Idaho-Maryland Mine launches summer p.r. campaign

The effort to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine is launching a summer p.r. campaign. Visit informational booths, according to its website:

Wed. Jun 1, 2011
Thursday Nights Marketplace, Downtown Grass Valley:
Visit us during June and July 2011.

Wed. Aug 10, 2011
Nevada County Fair, Nevada County Fairgrounds:
Visit us from August 10th to August 14th, 2011.

Sat. Aug 27, 2011
Miners’ Picnic: Join us at the Empire Mine State Park

I wonder if this is one of the “facts” you might hear: “The project has strong public support,” according to the mine’s website. “The City of Grass Valley completed an independent survey where 72 percent of residents supported the project, 16 percent were undecided and 12 percent opposed it.”

It’s going to be a tough row to hoe coming to the “truth” about the proposed project with unqualified statements like that. I wonder if “truth serum” is handed out at the booth.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

106 thoughts on “Idaho-Maryland Mine launches summer p.r. campaign”

  1. Jeff,

    I have not seen their survey, but I suspect that about 72% of the residents in your area would be in favor of added dozens of good paying jobs to the region.


    1. There was ONE question in the survey, a survey done longt before ANY of the project or environemental issues were even discussed, much less identified.

      And Emgold is not providing the entire question that was asked so many years ago… the questions asked IF there were no environment impacts would you support the mine.

      We know for a FA CT now that the impacts of putting a cyanide leach mine in the middle of an EXISTING town can’t be addressed.

      Emgold is flat out tell a lie about this “community survey” and the local support. The majority of the community are very much apposed to the mine and Emgold… for good reason!

    2. John,

      There is really no telling how many “local” citizens would be employed by Emgold. My guess is that most would be imported “experienced” labor and the remainder “mucky muck”(read: hard sweat back breaking, dirty) jobs left to the locals…any of those jobs by no means pay “good”. Don’t get me wrong..a job is a job for someone that desparatly needs one, but I think Emgold is sugar coating the labor projections. I’ve never seen a picture of a rich miner…mine owner yes…miner no.

  2. Watkinson is nothing if not a great spinmeister.

    The survey he cites was done in 2006, before the DEIR was completed showing a lot of environmental problems with the project.

    The survey was not about the mine. It was about quality of life in Nevada County, and one — and only one — question in the entire survey asked about the mine. The question asked whether the respondent would approve the mine if it could be shown that no environmental problems would result from it.

    About 72% of some 380 total survey respondents answered that highly conditional question in the affirmative.

    Based on that small non-representative sample of the 100,000 residents of Nevada County, Watkinson continues to claim that 72% of all residents support the project.

    I got a bridge in Brooklyn I could sell ya …

  3. Funny how Watkinson and Ackerman keep citing the survey, BUT they keep omitting that pesky detail about “if proper environmental safeguards are in place” . . .

    Since proper environmental safeguards haven’t been emplaced – the survey should be interpreted as 84% of citizens are currently opposed to the proposed project.

    Good to see John Stoos still pumping out non-sequiturs.

    1. Peter,

      Just so you know that I can be agreeable, IF the mine does present environmental hazards then yes, 84% of the people in your area would, and should be opposed!


      1. No “if” about it John.
        Unmitigable impacts to air quality is a hazard in an area which already has poor air quality.
        THere are many more, but I would hate to bombard you with the facts – and it’s obvious that you haven’t read the DEIR – so there isn’t much point in dialogue.

      2. The survey didn’t mention “environmental hazards.” It did include the term environmental safeguards.

        The two terms are in no way interchangeable as Mr. Stoos would lead some(himself) to believe.

      3. Peter,

        And speaking of “mitigation,” just how do you justify driving your car to the store when there is no way to mitigate the damage that you do to the air quality of your region?


      4. I don’t expect that Peter drives a diesel semi truck&trailer to the grocery store, John.

      5. Yes, you are correct there, unless one is buying local food which doesn’t ship in a lot of stuff to support it, like organic farming or free range beef.
        However, I believe they are estimating something like 15 more semis per hour during the day related to IM mine activities (I have not checked my facts there, my apologies for laziness in the moment). That’s a lot of diesel exhaust to add to the air around here.

