Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

Monday, September 7, 2015


California Gov. Jerry Brown wants over three billion dollars in new taxes, including a $65 tax on every vehicle, plus increases in gasoline and diesel excise taxes. The money will go to paying for transportation needs that he ignored in his recent budget.

Once again, Brown has decided that the 42 Republican legislators in the State Capitol are chumps.
This week, Brown’s office circulated his latest proposal to fund transportation infrastructure–after both the State Senate and State Assembly Republican Caucuses have been unequivocal that raising taxes on Californians is off of the table.
Gov. Brown Proposes $65 Fee On Drivers As Part Of $3.6 Billion Plan To Fix Highways
CBS San Francisco
Within hours of the release of the Governor’s wish-list for legal plunder, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) released a statement saying that “the Administration’s ideas call for more than doubling the vehicle registration fees and raising the price of fuel on all Californians–we disagree and think Californians have paid enough.”
State Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) issued a joint release with Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), Vice Chairman of the Budget Committee, in which Nielsen spoke to the proposed taxes:
The Governor’s solution to fixing our roads and highways cannot be to raise taxes. We are already paying enough. What are they doing with the taxes Californians have been paying at the pumps? Most Californians drive over 10,000 miles each year; an increase of six cents per gallon for gas, eleven cents per gallon for diesel and paying an additional $65 in car taxes per vehicle is an enormous burden on California’s working families least able to pay them.
Apparently Governor Brown thinks that Republicans are “posturing,” and not serious about drawing a line in the sand against higher taxes.
The Governor wants Republican legislators to forget that it was just two-and-a-half months ago that he signed the largest budget in state history, coming in at nearly $160 billion dollars. This partisan budget was negotiated between Brown and Democrat leaders, without any meaningful input taken from Republicans. Since a budget requires only a simple majority vote, no Republican votes were needed.
Despite billions of dollars in unanticipated tax revenues, and rosy forecasts for the year, the new budget “shorted” needed transportation funding. This was done with premeditation on the Governor’s part, given that as soon as he signed the budget, he then called for a special session of the legislature to raise taxes to fill the politically manufactured transportation funding deficit.
Clearly, again, Brown’s thinking is that Republican legislators are just lacking in intelligence, at even a basic level.
Republicans spent the 2013-2014 legislative term in the super-minority in the Capitol. They had very, very little power. What little leverage they did have was only due to serial corruption by Democrats in the State Senate, with three of them not voting for much of the term (one of the three was convicted on multiple felonies, the other two await trial, but have since termed out).
The 2014 campaign by Republicans to climb out of the super-minority, and regain relevance in the State Capitol, was largely centered around an explicit theme that if the GOP could pick up seats, they could stop tax increases from being passed in the legislature. Perhaps if they were taking a shot at being the majority party in the Capitol, there would have been a more robust and broad campaign theme. But climbing back to over a third in each caucus was about being able to mount an effective defense: no new taxes.
Right now is when Republican legislators are showing their worth, and demonstrating their resolve. This is the moment when they are showing countless volunteers, donors and supporters that elections do matter, and that united together Republicans can protect California taxpayers.
Ironically, the Governor’s ongoing insistence that taxes be hiked by billions of dollars gives Republican legislators a chance to demonstrate that they have the courage of their convictions.
The sad reality is that this kind of high-stakes kabuki with Republicans has a tremendous downside for the State of California, which is that despite the fact that taxpayers are sending record funds to state government, Democrats simply won’t spend any of that money on the basic brick-and-mortar building of roads.
If the Governor was truly interested in making California a better place, instead of abusing Republicans, he should actually listen to them. While some solid Republican ideas were incorporated into the Governor’s latest proposals, largely rejected were a lot of great and creative proposals put forward by the GOP caucuses to fund transportation infrastructure using existing tax revenues.
Maybe, just maybe, if Capitol Democrats will absorb the fact that car taxes, gas taxes, income taxes, property taxes, tobacco taxes, and oil severance taxes (to name a few of those proposed) are not going to happen, the last week of the legislative session could be used productively to prioritize some existing revenue for roads, highways and bridges.

Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor of Breitbart California. A longtime participant, observer and chronicler of California politics, Jon is also the publisher His column appears weekly on this page. You can reach Jon at

Sunday, September 6, 2015


San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, left, Under Sheriff Federico Rocha and legal counsel Freya Horne, right, speak during a news conference, Friday, July 10, 2015, in San Francisco. Mirkarimi provided information regarding the April 2015 release of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is now accused in the shooting death of a woman at a popular tourist site.

A majority of Californians are opposed to “sanctuary city” policies in which local jurisdictions ignore federal immigration detainer requests, according to a new poll from the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at the University of California, Berkeley.

The poll, released Friday, reveals that opposition to local officials ignoring federal immigration requests runs high in The Golden State and cuts across ideological and ethnic lines.
According to the online survey of 1,098 California residents, 74 percent said “local authorities should not be able to ignore these federal requests,” and just 26 percent said authorities should be able to ignore such requests.
Republicans were the most opposed to sanctuary policies with 82 percent saying local officials should not be allowed to ignore detainers. A majority of Democrats and independents were also opposed — 73 percent and 71 percent, respectively.
“We found very broad-based opposition to the idea of sanctuary cities,” IGS Director Jack Citrin, a political science professor at UC-Berkeley said in a statement. “Californians want their local officials to abide by the requests of federal authorities.”
As for individual ethnic groups, 65 percent of Latinos said they opposed sanctuary policies. Seventy-five percent of Asians, 75 percent of African Americans and 80 percent of whites agreed.
Citrin noted that virtually all respondents (99.5 percent) identified as U.S. citizens.
“While these results for Latino residents are interesting, people should bear in mind some limitations on our data, including the fact that our survey was conducted only in English, and that our sample consisted almost entirely of citizens,” Citrin said.
Sanctuary city policies have been put under a national microscope following the July shooting death of Kathryn Steinle. Steinle was allegedly murdered by a multiple deportee illegal immigrant with a long rap sheet who was released from jail after San Francisco authorities ignored a federal immigration detainer.
According to the poll, which was conducted between Aug. 11 and Aug. 26, Steinle’s murder did not have much of an impact on the poll results as 71 percent of respondents who were polled just on the sanctuary city policy said local officials should comply with detainers. That percentage rose to 76 percent when respondents were offered details about the recent shooting.
“Whether they were told about the recent San Francisco shooting or not,” Citrin said, “a strong majority of respondents made it clear that local authorities should not be able to ignore a federal request to hold an undocumented immigrant.”

Friday, September 4, 2015

Federal Court: Illegal Immigrant And Convicted Felon Can’t Be Deported Because He’s Transgender

Two men are taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol near Falfurrias, Texas March 29, 2013. Brooks County has become an epicentre for illegal immigrant deaths in Texas. In 2012, sheriff
A federal appeals court has ruled that an illegal immigrant and convicted felon can’t be deported back to Mexico because he identifies as a transgender woman, which leaves him vulnerable to torture back in his home country.
Edin Carey Avendano-Hernandez was born male in Mexico, and claims to have been raped by his brothers and suffered other torments. In 2000, he illegally entered the U.S. and took up residence in Fresno, California. Avendano-Hernandez also started taking female hormones and began living openly as a woman in 2005. In 2006, he committed two separate drunk driving offenses, the second of which injured two people and resulted in a felony conviction. After serving a year in jail, he was deported back to Mexico in 2007.
Back in Mexico, Avendano-Hernandez claims to have been subjected to more harassment from family and neighbors and to have been raped by members of the Mexican army. He illegally entered the U.S. again and, after being arrested, petitioned for sanctuary in the U.S. under the U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT), arguing that deporting him would violate the CAT because he would more likely than not experience torture at the hands of Mexican authorities.

An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) both rejected Avendano-Hernandez’s arguments on the grounds that he had committed a serious crime (felony drunk driving) and was not likely to face official torture.
Now, a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says Avendano-Hernandez must be allowed to stay in the U.S., because he “more likely than not” will be tortured if returned to Mexico.
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, an Obama appointee, chastised immigration officials for improperly handling Avandano-Hernandez’s gender identity.

