Posts Tagged ‘subsidy’

Why Has California’s Handicapped Placard System Turned Into a Free Parking Subsidy for the One Percent?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Two luxury cars, two handicapped placards, yet again:

Click to expand

Why is it that most Mercedes Benzeses you see parked on the street in the Financial District, you know, the 94111 and the 94104, have handicap placards hanging from the rear view?

Could it be that California’s handicapped placard system is being abused by wealthy bay area drivers who feel that parking should be cheaper and easier for them?

Yep.

Are you kind of a sucker for NOT having a handicapped placard considering that you could easily ask your doctor to sign the form for the DMV?

Yep.

Zoom zoom.

OMG, Remote Controlled Chopper Video of the Best San Francisco Car Driving Video Ever: Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

All right, 27 million YouTube Views later, it’s safe to say that Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five was the best thing to ever hit the 415. See below.

But now, via Spots Unknown, there’e this:

A short video of remote controlled helicopter shots of the making of G5.”

It’s like just 1:44 long. Click on it. Go for it, nobody’s looking. I’ll look out for your boss. You know, in HD.

There you go.

Ah, memories:

“Only 305 Views so far, but this one will end up with tens of millions of viewers, soon enough.

Ten minutes – full screen and 1080p please:

So that’s what was going on when the Bay Bridge was shut down that day.

I’m already looking forward to the director’s cut, you know, with outtakes and errors and broken stuff.

And just for the record, San Francisco Film Commission, the kids these days don’t want to see scripted drama crap like NBC’s Trauma, they want to see something interesting. So the sooner you stop subsidizing crap like NBC’s Trauma, the better off we’ll all be…

“DC and Ken Block present Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground; San Francisco.

Shot on the actual streets of San Francisco, California, GYM5 features a focus on fast, raw and precise driving action. Filmed over four days, director Ben Conrad and his team are back to work on their second Gymkhana production and delivered the entire city of San Francisco as Ken Block’s personal gymkhana playground. DC Shoes also provided fellow DC athlete and longtime Ken Block friend, Travis Pastrana, to make a cameo appearance on his dirtbike, and S.F. resident Jake Phelps of Thrasher Magazine fame also makes a cameo as Block hoons S.F. in his most incredible Gymkhana yet. For more information check us out at http://www.dcshoes.com/auto

And here’s some context:

Jumping Taylor in a Fiesta. Wow:

And in the Financial, on California, near some fake cable cars:

More in Potrero Hill, on Bike to Work Day 2012:

And again in the Financial, being filmed by a radio-controlled chopper whilst being recorded by a Saturday-working, Financial District Dell Jockey:

And Matier and Ross say that there were donuts being done on the Bay Bridge – did anybody see that?

Teaser #1 – Impressive – Drifting on a Barge – Chopper Shot

Teaser #2 – All Talk, No Action – Dirt Bike injury? – Man, They Sure are Teasing Us

Teaser #3 – Oh Ma Gah – Drifting and Jumping at the Same Time – Is This Possible?

OMG It’s Here! The Best San Francisco Car Driving Video Ever: Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Only 305 Views so far, but this one will end up with tens of millions of viewers, soon enough.

Ten minutes – full screen and 1080p please:

So that’s what was going on when the Bay Bridge was shut down that day.

I’m already looking forward to the director’s cut, you know, with outtakes and errors and broken stuff.

And just for the record, San Francisco Film Commission, the kids these days don’t want to see scripted drama crap like NBC’s Trauma, they want to see something interesting. So the sooner you stop subsidizing crap like NBC’s Trauma, the better off we’ll all be…

“DC and Ken Block present Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground; San Francisco.

Shot on the actual streets of San Francisco, California, GYM5 features a focus on fast, raw and precise driving action. Filmed over four days, director Ben Conrad and his team are back to work on their second Gymkhana production and delivered the entire city of San Francisco as Ken Block’s personal gymkhana playground. DC Shoes also provided fellow DC athlete and longtime Ken Block friend, Travis Pastrana, to make a cameo appearance on his dirtbike, and S.F. resident Jake Phelps of Thrasher Magazine fame also makes a cameo as Block hoons S.F. in his most incredible Gymkhana yet. For more information check us out at http://www.dcshoes.com/auto

And here’s some context:

Jumping Taylor in a Fiesta. Wow:

And in the Financial, on California, near some fake cable cars:

More in Potrero Hill, on Bike to Work Day 2012:

And again in the Financial, being filmed by a radio-controlled chopper whilst being recorded by a Saturday-working, Financial District Dell Jockey:

And Matier and Ross say that there were donuts being done on the Bay Bridge – did anybody see that?

Teaser #1 – Impressive – Drifting on a Barge – Chopper Shot

Teaser #2 – All Talk, No Action – Dirt Bike injury? – Man, They Sure are Teasing Us

Teaser #3 – Oh Ma Gah – Drifting and Jumping at the Same Time – Is This Possible?

