Tag Archives: big government

How much does it cost to replace a door to a file room in the California government system?

Keep in mind that you can purchase a fire-proof, commercial steel door at Home Depot for $359.

bureaucracy

Via Sacramento Bee: The project seemed simple (yet we are talking about government here): Replace a door to a file room. Following the rules, the California Board of Equalization requested a cost estimate for the project from the real estate unit that oversees state building construction and maintenance. This is what came back: Replacing the door – $3,000.

But here’s where the other cost would come from: Project management, architectural, and construction inspection services, plan review services by the Division of the State Architect and plan review and inspection services by the Office of the State Fire Marshal – nearly $14,000. A GRAND TOTAL OF $17,000.

The door was never built, but those figures highlight how California’s state bureaucracy pumps up the cost of even the most simple projects, according to a new report by State Auditor Elaine Howle. Furthermore, taxpayers shell out more for the Real Estate Services Division to manage projects than when the work is contracted out to private sector firms, the report states, and receive sub-par results in return.

Real Estate Services, a unit within the state Department of General Services, charged $182 per hour in fiscal 2014-15, “or $46 more than the $136 average hourly rate of 26 private firms that conduct similar work for the state,” according to Howle’s report.

The reason for the higher cost remains a mystery.

serious

The division has not performed, the audit states, “an adequate analysis to fully explain the reasons for this difference.” It doesn’t have goals for delivering projects on time or on budget estimates, doesn’t track backlogs or their causes and “has not clearly set expectations” for project managers to communicate cost or time changes to departments relying on the division for services.

Auditors scrutinized 25 projects managed by the division. Of those, four lacked either time frame or cost estimates and the remaining 21 projects “frequently” exceeded stated delivery or budget goals.

For example, auditors noted that the division estimated it would take 5 1/2 years to renovate the historic State Library and Courts building. The project took nine years. (A freeze on bond financing problems accounted for one year’s delay.) Several factors contributed to slowdowns, auditors found, including design deficiencies, inadequate planning, site conditions and plan changes requested by client departments.

General Services agreed with the audit’s findings and said that it will follow with its recommendations to better track projects and use available data to figure out the causes of project delays and cost overages and fix them.

And that $17,000 BOE door replacement? The board, auditors learned, “chose to forgo this project because of the high cost estimate.”

DCG

Woman Outraged After Showdown With Census Worker

no

CBS Dallas/Fort Worth: An East Dallas woman is outraged after she claims one U.S. Census worker showed up at her door for a housing survey and would not take “no” for an answer. Sonia Platz said the worker went as far as to camp out in her yard as she waited for Platz to change her mind. Said Platz.

The East Dallas resident said it started with a series of three letters from the U.S. Census Bureau. A few days later after receiving the third later, a census worker showed up. Her husband verbally declined.

But a few days later, a different worker showed up at their home and would not leave according to Platz. “That is a whole, other level. That’s not following up. I felt like she a part of the mob,” said Platz.

The census worker sat on the bumper of her van for the next 30 minutes. Sonia said the worker would only get up from the back of her van every few minutes to see if she had changed her mind about taking the housing survey.

“Some people were stunned. Some people couldn’t believe it. They were kind of shocked like, ‘that can’t be a true government census bureau worker,’” said Platz.

It was a real federal census worker according to the regional office that covers Dallas. A supervisor confirmed more than 100 other workers are out in the area conducting the same work. The regional office said employees are encouraged to be “pleasantly persistent” and never take “no” for an answer at first.

Platz said it is not a good look for a government agency that survives on voluntary participation. The U.S. Census Bureau said anyone who feels they are being visited too frequently can request to have their address removed from the list.

Dallas is one of 25 cities targeted in the housing survey which runs through August.

DCG

11-Year-Old Boy Played in His Yard. CPS Took Him, Felony Charge for Parents.

are you serious

Reason.com: One afternoon this past April, a Florida mom and dad I’ll call Cindy and Fred could not get home in time to let their 11-year-old son into the house. The boy didn’t have a key, so he played basketball in the yard. He was alone for 90 minutes. A neighbor called the cops, and when the parents arrived—having been delayed by traffic and rain—they were arrested for negligence. They were put in handcuffs, strip searched, fingerprinted, and held overnight in jail.

