracy by keeping the Republican presidential candidate off the ballot.  Democrats passed an unconstitutional law to keep any candidate who didn't release his tax returns off the ballot solely to keep Californians from voting for Trump.
Finally, the Democrats are going after freedom of the press.  An undercover journalist revealed that Planned Parenthood was selling aborted baby parts.  Instead of investigating that illegal practice, Democrat Kamala Harris decided to put the journalist on trial.
Democrats keep telling us California is the future if they get elected.  That means that poverty, homelessness, the end of democracy, and a press that reports only what Democrats want heard are what Democrats are promising us.

If you're an immensely wealthy Google employee, California is Heaven.  If you're not, it's becoming more and more like Hell.
You can read more of Tom's rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious, and feel free to follow him on Twitter.

“The high cost of housing (71%) is the most common reason given by voters for wanting to leave California,” polling director Mark DiCamillo said. “However, high taxes (58%) and the state’s political culture (46%) are also prominently mentioned, particularly by Republicans and conservatives.”


Walters: California Paradox: Economy–and poverty–hit record highs

California’s median income rose to among the nation’s highest in 2018, but it ranked 50th in housing


By happenstance, events in the final week of September perfectly framed what one might call the California Paradox — a thriving, world-class economy with stubbornly high levels of poverty and a widening divide between the haves and have-nots.
The week began with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s keynote address to a United Nations-sponsored forum on the environment and economic growth, in which he crowed about California’s economic achievements.
“It’s an interesting fact, while this country is running $1 trillion-a-year deficits, California is running historic budget surpluses,” Newsom told the international audience. “It’s an interesting fact that California has enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate in its history, more consecutive months of net job creation than at any time in its history, and significantly outperforming the United States of America in GDP growth over a five-year period — not despite our environmental strategies, but because of our environmental strategies.
“As we change the way we produce and consume energy, it is spawning new companies, new energy, new growth. We lead in venture capital and green tech. Five to one — five to one, the number of clean energy jobs in the state of California versus fossil fuel jobs.”
But a few days later, the Census Bureau released new state-by-state data on income and poverty, underscoring once again that California is one of the leaders in both categories.
While California’s median personal income rose by 2.3% in 2018 to $75,277, one of the nation’s highest levels, it was one of only five states in which the “Gini index,” which measures income inequality, increased.
“New census figures released today show rising income inequality across the state and millions of California residents who are struggling to get by on extremely low incomes, while higher-income households experienced more income growth,” the California Budget & Policy Center said in its analysis of the Census Bureau data.
The organization noted that “from 2006 to 2018, the median household income in California increased by 6.4%, after adjusting for inflation, but the average real income for the lowest quintile of households (those in the bottom 20%) actually decreased by 5.3% while the inflation-adjusted average income for the top 5% of households increased by 18.6%, or nearly three times as much as the increase in the median income.”
That analysis is in line with another recent measure of wellbeing by an organization called the “Social Progress Imperative.” It merges dozens of economic and other factors to generate a “social progress index” for nations and their subdivisions, including states — and California doesn’t fare well.
It ranks 33rd among states and not surprisingly, its housing crisis is a major reason why. The index places it at 49th in the category of “basic human needs,” which includes a 50th place in “shelter.”
Finally, a few days after Newsom bragged about California’s economic achievements to the elite economic gathering in New York, UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies released its latest poll, revealing that half of the state’s voters have considered leaving the state.
“The high cost of housing (71%) is the most common reason given by voters for wanting to leave California,” polling director Mark DiCamillo said. “However, high taxes (58%) and the state’s political culture (46%) are also prominently mentioned, particularly by Republicans and conservatives.”
Moreover, just 50 percent of those surveyed agree that California is now the best place to live.
There you have it, the California Paradox.