“The [judge] failed to recognize the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation, refusing to allow the use of female pronouns because she considered Avendano-Hernandez to be ‘still male,’ even though Avendano-Hernandez dresses as a woman, takes female hormones, and has identified as woman for over a decade,” Nguyen’s decision says. “Although the BIA correctly used female pronouns for Avendano-Hernandez, it wrongly adopted the [judge’s] analysis, which conflated transgender identity and sexual orientation. The BIA also erred in assuming that recent anti-discrimination laws in Mexico have made life safer for transgender individuals while ignoring significant record evidence of violence targeting them.”

Nguyen cites the repeated sexual abuse Avendano-Hernandez claims to have endured as evidence of de facto torture, and furthermore concludes that these actions were not crimes committed by individuals but were instead endorsed by the Mexican government.

Monday, August 31, 2015

[COMMENTARY] Rebuilding infrastructure will help California thrive

Rebuilding infrastructure will help California thrive: Guest commentary
California is the epicenter of innovative technologies. We take pride in being the home of Silicon Valley and the birthplace of groundbreaking products.
But most of us forget that we need strong infrastructure systems to ensure we can continue such success and keep pushing the envelope.
I know — in our digital era of smartphones being able to broadcast our every selfie, the methodical process of climbing out of our infrastructure deficit is not the sexiest of topics.
But here’s the thing: The majority of California’s transportation and other infrastructure systems were built between the 1950s and the early 1970s — when California only had a population of 27 million and a much smaller, less diverse economy.
Today, California is home to more than 38 million people and projections show the population will grow to 50 million by 2040 — all of whom travel our roads, rails and airways for work, vacation and other activities. Californians currently register nearly 32 million vehicles per year and drive 324 billion miles annually.
These millions of Californians and much of the nation also rely on California’s infrastructure systems to quickly get local products such as fruits and vegetables to their supermarkets as well as import and export products through our state’s ports.
This is not to say that our state cannot accommodate growth — we can. But we need to ensure that our transportation, water delivery and freight systems are updated and strong enough to not only accommodate California’s residents, but also help them thrive.
Fortunately, Gov. Jerry Brown knows the critical status of our infrastructure and set aggressive goals to improve the existing deficit, such as pushing forward the nation’s first high-speed rail system, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, and encouraging the Legislature to tackle the deferred maintenance of our roads and bridges by convening a special session.
The Legislature has started to make progress in the special session on a deal to tackle the billions in deferred roadway maintenance costs — which are currently estimated at $59 billion. With California being an international trade gateway, we must be able to move billions of dollars worth of goods and services across a massive state and through our international ports without our roadways and bridges falling apart.
Right now, the state’s current fuel excise tax — on which much of transportation funding depends — is sufficient to fund only $2.3 billion of work annually, leaving $5.7 billion in unfunded roadway repairs each year. California needs to find more reliable funding streams to repair and build out transportation corridors. By broadening the revenue streams and moving toward a model where all road users equitably pay their fair share, we will ensure our roadways are repaired, upgraded and expanded in a timely manner.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Legislators Duel Over Impending Gas Tax Hike

Democratic legislators in the state Senate have brought Californians closer to new hikes on the cost of driving their cars. But the committee vote represented little more than a first step in a complex, intense negotiation between Republicans, Democrats and the man trying to stay influential but above the fray — Gov. Jerry Brown.
Republicans have resisted Democrats’ preferred approach, but California’s business lobby has pressed both parties to embrace new taxes and fees. “Last week, business organizations such as the California Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group said any deal should seek to raise at least $6 billion annually by raising gas and diesel taxes and increasing vehicle registration and license fees,” the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Part of the rationale for increasing fees, instead of simply dialing up gas taxes, has centered around the growing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles in California — and the state’s interest in squeezing revenue out of every car on the road. “We have these Teslas that are being sold and they don’t pay any gas tax,” complained state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, as CBS Sacramento noted.
Gas in California has remained higher on average than out-of-state, thanks to cap-and-trade fees and the state’s unique environmental rules about the blends of gasoline that must be sold. Current state taxes include an excise tax of 39 cents, between 30 and 42 cents in sales tax, and 10 cents for the cap-and-trade levy, as Watchdog Arena observed.

