Monday, November 19, 2012

Did you know California Schools are whoring your kids out?

The First Amendment to the US Constitution ~
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;  
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; 
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
 
OK, now I'm sure you want to know just how I can connect the title of this piece with the First Amendment. Well, that's a fairly long story, and even for me this may turn into a very long post. But please stick with me. It does have a point, and hopefully an eventual conclusion(though probably not in this post)

As some of you may know, I have a 13 year old daughter, she's a freshman in high school this year.  But this story actually starts 3 years ago. She had been on her school's Flag Team in her 6th grade year. But because of the financial crisis and the California Legislature both cutting back on the amount Calif schools received under the 40% of the budget law, and just flat out not paying the schools the complete amount owed them, the flag team was one of the things cut from her school, along with the school's ability to cover the costs of almost all of the Middle School's extra curricular activities.

In steps the YMCA. Now this is a good thing right? Well, not necessarily...The YMCA has a grant from the Federal Government to provide after school activities to kids. So far so good, that does seem to be something right up the YMCA's alley. So where's the beef?

To start none of the kids, or their parents were informed that these extra-curricular activities are no longer school functions(these are YMCA "teams"). Nor are they being treated as non-school functions. All the paperwork came through the schools, and the only mention of the YMCA's involvement was that the kids in after school sports were required to attend the daily after school YMCA program. OK, not a bad thing you say? Hopefully the kids would be getting help with their homework, or possibly tutoring, or some such? No, to my knowledge no child has received help with their homework(which is probably a good thing, as the YMCA has no one qualified to teach these kids) But at least they do have a place to sit and do their homework. Yeah...in a room with 50+ other kids ranging in age from 6 to 15...

Back to my daughter. Since they weren't going to have the Flag Team, she decided that she'd try out for the Cheerleading Squad during her 7th grade year. Once again, all the paperwork came through the school, and at no point was anyone made aware that it was not a school team. The kid's uniforms were in school colors, they performed at school functions such as pep rallies for "spirit" and for the "school" teams before games, the teams were given their school's name, etc.

The YMCA was charging the kids (OK, parents!) a fee in violation of California State Law( Hartzell vs Connell ). Which states that no child in a California Public School program may be charge fees to participate in a school function, including extra-curricular activities. The school was attempting to get around this rule by saying a) they would cover the fees for anyone who couldn't afford it(paperwork to prove that please!)despite the law stating no California student can be charged, or b) that the programs were NOT a school function...

So we paid $250. for her cheer uniform(which is a "chargeable" expense under State law, as you keep the uniform)(she wore it approximately 4 times, as you will soon read) and I refused to pay their $200. fee for "instruction".

Then the 1st day of school rolls around. The school, as any parent in the California school system knows sends home a giant(and I mean giant!) packet of forms to fill out. School rules, district rules, emergency contact pages, etc. Amongst them is the paperwork informing me my daughter is automatically enrolled in the YMCA after school program as a part of taking part in the school's Cheer Squad. And another giving my permission to ignore California Law that every child on a school bus for a school function needs a specific permission slip for each trip(and where it will be to, and the hours they intend to be gone). I did not sign that "permission slip", in fact stated on it that they would have to follow California Law and provide a permission slip for each trip.

And then I got on the phone about the YMCA after school program. First I called the school, and was told to contact the lady in charge of the YMCA program. When I informed the lady that my daughter was not going to be taking part in the after school program, she immediately got huffy and informed me that every kid in my daughter's school's "sports" program had to make the YMCA their FIRST priority (Turns out the Y gets more money for every kid in their after school program!). I informed this mis-informed lady that the YMCA was not, would not be and can not be the "first priority" of any California Public School child! I then informed her I was not going to subject a 10 year old to a 10 hour day so she could be a part of the Y's program and that my daughter's first priority was school(which was why she wanted to be on the school's cheer team) and after that she was involved with swimming and ballet. To attend the Y's program would have meant she would have to leave the house every morning before 7:30 and not get home until after 7pm. The lady then backed off(funny thing about that...) But it didn't end there.

