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The Farsider

April 26
, 2012


Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>


The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.



Below is a short video by Leroy of the PBA's April Birthday Boys who attended last Wednesday's monthly meeting. In addition to highlighting Will Battaglia, Paul Salerno, John Porter, Rich Frazier, John Kregel, Pat McGuire (intentionally trying to hide), John Quin, Bob DeGeorge and Walt Robinson, our Webmaster also tossed in a plug for JoeMac's new book: "Love and Death in Silicon Valley."




—Measure B ballot language below—

The daily poll the Mercury News has been running about the pension reform ballot measure since early March has been replaced with one asking readers if San Jose should ban restaurants from using Styrofoam and other polystyrene? I had to dig deep into the bowels of the paper's website to find the pension ballot poll. While it is still open, it's unlikely anyone will go to the trouble to find it. Last week the running tally looked like this:

Below are the results as of yesterday (Wed.) afternoon. If you do the math, you will see that the poll generated 203 additional votes over the past week, and that the Yes votes have increased by 2 percent.

Numerous comments about the ballot measure by (presumably) City employees as well as the public can be seen by clicking on this link where the poll is located. Click on the link then scroll down to the comments:

• • • • •

Chuck Blackmore directed us to the portion of the City's website that shows the text of Measure B that will appear on the June 5th ballot...

Following are the arguments for and against the ballot measure as well as the rebuttals to the arguments for and against. For the full text of Measure B, the resolution on Measure B, and the City Clerk's Impartial Analysis, click on this link to download a .pdf file to your desktop that you can open and view with a double-click...


Argument in Favor of Measure B

Annual retirement costs skyrocketed from $73 million to $245 million over the last decade, causing service cuts throughout the city. The City’s share of retirement costs exceeds 50% of payroll, far more than the 6.2% of payroll private employers pay for social security. Retirement costs consume more than 20% of the general fund and are projected by independent actuaries to increase for years. This is unsustainable.

Many city retirees receive more than $100,000 per year, plus healthcare benefits.

Future generations of taxpayers will have to pay billions of dollars for unfunded liabilities created by the retirement plans.

Measure B would protect retirement benefits already earned by current employees but would reduce the cost to the city by making changes going forward. It would not cut current payments to retirees. It would prohibit spiking of pension benefits.

Current city employees will pay a larger share of the cost of retirement benefits, a step already taken by over 200 California cities. New employees and the city would share the cost of retirement benefits with a 50/50 match in a new lower-cost plan. Over 100 California cities have adopted lower-cost plans for new employees.

City employees are presently paying less than 1/4 of the cost of their retirement benefits. Private sector employees usually pay 1/2 of the cost. Measure B will require current city employees to pay more than 1/3 of the cost of their retirement benefits and new city employees to pay 1/2 of the cost of their retirement benefits.

The City Charter gives the voters the right to change retirement benefits. The city will seek judicial review before changes are implemented to minimize legal disputes.

Mayor Reed, Vice Mayor Nguyen, and Councilmembers Constant, Herrera, Liccardo, and Oliverio support Measure B.

Vote yes on Measure B for pension reform.



Chuck Reed, Mayor of San Jose
Matthew Mahood, President & CEO, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
John Roeder, President, Santa Clara County Taxpayers Association
Suzanne Salata, San Jose Small Business Owner
Fernando R. Zazueta, Attorney at law

~ ~ ~


Argument Against Measure B

Here’s what Measure B backers aren’t telling you: It could eliminate disability retirements for police and firefighters injured on the job and unable to perform their previous duties, it increases by thousands of dollars the amount widows and seniors pay for promised health care, and the City admitted that Measure B may not be constitutional because it violates employees’ vested rights.

Measure B is riddled with legal risk. Read what City Hall told Wall Street bond investors about its pension scheme: “Finally, existing law regarding vested rights and impairment of contracts may limit the City’s ability to change retirement benefits for current employees and retirees…”. But city officials never even tried to offer taxpayers a way to achieve any savings that would stand up in court.

Legal pension reform is important, but so are facts. City workers recently took 10%-18% pay cuts and don’t receive Social Security. The average federated pension is approximately $37,885.

Employees proposed dozens of legal pension reforms that would have increased retirement ages, reduced benefit levels, and lowered COLA’s. Police and fire even proposed to cut pensions back to 1972 levels. Putting politics above policy, politicians said “NO”. Now, these same politicians want you to gamble with our City’s financial future.

In December, as an excuse for putting this measure on the ballot, politicians unsuccessfully tried to declare a fiscal emergency and described catastrophic cuts to city services. Now, all of a sudden, there is a $10 million budget surplus and millions to improve roads near a proposed sports stadium and to subsidize the Downtown Association. This pattern of inaccurate financial projections, meant to scare voters, helped convince the State’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee to audit the City of San Jose’s finances.