Brown stays secretive

At a recent news conference that left some observers hungry for detail scratching their heads, Brown refused to hint at a revenue source for the improvements. “I’m not going to say where the revenue’s going to come from, how we’re going to get it,” he said. “We’ll get it done, but I’m not going to put all my cards on the table this morning,” Brown said, according to ABC 7 News.
Brown was joined at the appearance by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who signaled separately that negotiations would be tough. “It will be a bumpy road, but our constituents expect us to work together and figure something out,” she toldthe San Francisco Chronicle.
To date, the governor has not let slip whether he would support or oppose a tax hike to make up the difference.

Dueling proposals

That raised the possibility that Republicans might get their way, scrounging up revenue from savings and budgetary jujitsu instead of tax increases. But GOP legislators have been keen on siphoning revenue away from California’s cap-and-trade program, which Brown had availed himself of previously in order to fund construction spending on the state’s much-debated high-speed rail project. That has drawn strenuous objections from Sacramento Democrats.
The current proposal advanced by Assembly Republicans “would raise more than $6 billion a year by eliminating thousands of state employees and unfilled positions and reallocating existing state money, both from the budget and from other projects,” the Chronicle noted, while the plan pushed by Beall would raise billions with a suite of increased gas taxes and fees, including an “annual road access charge of $35 a vehicle,” according to the paper.
It was Beall’s bill that cleared its first committee test in the Senate this week, with Democrats besting Republicans in a party line vote.
For now, just a few broad outlines of an agreement have come into focus. According to the Chronicle, both sides reject the option of a “one-time fix, such as a bond measure that would pile more debt on the state. Any money raised must be earmarked only for road and infrastructure repair, and protected against being siphoned into other parts of the state budget.” Plus, legislators agreed that expenditures should be clearly identified and made public, with some kind of oversight and monitoring built into the arrangement.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


San Jose’s Lori Rodriguez says the city seized her 12 guns after her husband was forced to undergo a “72-hour psychiatric evaluation,” and she is suing the city to get back the guns.
The city does not deny seizing the guns, and City Attorney Rick Doyle said they acted out of a concern for public safety.
According to Fox News, Doyle said, “Are we acting with an abundance of caution? Yeah. We’re concerned about someone having access to firearms that shouldn’t.”
Rodriquez’s husband lost legal access to guns because of the psychiatric evaluation, and Doyle argues that there is no guarantee that he wouldn’t get his hands on them if they were given back to Lori Rodriguez.” But NBC Bay Area reports that Rodriquez attorney, Don Kilmer, countered Doyle’s contention by claiming there are no grounds for the city keeping the guns if Rodriguez follows state law and puts them “in a gun safe.”
Rodriguez lost when she tried to get her guns back via a state court, so now she is asking a federal court to order their return.
Doyle said, “We don’t want to turn the guns over and we don’t have to turn the guns over, the courts have agreed with us.”
Breitbart News previously reported that a similar situation unfolded in New Jersey in June when a state appellate court ruled that a husband could be denied the right to own guns because his wife was a felon “[who’d] been accused of domestic violence.”
These cases highlight the danger Breitbart News, the NRA, and Gun Owners of America have warned about in instances where domestic violence and other issues are used as a Trojan Horse for gun control. The push is insidious, and once those promoting gun control get their foot in the door, they often simply continue pushing.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