The Cheer Squad performed for the school at their 3rd period "spirit rally" the second week of school, then cheered at the school a week later for the after school football game. Then two weeks later on the day of the week the Cheer Squad was always supposed to wear their uniforms to school(same day they're supposed to practice after school), my daughter called me about 1/2 hr before school got out to tell me she was over at the other Middle School in our town(sans permission slip AND without the YMCA covering the words "School Bus" on the buses in violation of State law(again!)). The Cheer Squad and football team had all been loaded up on the bus and taken over there to play the other school. AAARGH!

But, it gets worse! The main reason I didn't want my daughter to have to attend the YMCA after school program was that she belonged to a private swim team here in the area (private in that it had nothing to do with the schools) That meant she swam 3 to 4 days a week in practice and then attended swim meets as they occurred. Surprise! That afternoon was a swim meet!

Now it would have worked quite well, although it would have been a very busy afternoon! The swim meet started at 5 o'clock and was just across the street from the school at the city pool. As they were finishing up their cheering at about 4:45, and gathered around their "adult" leader, my daughter informed her she had to leave by 5 til to make her swim meet. The "lady" then started screaming at my daughter that the YMCA had to be her 1st priority...she continued to scream at her until my daughter walked off to meet me at the car about 50' away. She told me what happened (as if I hadn't seen it!) and then said she was quitting Cheer (I wonder why???) And we went on over to her swim meet.

Well, at that point I let the whole thing drop. I know, I know, you still want me to tie my post title into the First Amendment and after school programs. (I told you this would be long...) Although I was not in the least bit happy that an outside organization was forcing kids in a California Public School to make that organization the kid's "first priority", I let it drop, as my daughter was no longer on the school's cheer team, and it seemed no one at the school or district wanted to change it, as it meant the school did not have to cover the costs of the kid's extra-curricular activities. It didn't affect my daughter's grades in any way, so I let it drop...

YES! I am finally getting to the whore part!!

This year my daughter started high school, they get to sign up for classes they want out of a list of what's required to graduate. One of the courses required is Biology. The school offers two Biology courses which both meet the requirement for graduation, and there are no prerequisites to be in either class. Of the two classes, the Ag Biology course sounded more interesting than the plain Biology course to my daughter and several of her friends. She and they signed up for the Ag Biology.

Just one minor problem here. As a student in a public school taking that course they find out on the first day of school that they are forced to be members of an outside organization, the FFA, or Future Farmers of America. It's a great organization, but that is entirely beside the point. Somehow not only the school, but the entire state education department thinks it's OK to make California Public School students automatically members of an organization that they never asked to join, and if the kids do not take part in the FFA it affects their grade!

Apparently California has never heard of the First Amendment where you get to associate (or not associate) voluntarily.

So, you ask how does this affect the kids grade? Well 20% of the grade is what's called "FFA" points. These include selling flower arrangements to support the FFA charity of the month, working FFA fundraisers, and attending FFA meetings. So, in other words, you can buy 20% of your kid's grade just by buying flower arrangements!

So, what is the school getting out of this arrangement? The State(public tax money!) is paying an additional $8. for every student enrolled in an Ag course!(they sell your kids cheap!)

So, there will be more in this saga, as I currently have three civil rights attorneys putting it all together for me to sue the State. But to recap, the Schools are selling your kids right to free association(or NOT to associate) to both the YMCA and The Future Farmer's of America. Both are wonderful organizations, but neither have the right in a California Public School to tell your kid's they will be your kid's first priority, or that they have to "volunteer" to help support any outside group.

I'll keep ya posted on the lawsuit!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A "Food" Lawyer blame obesity on subsidies

  It's not often I read something that makes me so angry that I just have to bring myself to write about it, usually I reserve that for the magical California budget. But there was so much wrong with the thinking in this article that I'm still spitting two days after reading it, and watching normally bright folks swallow it whole!

  But somebody didn't bother to check his facts! Now apparently this lawyer practices Agricultural Law...
 I tend to stay away from policy on this blog, but Bloomberg’s soda ban perfectly crystalizes the absurdities of our food system. We pay farmers to overproduce the raw materials for our sweets, then we tax consumers to discourage them from eating it. The way I see it, when a state or city passes a Happy Meal toy ban or a soda tax, it is a repudiation of national agricultural policy.
  Unfortunately he apparently doesn't seem to realize what a "subsidy" is on ANY of the crops he's complaining about. Or that many of the programs are specifically designed to prevent "over production" or cover losses when crops are destroyed, or the market price collapses.