 

Unbiased Report Concludes That CA State Film Credit Program Benefits are Exaggerated – What About SF’s?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Does the “Scene in San Francisco” program work? I’m sure it does for some people, but does it succeed overall, you know, for the Commonweal?

No.

It’s the same deal with the CA state film subsidy program, which was recently looked at by the CA State Legislative Analyst’s Office.

See below.

Did San Francisco subsidize the horrible NBC non-hit show Trauma? Yes. Should it have? No. 

Click to expand

All the deets:

Net Credit Benefit Likely Much Less Than Reported.

We have discussed five issues that could affect the results of the LAEDC and/or UCLA-IRLE studies:

 Unknown assumptions embedded in the LAEDC economic models and their failure to consider the benefits of alternative public or private uses of tax credit funds (which could result in the credit program having significantly less net benefit than shown in the studies).

 In-state film activity that would occur in California without any tax credit (which results in the credit program having less economic and tax net benefits than shown in the LAEDC study).

 In-state economic and employment activity resulting from out-of-state productions (which results in the credit program having less net benefit than shown in the studies).

 Crowding out effects (which result in the credit program having less net benefit than shown in the studies in at least some years).

 Effects of film-related tourism (which would likely not result in significant changes in net benefits in most years).

While the total effects of these issues are impossible to quantify, their combined effects are likely to be negative in any given fiscal year—that is, resulting in the net benefit of the credit program being less than shown in both the LAEDC and UCLA-IRLE studies.

Given the conclusion that the net benefit of the credit program is likely less than shown in the LAEDC study, the LAEDC’s finding that the output-to-credit ratio was about 20-to-1 is likely overstated, as is its estimate of job gains resulting from the credit program. Moreover, given that UCLA-IRLE adjusted downward to $1.04 the projected state and local tax revenue return from every credit dollar and given that we find that this also was overstated, we believe it is likely that the state and local tax revenue return would be under $1.00 for every tax credit dollar—perhaps well under $1.00 for every tax credit dollar in many years.

In any event, even if the combined state and local tax revenue return is right around $1.00 for every tax credit dollar, the state government’s tax revenue return would by definition be less than $1.00 for every tax credit dollar. The credit program, therefore, appears to result in a net decline in state revenues.”

Wow, Today’s Los Angeles Times Op-Ed Column Attacks Coda Automotive, Which “Assembles” Electric Cars in the Bay Area

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Today’s Opinion bit in today’s LA Times is all about “China’s Wolf in Green Clothing,” all about Coda Automotive, that Los Angeles company what’s “assembling” Chinese car parts in Benicia, CA.

Coda: Code for a Trojan horse - Much of the electric car, pitched as an ‘all American’ green vehicle, is made in China.

“A Los Angeles firm has quietly assembled a Trojan horse electric car designed to carry the Chinese military-industrial complex deep into America’s auto market. Detroit should be afraid, very afraid. And anyone in the U.S. unemployment line — along with American taxpayers, who are subsidizing this sham — should be outraged.”

Whoa, dude! All right, quietly? No, Coda Automotive crows as loud as it can all the time.  Trojan horse? You mean POS Trojan horse that nobody’s going to buy so I don’t know that the CODA Sedan is going to go “deep” anywhere. Detroit doesn’t need to care at all. Coda Automotive has pretty much zero effect on American employment, but, yes, we are subsidizing it and that’s not good.

“The car is branded Coda and debuted at the L.A. Auto Show. While Coda Automotive salespeople were eager to portray it as “All American” — we got one of them bragging about it on camera — its entire chassis and battery system and most of the metal (apparently 65% of the car) come from China’s factory floors, which are not known for their high labor standards.

Salespeople say stupid things all the time so, I don’t know. (But I’ll add that the phrase “All-American” was used by Coda in marketing a year or two back.) Anyway, yes, the “glider” (the car except itself except for the drivetrain) and the main battery pack are made in China only to be shipped to the Bay Area for “final assembly” near the Port of Oakland. But the prime mover, the motor, is sourced in America, so you do the math. Oh, you did the math, but I don’t think you have all the data from Coda just yet. Let’s agree that this is a Chinese car or a mostly Chinese car.

“From a jobs perspective, the Coda’s arrival means this: American electric carmakers such as California-based Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors, along with the GM Volt and Ford’s Focus Electric, will compete on home soil with a company benefiting from all of the unfair trade practices China has used to bury so many other American industries — from toys, textiles and machine tools to electronic assemblers and, most recently, solar panels. These practices range from currency manipulation to reported illegal export subsidies, counterfeiting, pollution and widespread worker abuses.