It would be a month before their sons—the 11-year-old and his 4-year-old brother—were allowed home again. Only after the eldest spoke up and begged a judge to give him back to his parents did the situation improve.

I spoke with Cindy about her family’s horrible ordeal.

“My older one was the so-called ‘victim,'” she said during a phone interview. But since she and her husband were charged with felony neglect, the younger boy had to be removed from the home, too.

Here is the law: “A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree.”

I first heard of Cindy’s case last week when she wrote to me at Free-Range Kids. Her email explained:

The authorities claim he had no access to water or shelter.  We have an open shed in the back yard and 2 working sinks and 2 hoses.  They said he had no food.  He ate his snacks already.  He had no bathroom, but the responding officer found our yard good enough to relieve himself in while our son sat in a police car alone.  In his own yard, in a state, Florida, that has no minimum age for children to be alone.

The children were placed in foster care for two days while the state ran a background check on a relative who was willing to take them in. “Our first choice was my mother,” said Cindy. “But she lives in another state and so the kids would have been in foster care even longer until they cleared her.” The parents decided to have them placed with a slightly problematic in-state relative instead.

On the day they all appeared in children’s court to move the kids from foster care into the relative’s custody, Cindy thought her older son smelled a little strange.  “What have you been eating?” she asked. “Cereal,” he replied. Only cereal, for the past few days. That’s not going to kill anyone, obviously. But if you’re arresting parents for not supervising their kids for 90 minutes, it’s more than a little hypocritical.

The boys went off with the relative. As Cindy and Fred were charged with a felony, they couldn’t cross the county line to go see them and the relative refused to bring them to visit. But after a few weeks, she got tired of taking care of the kids. “Unbeknownst to us,” said Cindy, “she was putting them back in state custody.”  That’s when Child Protective Services asked the court to place the boys in foster care.

Last Tuesday, Cindy, Fred, their two kids, their lawyer, and a lawyer for CPS appeared again in children’s court. The opposing lawyers went into the judge’s chambers and came out every so often. The family’s lawyer explained what was going on. “They were arguing on whether or not the kids should go to foster care or with us,” said Cindy. This went on for hours.

But then, according to Cindy, “My son spoke up.” He said he wanted to talk to the judge. Surprised, their lawyer asked the boy: Did he have the courage to go through with this? And would he tell the truth? The boy said yes.

“He went back there and spoke to the judge for about ten minutes,” said Cindy. “And then the judge came out and called the two lawyers to the bench and talked to them for about 10 or 15 minutes. And with that, our lawyer came to us and said that if we admitted that we didn’t know that it was wrong to [let our son] stay in the backyard, but that we know now that it’s wrong and we will never let it happen again, and that we will explain this to our son, he would let the children come with us.”

Cindy and Fred promised. The judge released the kids and closed the case. But that is not the end.

That was civil court. Next, Cindy and Fred will head to criminal court to plead “not guilty” to the neglect charge. Naturally, they hope the entire case will be dropped.

In the meantime, to comply with all of the CPS dictates, Cindy and Fred are attending parenting classes. They are also going to therapy. The kids are attending “play” therapy.

This summer, as part of the deal, the older boy must attend day camp. The younger must attend day care. The reason, Cindy thinks, is that years ago there was a girl who disappeared while in foster care and it turned out that no one had been keeping track of her whereabouts. If kids attend day camp or daycare, their whereabouts will always be accounted for.

I asked Cindy how she and the kids spent last summer. “We did little projects, we would go to the beach,” she said. Or they would visit dad at work. She had been planning to enjoy another low key summer with them. Instead, she will be at home while her kids are in a program mandated by the state.

Cindy and Fred cannot be sure who called the cops and turned their lives upside down. (They have their suspicions.) But they do know who told them they needed to take parenting classes, get therapy, and promise never to let their kids play in their own backyard without a watchman again. They know who took their children away. And you know, too.