      6. I am not speaking for Pete but would address John Stoos. John I believe you seem to miss the very basic point. In college toxicology we were taught a basic principle of dealing with substances, The Dose Makes The Poison.
        “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison….” Paracelsus (1493-1541)

        Think about it John.

      7. Ken,

        That is exactly the point that I made in responding to Michael heated rhetoric using the data from the report that he linked.

        The releases from the mine never reach the dosage that would make it a poison.

        As I pointed out, you could make the charge that any company selling processed foods is selling rat poop to unknowing customers. This would be technically true but very unfair.


    1. Nice Non-sequitar, John.

      I see we can’t teach an ol’ dog new tricks. And to think that a man with these(lack of) logical skills had the ear of our current congressman. And to think that he has the ear of a congregation that thinks he’s smart. And to think that he has grandchildren that think he’s wise.

    2. Hey, I was just trying to agree with Don. You can make surveys say just about anything that you want to, as long as ethics and morality don’t get in your way.


      1. What?!? This doesn’t make sense. However, I’m going to keep this quote;

        ” You can make surveys say just about anything that you want to, as long as ethics and morality don’t get in your way.”

        It’s a classic.

        I think this should be on your Christmas Card with a photo of your family.

  4. Maybe Eric Cantor can show up there as a spokesmodel: the quittah from virgina took what’s left of his tea balls and left the debt talks…maybe he’ll even bring some ohl and gold spackulators with em…they seem to be running toward the casino exits…lil beck has nervousness exhaustment…he could come too:) Kate

  5. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or for that matter a geologist, to get the fact that you have to keep up the “buzz” if you want to continue to make money off of the stock. didn’t we recently learn that there is a good chance the the big nugget found in Nevada County was a plant that was done in order to get people to buy (likely worthless) mining claims?
    I’m not sure these two things are all that different from each other, except that one is a little more sophisticated.

  6. The discussion here is annoying the local chain smoking dinosaurs:
    What would they have to write about if it wasn’t for Sierra Foothills Report?

    Why hasn’t The Union “dug deeper” to investigate the motives of that local nugget “discovery,” which they touted as a big “scoop”?

  7. The local right still doesn’t understand business, and the business case against reopening IMM. They still think business is their strong suit. Their simple-minded sucker acceptance of Emgold’s hype shows they have a weak grasp of business principles.

    1. Boy Don you could not be more right. These guys think they are business people, but all they know is an old tired business model that does not respond to the new demographic or the emerging business models that incorporate more dynamic approaches.

      They are YESTERDAY—-we need to leave them in the dust.

      1. What IMM is doing is (apparently) fairly standard. The Canadian companies come into a community, hype a project, sell a bunch of stock, turn the community against each other, drag the process out until it can’t be dragged any further and then they pack up and leave, with the community at each others throats.

  8. Grass Valley just posted their agenda for next Tueday, it includes an update on IMM.

    The staff report is available on the GV City website, under “Agendas”.

    New Draft EIR to be done… EIR review process to start over.

  9. Truth vs. the BS Emgold keeps spewing:

    The City staff report for next Tuesday Emgold item says… “If the agreements are executed (for the new DEIR) in late July or August, a preliminary projection for when the Draft EIR would be released is the winter of 2012”.

    But Emgold posted this false claim a few weeks ago on their website… “once work commences, the Revised Draft EIR and the Final EIR will be completed within about 12 months.”

    So.. the City says the DEIR would be released for review in the winter of 2012 and Emgold claims the Final EIR process will be COMPLETED within about 12 months.

    Emgold is again making false claims and they know it is false!

  10. Sounds like a motherlode of “fools gold” to me…miners and “strikin it rich”, huh? They sellin a house too?

  11. Gold-mining is the history of Grass Valley. It is not its future. Through some years of experience with the proposed Emgold project, I can say that the recent comments quoted by Jeff Pelline from the Emgold website and other sources are so rediculous as to be laughable. And my reaction is simply, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” And this is consistent with everything I know from years of Emgold literature, many public Meetings, hundreds of reports, comments, etc.the first DEIR rejected by Grass Valley City Council, all available through Grass Valley Planning Dept, and the survey quoted which, as others have said, is years old and really reflects nothing of any real importance to the Emgold project. Why the officers of this corporation wish to keep pouring money down this apparently bottomless pit is beyond me, unless they are still able to sell enough stock to cover their losses and keep their hopes up. Was it P.T. Barnum who said, “There’s a sucker born every minute”? And John Stoos, you are an intelligent man who knows a great deal. You should stick to commenting on topics you know something about.

