Index
Friday
May272016

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, candidates' tax returns?: Editorial, "Which two presidential candidates share a secrecy problem? Hint: Neither is named Clinton." ....

* Washington Post (editorial):  "Which two presidential candidates share a secrecy problem? Hint: Neither is named Clinton." - From the WP:

TWITTER EXPLODED Thursday with talk of a possible Donald Trump-Bernie Sanders debate before California’s June 7 primary. On at least one level, we think it would be appropriate for them to share a stage, since they also share an unacceptable lack of transparency.

Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns has been much discussed. Despite repeated promises to show his returns to voters, as every candidate of the modern era has done, he has found excuse after excuse to delay or deny the need to do so. The returns are under audit, he says — which does not prevent him from releasing what he submitted and swore was true. Tax returns do not show very much, he says — which makes us wonder why he is spending so much time and rhetorical effort keeping them hidden. Theories abound: He pays little or no tax; he does not have the income one would expect for someone who claims to be so successful; he gives little or nothing to charity.

Mr. Sanders’s stinginess with information has received less attention, but not because he has been much more forthcoming. The senator from Vermont has released a single year’s tax return — for 2014 — and only then after pressure from reporters. Before releasing his full 2014 return, he argued that his tax information is not particularly interesting. As with Mr. Trump, this has given rise to speculation about possible reasons for the delay and limited openness. Is Mr. Sanders, for example, attempting to avoid more scrutiny of his wife’s severance package from Burlington College? The liberal-arts school she headed subsequently was forced to close due to mismanagement and a dire lack of money.

Hillary Clinton long ago released eight years of tax returns. Jeb Bush released tax returns going back to 1981. Even Mitt Romney, who was reluctant to release his returns, eventually offered two years of tax information in 2012. Meanwhile, Mr. Sanders promised in April, “We will get out as much information as we can.” Clearly, he is not meeting his own standard.

Both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump are eroding an important norm in American political life — the expectation that voters should have a sense of presidential candidates’ financial conduct before they choose who should lead the country. As long as Mr. Sanders is a legitimate candidate, he does not deserve a pass ................

Friday
May272016

SACRAMENTO: Public Policy Institute of California, new poll, public support for raising taxes?: Commentary (Joel Fox), "Tax That Fellow Behind the Tree" ....

* Fox & Hounds (Joel Fox):  "Tax That Fellow Behind the Tree" - From F&H:

According to the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll likely voters in the state are for raising taxes … or not. At first glance it might appear that divergent attitudes about potential tax measures gain support or opposition depending on the issue. The truth is much simpler and consists of a long held attitude with the voting public.

PPIC found that likely voters are all for raising taxes on cigarettes to fund health care, 67% to 31%. Likewise, continuing increased income tax rates on upper end income taxpayers by extending Proposition 30 a dozen years also found support from likely voters, 58% to 39%. While the poll respondents liked the idea of raising taxes for health care and education they seemed to be against raising taxes for roads and transportation infrastructure.

PPIC first asked whether those polled agreed with Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget released after the May revision. Likely voters roundly supported the budget as described by the pollsters, 60% to 32%. But then, the pollsters followed-up by relating that Brown’s budget also included a new fee on vehicles and an increase in the state gasoline tax to fund transportation infrastructure. How do you like the governor’s budget now, respondents were asked. Not so much. 37% favored the budget with the taxes and fees, while 59% opposed.

PPIC turned to the issue of local tax increases for transportation that will appear on a number of ballots around the state in November. Asked if there were a local measure increasing the sales tax for surface transportation how would they vote, only 38% said yes, while 58% said No.

You could take from this rundown on the tax questions that voters are all for education and health care but not so enamored with funding transportation infrastructure.

I think there is another way to analyze the results.  . . . . . . .

   ****

The poll confirmed that age-old political truth that voters don’t mind supporting government programs if someone else pays for them. The idea is expressed in that old rhyme supposedly made famous by U.S. Senator Russell Long in the 1970s, although with a long historical antecedent:

Don’t tax you,
Don’t tax me,
Tax that fellow behind the tree.

