Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On Voter Fraud, Especially in Baldwin Park

Donald Trump alleges that the Democrats robbed him of the popular vote because of voting fraud; major media outlets shot back: He has no evidence. Regardless of Trump's allegation, I was disappointed in the media's response.


Because it is their role to keep government accountable, which perhaps it thinks it is doing by questioning what evidence Trump has of voter fraud. But really, wouldn't the media serve us better by investigating whether voter fraud is fleecing the voters in our nation. In this way, the media would be safeguarding the foundation of our democracy.

According to a new Gallup Poll, the American trust in the media is sinking to new lows. I mean, I wouldn't be reporting on my blog, if the local and national media outlets were covering the scandals in Baldwin Park.

If voter fraud is happening, it means that each our vote doesn't count, because the person stuffing the ballots ultimately drown out our vote. And whoever controls ballot stuffing is basically unaccountable, because we can never vote him or her out.

I know that in Baldwin Park that voter fraud is rife. And I've been blogging about it. I've been telling the news agency, and nobody is reporting on it.

In Baldwin Park (and perhaps a lot of California), voting fraud has three parts. One, the cheating politician needs ghost identities. Two, cheated votes are done by mail. Three, the politician controls a the ghost list (or his consulting company does).

It's already been proven that in California that the dead are registered to vote. In Virginia, the Virginia Voter Alliance found at least 1,000 undocumented people registered to vote. So, the first part is that a consulting company or the cheating politician needs to maintain a registrar of ghost voters. In Baldwin Park, we've heard that some of these Council Members were paying the undocumented to register to vote outside of local Home Depot.

After the list is created, the cheating politician needs to calculate how many votes he or she needs to win an election. He has a number of the absentee votes mailed to a Post Office Box address. He collects them. Fills out the number he needs to win. He sends them back to the registrar's office.

To cover his trail, him or his consultant company gets the ghosts to re-register in another county. Then, the same scandal can take place in another city or county.

The circumstantial evidence in Baldwin Park's November 2015 election proves this. Let's look at the Mayor's results and all the Mayoral candidates. (The Mayor almost lost this election by the way.)

In November of 2015, the total number of ballots cast for Mayor, there were a total of 4,151 votes cast for Mayoral candidates. If each vote was valid, meaning a real voter would fill out the entire ballot, we would see the same number of people voting for the Mayor voting for the Council. But we don't.

If there were 4,151 people that voted for a Mayor, then we should see 8,230 votes in total for the Council, because each person also can cast two votes for a council member. Instead, we see that there were only 6,669 votes for council, meaning 1,561 voters only voted for the Mayor and no one else.

I bet if you looked at the 1,561 votes, you would see that someone voted only for Mayor, that the vote was done by mail, and that nothing else was voted on. Why? Because, someone most likely collected all these absentees. One person filled them all out. Then, they were dropped back off at the registrar's office.

Independent evidence verifies this. 40% of the Mayor's votes were done by absentee. Only 60% polled for him. (Don't you think that's high? Almost half of the Mayor's votes were done by people, whom didn't go to a polling station.)

And how would the Mayor know how many votes he needed? If he had a friend at the registrar's office, he or she would tell him. Then, he'd make up the difference by filling out the number of ballots he needed to win. In this case, the Mayor won by 48 votes.

And why go through all this effort to do this? Well, as a friend once told me, you have to follow the money trail. And by my estimates, a lot of money is being fleeced from the taxpayer in Baldwin Park.

So, let's go back to Donald Trump. His biggest margin of loss came from the State of California. Is Baldwin Park in California? Yes. And, are other cities in California doing this? We know the City of Bell was. Hence, perhaps, losing the popular vote because of election fraud isn't that far fetched.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rainy Los Angeles - Being at Cabins, Work, and Breakfast

It's been raining a lot this week, and it makes me wonder if I brought the European weather back home to sunny, California. Yesterday, I ran at some local hills (the same hills where I see coyotes and owls), and the dark weather transformed the entire landscape. The rain carved streams into the hills. The birds were fluttering from bush to bush, and it looked more like I was running in Wales than Southern California. The mood felt bleak.

Or, maybe I just want to believe that, because a part of me wishes I was back in Europe instead of being here. For me, this winter is reminding me that part of me has died and that a year has passed. It almost feels like this winter will never end and that the spring won't come.

Nonetheless, for my international readers, California is apparently in drought. So, the rains are welcome. Given all the floods and the filling of the Northern California reservoirs, Governor Brown should already declare that the drought is over, but he won't.

My view about the drought is that it's not completely true, and yes, some of you will disagree. But when I used to live in Brisbane, Australia, we had water restrictions. And if a home used more water than allowed, that household would be fined, and a lot of money too.