  12. Pat,

    Sadly it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that gold at $1,500 per ounce is more attractive than it was in the 1850’s. There will be mining in the future.

    It also does not take a rocket scientist to know that our technology has advanced just a bit since the 1850’s so mining will not look like it did back then.

    The combination of those two means there should be no problem bringing more gold out of them there hills with plenty of capital to medicate whatever environmental damage it may cause.


    1. John uis a hoot!

      “no problem bringing more gold out of them there hills with plenty of capital to medicate whatever environmental damage it may cause”

      Sems John has a total lack of knowledge about the impacts of current day mining and the endless pollution and environmenatal damage it is doing in the USA now… much less the billions needed to clean up th emess left by past mining.

    2. If you’re really serious about “striking gold” in our fair state Stoos, I suggest you cast your eyes over to the coffers of New York State in about 30 days time…Kate

    3. John,
      You know as well as I do the cost of gold has much to do with the dropping value of the American $.

      How about this deal John between you and me; have all the existing mining companies in the US, all mining, clean up the left over tailings and toxic waste accumulation in our streams/ rivers/ reservoirs/ lakes/ grass covered tailing piles and then we can talk about how economically good mining is for the US?

      1. Ben,

        We would all like to redo history: I wish miners of the past had been more responsible and that we had never gone down the road of slavery.

        With that said, how do we hold those alive today responsible for the sins of the past? I don’t think we have any individuals or even companies around today that polluted the land of others while mining. We don’t have any slave owners or even children or grandchildren of slave owners to hold responsible for those horrific actions.

        So, I don’t think we should hold up cotton farming or mining because they resulted in sins in the past.


      2. I don’t think we have any individuals or even companies around today that polluted the land of others while mining.

        More Stoos BS –
        How about you educate yourself a bit before spouting?
        Extraction is dirty by nature. That’s why there are those of us who do not wish a mine in the middle of our hometown once again. Empire Mine remediation is still ongoing. My Grandfathers worked Empire and their own claims in Greenhorn, and would say the same. Just google Newmont Mining, Barrick, etc. if you want to see a portion of the destruction wrought to this day, generally in places of loose regulation around the globe. Emgold’s other ‘holdings’ (Buckskin, etc.) do not operate in populated areas for a reason.
        Or maybe this is just another one of those preventable disasters that, like Gov Perry with the fires, that will give you reason to pray to your God for salvation in future years. But more likely, just another exploitative reach based upon the ‘theory or abundance’ – justifying the greed of those not truly vested in our earthly communal presence.

      3. J. Cutter,,

        Well I certainly hope that you refrain from using all the modern benefits that we have from materials that are brought to us by “dirty” mining…

        OOPS, I guess you already violated that by posting this comment with a computer!


  13. John:

    We had a rocket scientist — a family member — visiting us from Fairbanks a few weeks ago. He was very keen to visit the railroad museum and especially the Northstar Mining Museum, where he took some pictures of the dredge, which is very like a gold dredge near Fairbanks.

    If you met him, you would be struck by how voraciously he studies and reads. He never indulges in the sort of uninformed generalities and wishful thinking you employ in statements like ” … there should be no problem bring gold out of them there hills … ” He’s a proud scientist and takes that role seriously.

    In other words, in my experience, it’s an insult to rocket scientists everywhere to invoke them in support an optimism based on wishful thinking, rather than on the rigorous consideration of the facts that each individual case requires.

    I do believe you are intelligent enough to draw the proper conclusion about the Idaho-Maryland Mine if you’d stop speculating about it and actually study it in detail. I see no evidence that you’ve done that yet. Until you do, you continue to looks like a fool here, as indeed you are on this particular issue.

    I recommend you begin with the Maest-Kuipers study of the comparison between the predicted and actual water quality in hardrock mines. Their study is definitely of modern mining methods, not those of the 19th century:

    By the way, while you cite the current high price of gold, you don’t ask the most interesting question about it in the context of the IMM: “Why, in this time of unprecedented gold prices, is no major mining company interested in investing
    in the IMM?” (Hint: Emgold has no proven reserves).

    The major mining companies understand business in a way that many locals yet do not. They understand that Emgold is mining for investors, more than for actual gold.