San Diego Takes the Lead in Greenpeace Strike

On August 5, 16 of 19 canvassers for Greenpeace in San Diego walked off the job. They were followed by a majority of the Sacramento office. 22 total employees of the Frontline program, Greenpeace’s in-house fundraising program, have had enough of labor policies that give them no job security.
The strike, led by two veteran canvassers in Socialist Alternative San Diego, comes against an organization that claims to be progressive. However, Greenpeace uses a quota system where even veteran fundraisers can be fired for missing quota two or three weeks consecutively. Senior workers bring in six or seven times their salary in recurring donations, yet are routinely fired. Morale is understandably very low. But choosing to resist, they have mobilized in defense of their jobs and dignity. Non-profits beware: the persuasive skills developed by your employees can be used against you. Instead of selling Greenpeace, organizers now sell the strike against it.
Tara Dawn, a strike member from the Sacramento field office, said “As a single mother, I work hard week in and week out not knowing if I’ll have a dependable paycheck to keep a roof over our heads. That is a very difficult reality to face. I love my job and the organization I work for, but myself and the all of the other canvassers deserve to see reform.”
Resistance to reform, both in senior and mid-level Greenpeace administration, emphasizes the presence of “the worker elite”. Despite being former fundraisers themselves, low-level managers have decided not to stand in solidarity with their former co-workers, their interests now aligning with their superiors. In the absence of help from those potential allies, the street-level workers have banded together, using democratic methods and a sophisticated media campaign to damage Greenpeace’s most valuable asset: its image and reputation.
Canvassers have great labor power for two main reasons. First, because they gather monthly donations, each $20 donation that is not gathered is multiplied, since most people donate for 9 or 10 months before canceling. Second, attempts to bring in strikebreaking replacements are frustrated because good canvassers emerge from training, not raw talent. The trainers are on strike, thus nobody can truly be their replacement.
Socialists everywhere should stand in the new areas of labor struggle. Thousands of vulnerable canvassers for all sorts of non-profits can learn from a strong victory.
Their Facebook page is:
Their strike fund page is:

Andrew Mackay along with friends Bryan Kim and Joe Henry are all members of Socialist Alternative. Bryan and Joe are ex-Greenpeace, and have organized members of the Frontline program, the street canvassers, to strike in San Diego and Sacramento. With the national organization not thinking the threat serious, the strike now enjoys growing support from members in all national sections of Greenpeace, other non-profit leaders, and labor- such as Sarah Saez, program director of United Taxi Workers of San Diego. The strike began August 5 and is continuing, with negotiations beginning in California soon.

Monday, August 24, 2015


U.S. Senator 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
 asked President Barack Obama on Friday to bypass Congress and use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create three new national monuments in the California desert.

The move  would extend federal protection over more than 1 million acres of mountain ranges, sandy expanses and forests running roughly between Palm Springs and the Nevada border.
Feinstein has argued that the area she wants designated as ‘Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains’ as a home to mountain lions, the California desert tortoise and bighorn sheep. But the real effort is to ban off-roaders, hunters and miners.
Section 3 required an “examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, or the gathering of objects of antiquity” on lands administered by the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, or War. The objects were then to be collected “for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects.”
But over the next century, Presidents from both parties, beginning with Republican Theodore Roosevelt, took advantage of the law to restrict private economic opportunity and take overrule state control. Republicans from a number of states consider the law to be outdated and are pushing for bills that would curtail Presidential authority.
President Barack Obama in February of this year proclaimed Pullman Historic District of Chicago, Browns Canyon in Colorado, and a former Honouliuli Internment Camp site in Hawaii as national monuments under the Antiquities Act. Congressional Republicans from Colorado reacted harshly to the designation of Browns Canyon, with onerepresentative saying Obama was acting like “King Barack.”
Although the act specifically directs the President to limit the designation to the “smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected,” Yet, 16 Presidents have designated more than over 150 monuments. Beginning in 1906, Devils Tower in Wyoming became the first national monument. Other iconic monuments include the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Channel Islands and the Arches National Park.
President George W. Bush used the Antiquities Act five times and President Bill Clinton used it 19 times. But of the 285 million acres of land and marine areas designated as monuments, President Obama used his powers under the Antiquities Act to set aside 260 million acres of land and water.