My instincts tell me our Californian government is planning to do the same, especially given the $2 billion shortfall in Jerry Brown's budget this year. In other words, it's another way to tax us. (Soon, they'll be taxing us for breathing air too.) But like I said, some of you will disagree with me.

(And of course Southern California is always in a kind-of-drought. Why? Perhaps, we live in a desert, and by definition, deserts don't have a lot of water, unless it's one of those freak years when you get a flood.)

Enough on the rains, because we're only going to have more coming. And that's good for the State of California and the people, bad for Jerry Brown and his administration (because he won't be able to tax us more), and gloomy for my cat, the chickens, and me. They complain about the rain too.

I started this week by going to my friend's cabin in Big Bear. That was nice he invited me. I haven't seen him since I've been to Europe. I slept in there. It was nice. He turned on the heater. It was toasty. I enjoyed it.

Outside, he brought cigars. We sat on his porch. We looked at the forest and all the birds hovering around us. We lit cigars. I smoked one. It felt good at first, but then I got nauseous. In any event, it was good to have a short getaway.

Then I worked on some cases at the law library. For some reason, starting this brief took all the energy out of me, probably because I had to snap out of my holiday-mindset, where my biggest worries was who I would be seeing and what else I should eat with my tea and toast.

Those times are gone (at least for now). It was time to get back to the grind. There's a Korean proverb I'm reminded of: "Starting is half the work."

I also had breakfast with a friend in Pasadena this week. It was good. He's such a good listener. He also helped me break out of the deadlocks in my cases.

We both had coffee. But the morning was still gloomy, because it was raining outside. I gave him a book and told him it suited his intelligentsia-Catholic side.

Well, I have to go home and finally clean and try not to think about our state of political affairs. I told someone once: The more you know, the more depressed you get about it all. Hence, ignorance truly is bliss.

Also, this week I finished the Netflix series The Crown. It's highly recommended. I think it's pitched to women, generally, since the main character is the heroine Elizabeth Windsor II, but I think Winston Churchill's role certainly adds much comedy and masculine touches to the show. Highly recommended. (Now, people have recommended me a list of other shows and videos to watch; I'll try to get to them.)

In the meantime, it's time to clean and tidy my rooms in my house. These chores have been long, long overdue. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

On Free Speech - A victory for all people!

Today, we have a victory, as the local newspaper - the San Gabriel Valley Tribune - published how the residents of Baldwin Park defied the City - and the City backed down and relented in permitting these residents to display their signs, criticizing political corruption, again. You can read the story here. Baldwin Park agrees to allow signs depicting councilman as donkey in attempt to settle lawsuit

(To briefly summarize, if you haven't been following this saga, Greg Tuttle, Juan Rios, and others, hung banners on their building, which characterized a council member as a donkey and called him corrupt. In response, the City fined them and sent the bill to collections; Tuttle in turn sued, and the court said unless things change, that the City's sign law and enforcement of it was most likely in violation of our Constitutional Right to Free Speech.)

Although over the last few years, I've had a number of stories published in some of the world's largest newspapers, I was excited the local newspapers took this one. This is because as the media is airing stories that appear to have large magnitude - such as all the news on Donald Trump, Obama, BREXIT, and so on - I think it's important to remember that Baldwin Park's sign problem is a universal problem. Only it's being played out by small people and small-minded political officials. Nonetheless, it goes to show that global issues are being fought by the common man and woman, like you and me.

We cannot live in a democratic or free society, a society where we the common people vote for our elected officials, without having the ability to openly criticize them. In order for democracy to be at its optimal capacity, people must know as much as they can about those in or running for office. That way, the people voting can cast their vote in a way that best reflects their values and thoughts and feelings. And in order to have the maximum amount of information available about public figures, people need to be able to express their thoughts and ideas freely - even when disagreeable to those in power.

In contrast, for tyrants to stay in power, tyrants must close off channels of information that expose their oppression of the people. I have two personal examples of this.

The first one was when I was in Turkey in the summer of 2014. Then, the people were protesting at a central park in Istanbul. Prime Minster Erdogan had tear gas thrown as the people, and the police were ordered to attack the protesters. Two and a half years later, we have seen how Erdogan has become an authoritarian tyrant.

In my second example, when I was in Berlin, I went to the Topography of Terror Museum. The Museum stressed that the first step the Third Reich took to create a totalitarian regime was to eliminate anyone who criticized the party. The parade of horribles, as we all know, shortly followed.

There's also a legendary story that King Christian X of Denmark ordered the removal of the Nazi Swastika flag flying over parliament. A soldier said that whoever removed the flag would be shot. The king then said you'll have to shoot me, since I'm doing it.