  Sugar cane production in this country is almost non-existent, it's only grown in Hawaii, Florida, and Louisiana (total receipts in 2006-07 were $897 Mil, not even 1/2 of 1% of total crop values for that year). It doesn't even register in the top 25 crops that have received subsidies since 1995...

  Sugar Beets have not received any subsidies to farmers since 2005, and place 20th on the top 25 list for the years 1995-2010 (Sugar Beets are the other, bigger half of that 1% by the way...)

Graphic from 2011 Farm Subsidy database

   In fact tariffs charged on non-domestic sugar made from cane sugar and sugar beets have caused Americans to spend twice the world price for these sugars. So tariffs are keeping our prices higher than they should be.

Unlike other crop initiatives that send farmers payments, the sugar program keeps prices high primarily by limiting imports, harming consumers and companies, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the sponsor of the amendment, said yesterday on the Senate floor. “This outdated program puts American companies at a competitive disadvantage, and it should go,” the New Hampshire Democrat said.
  Tariffs, not subsidies... You'd think an Agricultural Law lawyer would know that "little" distinction. And yeah, our Congress is so dumb they are keeping the import tariffs.


  Tariffs... that keep prices higher for consumers. Yet this fellow thinks that is why local governments should be justified in banning sodas, Happy Meals and who knows what else because it make sugar too cheap??

  Sorghum is also a form of sugar that gets "subsidies", but it is not generally used for human food, it's generally used in animal feeds. So I can't think of what stretch this lawyer imagines makes it's too cheap and justifies the food nannies of the world...After all they want to ban Happy Meals because they come with a toy, not because 3 year olds won't eat salad...or cattle feed.



   The dark blue lines (if the graphic are too small to see) are for Market Loss Assistance, in other words the market price was lower than what it cost to produce the crop.

  Which brings us to what he's really bitching about, Corn Syrup! First you should ask yourself why High Fructose Corn Syrup would be cheaper than any other sugar. It couldn't have anything to do with the subsidies that go to ethanol producers? Not to the corn farmers, btw. Though the ethanol producers are supposed to pay farmers more for their corn,but they're not paying for what they're not buying (see where this is going?) Why yes that could have something to do with HFCS being cheaper, not corn prices being higher!

Feed corn (coarse grains) prices for the US as of Jun 12, 2012 ~

Projected corn ending stocks for 2011/12 are unchanged, as is the 2011/12 season average farm price which remains at $5.95 to $6.25 per bushel.


  Now this is field corn which is pretty unedible for Americans in particular, but this is the corn used for ethanol, and cattle feed for the most part. But farmers are growing it instead of sweet corn or other food products. So what do you think happens to the price of those products that aren't being grown? And what happens to the corn that isn't being turned into Ethanol?

  Ethanol is a terrible waste of an animal feed product, a human food product, is an inefficient fuel product, has caused food prices all over the world to rise, and since demand hasn't matched supplies the by-product is cheap corn syrup that isn't getting used to make ethanol. Because it is liquid it is easier and cheaper to transport than cane or beet sugar which is generally moved in a crystal form. Because of tariffs, where the government is collecting the money, not the farmer, on the other types of sugar, corn syrup is the cheaper sugar. Of course producers of products that use sugar are going to use corn syrup. It sweetens just the same

  So what, you say? Isn't HFCS bad for you or as a very smart friend said tonight, "it isn't a real sugar". Head Desk!, Head Desk!, Head Desk!...GRRR!!  So without making this post 14 times longer and so technical that I lose all of my 3 readers...the short answer is emphatically NO!!

  Sugar is sugar is sugar. Period. Unless you are afraid of letters you don't understand...sigh...

  That "F" in HFCS is FRUCTOSE ~ High FRUCTOSE Corn Syrup. The very same sugar found in all fruit, all vegetables, and all plant life. Period, no exceptions. HFCS is called that not because it is pure fructose,or even "high" in fructose, but to distinguish it from regular cooking corn syrup which is glucose (that's Karo to you folks from the South, like you'd use in a Pecan Pie). HFCS is equal parts of fructose and glucose. Cane and Beet sugars are processed down for human consumption to Sucrose, that then breaks down in the body to fructose and glucose, in surprisingly the same percentages as is found in HFCS (fancy that!). They are all sugars, just different types. And guess what? Even the American Medical Associations says there is no problem and no difference with those scarey letters!