    And you say, “medicate the damage … ” So, you’d be OK with a significant increase in asthma in Nevada County because someone can buy the victims inhalers? Is this mean you mean by “medicate the damage?” If so, it’s very insulting. You might reason differently if your home was here next to the IMM, or even in Nevada County for that matter.

      1. Don,

        I think I had more typos than you did, so hopefully we can both do better today!

        I assume the asthma rhetoric is because of increased smog from all those trucks: As I mentioned in another post, I hope you are not planning on driving to the store for any food this week, because all of us asthma sufferers will suffer if everyone does that again.

        And just as food for thought from someone who did hang around the California political scene for a few decades, do you think the difficulty of attracting investors could have anything to do with a company actually thinking they can get permission to do any mining in California? Remember, we have idled the second richest source of all the rare earth elements that our modern world needs down south so we can be all the more dependent on China.


  14. See I just don’t get it. Yes John, one of the reasons that Emgold can’t attract investors for the IMM is that it is almost impossible to get a mine permitted in California, because many people don’t want it, and in the permitting process they will have ample tools to slow down the decision.

    So why do people insist on beating their heads against a brick wall working on stuff that is a pipe-dream, like our local legislators spending their time and treasure on IMM instead of picking the 5-10 things they actually could accomplish in 6-12 months to get people back to work? If they did that they could get the agreement of a broad cross section of the electorate, promote those ideas, and still support IMM if their ideology demands it.


      1. Stoos –
        And perhaps you should just can the BS.
        I don’t know Frisch, but as far as I can tell, you’ve never worked an honest day in your life or contributed anything tangible to our community (anything positive has surely been offset by your waste).
        Though I guess your despicable actions have contributed to meaningful legislation (and gained a shout out from Feinstein during the BK reform debates).

        I’d love to uncork on you Stoos, but Jeff tempered my criticism as too personal last time, it’s his blog, and you serve the contrarian fool instigator around here.
        I’d suggest you leave a few doors closed, and just stick to the script.

      2. Well I did not know there was script but just so folks who think all things religious or political are useless, I did have a long career with Long’s Drugs and also outside retail sales. So I enjoyed working both within and from without the Longs store there in Grass Valley which has been a favorite for many in your area. Together we generated a lot of sales tax for the city and county!

        I also worked on the efforts by then Senator McClintock to reduce the car tax by two thirds and I think that most average families appreciate their DMV registrations being a third of what they would have been otherwise. That is more than you can point to in term of real help for working families than most of the liberal politicians that you might like. It will upset Bruce that I have brought that up again, but facts are facts as my evolutionary friends like to tell me again and again.


    1. I get it.
      The modern ‘gold rush’ has all the elements of the snake oil, boom/bust formula of those who profess their god-given right to exploit based upon their ‘theory of abundance’; and otherwise succeed by deceiving others whilst concealing their own weakness.
      It’s pure carnival – barkers such as Beck and other fear-mongering shucksters have had a real impact on their market, greasy middlemen to play on that fear and the real ills of the community, and political opportunists pushing an easy out of the mess of their failed fiscal policies by promising relief.

      Want to judge the motivation and feasibility? just consider the source(s).

  15. Hey, I will be the first to applaud Tom McClintock for caring about, promoting and supporting biomass utilization. It something both Tom and Dan are doing that we could find some real common ground on.

    But the problem I am identifying is the desire of most parties to focus on their differences on 20% rather than their agreements on 80%.

    I could re-publish my top 10 list, which I have in different ways delivered to both Congressman McClintock’s and Dan Logue’s offices.

  16. With all due respect John, I believe that reducing the California Vehicle License Fee (VLF), was a HUGE mistake.

    Governor S. used the reduction as a campaign issue, leveraging the promised reduction to boot Gray Davis, who knew the actual dysfunctions within the California state budget and who clearly warned that reducing revenue without corresponding reductions in services would cripple the budget process and hamstring our economy.

    A little history here: the VLF was 2% until 1999 when it was reduced to .65%. Davis took it back to 2% in 2003, Schwarzenegger decreased it back to .65% in 2004, then increased it to 1.15% in 2009, to remain in effect until June of 2011. Governor Brown’s proposal is to extend the 1.15% level for 5 years to help fill the gap in the budget.

    The reduction in the VLF was one of the primary reasons we opened a structural budget gap.