Friday
May272016

INTERNATIONAL (India, China): Report/analysis, "China and India have a huge problem with racism toward black people" .... 

* Washington Post (Ishaan Tharoor):  "China and India have a huge problem with racism toward black people" - From the WP:

Just minutes before his birthday, Masonda Ketanda Olivier was beaten to death. The Congolese national was confronted by a mob of men late at night last Friday in New Delhi and killed. Police said the incident was a dispute over the hiring of an autorickshaw; Olivier's friend, an Ivorian national, said it was a clear hate crime, with racial epithets repeatedly invoked.

This week, irate African diplomats in the Indian capital pointed to Olivier's murder as evidence of wider discrimination and bigotry against black people who visit and live in India. Olivier, who reports indicate was about to turn 24, was teaching French.

"The Indian government is strongly enjoined to take urgent steps to guarantee the safety of Africans in India including appropriate programmes of public awareness that will address the problem of racism and Afro-phobia in India," Alem Tsehage, the Eritrean ambassador and the diplomat representing other African envoys in New Delhi, said in a statement. They also warned against new batches of African students enrolling in Indian universities.

A number of African diplomats chose to boycott a planned event celebrating the history of India-Africa ties on Thursday. On the same day, on the other side of the Himalayas, an ad for a Chinese laundry detergent went viral. It is shockingly racist: The video, which you can watch above, shows a fetching Chinese woman lure a paint-stained, lascivious African man toward her. She briefly toys with him before shoving a detergent capsule into his mouth and him into the machine. Out emerges a fresh-faced Chinese man, looking sparkling white and clean.

The backlash to the ad has been swift in English-language media circles, with the Shanghaist highlighting it as yet another display of blatant racism in China that "can leave you completely and utterly dumbfounded."

These two separate episodes, a murder in Delhi and a callous video in Chinese cyberspace, shouldn't be seen as isolated incidents. Rather, they are features of a prevailing theme: the inescapable racism and ignorance faced by Africans in both countries ...................

Friday
May272016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Orange County, "Rancho Santiago Community College District Adopts Gift Ban"; San Francisco, "Lee sees 'consequences' for SFPD officer in fatal shooting"; Portland, OR., "Portland police chief put on leave after allegedly shooting friend during business trip" ....

***Various items relating to local issues/local government ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Portland police chief put on leave after allegedly shooting friend during business trip"

* Voice of OC:  "Rancho Santiago Community College District Adopts Gift Ban"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Lee sees 'consequences' for SFPD officer in fatal shooting"

Friday
May272016

L.A. CITY HALL: Mayor Eric Garcetti, announcement, appointment, two new deputy mayors: Raymond Chan, Brenda Shockley ....  

***Mayor Eric Garcetti press release, (excerpts from) announcement, appointment, two new deputy mayors....

MAYOR GARCETTI APPOINTS TWO DEPUTY MAYORS TO LEAD 
AMBITIOUS ECONOMIC POLICY AGENDA

LOS ANGELESIn a move to broaden his commitment to economic prosperity for all Angelenos, Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed both Raymond Chan and Brenda Shockley as Deputy Mayors to jointly oversee his economic agenda. The announcement comes amid an aggressive push by Mayor Garcetti to continue growing L.A.’s economy and creating jobs, while also expanding and intensifying the fight against poverty and homelessness.

Previously, one Deputy Mayor oversaw the entirety of the Mayor’s economic policy agenda. Moving forward, Chan, as Interim Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, will lead efforts to create jobs, attract investment, and make the city more business-friendly. Shockley, as Deputy Mayor for Economic Opportunity, will focus on fighting poverty, housing the homeless, expanding affordable housing, and improving access to workforce development resources.  

Chan comes to the Mayor’s Office after 28 years at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, including the last two as general manager.

Shockley comes to City Hall after more than 24 years as President of Community Build, a nonprofit she helped found in the wake of L.A.’s civil unrest in 1992.