All posts by Matthew Munson

General Plan Reform Act

Maybe it should be time for the people of San Bernardino County to show some teeth at their city councils.

This is a potential county ballot measure I would like to see implemented.

The General Plan Reform Act

1. Mixed zoning changes do require the consent of surrounding property owners by buying permission by paying 1/10th the property value to the property owner of the said parcel to the left and right of the development. This helps to compensate for potential property value loss.

2. Zoning change elections cannot be done in a separate election, they must be done in a consolidated election such as November in the odd year, or primary or general in the even years.

3. General plans must be voted on by 55% of the voters of the city in an even year regularly scheduled election in November.

4. Cities or counties cannot spend more than half of one percent of their yearly budget to pay for general plan consultants if other departments and services were cut more than 3 percent in the last three years.

We should work together to filter this out and see if the idea could come to fruition.

Working Class Advocate, I Guess Not Leyva

As someone who ran against Sen. Leyva I am not a big fan of her advocacy to unseat people such as Assemblywoman Brown who helped to defeat SB 350 which will make it more expensive for working families to go to work and do their daily errands. As a member of the working class I wish she realized how each dollar and cent adds up to a family budget.

California can no longer be the state for just the very rich and the very poor. We need a middle class and a vibrant cadre of small businesses to make California golden. If we want to pay for the extended public services that Leyva and her allies want, we have to have the employers to hire the people that pay those taxes.

Even though gasoline is at an all-time low, we still pay the highest gasoline prices in the nation. We should not price out people from driving and being able to function in society. Even though SB 350 was defeated, it may come back again.

No Tears for Moderate Democrats

I don’t have any tears for the plight of Cheryl Brown being opposed by progressives in the Democratic Party (Re: Democrats vs. Democrats: Assembly moderates face challenges) on Jan 12 in the Sacramento Bee. I would love to see more ‘moderate’ Democrats in our legislature, but finding a moderate in the caucus is like finding a unicorn in a forest.

Her Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Score is 23.6 percent and she lent her name to a regional government agency to retrofit freeways we already paid for to add toll roads on I-10 and I-15 in Southern California. If Assemblywoman Brown was not a supporter of toll roads and had a score around 40-50 as a Democrat with the Howard Jarvis scorecard, then she would deserve to be spared for another term.

Republicans should run their own candidate in her district so Brown cannot survive solely on their votes as how she was spared by them in two elections.

What Am I Looking Forwards In 2016

  • For me to pass probationary period at my new employer. I am 86% there towards the goal of 1400 items processed in an 8 hour shift. Current record is 1204.
  • I aspire to have one fourth of my credit card debt to be paid down and hopefully refinanced.
  • Save up enough money so I can buy a functional used car of my own.
  • Contacting Gro Elect so I could be a possible candidate for school board in November 2016.
  • Making a plan to save up enough money so I can go back to school one final time either for a Masters degree in Political Science or a legal assistant certificate program.

Even when life has its hardships we have to brush off the dirt off our legs and keep on going. 2016 seems to be a decent year for me. It may not be as radical as what happened to me last year, but we all have to keep on fighting on.

Some Wisdom from Austin Petersen

People say that if you’re a male, you shouldn’t have an opinion on abortion. That logic doesn’t hold up of course, because weenie liberals don’t have guns, but they sure have a lot of opinions on how other people shouldn’t own them. Except for cops of course. Only cops should have guns, even though liberals think all cops are evil, white racists because ‪#‎liberallogic‬

Austin Petersen (commentator and candidate for President)

Lower Income Taxes for California Athletic Talent

Sacramento we do have a problem and it affects people from San Francisco to San Diego. Our income tax rate of 13.3% is not an incentive for athletes to play for our teams. No matter if it’s the Lakers, the 49’ers and the Dodgers we are handicapped by the high taxes our state have. Lebron James would rather play for the Miami Heat than to consider the Lakers, Zack Greinke recently moved to the Diamondbacks.

San Diego tax activist Richard Rider brought forth this issue a year ago and I realized that this was going to happen to fans in California sooner or later where the issue would hit home for Dodger fans.

By providing an incentive for top athletic talent to play for California teams it helps the value of the franchises and the communities that host them. I would consider the Top 25% in performers in their leagues eligible for the tax incentive where the 13.3% tax rate gets cut in half for the duration of their contract. 6.65% would be the tax rate for these eligible athletes.

How would we consider the Top 25% in performance? Leaders in wins, strikeouts, home runs, hits, earned run average would be good metrics if we were considering a baseball player. You would have to be a leader in 2 of the categories in order to be eligible for the tax incentive. The NBA, NHL and NFL would also set their categories in consultation with the Board of Equalization. 

As a compromise and to encourage investment in our state, I would require a minimum home purchase of 1/10th the average yearly value of the contract be in California and it must be their primary residence in order to get the tax incentive. If your primary home is near Dallas Texas then no tax cut.