    Now, to fill the budget gap the legislature is devolving many of the services provided by state government to local government, the very same local government that used to get 30% of the VLF to provide these services.

    In short, we cut taxes, cut services, devolved the responsibility to provide services to local government without the necessary revenue, and now local government will either need to raise taxes locally to provide these services, or take it from other areas of their budgets, like public safety.

    This is a classic example of drowning the government in the bathtub. It is nothing short of cynical double dealing lying government.

    If we had just kept the damn VLF where it was in the first place we could have avoided much of the last decade of dysfunctional budget merry-go-round.

    YES, there were other factors, so don’t even try to divert people’s attention by bringing up three more topic!

    Almost 50% of our structural deficit is this issue, VLF.

    1. Steve,

      Just two quick corrections: It was Senator McClintock’s proposal that Arnold picked up on [it was one of the three things Tom promised to do before lunch on the first day in office].

      Second, you forgot to mention that the car tax is the most regressive tax in California, which means we were fighting for the little guy: I thought that was what all you Democrats were supposed to be doing?


      PS: I guess I should add that there was NO deficit problems when then Assemblyman McClintock proposed abolishing this unfair tax in 1998. Those came AFTER the election of Mr. Davis. The Democrats will bring back another campaign to abolish this tax if they keep messing around with extending the temporary increases.

    2. Dear John, it was indeed Mr. McClintock’s proposal, but it was not solely his proposal, and regressive or not the car tax kept us from having a $20 billion structural deficit that has led to cutting services in the state primarily to the lowest economic strata—so cry me some crocodile tears. You reduced car taxes on the poor by $100 and cut services to the the poor by about $700 per person since 2003. I’d say that is the definition of regressive, but SNEAKY regressive.

    3. Steve,
      The VLF reduction was a huge give away to companies like UPS and FED EX who have huge fleets. It was packaged much like prop 13 was, more of your money staying in your pocket. We have been duped into believing taxes are punitive instead of dues and a necessity for a functional society. Once we believe all taxes are bad we will support any proposition that sounds like we save money but leave out the actual loss of infrastructure and contribution to our lives. In the VLF we were talking about a small numbers for average people but huge numbers for these big companies.

      Tax increases on consumption or program cuts to pay for tax reductions on big business/ very rich.

      1. Steve & Ben,

        Again, it is hard to make this “spin” fly: We tried to get the business community to see that abolishing this tax would also benefit them, but they wanted NO part of upsetting the Democrats and would not touch our initiative campaign. Otherwise the car tax would have been abolished in 2000.


    1. Jeff,

      Notice that the later piece on the “bipartisan” effort is in 2001. When Tom began in 1998, after the first press conference the Democrats told the press, and I quote, “This bill is DOA.”

      In fact the bill never had a hearing, but the advocacy by Mr. McClintock did in fact turn it into the tax revolt that the LA Times piece said it would never be.


      1. John,
        WIth all due respect, Tom didn’t have the credibility to make the issue “stick” as his “idea.” That took a larger effort. In fact, Arnold wound up getting most of the credit for this, as did some Democrats. At that point, it would have been a good idea for Tom — a lifetime politician since earning his Poly Sci degree at UCLA — to look in the mirror and ask why. Instead of being kicked upstairs to Governor or some other statewide post, he got kicked sideways into our rural, uninfluential Congressional district. Now he lectures the Mexican President from Nevada County, with an empty hall, albeit the recorders of CSpan and benefits of YouTube. On the plus side, he gets to be a “double dipper,” drawing pensions from the state and federal government!

      2. Jeff,

        With equal respect I would point out that Senator McClintock’s efforts won a 35% reduction in 1999 and a permanent 2/3rds reduction in June of 2000, long before Arnold was considered a political figure.

        Would be happy to send along the entire time-line if you really have an interest.


      3. I never meant to suggest it wasn’t BS (Before Schwarzenegger). What I meant to suggest (strongly) is that it was politically motivated from the get-go, and I believe, a catalyst for McClintock’s bid for statewide office.

      4. John,
        Yes, Tom was a big loser in his previous attempts at statewide office. My point was he used the car tax as a catalyst to run for governor against Arnold on the GOP side. But even Arnold outfoxed him. Still, Tom wound up with a pretty good political career considering, and he got to be a “double dipper” — drawing benefits from the state and feds.