Tell the city to negotiate legal pension reform, Vote NO on Measure B


Authors for Argument Against Measure B

1. Helen Chapman, Former Chair, San Jose Parks Commission
2. Pattie Cortese, San Jose Taxpayer
3. James Spence, President, Association of Retired San
Jose Police Officers & Firefighters
4. John S. DiQuisto, Retired Captain, San Jose Fire Dept
5. Cay Denise MacKenzie, San Jose City Analyst

~ ~ ~

Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure B

City politicians distorted San Jose’s budget and pension issues and now they’ve put a pension measure on the ballot that their own attorneys have declared “risky”. Measure B won’t open a single library, hire a single cop or pave a single street. San Jose can do better, Vote No on Measure B.

City employees don’t receive Social Security and the average federated pension is $37,885; employees rely on their pension for retirement security. How would you feel if Congress slashed your Social Security? It’s just not right.

Recently, city employees took pay cuts of 10% to 18%. They contribute up to 17% of pay toward retirement and Measure B could boost that to 33%. When combined, about half an employee’s paycheck evaporates before paying for taxes, groceries, rent, mortgage or gas. That’s not fair and that’s not what was promised.

City politicians tried to declare a “fiscal emergency” even though there’s now a budget surplus and made up pension projections that were inflated by hundreds of millions over actual costs. Politicians continue to recklessly spend on fixing roads near a proposed sports stadium and on supporting the Downtown Association.

The California State Auditor has been ordered to get to the bottom of San Jose’s fiscal shenanigans in an attempt to bring sanity to local budgeting.

Tell the City to negotiate legal pension reform – Vote No on B


~ ~ ~

Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure B

Measure B follows California law. The California Constitution grants the City authority to change employee compensation. The City Charter gives voters the right to change retirement benefits. The Municipal Code allows the City to require employees to pay more for retirement benefits, which is an element of Governor Brown’s pension reforms and was recommended by the Santa Clara County Grand Jury.

Governor’s Proposal:



Grand Jury Report:


Measure B would also allow employees who wish to pay less for retirement benefits to choose a lower cost optional plan that saves them and the City money.

Upon voter approval of Measure B, the city will immediately seek a judicial review to minimize the cost of legal disputes. See the legal opinion of outside counsel:


A Stanford report found that San Jose public safety retirees' average annual pension benefit ($90,612) is the highest of any independent pension system in California.


The City Auditor found that disability retirements among San Jose's sworn employees are considerably higher than other jurisdictions and 67% of fire retirees were receiving disability retirement payments. Some employees granted disability retirements were working full time in their regular job right up to when they separated from the City. The Auditor recommended the City Charter be amended to reform the system.


The City engaged in hundreds of hours of negotiations with 11 employee unions, including 20 sessions with state mediators, but was unable to reach agreement on language for Measure B.

Vote yes on Measure B.


Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure B

Order of Signers

Marcia Fritz, President, California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility
Dakin Sloss, Director, California Common Sense
James Duran, Chair, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley
Brian J. Blach, Pension Consultant
Donald P. Gagliardi, Attorney at Law

That's all we have this week on the pension reform issue.



Roger Finton provided us with a couple of links that should answer any questions you may have about the new health care co-pays that affect most of us regardless of which plan you are covered under. Click on this link, then on the appropriate link for your situation.


For for those of you who have Kaiser Senior Advantage (Kaiser & Medicare), this link will download a .pdf file to your desktop. If you double-click the icon it will display many of the procedures you are likely to encounter as well as their co-pays.





Results from last week's poll...

This is how last week's poll breaks down in a pie chart...

For the full scope of state and national polling by Scott Rasmussen, click on this link:

For the most recent releases, click here:




April 19th


Bill I hate to do this to you, but I'm looking for any retirees down in the Tulare or Fresno Co. area. I have a full time job managing an account there. For the life of me I cant remember anybody close to that area. Any thoughts?

Chuck Wall
CEO, Creative Security Company Inc.
San Jose, CA 95110

I drew a blank, so I replied and asked Chuck if he wanted his question posted in the Farsider. He said he did, so call or e-mail if you can provide him with a lead.

• • • • •


April 19th

The article on Candelaria took me back 40 years. I had just been hired, and as you know, we had no academy or formal training officers. We were simply assigned to ride in a patrol car with a veteran officer for a period of time.

One night I was assigned to work with Leroy Widman in an "A" car. We were downtown near St. James Park when we observed a fight raging between two men. Leroy was driving and told me to keep track of the guy doing the most punching. As Leroy turned the patrol car to get closer to the park, we were involved in a fender bender.