Fiorina Hits Todd for Using Climate Change to Talk California Drought

During an appearance on Meet the Press, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina hit back at moderator Chuck Todd for pushing the issue of climate change during a discussion on the ongoing California drought. Todd proclaimed “[i]n your home state of California, drought, the wildfires. More evidence is coming out from the scientific community that says climate change has made this worse. Not to say that the drought is directly caused but it’s made it worse. 

For her part, Fiorina refused to accept Todd’s claim and instated blamed “liberal politicians” for causing the massive drought: 
You know what’s also made it worse? Politicians, liberal politicians who stood up for 40 years as the population of California doubled and saying, you cannot build a new reservoir and you cannot build a water conveyance system. And so, for 40 years 70% of the rainfall has washed out to sea. That's pretty dumb when you know you’re going to have droughts every single year, or every three years let’s say. 
The Meet the Press moderator continued to play up how climate change made the California drought worse and how he “asked Governor Jerry Brown to respond to that exact criticism you made. I said, do you blame liberal environmentalists in California, specifically on dams and reservoirs, and this is how he responded.” 
After Brown called Fiorina’s argument “such utter ignorance” and how “these people if they want to run for president, better do kind of eighth grade science before they make any more utterances” the Republican presidential candidate pushed back once again: 
That's a lot of insults but of course it makes no sense what he just said. It would be helpful if you were fighting fires to have more water. Firefighters in California have difficulty getting enough water now, so they're using other means. 
It would be helpful to agriculture and everything else to have water saved in the good years so that you could use it in the bad years. I'm not denying that California's air is dry. That's obvious. I'm not denying that there is a drought. But there is no denying that politicians have made this problem immeasurably worse. 
Via: Newsbusters

Continue Reading....

Friday, August 21, 2015

CALIFORNIA: Trial Lawyers Abuse Prop. 65 — At The Expense Of Small Business

Prop. 65 warning
The Center for Accountability in Science released a new video interviewing small businesses about the effects of California’s chemical warning law, known as Proposition 65, on their operations. Rather than making Californians safer, Proposition 65 has become a tool for trial lawyers and their clients to extract large financial settlements from businesses.
The new video highlights the experiences of three small businesses — a golf club cover manufacturer, instrument case manufacturer, and nutritional supplement manufacturer — served lawsuits under Proposition 65, and explains that while their products pose no reasonable risk of harm to consumers, these businesses were still forced to pay thousands in settlement costs for failing to adequately warn consumers.
Certainly, we should tell consumers whether they’re being exposed to toxic substances, but the threshold for warning under Proposition 65 is so low it’s utterly ridiculous. Consumers have no way of looking at a product with a Proposition 65 warning label and understanding their actual risk of harm. So instead of helping consumers make informed decisions impacting their health, the law has morphed into a way for trial lawyers to earn millions from business owners who fail to warn consumers of essentially nonexistent health risks.”
Newly-released figures from the California Attorney General’s office reveal businesses paid over $29 million to settle Proposition 65 lawsuits last year — a 68 percent increase from 2013. Seventy one percent of that total went to trial lawyers. Since 2000, businesses have paid more than $228 million to settle Proposition 65 lawsuits, and $150 million of that total went to plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and costs.
As explained in the video, the cost of defending against a Proposition 65 lawsuit in court—even when a business is innocent—is so high that many small and mid-sized businesses are pressured to settle out-of-court. To ward off future lawsuits, some businesses have started putting labels on all of their products, regardless of whether they actually contain a chemical listed under Proposition 65.
It’s absurd to think consumers are actually at risk of harm from the golf club cover sitting in their garage most of the year or the case used to carry a guitar. These bounty hunter shakedowns highlight the need for California’s legislators to tackle real reform to Proposition 65. The state simply can’t continue allowing lawyers to piggyback off business owners under the guise of protecting Californians.
Chief Science Officer for the Center for Accountability in Science

Uber's cheapest service significantly lowers drunken driving deaths in California, study finds