Update: Additional details about this story, including further confirmation, can be found here. (Maryland’s CPS has just issued new guidelines, saying, “Children playing outside or walking unsupervised does not meet the criteria for a CPS response absent specific information supporting the conclusion that the child has been harmed or is at substantial risk of harm if they continue to be unsupervised.”)

BigWheel

The good ol’ days…

DCG

Government bureaucracy: Labor Department employee surfed porn on his government computer for hours every day and it took 15 WEEKS to fire him

messed up

Daily Mail: A U.S. Department of Labor employee admitted last that he downloaded pornography on his government computer every day for months while on the job, but it took the cabinet-level agency 15 weeks to fire him. Documents obtained by Daily Mail Online through a Freedom Of Information Act request show that the unnamed staffer was terminated in December, nearly four months after a co-worker blew the whistle on him with a formal complaint.

Investigators with the agency’s Office of Inspector General seized his hard drive and learned he had ‘visited pornographic sites for several hours a day’ in the first eight months of 2014. The man claimed he started feeding his habit by searching for pictures of actress Alyssa Milano on his work computer.

The Labor Department reports are heavily redacted to mask the identity of the man, who said he was ‘addicted’ to porn. His accuser initially suspected he was viewing child pornography, but a forensic analysis of his hard drive determined that wasn’t the case. Still, investigators found that he had ‘downloaded a voluminous amount of adult pornographic movies and images.’

The man also admitted he had been fired from another job in the past for ‘accessing sites with women wearing little clothing,’ according to a report of his October 2014 interview.

The department’s inspector general sends a report to Congress twice each year. The most recent one, issued May 29, said the investigation focused on ‘a Grade 14 employee.’  That’s a reference to the federal government’s salary scale for non-executive employees, which spans 15 grades. Together with a nearly 25 per cent boost for the cost of living in Washington, D.C., his salary was between $107,325 and $139,523, depending on his responsibilities and seniority.

The report said the man told investigators that during a two-week period when the agency was migrating to cloud computing, he ‘entered the name of actress Alyssa Milano on [his] computer and pornographic sites appeared,’ according to a report of his interview. Milano, the child actress co-star of the 1980s TV comedy ‘Who’s the Boss?,’ broke into movie roles in her twenties and was known for fearlessly shooting nude scenes.

The porn-surfing employee told investigators that Microsoft’s Bing search engine also helped him feed his addiction, since he learned he could use it on a government network to find pornography.

A FOIA officer from the Office of Inspector General informed Daily Mail Online Wednesday in a letter that her office ‘would not be providing copies of the pornography-related evidence’ in the case along with the documents. Because the Labor Department did not specify its criteria for determining that no child pornography was involved, Daily Mail Online is appealing that decision.

In 2013 a Health and Human Services acting director of cyber security expert was kept on the job for eight months after his indictment on child pornography charges. He spent seven of those months in federal custody, but remained on the government payroll. Timothy DeFoggi was ultimately convicted of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, conspiring to advertise and distribute child pornography, and accessing a computer with the intent to view child pornography.

The OIG did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the 2014 investigation, specifically about whether the fired employee was placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

DCG

Mom Says She Was ‘Lunch Shamed’ by School for Packing Oreos for Daughter

no cookies

Yahoo: Leeza Pearson was out of fruit and vegetables one day last week, so she tucked a pack of Oreos in her daughter Natalee’s lunch and sent her off to school at the Children’s Academy in Aurora, Colorado.

Pearson said she was stunned when her 4-year-old came home later in the day with the cookies untouched and a sternly worded note from the school.

“Dear Parents, it is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a heavy snack from home, along with a milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation,” read the note, provided to ABC News by Pearson.

school note

Pearson said she is baffled by how the school handled the situation. “I think it is definitely over the top, especially because they told her she can’t eat what is in her lunch,” Pearson told ABC News. “They should have at least allowed to eat her food and contacted me to explain the policy and tell me not to pack them again.”

Officials at the Children’s Academy said they have no comment when contacted by ABC News. However, Patty Moon, a spokeswoman for the Aurora Public Schools, which provides funding for some of the children to attend the private pre-school, said a note in the lunchbox is not supposed to be standard practice. “From our end we want to inform parents but never want it to be anything punitive,” Moon said.