  One. More. Time. Sugar is Sugar is Sugar

  Everything you eat has got to be broken down into a sugar for your body to use it. Every fat, every carbohydrate, every starch, even fiber has to be turned into a sugar for your body to use it's energy. Fructose is sugar, a real sugar...same calories and everything!

  So although a soda has an awful lot of sugar, it isn't going to be broken down by your body any differently than any other kind of sugar. And guess what? Because sucrose (beet and cane sugar) is unstable in acid (like a soda) it breaks down to be identical to HFCS...

  Sugar is Sugar is Sugar.

  End of sugar rant. Grr!

  Corn subsidies. Yep, they exist, and ethanol has made them worse. but there is a reason corn is not only the top subsidy receiver, but the number one agricultural product grown in the US with well over 72 million acres grown every year. It is not just an animal feed; or a human food, that gains more and more importance the poorer the country(the US produced 42% of the world's corn in 2005); or mis-guidedly used for ethanol, but is also used to make oil for frying, alcohol fuel for cooking and 90% of the starch for food and industrial uses in the US. Over 30% of the corn grown in the US is used as animal feed(to grow those Happy Meals the food police hate!)

  So what is wrong with this fellow's using "sugar" subsidies as a rationale for Nanny Bloomberg? Plenty.

  There is NO rational reason to ban either Happy Meals for their toys, or the soda you want to drink. Nobody who isn't paying your bills has any right at all to tell you what food you can eat or not. And once again...sugar is sugar is sugar! There is no nutritional reason to ban sugar, and HFCS is just another sugar. Cheaper maybe because of dumb government policy, and because it is easier to transport and use in other products, and is more stable to use in those products. BUT there is no moral reason to ban cheap food, the cheaper the food prices the better it is for the whole world. So why invent some dumb theory that farmers over produce and that gives the Food Police some right to tax it? The two items have no earthly connection, unless you just want to invent excuses for control freaks.

  Do farmers over produce so the Food Police can tell you what you should be allowed to eat? I don't think they have any right to tell you what you can eat under some misguided idea that cheap food is bad, and we shouldn't be growing it. In the first place the US is one of the largest exporters of food, if we under produce that means world food prices rise accordingly. That is NOT a good thing, unless you believe in world population control by starving Third World Countries. Exporting is both good for our farmers AND the Third World(& the other developed countries too btw) Cheap food is a moral good.

  Do farmers over produce so as to make more money? Not hardly, more of anything drives the price down. I live in wine country, and there is nothing sadder than seeing a grown man cry because all of his work for the past year has gone down the tubes because it will cost more to pick his grapes than they are worth because for once the climate was "perfect" and they had a overly large production! Can't even give them away, as wine grapes just aren't "eating" grapes, hundreds of acres of grapes left to rot on the vine. And the dollar loss to that farmer is astronomical! Even crop insurance only covers a part of it.

  Or the dairy farmers whose feed costs meant they were only getting half of what it cost to get their milk to market. All that means is that they will have to get rid of every extraneous animal they can(and maybe a few more!), which in turn means meat prices might be lower in the short term, but will boomerang soon after when there aren't enough cattle coming to market. And what does less production of milk do to the milk market? It may mean the farmer gets a better price for his product, but the milk buying public suffers from higher prices in the long run. Over produce? Hardly, even multi-million dollar farms have to watch every dollar, they are not going to deliberately cause the market price of their product bottom out.

  Do farmers over produce? No, they don't, and subsidies are not to make them over produce either. But that was the take away from at least one reader of that ridiculous post.

  Is there a reason HFCS is cheaper than it could be, or cheaper than other sugars? Yep! It's cheaper because of misguided Ethanol usage of corn, leaving extra corn syrup to be sold to food processors, and because other sugars are kept unnaturally high...

  You're going to have to find a different rationale (I use the word loosely, as there is nothing rational about the Food Police) than the non-existent over-production of a necessary food source to justify telling folks to eat their broccoli (Hey! Guess what?? It has fructose too!) And folks like Bloomberg don't really care what kind of sugar is in a soda, or if the ingredients are "cheap" or not. They just think they have some divine right to tell others what to do. Guess what? Bloomberg is wrong. Period.