    2. As ineffectual as Arnie was, I’d even support him over McClintock given those two were the last standing. And ironic is that to my recollection Arnie was an original darling of the then-unnamed same Tea Party crowd that these pols now court.

      If you think the last few years have been bad around here, just imagine what slash & burn on the revenue side in those better times would have done to our infrastructure in these tougher times – but then, I rely on the economy and access to resources by way of education for my kids, etc. much more than most of the dinosaur contrarians.

  17. Here’s a study on the car tax in Virginia — while a political hot button with voters, the results aren’t as beneifical as touted. The car tax issue helped get the GOPer elected in Virginia and is widely considered a catalyst for the McClintock et al. proposal, first signed by Gov. Wilson:

    1. Jeff,

      The issue did indeed help Republicans as did many of the other populist battles that Mr. McClintock encouraged them to have.

      Look out for the little guy is ALWAYS a good idea.


      1. But as the car-tax report that I quoted shows, and as Steve Frisch points out, the “little guys” wound up with the shorter end of the stick.

      2. Again I hate to let facts get in the way, but the report on the car tax done by California’s own LAO points out that it is a regressive tax.

        The Democrats that we saw in focus groups called it a tax on an essential like having a coat tax in New York City.


      3. John,
        Please read the report I cited. There’s a difference between theory and reality. In case you didn’t notice I’m more pragmatic than ideological.

      4. Jeff,

        As I said, begin populist can be a good thing politically and practically. You help the little guy and that is a good thing. Your report from Virginia talks politics and the LAO report from our state dealt with the impact on average families.

        In 1998 the state had massive surpluses for as far as the eye could see and abolishing the car tax was a very progressive way to deal with that problem. In fact it was so populist that folks in those same focus groups assumed by a large margin that only Democrats would propose such a thing.

        Pretending to help the little guy can also be very effective politically and that is too often what the Democrats are doing.


      5. John, a good way to use a surplus would have been building a rainy day fund equal to one year’s budget. I have advocated that for both democrats and republicans for more than 15 years. It would have been handy when dealing with the vicissitudes of the energy deregulation crises starting in 1996, with the Wilson supported legislation, then the 2000’s with the combination of electrical dereg and dependence on unstable tax bases from sales and personal income taxes instead of property tax, cause by Prop 13.

      6. Steve,

        Actually, if you go back and look then Assemblyman McClintock introduced a major budget reform measure that included a return to the old Gann spending limit which included major budget reserves because it was the right time to do that: Sadly that one did not pass because if it had we would have avoided the Davis/Arnold spending sprees.


      7. John, I just don’t get it. You support policies that gut the state budget and lead to a reduction of $700 per capita to people in poverty in the state through a budgetary trick (the shenanigans over the VLF) then support a rainy day fund.

        I have laid out here several times a rational path to a balanced budget with regular surpluses for California, that should be a bi-partisan approach, yet Republicans regularly reject reform and stand in the way of compromise.

        We can’t get there when all people want to do is win.

        I am with you (and Tom) on the fund, but it is simply impossible to lower taxes and raise revenue at the same time. Your policy is morally and fiscally bankrupt.

      8. Steve,

        As I have pointed out many times in the past: Go back and look at the FY1997/98 budget and the five year projections from the LAO.

        There was plenty of money at that time and if they had reformed spending [so prison costs did not double for example], and returned to the Gann Limit all of the deficits of the last decade would have been avoided and folks would have actually gotten more state services and avoided the most regressive tax in our state.

        We thought it was a good plan at the time, and in retrospect, we were absolutely right: Tom would have made a much better governor than Arnold as well 🙂


      9. John,
        You wrote: “Your report from Virginia talks politics and the LAO report from our state dealt with the impact on average families.”

        This is deceptive. Tom is a career politician, and the car tax was a political move to get elected as governor. (But Arnold outfoxed him). The LAO report does not take into account the unintended consequences of the car tax – spelled out in the Virginia report and Steve’s analysis.

      10. Jeff,

        Wrong on two front yet again: Tom certainly had no thoughts of running for governor in 1998 when the car tax campaign began.

        As to Steve’s analysis, you could say that we could have had ANOTHER $30 billion by doubling the car tax in 1999 instead of reducing it and that would result in another $700 per poor person that we could not have spent.