Moon said the school was just trying to promote healthy eating but Pearson said that effort has often been inconsistent. During this year’s Easter holiday, for example, she said the school asked students to bring in candy for the celebration. Her daughter also receives jelly beans as a snack when she stays for after-school care, Pearson said.

“They say I can’t decide what to feed her but then they sometimes feed her junk food,” Pearson said. “Why am I being punished for Oreos when at other times I am asked to bring candy?”

The child was offered an alternative snack, Moon said. But Pearson said this was not the case and her child came home hungry.

“She is not overweight by any means and I usually try to feed her healthy,” Pearson said, noting her daughter’s lunch also included a sandwich and some string cheese. “It’s not like I was offering cookies to the entire class and it’s not like that was the only thing in her lunch.”

DCG

Wayne Allyn Root on the GOP Dream Team

Wayne Allyn Root

The GOP keeps bringing a knife to a gun fight. The result is we’re getting killed. We’re getting killed even after we won the most historic landslide in modern history. It’s time to change strategy.

The media tells us to play nice, be ‘gentlemen’ and compromise. Look where it’s gotten us – a bankrupt country with over $18 trillion in debt and income taxes at the same level as bankrupt socialist Greece. Worse, the labor force participation rate is at all-time lows and more businesses fail each day than open.

We are facing the end of the America Dream and death of the greatest middle class in world history because we have played nice, acted like gentlemen and compromised. We’re standing around acting like “gentlemen” while Obama turns America into Detroit. Like that movie “Network” it’s time to open our window and scream “I’m not going to take it anymore!”

It’s time for a “GOP dream team” of street fighters to take on the evil that is destroying America by making us all dependent on big government. It’s time to kick ass and take no prisoners.
It’s time to get behind one nominee and then name our entire team and announce what that team will do to save the US economy… the middle class… and the American Dream.

It’s time to inspire passion and enthusiasm by showing we stand for something. That something is smaller government, lower taxes, less spending, pay down the debt, and giving more power to the citizens. Let the liberal media try to call that “extreme.” The American people will vote for that vision.

Liberals and the media told us we’d lose if we ran an “extremist” like Ronald Reagan. Instead, he won in two historic landslides. Since then, every milk-toast moderate we’ve run, George HW Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney lost.

The key to victory is the passion, energy, intensity and enthusiasm of your base, combined with inspiring independents and undecided voters by painting a picture of hope, prosperity and patriotism. You have to get people excited. Being “moderate” doesn’t excite anyone. Although it’s a little early for me to endorse anyone, here is a look at a potential “GOP DREAM TEAM.”

Scott Walker as the GOP presidential nominee. Here’s a man from the Midwest, without a college degree, with a blue-collar mentality. Here’s a man who fought the money and manpower of every union in America…and won. Not once, not twice, but three times in blue state Wisconsin. He didn’t do it with kindness. Despite death threats against his wife and children, Scott Walker never gave an inch. He turned a $3 billion deficit into a billion dollar surplus, then handed the money back to the taxpayers. That’s a fighter. That’s courage. That’s a leader with a spine, who won’t fold when the biased-liberal media tries to slander and destroy him. Walker’s a man bringing a bazooka to a gun fight.

His choices for Vice President are plentiful. The GOP bench is fantastic and diverse from Latino men like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio…to women like Carly Fiorina, Governor Susanna Martinez and Governor Nikki Haley…to Libertarian heroes like Rand Paul…to a brilliant African American brain surgeon like Dr Ben Carson…to a genius policy wonk like Governor Bobby Jindal. The list is long.

We’ve been governed by inept political hacks for far too long. It is time for a dream team of experienced, committed adults who will kick ass and never fold when the going gets tough. The GOP Presidential nominee needs to name his entire dream team.

Do that and we’ll put the fear of God into liberals and the media. Here is how we differentiate ourselves, paint a picture of hope, and inspire our base! Here is how we win 270 electoral votes.

NAME OUR DREAM TEAM:

Attorney General of the United States – Ted Cruz. Let’s put a true defender of the Constitution in a place where he can do just that. Can you imagine the fear we’ll drive into the heads and hearts of law-breaking liberals and Marxists. No compromise, no mercy.