  Yep! That lawyer should stay away from "policy", but then again what he seems to see as repudiation, I see as making lame excuses for bad "policy".

6/20 ~An addendum from Sen Pat Toomey on the Amendments before the Senate this week on the Sugar tariffs to be voted on this week here

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who is Brett Kimberlin, and why should you care?

  Short answer...he's the Speedway (Indiana) Bomber. Convicted to a 50 year sentence, for the bombings and drug dealing. He was also found liable in the civil case for maiming Carl Delong and his wife with one of his bombs, and has never paid a dime in restitution.

  The long answer is so convoluted Kafka couldn't write it, even though it's all true. Lawfare is the term the more lawyerly types are using. Using the courts in nuisance suits to shut down free speech and to hide his past...This has taken over 3 years to get to this point(that I'm aware of, it maybe a lot longer...), and there is so much, and so many folks involved it will probably be more than another 3 years in unraveling.

Socrates can tell you about himself and the suit Kimberlin brought against him for truthfully stating on his blog what Brett Kimberlin has been doing since being paroled & then having his parole revoked.

Aaron Worthing can tell you how Kimberlin tried to frame him for assault, and in the process cost both Aaron and his wife their jobs.

Stacy McCain can tell you all about Kimberlin's links to the worst of the progressive left, and how they try to shut down folks that disagree with them. Stacy and family have now had to move to an undisclosed location because of threats to their safety. (take the time to read all of his posts on this. Yeah, you are going to feel like you going down Alice's rabbit hole, but stay with it. It is important no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on if you value honesty)

This is one of the posts on Kimberlin I read over at Patterico's Pontifications in Nov of 2011, though not the first, nor the last. At that point I think even Patterico felt Kimberlin was just a nasty joke, but no longer,as you will see!  Patterico has been harassed at his job (he's an assisant DA for L.A. county) His boss, the DA has been harassed, The receptionists in his office have been harassed! His wife has been harassed at her job. All by either Brett Kimberlin, or folks working on his behalf. Be sure and read his post today , it will be important!

This IS an important story. It doesn't matter if you are a liberal or a conservative, or don't even want to be bothered by politics. I've followed it off and on for a long time now, and even I just keep thinking Oh. My. Dog! everytime I read another "chapter" in this on-going crazy saga. The things and people involved just seem to keep growing and interconnecting in bysantine ways most people can not even conceive of.

It affects all of us. There are evil people in our midst, and I'm not exaggerating. They will use and/ or destroy anyone that gets in their way. YOU need to know about these people, so read the links. Think about what these folks have done and are willing to do. It is important to you whether you know it or not.

And then stand up for what is right.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA STRIKE Jan 18 2012



January 18th, 2012 is the largest online protest in history, to stop the internet censorship bills, SOPA & PIPA. Join in by blacking out your site and urging everyone you can reach to contact Congress now.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

California mandated vaccines?


 
This graph is from the California Department of Public Health . It is based on demographics and age groups that contracted Pertussis (Whooping Cough) in 2010.

Now there was a total of 7,824 reported cases of Pertussis out of a population of 37,253,956 people living in California according to the 2010 US Census.

And as it's fairly easy to tell over 75% of the cases are happening in infants under 6 months of age. The Federally listed incidences of Pertussis are 78% in the under one year age group.

So, what idiot in the California Legislature thought it was such a great idea to have it mandated for 7th graders who have a less than 4% chance of catching this disease, to have to get this vaccine? 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just What's Really Wrong with the California Budget?

No matter how the votes in Sacramento come out today California is still in a huge mess. Despite all the claims that this new budget will "erase" the deficit with no new taxes or "fees" there are major problems that our Legislature is just sweeping under the rug.

First, look at items such as Lease-Revenue Bonds. Seriously do you think any lender would allow you to take a 30 year construction "loan" off of your liabilities when looking at your creditworthiness? That's what the State has been doing for years. These items are not considered "constitutional debt", and so don't even show up for accounting on California's Budget. So bonds that are paying out $2. for every dollar borrowed through the bond sales are not considered "debt". If that is not a debt the State of California owes then what is?

And then there are all the items the Legislature has moved off the "General Fund" Budget, so they don't even have to consider them when balancing the budget. A lot of these are done by making the funding of agencies and departments "fees". Such as Vehicle License Fees. We've all seen how well that works just in the past year. The State needs more money, can't pass a tax? Just increase "fees". Local agencies need more money? Just increase the VLF !