There's much debate now as to whether the story is true, even though it was published in the American newspapers. Nonetheless, we do know that the Danish people wore pins of their own flags and silently resisted the Nazis in many ways. Many of them spent their own money to send their Jewish citizens to Sweden by boat. Because of their Danish resistance to comply with immoral orders, the Nazis failed to take full control over Denmark.

And that is exactly the point. When a few people refuse to cave into those whom abuse their power, such regimes begin to corrode.

So, when a few residents in the unknown City of Baldwin Park decided that they had enough of Council Member Ricardo Pacheco's abuse of power, they let people know it by also raising banners against him.

Pacheco, like other tyrants before him, attempted to punish them. But, these residents didn't back down. Instead, they fought back, and in the end, protected our right (an ancient 800-year-right that is rooted in the English Magna Carta, executed in 1215 AD) to speak freely against those whom  would rather harm us, rather than advance us.

Well, when I write about the City of Baldwin Park - I'd like to attempt to achieve what author James Joyce set out to do. The setting of all Joyce's work takes place in Dublin. And on choosing Dublin as his only setting, Joyce said, "[I]f I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world." One day, I hope to reach the heart of all cities of the world too. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How governments are stealing from hard working people

Cover of George Orwell's Animal Farm
In this post, I'm going to explain how governments are stealing from everyone who works by pointing out how a retired city manager is making over a quarter of million dollars a year for doing nothing. After reading this, I think you'll understand how local governments are stealing from us. And if you want to know more, just read George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Before we start, let me ask you a few questions. How many hours do you work a day? How much do you bring home before taxes? After taxes, what percentage is left. How many hours of work is the government taking from you?

A certain percentage of your labor is going to people in government, who want to retire early, do nothing, and play golf.

And, I have more bad news. The government is only going to take more from you and from me, because they're corrupt, don't want to work, and are incompetent. And a number of these public officials and administrators are set to retire soon.

On December 30, 2016, the LA Times talked about how the retired South El Monte City Manager, James Mussenden is bringing home somewhere between $250,000 to $300,000 a year. Before benefits, he's bringing home $216,000 a year. After taxes, that means, every two weeks, he's bringing home $6,000. That's $12,000 a month. You can read the article here: LA Times Pensions Article on El Monte

Here's the best part of his scam. What work is he doing for it?

None. He's retired. According to him, he's making more in retirement than when he was working.

Let's think about that. He's saying he's getting paid more for doing nothing, than when he actually worked. Does that make sense to you?

But the worst part of all this, is who is paying for him to golf in Scotland and make so much? It's us. We have to pay for it.

So, these public officials and administrators are telling us that they could work several years for a city (which already only works four days a week). Then they could go home and rest for the rest of their lives on a big, fatty paycheck. And we have to work until we're 80, because they're going to increase taxes, so that all of them could live in luxury.

In my book, that's called stealing.

Anyways, Millennials and baby busters (Gen Xers) have a lifetime of work to look forward to, so that the lazy, incompetent, and corrupt don't have to work. We work; so they play.

As it's been said in Animal Farm, “Let's face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.”

Monday, January 9, 2017

City of Baldwin Park Agrees It Shouldn't Have Fined Citizen for Stating that Council Member Is Corrupt

Picture on the banner
On January 6, 2017, Greg Tuttle and his friends were told that they could put their signs back up. These signs allege that Council Member Ricardo Pacheco is corrupt. They were also told that the City would be canceling their fines, which was previously sent to a collections agency to damage their credit scores.

Here's the background of the case. The City Manager, Shannon Yauchtzee and City Attorney, Robert Tafoya, decided to use the City's code enforcement to fine anyone who had a sign that said that Council Member Ricardo Pacheco was corrupt. In order to fine its residents, Yauchtzee cited residents under a city sign ordinance, which restricted the size of the sign. The ordinance also stated that permits had to be applied for first before political signs could be put up.

Attorney Carol Sobel sent the City a letter to tell them what they were doing was in violation of the First Amendment's Free Speech clause. The City ignored the letter.

The City decided to fine its residents regardless. Tuttle countered. Sobel sued on his behalf in federal court.

At first, the city attorney told the Mayor and Council Members not to worry because the trial would be a year away. Well, he was wrong. Tuttle filed a restraining order, attempting to kill Baldwin Park's signage law.

On December 27, 2016, although the court denied the temporary restraining order, it stated that the City's law tried to control too much Free Speech, which everybody has the right to express. Hence, the court triggered the standard of "strict scrutiny," which almost always guarantees that a government agency will lose. (With regards to Free Speech, the courts apply strict scrutiny when the government makes law controlling content of speech or when it discriminates against a certain viewpoint - called viewpoint discrimination.)

The city made arguments that the court didn't appear too impressed with. It stated that these political signs were like Christmas decorations that were around after the holidays and nobody likes when that happens. The City also stated that the city is so busy with sign permits that it needs such laws, or it would be even busier.