When we both exited the car the fight stopped, and we were immediately surrounded by a large number of people. All of a sudden a guy from the crowd dressed in fatigues approached and started agitating the mob by claiming that since we were involved in an accident we were no longer police officers. The crowed started getting hostile and bottles started being thrown. Leroy yelled to the crowd that the next person to throw a bottle would be arrested. I remember thinking that I had just been hired and my career may be very short-lived. The street was so packed with people that patrol cars were unable to get to us. Thank God for the motor units that were able to break through and save us.

As additional officers were finally able to arrive on the scene the crowd started to disperse. One of the motor officers was writing a citation to the agitator dressed in fatigues. He was very upset and yelling "I not signing the ticket." A sergeant was summoned to intervene. When the motor office explained to the sergeant the agitator's refusal to sign, a smile came to my face when the sergeant said "Book em." Cuff's were applied, but before he was gently assisted into the rear of the patrol car, he turned to the remaining onlookers and yelled, "They're booking me for jay walking, they're booking me for jay walking." It was only later I learned that agitator was Sal Candelaria.    
Don Carraher Badge # 1464


• • • • •


April 19th

Bill & Leroy,

Ah yes...Sal Candelaria and the Fiesta De La Rosas Parade. I remember it well. I had been on motors for about three months in the spring of 1969. The City had some commemorative coins made up to publicize and celebrate the occasion. Unfortunately, whoever conceived the idea was apparently unaware of the resentment of what it stood for in the Latino community. As I recall, it stood for the Spanish Conquistadors and what they did in Mexico.

The parade started out on East Santa Clara around 10th Street and headed West. It was led by a "V" formation of Harley motorcycles moving very slow. We were cheered at first, then as we turned South onto 1st Street things began to happen. The Charro Riders had fire crackers thrown at them which caused some concern about the horses' reaction. Agitators ran amongst the Charros who used their whips or lashes to fend them off. At one point when the parade was held up, bags of excrement were flung about and at us. There was quite a bit of agitation activity all the way down 1st Street to the turn west on San Carlos and the review stand. Quite a few arrests were made during the ruckus.
One Latino woman caused a lot of commotion by acting nuts. Then she fainted and, I believe, was taken away by ambulance. Candelaria was very much involved in the agitation, and at the end of the parade he was taken into custody for acting very weird and being in a highly agitated state. Rather than jail, he was hauled off to Agnews State Mental Hospital by Sgts. Bob Moir and Glenn Terry, who managed to convince the MD on duty to admit him for a 72-hour hold and observation.
Another thing I recall during those days was that the rank and file were upset because the police administration had loaned Candelaria one of our hand-held Motorola radios.

(As a side note, the old Motorola handpack was developed by a Motorola engineer named Phil Crawford, who was from my neighborhood in the Manchester district of Pittsburgh, and with whom I graduated from Oliver High School  waaaaaay back in 1954.)

As ever,

Dick Tush, ID #1230


• • • • •

Ed. — We've had hundreds of folks join the Farsider Family over the past six years, so this story about the turbulent Candelaria days will be new to many. I wrote it as a reply to a Mail Call missive from Ken Hawkes, who had written in to confirm the rumor that he had in fact suffered a couple of strokes, but was doing well. His letter and my response appeared in the May 4, 2006 Farsider. It's the second point of my reply that illustrates the impact Sal Candelaria had on the SJPD. As in "what if..."


Thanks for the Farsider. Look forward to each edition. I look at the names and remember stories involving so many of them. Some stories are better than others, like when you were a rookie and I had to teach you to duck.
Anyway, the update: Had two strokes. One in the left brain, one in the area between the Pons and Medulla. Right side numb and little control, no loss of strength. Loss of taste, smell. Right eye wanders all over so have a Rooster Cogburn eye patch. Worst part is unbelievable vertigo. Getting some control over right side and walking without walker (geriatric in-line skates). Cane for ambiance. Can now smell and taste a bit. Things really looking up. Have heard from many old friends and have been trying to answer emails but type a record number of mistakes per minute. Thank one and all for the kind thoughts...
(Bill, edit or just use the message for answering questions. The jokes are between us. Phil Norton taught me years ago not to go out of my way to irritate guys who buy their ink in 50 gallon drums!)
Ken Hawkes

First, Ken, I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we are all greatly relieved that your condition isn't more serious than it is. The most important thing is that you are still with us, that you can communicate well, and that you haven't lost your sense of humor. Regarding your comment about teaching me to duck, I've listened to tons of other cops' stories over the past 38 years, it's time for two of my own:

When I left the S/O and came to the PD in Sept. of 1970 there was no need to send me to the academy since I already had a POST certificate. Instead, the powers to be felt that I'd be ready for my own beat after riding along with you for a week. A couple of incidents from that short period in my life left an indelible imprint on what's left of my brain.