        Good public policy should always make sure that we obtain revenues in the best way AND make sure they are spent effectively. Sadly in California we don’t do either very well and the campaign to end the car tax was just a small part of the solutions.


      11. So John, if it is the case that good public policy is to make sure we raise revenue in the best way, what revenue did Mr. McClintock increase to ensure that the lost revenue from the reduction in the VLF was offset?
        The answer is none. That is the problem. This is the stealthy way people advance the ‘strangle government in the bathtub’ strategy.

        One cannot have it both ways.

        I would argue that if one looks at the link I posted above and the depreciation of automobile values anticipated embedded in the VLF structure, the tax, although not perfect, was reasonable. In the absence of an offsetting revenue stream reducing it was folly.

      12. Steve,

        Again in 1998 we had revenue surpluses not deficits.

        In the mid-1980’s Tom fought to have about a billion rebated under the old Gann Limit: This was extra revenue that had come in and of course there were those in Sacramento who wanted to just keep it and spend it later.

        Tom did the right thing and what you are trying to say here is that he should not have fought for those rebates without also increasing other revenues by the same billion dollars: That makes NO sense.


    2. John,
      Tom has been a “political animal” since he graduated from UCLA with his poly sci degree. His motives are largely self serving. A car tax is an obvious hot button with voters.
      Again, this report provides a more thorough analysis of the car tax beyond labeling and theory, including unintended consequences – and the reality.

      1. Jeff,

        Again, it seems to me that anyone running for office is a political animal? Some on both sides are more successful than others, is this bad?

        You really like this report, but I still don’t get the point: Are you or the report trying to seriously argue that the car tax is not a regressive tax?


      2. John,
        You’re confusing theory and practice, like so many rigid ideologues. The report will tell you all about the consequences of the car tax.

    3. Precisely, I’m saying that he should have fought for a robust rainy day fund.

      California budgetary history is rife with examples of temporary surpluses turning into difficult to manage deficit’s well before the crash of 2008, and well before 1998. A wise leader would build a reserve and not reduce taxes without offsetting revenues in fat years.

      Anyone with any fiscal foresight could have seen that the gradual reduction of property tax relative to sales tax and personal income tax due to Prop 13 was leaving us vulnerable to unmanageable volatility in revenue.

      1. Steve,
        This is the very problem of the provision of prop 13, reduce taxes in boom years with a 50% plus 1 but need a 66% plus 1 to raise them back.

      2. I would reform Prop13 in a heartbeat. I would put some simple provisions on it; restore commercial property to CPI on a sliding scale based on net, cap it at 1% below the CPI on residential property, and retain the <2% rate for seniors on fixed incomes. Existing residential property owners over 60 could have their rates grandfathered and we would be back at equilibrium in 20 years, with increasing benefits every year until then.

        Fair, gradual and fixes the problem for seniors on fixed incomes.

      3. Steve,
        Slow down I need to find a pencil and pad. There are so many simple legislative solutions to solve our problems but get spun into these riddle inside an enigma so nobody can understand them and the status quo stays the same.

      4. To reform Prop 13 one has to go back to the original rational behind its adoption and resolve the core problem as it existed in 1978. The bugaboo will be fear of high inflation, which, although unlikely for most of the next decade, has to be dealt with.

        There is no doubt in my mind that Governor Brown would like to correct the biggest mistake of his first term

        Get out your pencil. Its going to be a long graphite lubricated ride.—-time-to-ame_b_566685.html

      5. Steve,

        If you don’t think that we are going to have massive inflation in the next decade you are smoking some of that illegal stuff grown here in California.

        I would go along with the revision that brings commercial property back to where it should be IF you take the increased revenue and use it to adjust the home owners exemption from $7,000 up to about $25,000 where it should be for the benefit of the little guy once again.


      6. I wish more people read economics. It may be the dismal science, but there are some relatively immutable rules, and strong trends, that are common.

        One is that it is harder to have inflation when access to capital is limited.

        John, I am not saying we will not have some inflation, we will. Normal inflation rates at say as 3-4% CPI leading to 6-8% lending rates is most likely for the next decade.