The court stated that the laws violated Free Speech because, under a 2015 Supreme Court Case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the City law and enforcement of it controlled too much speech, because it regulated what could be stated on signs. Furthermore, the court stated that the city's restriction on political speech harmed the public interest.

But instead of granting the temporary restraining order, the court wanted to hold a full hearing at the end of January to determine whether to kill Baldwin Park's sign law. It ordered briefing by both parties, and it ordered the City to prove how busy they were with sign permit applications.

After, the City asked for more time to file its brief. Tuttle said more time would only be given if the city cancelled the citations and allowed for the Pacheco signs to be put back up. The City immediately agreed to cancelthe citations. But after much agony, it finally agreed that the Pacheco signs could be put up again

Tuttle was thrilled. He said, "It's so hard for people to get these results without public interest attorneys. These people think they could do whatever they want. But, we're proving them wrong."

Tuttle, resident Juan Rios, and owner of Prestige Mercedes are planning to put up their signs before the end of the day. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017 - The Year of the Phoenix

Phoenix illustration
Did you know that 2017 is the year of the fire rooster? (The Chinese Zodiac runs on a twelve year cycle, and every twelve years is linked with one of five elements: earth, fire, water, wood, and metal.) I don't know of many fire birds, but the most well-known one is the phoenix.

The phoenix is a mythical bird that set itself on fire every 500 years to be born again from the ashes. The origin of such birds came from Egypt, but the Christians also took the symbol to be a representation of Christ, and the Christian life cycle to die to one's self and to be born again.

When I lived in Australia, the aborigines in Kakadu (the wetlands of the Northern Territory)  told me that real phoenixes lived there, and I saw them.

The Northern Territory has black parrots, but they have a splash of red color underneath them. It's amazing to see the black birds fly in a flock from above. You see a fury of red and black darts soaring above. Apparently, a fireball shot up from a bush fire and hit the parrot's tail, burnishing it a bright red. The smoke forever covered the white parrot, changing its color into a raven's black. And, that's how the Australian phoenix was born.

Globally, there were stunning events this year, from the British Prime Minister David Cameron getting booted to the election of billionaire entertainer, Donald Trump. There were notable deaths of entertainers. El Chapo was arrested. And in Los Angeles, the Academy Awards was boycotted for not nominating anyone of color for its awards. So, a lot happened globally this year.

In Baldwin Park, locally, we've fought (and fought hard) for the people's right to speak freely in this city. The year opened up with the City having to pay $67,500 for arresting, strip-searching me by a female officer, and arresting me, all for leafleting in the park. In January, the year also opened up with the court issuing it's fourth order against the City of Baldwin Park to release records.

In March of this year, I defended local business owner, Greg Tuttle from the Mayor and Council trying to restrain him from being investigated and won. LA Times story here. In April, we were able to get the Court of Appeals to issue an order that Baldwin Park was running a sham non-profit, and that the Director of Parks and Recreation, Manuel Carrillo, was indeed violating the public records act by not telling us where tens of thousands of dollars were being spent and where all the money was going.

Then, around May, we discovered from the City that in a 58 month period, from September of 2008 to July of 2013, the City of Baldwin Park received $2.3 million dollars from towing 15,247 cars; the towing company, Royal Coaches, made $11.6 million.

Before the year ended, we were able to get the famous First Amendment Attorney, Carol Sobel, to file a federal lawsuit against the city for fining people, all because they put up signs on their buildings that stated that Council Member Ricardo Pacheco is corrupt. (I believe this too, in the sense that he's misspending a lot of city's money on himself and not the residents.) Before the year ended, the federal court denied a temporary restraining order against the City, but the court stated that the city's law against putting up political signs is indeed unconstitutional and in violation of everyone's Constitutional Free Speech Rights.

In terms of travel, I hope I brought to my readers a sense of adventure from different parts of the world. This year, I told you tales from Cabo San Jose, Mexico; Quito, Ecuador; the Galapagos Islands; the Amazon Rainforest; Madrid, Spain; Turin, Italy; London; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin, Goettingen, Munich, and Dusseldorf, Germany.

My final thoughts remind me of my time in Italy. There, I was reminded that we all have a responsibility in contributing to the beauty of this world, and not the ugliness of it. And in order to create that beauty, people need to be free and to live without fear and have such spaces to express themselves. That's the reason it's important to enforce and fight for our rights to enforce such freedoms. I can only hope that things will then change for the people living in this city.

Last year, I quoted scripture from Joshua and stated that it was important to be strong and courageous. This year, for me, it's going to be important to endure.

The Scripture I think that should inspire this year is from Corinthians 9 (GNT):

Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.

Thus, fight the good fight. Run the good race. And endure to the end.