1) It's my 2nd day as a San Jose cop and I'm riding shotgun in a flea-ridden Plymouth K-9 wagon, but with no pooch in the back. Ken is behind the wheel. It's close to midnight on a Friday night. We're working B-7A in East San Jose, which includes N. Jackson, an area that is particularly hostile to police. The green channel is buzzing with radio traffic. Most units have assignments. Ken tells me that single units never go into N. Jackson alone because of the residents' hostility to police, and because the street dead ends at an orchard. In other words, the only way out is the way you came in. Furthermore, if there are any disturbance calls on N. Jackson, multiple units are to gather at a holding quad prior to entering the area. Next thing I hear is Ken saying, "It looks pretty calm right now, let's go in and I'll show you what it's like." I can feel hundreds of eyes on us as we crawl down N. Jackson, all the way to the orchard at the end.

As we begin to turn around, we see that a crowd has gathered down the street behind us and is blocking our exit. When I hear Ken mutter a profanity, the pucker factor immediately sets in. Next thing I know I'm bouncing up and down in the passenger seat and my head is banging off the ceiling of the Plymouth as we careen through the furrowed orchard and dodge trees to make good our escape.

We eventually made it back onto a safe surface street, but there were moments from that incident when I wasn't sure I had made the right decision of exchanging my deputy's costume for the blue serge uniform of the SJPD. While it didn't come to pass, I recall thinking that if the pucker factor became too severe, the dark blue SJPD uniform pants would be less prone to show wetness than the green wool trousers worn by deputies. Whatever the case, that was my second day on the job.

2) It's a few nights later and Ken and I are working B-7A again. It's around 1:00 in the morning. I'm riding shotgun again when Ken decides to make a car stop on a Pontiac Tempest on 15th St. The reds on our roof and the spinner light up, but the car continues for a block or two before it slowly comes to a stop. The spotlights on our patrol car car illuminate four occupants.

[Sidebar: In 1970 there was an "us vs. them" attitude between the police and an East Side militant group led by Sal Candelaria. All patrol personnel — especially those working Swing and Mids — exercised extreme caution while on patrol. For some officers, that caution came close to reaching a stage of paranoia. The SJPD, after all, still was in shock from the recent assassination of Officer Richard Huerta a month earlier.]

Ken and I get out of our patrol car. The four occupants of the Tempest remain seated in the Pontiac. All of a sudden, a citizen walking a dog passes by and tells Ken in a soft voice that there are guys at the end of the block armed with rifles. I wasn't in position, however, to hear what the dog walker told Ken. If I had heard him, I probably would have immediately determined whether my theory about dark blue pants masking wetness was true or not.

With the occupants of the Pontiac still seated inside the car, Ken gets on the radio and requests a code 3 fill. He then tells me what the dog walker said and suggested I look for some cover. Here comes the pucker factor again, accompanied by sirens off in the distance. Meanwhile, Ken slowly but deliberately walks over to the sidewalk and positions himself so that it appears he has become part of a telephone pole. Like a lost little puppy dog, I follow. Moments later I'm standing so close to my 6-foot-6-inch partner that a passerby might suggest we "get a room." When Ken senses my presence, he turns around, looks down at me and says, "Go find your own $#%&#' pole!"

Shocked at my "partner's" response, I look up the street and see that the next pole is 200 feet away. I look down the street and am not surprised to see that the next pole in that direction is also 200 feet away. There's one directly across the street, but there's no way I'm going to cross what I see as "no man's land." As far as I'm concerned, the street might as well have been mined.

My head is spinning. Where the hell do I go? Guys with rifles down the street? Which way? "Stay cool" I tell myself. The pucker factor is now a rock solid 10. If a practical joker had set off a lady finger at this point, wet pants would have been the least of my concern.

The next thing I'm aware of is the sound of multiple sirens and the arrival of the cavalry. Eventually, the pucker factor begins to subside as other uniform cops are now on the scene. The Pontiac has been surrounded, and units are up and down the block looking for the "guys with rifles." If there were some, they had already departed.

It took a few minutes to sort things out, but eventually the occupants of the Pontiac were safely removed from the vehicle, including one by the name of Sal Candelaria. When a search of the car turned up one of the Police Department's handpack radios in the back seat, every cop on the scene knew we had a major league problem on our hands since the radio could be used not only to track police units throughout the city, it could also be used to transmit on the police frequencies. The big question was, how did Candelaria get his hands on one of our radios?