Treasury Secretary – Rand Paul. Put a Libertarian in charge of the economy, taxes and the IRS. Watch the US economy enjoy the greatest expansion in history with a true, free market Libertarian in charge. Rand Paul is a fighter. No compromise, no mercy.

Defense Secretary- Allen West. Here’s the man born to stand up for the honor of the military and defend the greatest nation in world history. No compromise, no mercy.

Secretary of State- you’re going to love this one: Donald Trump. Rather than weaklings afraid of their shadows, turn the world’s greatest, pit-bull negotiator loose on our adversaries like China and Russia. Let him negotiate the nuclear deal with Iran. No compromise, no mercy.

Chairman of the Federal Reserve – Dr. Ron Paul. The first father-son cabinet team will stand up to, audit, and rein in the Fed before the Fed destroys our economy. Ron Paul’s entire life has been preparation for this. No compromise, no mercy.

Homeland Security Secretary – Trey Gowdy. Protect our borders with common sense. No compromise, no mercy.

ICE- Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Need I say more?

Health & Human Services Secretary – Dr. Ben Carson. Here’s the guy born to dismantle Obamacare. No compromise, no mercy.

Labor Secretary- Darrell Issa. A street fighter who will stand up for America’s workers, not union bosses. No compromise, no mercy.

Energy Secretary- Sarah Palin. You want jobs? Take the shackles off and drill baby drill! No compromise, no mercy.

Commerce Secretary- Herman Cain. A brilliant businessman and unabashed capitalist who will get American working again. No compromise, no mercy.

Special Economic Advisors – Mitt Romney, Jack Welsh, Steve Wynn, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump (doing double duty). Put politics aside and put people who understand business in charge of the economy. No compromise, no mercy.

Education Secretary- Bobby Jindal. Here’s the brightest guy in the room, bar none. Put him in charge of taking on the teachers unions with creative ideas to turn around our failing education system. No compromise, no mercy.

Now, a personal plug… put me, Wayne Allyn Root, in charge of the Small Business Administration. Small business is the economic engine of America. I know how to motivate, inspire and empower the millions of mom and pop businesses on Main Street, not Wall Street. I stand for giving power to small business, not the welfare state or illegal aliens. No compromise, no mercy.

This is how you win an election- by exciting and inspiring Americans with an experienced, all-star GOP Dream Team that actually stands for something- America first!

And…

This is how you tell liberals to go to hell.

Wayne Allyn Root, a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, is one of the most popular political and media stars in America. His columns and commentaries are read at the biggest political & news web sites in America- including FoxNews.com. He makes regular appearances at Fox News Channel, and hundreds of radio stations across the country. Wayne is a Capitalist Evangelist, entrepreneur and small businessman, home-school dad, best-selling author, and Tea Party Libertarian conservative. His web site: http://www.ROOTforAmerica.com

Wayne Allyn Root on Obama’s Gestapo

Wayne Allyn Root

Obama’s America

Obama is going rogue. By every metric the Obama economy is melting down. We are seeing the beginning stages of another recession at best, or a total economic meltdown at worst.

At the moment there are no decent paying jobs in America. Obama has opened the border and given amnesty to at least 5 million illegal aliens already in the country, thereby putting them in competition with working class and middle class Americans.
Think I’m wrong? Did you know the government is giving businesses a $3000 incentive to hire illegal’s over native-born Americans?

Did you know cities are hiring non-citizens (and even illegal aliens given amnesty by Obama) as policemen? All you need is a work permit. Someone here illegally can wear a badge and enforce the law against you.

Did you think the border crisis was over? Obama’s amnesty has encouraged a new wave of poverty-stricken illegals at the border.

And, in a bankrupt nation with over $18 trillion in debt, Obama has used amnesty to give illegals access to food stamps, free healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, earned income tax credits…and by issuing drivers licenses and Social Security cards they will be able to vote immediately (because States don’t have the technology to tell the difference between a legal citizen or a noncitizen, legal or not).

The Obamacare fiasco gets worse by the day. The middle class is being bankrupted by skyrocketing increases in their health insurance premiums; hospitals are being bankrupted by the flood of illegal aliens accessing services; and the economy will drown in the new debt caused by Obamacare.