If we give incentives for Hollywood productions to stay in our state, we can do the same for our pro-athletes. Progressives may say let them eat cake or teams should just pay more to compensate for the high taxes in our state, but we need to have the incentives to encourage the best to play for our teams,

If we have modest tax rates we could remove the fiscal considerations for athletes who decide which city to play in when they are in free agency and they could just worry about the weather, the stadium and other non-financial factors in choosing the team of their choice.

Streaming Music Refugee Reviews Part One

Since rdio is bankrupt and no longer taking any new customers as of November 23rd of 2015, I decided to take on a trial period subscription with Google. Because I am an owner of their Chromecast dongle, I was able to get a 90 day trial period which led me to consider them as a customer.

I was happy that I got commercial free YouTube access as part of my subscription, but I realized the song library is radically reduced compared to rdio. You are not going to get the new Hurts album Surrender nor Kylie Minogue’s deluxe version of her Christmas album on the streaming site compared to rdio. However not to complain much, Google does have some music that rdio did not carry such as indie musician Matt Fishel.

Also, the website format for Google Play Music All Access is not exactly user friendly or have the quality user interface rdio ever had as well. Its better to use All Access on a tablet or a smart phone.

If Google and any other company wants to fight for rdio’s former customers listen to our pleas so we can become your customers for years to come. If Google does not work out, I will likely review Apple Music in the near future.

Goodbye Rdio, It Was Nice Knowing You

I got into streaming music around four years ago. I have paid 5 bucks a month to enjoy countless music from rdio. Rdio was one of the forerunners who helped innovate the streaming music industry aside from Spotify. Losing two million dollars a month and relying only on venture capital funding can go so far for a company where they realized the business was not quite sustainable.

It seems that streaming music will be a loss leader for companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft where it will be more difficult for companies such as Pandora and Spotify to compete. The costs of licencing the music is one of the biggest costs for a business like this. I do appreciate the opportunity to try out music from different acts. The radio format that plays random tunes actually did lead me to buy some music from various bands as paid downloads which some musicians should understand.

I know streaming music may not pay the money making music used to provide before the era of the mp3 and Napster, but we should be innovative so we can be pro-consumer and pro-producer of the art we enjoy.Perhaps we should do a paid stream where one pays 99 cents to stream a mid tier release and one gets a 1.29 credit to buy the whole release if they end up liking the release within a 24 hour window, and for a high tier release it would be 2.99, and then a 3.29 credit to buy a release such as Adele’s 25. This could be one way that Adele and Taylor Swift could adapt to technology while still getting paid.

I will be trying out Google, Apple and perhaps Spotify in the next few months to find my new home for streaming music.

A Really Twisted Transit Reality Show

Since there is a big push for sustainable development and stack and pack housing there is one thing we should ask our local elected officials in particular the ones who sit on boards such as SANBAG, SCAG, Omnitrans and its High Desert counterpart Victor Valley Transit.

I know there is a desire to get people from not relying on their cars, but could our elected officials could spend a day with just using mass transit to get from place A to place B. This could help our elected officials explain why when mass transit customers have means to own their own cars they are not likely to use the bus to go to work or go shopping.

Developers such as the Lewis Companies with their plans to transform the Empire Lakes Golf Course across the street from the Ontario Mills into a master planned apartment complex with shops nearby so people would not be relying on their cars, they said there would be a shuttle called “The Vine” to take people from the shopping opportunities nearby so they would not be driving. However what happens if you want to go to Kaiser Hospital in Ontario or Fontana or need to go to the drug store to get some cold medicine at 3:30 in the morning, will Omnitrans or the Vine take those people to the places they need to go?

When you are relying on mass transit you are constrained by the schedule of the agency. Some people may work graveyard shifts in the warehouses of the Inland Valley. If they want to work they have to drive for better or worse. It feels like Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage when the last bus of the day is over and you have to wait for 5am for the next day’s service to begin. Service has to be frequent, convenient and in some cases 24/7 on routes 1, 14, 61, 66, 84 as examples with Omnitrans. 

I would like to be humane for this experiment. For the Board of Supervisor members they would just go from their residence to their district office. City council members would just go from their home to their city hall or even their primary workplace if applicable. I think if our local elected did use mass transit for at least one day a year they would have a better understanding of the issues when it comes with Omnitrans and Victor Valley Transit or even development plans when it comes to city or county planning issues. Its only wishful thinking to try to satisfy the mind of SCAG executive director Hasan Ikhrata.

Its illogical to expect people in the Inland Valley to give up their cars. Its like mom and apple pie. We want smart growth, but we want fiscally responsible and environmentally friendly growth at the same time. We want transportation that people will use by choice not by the edict of a government planner.