Long story short, the radio was one of two handpacks that had been given to the Community Alert Patrol (CAP) led by Candelaria by the SJPD administration as a "sign of trust." Perhaps someone in the police administration felt that "reaching out" to the militant group might possibly diffuse the tension. Who knows what the thinking was? These were turbulent times, after all. As a deputy I had stood beside my brother deputies and other Bay Area law enforcement agency riot squads at various college campuses in an effort to quell the anti-war protests by students. Indeed, madness was part and parcel to the late '60s and early '70s.

Even though it was now about 2 a.m. in the morning, then-POA President Phil Norton was awoken from a sound sleep at his residence and given the news about the found radio. A short time later, Ken and I — along with a half-dozen other uniformed cops — were standing inside Phil's residence.

I had never met the POA President. I was just a green rookie, despite my time at the S/O. I'd been on the job for three days. No one was telling me anything. No one was even speaking to me. I was invisible.

How I ended up standing next to Phil Norton who was clad in a bath robe while he was on the phone yelling and screaming I have no idea. But when I heard him call the person on the other end of the line "Chief," things began to become semi-clear, and the pucker factor began to set in again for the third time in as many days. I'm on probation, after all, and can be fired without cause. How could I have gotten myself in this jam? Surely my name is going to end up in a police report. Maybe even the newspaper if this is as big a deal as it appears to be. Trying to get a grip, I told myself the only thing I had going for me at this point was that I hadn't yet discarded my S/O uniforms. Will the Sheriff take me back?

Somehow, during my first three days as a San Jose cop, I managed to survive the drive-thru on N. Jackson and subsequent escape through the orchard, the "guys with rifles" on N. 15th St., and the wayward handpack radio that ultimately resulted in the retirement of the second longest reigning Police Chief in the history of the SJPD. Either I was lucky, or my survival was a result of what I learned in school back in the '50s. Remember those "duck and cover" drills?


* * * *


April 21st

Alan West has long been my pick to run for higher office. He has been incredible in every public speech or congressional oration he has given. With his D-I-R-E-C-T,  cut-to-the-chase and inarguably logical deliveries, he should have been in the Presidential race this cycle!
Other thought: I still have several personal Sal Candelaria mementos from my old days on swing B-3 during the 1970-73 era, following my original B-18 stint. What a derelict. Back then, it was all so "big," so "ominous" and large-scale "combat-provoking" to me. Given another 30-years of experiences, I came to view him as the insignificant zit on society that he actually was.
Fair Winds, Following Seas.
God Speed & Semper Fidelis

Kenn Christie

There seems to be little doubt that people like West and Rubio have energized many conservatives. If the GOP has a problem, it's that the party itself is divided into two sub-parties comprised of far-right conservatives and moderate conservatives. There are times when they can be their own worse enemies as we saw in the recent primary.




Announcing the Association's 8th Annual Bobby Burroughs Folsom BBQ for Members

Click Here to Sign Up for the Folsom BBQ
(The link is near the top of the page)
Lew Howard Memorial Park
 7100 Baldwin Dam Rd.
 Folsom, CA 95630
Date and Time:
Saturday, May 21, 2011
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
 Lunch at 12:00 PM
Meeting right after lunch
Food Choices
Tri-Tip or Chicken

Please make your selection when signing up.

Cost: $5 per person


From I-80 in Roseville" Take I-80 to Douglas Blvd., east on Douglas Blvd. Go approximately 5.1 miles to Folsom Auburn Blvd. Turn right and go 4.1 miles to Oak Ave. in Folsom (there is a McDonald's fast food on the corner). Turn right on Oak Ave. and go approximately 0.4 miles (the road ends). Turn right on Baldwin Dam Rd. You will see the Lew Howard Memorial Park Arch. Go under the Arch and drive to the top of the hill where the picnic grounds are (approximately 0.3 miles)  and you have arrived

From I-50 in Folsom: Take I-50 to Folsom Rd. Exit. Take Folsom Rd. 2.4 miles and cross the American River Bridge. At this time the road name changes to Folsom Auburn Blvd. Continue 0.8 miles to Oak Ave. You will see a McDonald's fast food restaurant on the left corner. Turn left on Oak Ave. and go approximately 0.4 miles to Baldwin Dam Rd. Turn right and you will see the Lew Howard Memorial Park Arch. Drive straight through to the top of the hill and you have arrived.

: We will need a count of Retirees and Spouses who will be attending the BBQ by May 9, 2012.