Obama’s claim that ISIS is on the run is a proven fraud, ripped bare by America’s embarrassing military withdrawl from Yemen.

Obama is going nuclear in his hatred for Bibi Netanyahu and Israel, force-feeding the world a weak nuclear agreement with Iran that is so bad, even France is fighting for stronger sanctions. Meanwhile Obama threatens to become the first president in history to abandon Israel at the United Nations.

But, I haven’t gotten to the bad part yet. Is it possible the terrible news about the economy, the border, ISIS and Israel is all just a distraction? Because the really important news is that Obama has created a modern-day version of “the Gestapo.”

The Obama government is using an initiative called “Operation Chokepoint” to force legal businesses it doesn’t like out of business, by threatening and intimidating banks and credit card processors.

At the same time, the Obama government is urging banks to call the police to report citizens who withdraw $5000 or more from their own bank accounts. Yes, I said banks are urged to call the police, when you withdraw your own money.

This comes at the same time that FEMA announced it will no longer provide FEMA disaster relief funds to states whose Governors deny “climate change.”

And let’s not forget Obama used an FCC party-line vote to take over the Internet and institute sweeping new changes to a system that is working perfectly as the form of communication for most Americans.

Obama’s first goal is clearly massive new taxes on Internet usage, just another way to destroy the middle class and redistribute income. But is his real goal controlling communications on the Internet- specifically the anti-Obama criticism and anti-government message so prevalent on the Internet.

But let’s circle back to the most Gestapo-like Obama initiative ever. It’s called “Operation Chokepoint.” This is your government’s attempt to put morality controls (just like those in Iran) on the American public by shutting down gun stores, precious metals companies, casinos, tobacco distributors, telemarketers, and short-term money lenders.

How can they close legal businesses you ask? By threatening and intimidating banks and credit card processors to close accounts for businesses the government doesn’t like. Just like an Iranian Ayatollah, if Obama doesn’t like your business, he will “choke off” your ability to stay in business. Hence the name, “Operation Chokepoint.”

Never forget Obama has been on a 6-year long relentless crusade to raise our taxes and take away our tax deduction for charitable donations, choking off contributions to churches. Yes, Obama is trying to “choke off” the funding that keeps churches in business too.

Why is this happening? First, because Obama despises capitalism. He needs to put prosperous businesses out of business. By murdering the middle class’s ability to prosper, he creates his utopia of equality (ie “shared misery”), making everyone dependent on government in a classless, socialist society. Think Cuba and Venezuela.

Second, there is an obvious reason Obama hates these particular industries. The subtitle of my 2009 book, “The Conscience of a Libertarian” says it all. The subtitle was “Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold, Gambling & Tax Cuts.” Is it a coincidence that virtually every item I mentioned is under attack?

The businesses on the list of “Operation Chokepoint” are all dominated by people that Obama would describe as capitalists, patriots, conservatives, Tea Partiers, Christians and supporters of the Constitution. Not coincidently, those are the same groups targeted by Obama in the IRS scandal.

And then of course, if Obama can’t close your business, or “choke off” your ability to prosper, he can force banks to call the police if you dare to withdraw money from your own account.

Folks this is eerily reminiscent of The Gestapo, or the Soviet KGB, or the East German Stasi.

Is this the America you want? The NSA spying on your every move…the federal government in charge of your healthcare and now your free speech on the Internet…the IRS auditing enemies and critics of the government…the federal government forcing legal businesses they deem “unacceptable” out of business…and banks spying on their own customers and being forced to call the police when customers withdraw too much of their own money.

Yes, under Barack Hussein Obama the Gestapo is alive and well in the former “Land of the Free.”

Wayne Allyn Root, a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, is one of the most popular political and media stars in America. His columns and commentaries are read at the biggest political & news web sites in America- including FoxNews.com. He makes regular appearances at Fox News Channel, and hundreds of radio stations across the country. Wayne is a Capitalist Evangelist, entrepreneur and small businessman, home-school dad, best-selling author, and Tea Party Libertarian conservative. His web site: http://www.ROOTforAmerica.com