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have new ammunition in their fight to operate in cities around the world -- a study that concludes they could save thousands of lives.
The upstart services have battled the organized taxi lobby and politicians for entry into new markets around the world, but have made their case based on claims that they create jobs and provide competition that benefits consumers. Now, Temple University researchers have released a study that shows the entry of Uber into markets in California between 2009 and 2014 tracks a drop of as high as 5.6 percent in drunken-driving deaths. 
"We looked at the entire state of California from 2009 to 2014," Sunil Wattal, who co-authored the study with fellow researcher Brad Greenwood, told "We wanted to demonstrate in a quantitative and robust manner the impact Uber has on drunk driving.
"We found that UberX actually reduced drunk-driving related fatalities," Wattal added.
"We found that UberX actually reduced drunk-driving related fatalities."
- Sunil Wattal, Temple University
Using data from the California Highway Commission, the researchers found that UberX, the company's least expensive service, significantly reduced the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths throughout the state -- with the greatest impact in the larger cities.
He noted, however, that no such link was found with Uber Black, the company's highest priced service, consisting of commercially registered and insured livery vehicles -- typically a black SUV or luxury sedan with a significant markup over traditional taxicabs.
The researchers theorized that the Uber Black's higher cost and lower accessibility might explain why it does not provide the same benefit as the no-frills version of Uber.
"Economically, results indicate that the entrance of Uber X results in a 3.6 percent to 5.6 percent decrease in the rate of motor vehicle homicides per quarter in the state of California," the two concluded. "With more than 1,000 deaths occurring in California due to alcohol-related car crashes every year, this represents a substantial opportunity to improve public welfare and save lives."
Matt McKenna, an Uber spokesman, said the Temple University study only bolsters similar data previously collected by Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect people from drunken driving and underage drinking.
"The results of this study complement research we released earlier this year with MADD that showed that the introduction of reliable and affordable transportation options like Uber are having a meaningful impact on the rates of drunk driving crashes in California," McKenna told Tuesday.
Uber and MADD studied the service's impact in several major U.S. cities. Their report found that in Miami, for instance, Uber ridership peaks at the same time as historical drunken-driving related crashes. In Seattle, Uber's entry into the market was associated with a 10 percent decrease in DUI arrests, according to the report, and in Pittsburgh, the demand for Uber spikes right around the times bars close. The report also looked at traditional taxi services, claiming that taxi supply in Austin decreases when people most want rides, and when DUI arrests are most common.
Taxi cab associations, however, take issue with the study that is being used to bolster support for Uber -- claiming traditional taxi services have long helped to reduce drunken driving, while also adhering to important safety procedures.
"UberX is absolutely their most controversial product," said Dave Sutton of the group, "Who's Driving You?" -- a public safety campaign formed on behalf of the Taxi, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA).
"It’s been roundly criticized for its lack of insurance and lack of rigorous criminal background checks on drivers," Sutton said of UberX.
"It should be obvious to all involved that Uber is a taxi service, and taxi service is an extension of public transportation," he told "If you have passengers relying on this service to avoid dangerous activity, such as drunk driving, then the service itself should be adhering to the best safety practices and UberX is not."
To use Uber, passengers must first create an account with the service through the app on their iPhone or Android device -- which includes the customer's name, mobile number, email, language and billing information. After logging in with a username and password, the passenger selects his or her vehicle preference -- for instance, a black car, which can seat up to four people, or an SUV, which can seat up to six. The customer then marks the pick-up location on a map with a pin and the driver uses the phone holder's coordinates to arrive at the location. The cost of the ride depends on the time and distance. During certain peak times -- like New Year's Eve -- Uber enacts what it calls "surge pricing."
"The ease of Uber is just amazing," said Colleen Sheehey-Church, president of MADD, who praised the technology of the ride-sharing service and said the Temple University study "backs up everything we have already said."
"The study does show that easier and cheaper options will have an impact," Sheehey-Church told "We’re looking to change behavior and when a person has thought about it in advance, if they have easy access with a smartphone to do one click, it's the best thing for them to do to get home safely."
Sheehey-Church, whose teenage son was killed at the hands of a drunk and drugged driver, said she also advocates traditional taxi services as well as public transportation. 

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