Mike Moffett, Director



All Law Enforcement Officers and Police Personnel

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

Thursday, June 14th, 2012  run times: 0900 to1330 hrs

Starting points (approx. 2 mile legs) will be assigned along the
Torch Run route between Morgan Hill and Santa Clara.
Marked escort and support vehicles will be provided.

To raise money and awareness for Special Olympics athletes and programs.
The goal is for each officer/police personnel who runs to raise
at least $100 in sponsorship donations for Special Olympics.

Contact Info:
Sgt. Phil Rodgers, San Jose P.D. (retired)
Cell # 408-529-1723, or e-mail:

To make a donation or register and join our team, please go to:
Checks accepted! Make checks to: Northern California Special Olympics.



Damn Bill Leavy for sending me this article. I was perfectly happy sucking up a scotch-and-water while wallowing in indifference about what's happening to our so-called "Golden State" when a chime alerted me to the arrival of his email that included the following Wall Street Journal Op/Ed piece...

Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus

—A leading U.S. demographer and 'Truman Democrat' talks about what is driving the middle class out of the Golden State—

By Allysia FInley
Wall Street Journal Op/Ed — April 20, 2012

'California is God's best moment," says Joel Kotkin. "It's the best place in the world to live." Or at least it used to be.

Mr. Kotkin, one of the nation's premier demographers, left his native New York City in 1971 to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley. The state was a far-out paradise for hipsters who had grown up listening to the Mamas & the Papas' iconic "California Dreamin'" and the Beach Boys' "California Girls." But it also attracted young, ambitious people "who had a lot of dreams, wanted to build big companies." Think Intel, Apple and Hewlett-Packard.

Now, however, the Golden State's fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape. The first thing that comes to many American minds when you mention California isn't Hollywood or tanned girls on a beach, but Greece. Many progressives in California take that as a compliment since Greeks are ostensibly happier. But as Mr. Kotkin notes, Californians are increasingly pursuing happiness elsewhere.

Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states. This is a sharp reversal from the 1980s, when 100,000 more Americans were settling in California each year than were leaving. According to Mr. Kotkin, most of those leaving are between the ages of 5 and 14 or 34 to 45. In other words, young families.

The scruffy-looking urban studies professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., has been studying and writing on demographic and geographic trends for 30 years. Part of California's dysfunction, he says, stems from state and local government restrictions on development. These policies have artificially limited housing supply and put a premium on real estate in coastal regions.

"Basically, if you don't own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven't robbed a bank and don't have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak," says Mr. Kotkin.

While many middle-class families have moved inland, those regions don't have the same allure or amenities as the coast. People might as well move to Nevada or Texas, where housing and everything else is cheaper and there's no income tax.

And things will only get worse in the coming years as Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and his green cadre implement their "smart growth" plans to cram the proletariat into high-density housing. "What I find reprehensible beyond belief is that the people pushing [high-density housing] themselves live in single-family homes and often drive very fancy cars, but want everyone else to live like my grandmother did in Brownsville in Brooklyn in the 1920s," Mr. Kotkin declares.

"The new regime"—his name for progressive apparatchiks who run California's government—"wants to destroy the essential reason why people move to California in order to protect their own lifestyles."

Housing is merely one front of what he calls the "progressive war on the middle class." Another is the cap-and-trade law AB32, which will raise the cost of energy and drive out manufacturing jobs without making even a dent in global carbon emissions. Then there are the renewable portfolio standards, which mandate that a third of the state's energy come from renewable sources like wind and the sun by 2020. California's electricity prices are already 50% higher than the national average.

Oh, and don't forget the $100 billion bullet train. Mr. Kotkin calls the runaway-cost train "classic California." "Where [Brown] with the state going bankrupt is even thinking about an expenditure like this is beyond comprehension. When the schools are falling apart, when the roads are falling apart, the bridges are unsafe, the state economy is in free fall. We're still doing much worse than the rest of the country, we've got this growing permanent welfare class, and high-speed rail is going to solve this?"

Mr. Kotkin describes himself as an old-fashioned Truman Democrat. In fact, he voted for Mr. Brown—who previously served as governor, secretary of state and attorney general—because he believed Mr. Brown "was interesting and thought outside the box."

But "Jerry's been a big disappointment," Mr. Kotkin says. "I've known Jerry for 35 years, and he's smart, but he just can't seem to be a paradigm breaker. And of course, it's because he really believes in this green stuff."

In the governor's dreams, green jobs will replace all of the "tangible jobs" that the state's losing in agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing and construction. But "green energy doesn't create enough energy!" Mr. Kotkin exclaims. "And it drives up the price of energy, which then drives out other things." Notwithstanding all of the subsidies the state lavishes on renewables, green jobs only make up about 2% of California's private-sector work force—no more than they do in Texas.