Well, that works just fine, right? It doesn't if you consider that while raising money, it violates two items that the California Legislature should be doing. They don't have to have a 2/3rds vote to raise those funds, nor are they counted in the General Fund Budget.

"Fees" aren't taxes you see...according to California's Legislative Analyst Office and California law "fees" are "voluntary"...

OK, so you want to say it's voluntary to drive a vehicle, or a "privilege"? Even giving you that, how do you explain that the accounting never shows in California's Budget? Or that the uses, which change with the economic conditions, to which the VLF is put, are not put to a 2/3rds vote?

Or how about the oversight that the Legislature is supposed to have over the different departments and agencies? A part of that is supposed to come with the Legislature's General Fund Budget vote. Where's the oversight when an agency is no longer funded by the Budget?If an agency is improperly doing their job, the Legislature is supposed to be able to financially tell them to get their act together. When the Legislature is no longer responsible for the agency's funding, how do they do that?

So, now we come to this year's neat little package...

How many of you knew California now has a second State Fire Department? One that has no firefighters by the way? Only fire trucks and "emergency" equipment.

OK, I'll back up and explain how we got there. To start I'm sure most of you are aware of CalFire, the State Fire Department that is a part of CDF, the California Department of Forestry. So how did a Fire Department that is tasked with protecting State Forests end up being the State Fire Department and having precedence over local Fire Departments?? By becoming the Fire Department for many of the cities and counties in California, in part by convincing the counties and cities it would be cheaper for them to use CDF. At the charge of $20/acre/year in 2009 I don't know how true that is today. And now local and county fire departments not a part of CalFire, are subservient to CalFire and eMA(who's eMA you ask?hang in there I get to it. Promise!). But it gets worse.

That $20/acre/year turns into a $2Billion dollar budget for CalFire. That $2B does not show up on the General Fund Budget. CalFire was placed on this year's budget with a $2million funding, which looked to be just barely enough to cover the salaries of the 6,000+ firefighters. But that is above that $2Billion they take in from the counties and cities. But it gets worse.

California has an "Emergency" Fund that in the past was funded in the $5Million range. Last year CalFire hit that Emergency Fund up for $375 Million, a large part of which could not be justified as emergency use. But it was spent as if it was, although it should have been charged to their General Fund Budget monies according to California's Legislative Analyst Office. The Legislature not only did not do their job in overseeing how that money was spent, but in addition just rubber-stamped those expenses out of the Emergency fund.

Now it could be honestly argued that the Emergency Fund was not big enough, and should have been bigger in the first place. But the Legislature did not do it's job, and CalFire just went ahead and spent the money because they could. No one was over-seeing what they did.

So that brings us to this years budget. The Governor wants to take CalFire completely out of the General Fund Budget, and fund it like several other agencies in California. By creating a "fee" on the insurance of every home, personal real estate and business property in the state.

And what would be wrong with this?
  • A "fee" has to be voluntary. There is no way this "fee" could be voluntary according to the LAO
  • CalFire has no oversight now, as the Legislature has not done their job in the past to make sure they stayed within their budget
  • Taking them out of the funding from the General Fund budget means there will be no oversight as to how they spend their funds.
OK, you say since the Legislature hasn't been doing their job anyway what difference does this make? Should CalFire not be responsible to some entity in the State other than themselves? Is CalFire such a sacred cow that they are allowed to make their own rules and not have to account for how they are spending the State's money? And when they decide that that 4.8% fee on your property insurance is just not enough, and they want even more?

Think of them as the DMV on steroids...

Oh, that second State Fire Department? That would be eMA, Emergency Management Agency. That is also to be funded by that "fee". A fire department without firefighters, telling county and city fire fighters how they will perform under mutual aid responses, and using eMA's equipment instead of their own since the State won't be helping local fire departments upgrade as they could have done if eMA didn't "need" to buy the equipment...

Now, just multiply these problems by how many agencies and departments in the state operating under similar "rules".

The California Legislature has refused to do their job and has created for many agencies the moral hazard of both having no real oversight and the ability to have almost unlimited budgets. Until this problem and others are seriously dealt with by the Legislature, instead of voting away their responsibilities, California will never be able to fix the problems.