        The combination of restrictions on the money supply due to borrowing by the federal government with its high debt rate (even the Ryan budget would have us borrowing an additional $7 Trillion over the next decade); restrictions on capital from banks, and investment banks, due to reductions in leverage caused by the 2008 crash (we were leveraging 30-1 and now we are leveraging 10-1); and the scare it put into the system causing businesses to recognize that ‘cash is king’ and thus sit on larger pools of hard cash that does not go into riskier investments (highest level since 1970’s); and finally the increase in personal savings rates (from 0% to 6% savings in 3 years); and finally the drive to reduce federal debt now standing at $14Trillion, all would have a tendency to restrict the money supply and tamp down inflation.

        We will see increases in prices in some areas due to scarcity, for example energy, food, and heavy metals, but the general rate should stay relatively stable.

        It was the hyperinflation we experienced in the 1970’s, with property taxes increasing 10% per year, that led to the adoption of Prop 13.

      7. Steve,

        Thinking about basic economics: Since we are running a $1.6 trillion deficit in an economy that is about $16 trillion, that means that the money supply has to be increased by 10% in order for that spending to take place.

        How does that not create at least the pressure for 10% inflation?


  18. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing and rose colored tin foil hats aside, what you fail to mention Stoos is the corrupt incompetence left in Arnie Schwartzawhores’ wake. If I were a republican today I wouldn’t look back with a load of fondness, inste ad recognize “the load” for what it is and was…The burden of which is left on Gov. Browns watch. But we recognize that we’re always cleaning up after arrogant GOP stupidity and thank God President Obama and Governor are quite adept and skilled at it. There’s 2 subjects that are relevant currently in California: J-O-B-S and B-U-D-G-E-T…and territorial awards and smoke and mirrors won’t cut it this time…Kate

  19. Well, hypocrites rarely have any “feelings” at all I’ve found. Just look at Michele Bachman trying to explain away federal and state money she and her family were recipients of…to the tune of 300,000 dollars or so. From the Federal Government and agro subsidies and the State of Minnesota’s Departments of Health AND WELFARE and mental health. Oh, but like all wingnuts THAT’S “different”…in a lying, hypocrital, sorta, kinda ,maybe, weaselly worded way– on FOX spews and news of course. Like Arnold’s years of “service” bonus to his maid I guess…sarcasm fully intended. Kate

  20. The scratch Ms. Bachman and Daddy Bachman “collected” is known on planet Earth as “the government aid”…Kate

  21. John,
    This is where the two parties are in full agreement, running for office is a political move instead of serving the people. McClintock didn’t oppose Arnold but the other way around and that is why McClintock loathes Arnold. Issa and McClintock thought one of them were going to be the next governor until Arnold struck a deal with Mr Enron himself and threw his hat into the ring.

    McClintock wants to be governor baaaadddd. He is willing to run with his millions for a district he has no loyalty or long term interest and in fact refuses to move into. This is a political stepping stone while staying relevant in Sacramento. This is why he campaigns just as much if not more in So Cal, in my opinion. This is such a slap in the face of the people of the district but as the numbers show this is as safe republican district as one can get in CA. Although as Jeff Pelline points out the numbers are changing. Fortunately for the republicans the democrats are hamstrung by their deal with the devil and their accepting huge corporate dollars starting in the 90’s. This allows only a percentage of the party to speak truth to power and represent the people over special interests. Kucinich is a perfect example, he is marginalized by the party much like Paul is in the republican party. The leadership can’t control these guys so they are pushed to the fringes of beltway.

    If in fact McClintock has to go up against Matsui he will probably find himself on the losing end. In my opinion Matsui isn’t a very strong rep but represents a strong democratic district. What will McClintock do? Will he spend $5million with most of it in counter campaigning? Will tuck tail and run to a safe district? I do have to say this, Tom McClintock is a good polished politician and will put up a good fight no matter where he runs.

  22. I am sure Jeff will have a post up shortly, but the new budget has been announced for California.

    They may not have a printing press like the White House does, but somehow simply “believing” that another $4 BILLION will show up in the midst of a massive recession might work just as well to continue their big spending ways!

    I guess I don’t have to mention that there would be howls from the press and pundits if a Republican governor and legislature tried such a scam.


    1. I don’t know John…they passed TARP IN about 15 MINUTES in the year of Dubya, 2008 a.d. Don’t mind us, we’re just cleaning up all the shards of middle-class glass!…Kate

    1. If she comes up to face Tom in the new 4th CD I do not think it would be a fair fight.

      The better question is what Congresswoman Matsui will do under the new primary rules if someone like Mayor Johnson decides to run.


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