Of course, there are plenty of jobs to be had in energy, just not the type the new California regime wants. An estimated 25 billion barrels of oil are sitting untapped in the vast Monterey and Bakersfield shale deposits. "You see the great tragedy of California is that we have all this oil and gas, we won't use it," Mr. Kotkin says. "We have the richest farm land in the world, and we're trying to strangle it." He's referring to how water restrictions aimed at protecting the delta smelt fish are endangering Central Valley farmers.

Meanwhile, taxes are harming the private economy. According to the Tax Foundation, California has the 48th-worst business tax climate. Its income tax is steeply progressive. Millionaires pay a top rate of 10.3%, the third-highest in the country. But middle-class workers—those who earn more than $48,000—pay a top rate of 9.3%, which is higher than what millionaires pay in 47 states.

And Democrats want to raise taxes even more. Mind you, the November ballot initiative that Mr. Brown is spearheading would primarily hit those whom Democrats call "millionaires" (i.e., people who make more than $250,000 a year). Some Republicans have warned that it will cause a millionaire march out of the state, but Mr. Kotkin says that "people who are at the very high end of the food chain, they're still going to be in Napa. They're still going to be in Silicon Valley. They're still going to be in West L.A."

That said, "It's really going to hit the small business owners and the young family that's trying to accumulate enough to raise a family, maybe send their kids to private school. It'll kick them in the teeth."

A worker in Wichita might not consider those earning $250,000 a year middle class, but "if you're a guy working for a Silicon Valley company and you're married and you're thinking about having your first kid, and your family makes 250-k a year, you can't buy a closet in the Bay Area," Mr. Kotkin says. "But for 250-k a year, you can live pretty damn well in Salt Lake City. And you might be able to send your kids to public schools and own a three-bedroom, four-bath house."

According to Mr. Kotkin, these upwardly mobile families are fleeing in droves. As a result, California is turning into a two-and-a-half-class society. On top are the "entrenched incumbents" who inherited their wealth or came to California early and made their money. Then there's a shrunken middle class of public employees and, miles below, a permanent welfare class. As it stands today, about 40% of Californians don't pay any income tax and a quarter are on Medicaid.

It's "a very scary political dynamic," he says. "One day somebody's going to put on the ballot, let's take every penny over $100,000 a year, and you'll get it through because there's no real restraint. What you've done by exempting people from paying taxes is that they feel no responsibility. That's certainly a big part of it.

And the welfare recipients, he emphasizes, "aren't leaving. Why would they? They get much better benefits in California or New York than if they go to Texas. In Texas the expectation is that people work."

California used to be more like Texas—a jobs magnet. What happened? For one, says the demographer, Californians are now voting more based on social issues and less on fiscal ones than they did when Ronald Reagan was governor 40 years ago. Environmentalists are also more powerful than they used to be. And Mr. Brown facilitated the public-union takeover of the statehouse by allowing state workers to collectively bargain during his first stint as governor in 1977.

Mr. Kotkin also notes that demographic changes are playing a role. As progressive policies drive out moderate and conservative members of the middle class, California's politics become even more left-wing. It's a classic case of natural selection, and increasingly the only ones fit to survive in California are the very rich and those who rely on government spending. In a nutshell, "the state is run for the very rich, the very poor, and the public employees."

So if California's no longer the Golden land of opportunity for middle-class dreamers, what is?

Mr. Kotkin lists four "growth corridors": the Gulf Coast, the Great Plains, the Intermountain West, and the Southeast. All of these regions have lower costs of living, lower taxes, relatively relaxed regulatory environments, and critical natural resources such as oil and natural gas.

Take Salt Lake City. "Almost all of the major tech companies have moved stuff to Salt Lake City." That includes Twitter, Adobe, eBay and Oracle.

Then there's Texas, which is on a mission to steal California's tech hegemony. Apple just announced that it's building a $304 million campus and adding 3,600 jobs in Austin. Facebook established operations there last year, and eBay plans to add 1,000 new jobs there too.

Even Hollywood is doing more of its filming on the Gulf Coast. "New Orleans is supposedly going to pass New York as the second-largest film center. They have great incentives, and New Orleans is the best bargain for urban living in the United States. It's got great food, great music, and it's inexpensive."

What about the Midwest and the Rust Belt? Can they recover from their manufacturing losses?

"What those areas have is they've got a good work ethic," Mr. Kotkin says. "There's an established skill base for industry. They're very affordable, and they've got some nice places to live. Indianapolis has become a very nice city." He concedes that such places will have a hard time eclipsing California or Texas because they're not as well endowed by nature. But as the Golden State is proving, natural endowments do not guarantee permanent prosperity.