Fisker Automotive is working on making its first hybrid cars and those GM Volts are, similarly, hybrids. Coda’s main competition would be the Nissan Leaf (made in Japan but they’re working on getting a U.S. factory going, FYI). “Compete on home soil?” Really? Shouldn’t you use motherland or fatherland or homeland instead? So you want the toy industry to relocate to the U.S.? That would take a lot of work, wouldn’t it?

“Taxpayers should be outraged because the Coda is eligible for the combined federal and state tax rebates on electric vehicles of $10,000 a vehicle, while China blatantly blocked the Volt from its Chinese green subsidy unless GM manufactured it in Shanghai and turned over design secrets.”

I don’t know, maybe. The feds are focused on getting electric cars on the road, for better or worse. You could make a similar case against subsidizing the Nissan Leaf.

“These economic considerations notwithstanding, a closer look at Coda’s supply chain reveals a darker truth. The “new” Coda is actually an updated variation on the 6-year-old Saibao from China’s state-owned Hafei Motor Co. Hafei is a division of Changan Automobile Group, which in turn is controlled by China Weaponry Equipment Group. This state-owned enterprise supplies China’s aggressively expanding military, and its parent, China South Industries Group, owns half of arms dealer Norinco, which reportedly tried to smuggle guns to Libya during the last days of the Kadafi regime.

Well, now you’re on the trolley. I’ll add that the 2005 Saibao III from Haifei was made from Mitsubishi “Carisma” (that’s what they called the car – they wanted a big trunk at the expense of a small back seat) tooling shipped over to China. The reason why the Coda looks like a mid-90′s Honda Civic is that it was designed all the way back in 1994 by a joint Mitsubishi / Volvo effort called NedCar. It didn’t work out so that’s why this vehicle wasn’t developed properly over the years. And actually, the Saibao III wasn’t even good enough for the Chinese market six years ago as a $12,000 gas-engined car.

Oh, here it is, from 2007:

(The thinking at the time was that it would be hard to sell a Chinese car in America, IIRC. Anyway, this Javlon morphed into Coda.)

So, I don’t know, you want the Chinese arms industry only making arms?

Norinco’s other bloody trade has included transferring missile technology to Iran, attempting to sell AK-47s to U.S. street gangs and selling nearly $70 million in arms to Zimbabwe’s Mugabe regime. So, before considering a Coda as a means of going green, remember all the red blood shed by Coda’s real backers.

I guess that’s a fair question. But I suppose you could ask it to the people lined up buying Christmas toys as well…

And speaking of backers, it is disquieting and disgusting that the Chinese government has been able to put so many prominent American faces on such a job-killing venture. Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh is the former head of GM’s China division, and the company has raised more than $300 million from banks such as Morgan Stanley and well-connected private investors that include former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty and former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson.

Disgusting? They’re bidnesspeople trying to make money, as many of these these same people were trying to make money with WebVan before it went belly-up a decade ago.

Paulson’s role in saddling up the Coda Trojan horse is particularly galling. As Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush, he repeatedly refused to brand China a currency manipulator; this inaction contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs. According to Nobel economist Paul Krugman, China’s currency manipulation alone costs America up to 1.5% of its GDP every year, and Economic Policy Institute economist Robert Scott suggests this kills as many as 3 million U.S. jobs. Now, Paulson stands to personally profit from China’s currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices as an investor in a venture that would worsen the U.S. trade deficit and swell U.S. unemployment lines.

“Kill, killing, kills, blood…” – boy you guys really know how to op-ed.

“Finally, another Coda enterprise adds insult to injury: a planned Ohio battery factory to be built with more than half a billion in U.S. taxpayer stimulus bucks, including an Energy Department loan and incentives from the state of Ohio and the city of Columbus. Great, except that a Chinese-dominated joint venture with Tianjin Lishen Battery will really own it. That’s an enormously expensive way to create “up to” 1,000 jobs, with potential millions in profits shipped back to China.”

Well that’s a good point, the battery factory is a stupid way to employ a small number of people in Ohio. (But I’m sure Ohioans like the idea, and it is a swing state, after all.) Sounds as if you all don’t like international trade in the first place, but you’re assuming that there are profits to be had from that factory.

“When more than 20 million Americans can’t find a decent job and millions more don’t earn a decent wage, the last thing we need is China invading the U.S. auto market and getting U.S. subsidies under the false pretenses of helping Americans “go green and buy American.” Greg Autry and Peter Navarro are the authors of “Death By China: Confronting the Dragon — A Global Call to Action.” They teach at UC Irvine‘s Paul Merage School of Business and blog on the Huffington Post.”

Wow, you’re selling a book? “Death By China: Confronting the Dragon,” hehAnyway, let’s agree that Coda shouldn’t be subsidized. And actually selling that Sedan to regular people, well, that’s going to be a tough row to hoe even after the $5000 reduction in MSRP (all the way down to “just” $41,000!) in a world that has access to the much better and less expensive Nissan Leaf. They’ll get some fleet sales though.

All right, thanks for the op-ed, I guess.