~ ~ ~

Ms. Finley is the assistant editor of <OpinionJournal.com> and a Journal editorial page writer.



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If you haven't already done so, remember to click on the "Large Player" icon on the YouTube control panel in the lower right-hand corner of the video when you watch the first clip. If you do, all other YouTube videos should default to the same setting throughout the rest of your session at the computer. If your Internet connection is fast enough, you can click on the Full Screen icon instead.

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This clip from Bob Kosovilka isn't political in nature because Sen. Barbara Boxer has four more years in the Senate. But it is funny if you remember when the Senator took umbrage to being called "Ma'am" during a congressional hearing. The parody was made by David Zucker who produced "Airplane," "The  Naked Gun" and several other movie spoofs. (2 Mins.)



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When we received from Gary Leonard a link to an article with the headline reading that Marines in Afghanistan were ordered not to audibly break wind, I thought it was a joke. Gary noted that he hadn't vetted the story, so I did. The links below — and there are several others you can find using Google — confirm the story. For those of you familiar with the history of the Corps, ask yourself this question: What would Chesty Puller say if he was alive today? As it is, he's probably turning cartwheels in his grave...





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Gary also found this clip interesting. It's an accessory for a table saw that will stop immediately if your finger gets in the way of the spinning blade. For you woodworkers, it will no doubt cause damage to your table saw, but you will still be able to pick your nose or give someone the one-finger salute. (4 Mins.)



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Sharon Lansdowne sent us a link to the Neosho Daily News E-edition in Neosho, Missouri and an interesting and articulate article authored by Alberta Anders. If you were around the SJPD during Alberta's days you will likely find her essay of interest...



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Here's a 2-year-old, 39-pound house cat that's in need of a good home, at least it was a few days ago. The math says if it was a man it would weigh 600 pounds. (2 Mins.)


And here's evidence that if you are a tubby tabby and sufficiently big, you can be a guest on a national TV program like the "Today Show." (1 Min.)



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What could possibly be more fun than spending the afternoon duck hunting with your paintball rifle and your redneck buddies? (1 Min.)



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Imagine you are walking through a parking lot when you see a nun carrying a huge box. Would you volunteer to help? (1 Min)



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If you like happy endings you will likely enjoy this story about the Curtain Rods we received from David Byers. At least some of you guys should...

On the first day, he sadly packed his belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.

On the second day, he had the movers come and collect his things.

On the third day, he sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table. By candle light, he put on some soft background music and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of springwater.

When he'd finished, he went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimps dipped in caviar into the hollow center of the curtain rods.

He then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

On the fourth day, the wife came back with her new boyfriend, and at first all was bliss.

Then, slowly, the house began to smell.

They tried everything; cleaning, mopping, and airing-out the place.

Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned.

Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which time the two had to move out for a few days. In the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked. People stopped coming over to visit.

Repairmen refused to work in the house. The maid quit.

Finally, they couldn't take the stench any longer and decided they had to move. But a month later — even though they'd cut the price in half — they couldn't find a buyer for such a stinky house.

Word got out, and eventually even the local realtors refused to return their calls.

Finally, unable to wait any longer for a purchaser, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.

Then the ex-husband called the woman and asked how things were going. She told him the saga of the rotting house. He listened politely and said that he missed his old home terribly and would be willing to reduce his divorce settlement in exchange for having the house.

Knowing he could have no idea how bad the smell really was, she agreed on a price that was only one-tenth of what the house had been worth — but only if he would sign the papers that very day.

He agreed, and within two hours her lawyers delivered the completed paperwork.

A week later the woman and her boyfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home. And to spite the ex-husband, they even took the curtain rods!


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This Russian isn't the smoothest salesman around, but he does a decent job of demonstrating his Quadrotor armed with a fixed machine gun. The photo below is a basic Quadrotor that anyone can buy and fly for a few hundred dollars using an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and several other devices.

And this is the armed Quadrotor clip sent in by Gary Leonard. To see what it's capable of, watch the video by clicking on the link below. (5 Mins.)



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And finally, if you are a Betty White fan you may want to watch this clip of her opening last year's 39th AFI (American Film Institute) Life Achievement Awards show honoring Morgan Freeman. And if your Internet connection is fast enough, you may also want to click on the Full Screen icon as soon as the clip starts. (7 Mins.)




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That's it. Thanks for joining us.



Pic of the Week:

A kindly reminder and suggestion from Baci for you over-60 guys...

A guy was working out in the gym when he
spotted this lovely young lady...

He asked the trainer who was nearby,

"What machine should I use to impress
that lovely young princess over there?"

The trainer looked at him and said,
"Try the ATM in the lobby."


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