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Note: Fred Kelly Grant and Stand & Fight Club are pleased to support the efforts of the Electronic Vaping Coalition of America (EVCA) as it continues fight the assault on the vaping industry at the hands of unelected government bureaucrats and special interests. You are encouraged to visit the EVCA website or on their Facebook page to learn more, and help in the fight!

By Fred Kelly Grant

How ironic that in the 50th Anniversary of the Love Summer, San Francisco’s elected officials slammed shut the door to freedom of choice.  After a hearing before an overflow crowd, a Committee of the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to recommend passage of the ordinance banning the sale of flavored e-liquid for vaping devices.

Mark Block, founder and CEO of Electronic Vaping Coalition of America, testified as he had in Contra Costa the day before. That County Board delayed action to have staff clear up vagueness. Block pointed out that vaping does provide the effective way to get off cigarettes, and that passage of this Ordinance violates the Fourteenth Amendment that guarantees equal and fair treatment.

Today he heads for southern California where maybe saner heads will  prevail and separate the vaping from smoking.

What the action in San Francisco means is that people who choose to get off cigarette smoke and save their health and lives are out of luck in the city which was once the epitome of freedom. Evidence is overwhelming that if flavoring is banned, the vape shops will either go out of business or lose so much business that they will close eventually.  Evidence is also overwhelming that vapers will not stay with the product if there is no flavoring—-and many will drift back to the slow death that comes from smoking cigarettes. Sad but true.

And what is really sad about it is that it comes in the city that has been the beacon for free thinking alternative life styles and ways of life for at least a hundred years. Just fifty years ago, the Love Summer marveled all of America. Scott McKenzie’s song “San Francisco (Be sure to wear flowers in your hair) became a major hit; it was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. Haight Asbury bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Jefferson Airplane rose to the top of the charts. Janis Joplin lived near the intersection of Haight and Asbury streets and became a household name whether the house held “hippies” or not.

Long after the Love Summer ended, the Haight turned out some of the most colorful comedians such as Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Dana Carvey. The stars of alternative ideas and thoughts and ways of life came from this Golden City; it was a city that the rest of us in America envied—often because we did not have the nerve to live life as it was lived in San Francisco.

The spirits of those that turned the Castro into the beginning of a free-wheeling, free thinking Baghdad of the Bay must be turning in their resting places. The legacy of mayors Alioto, Mosconi, Brown, Agnos called for better than what the committee did. Those men had the spirit to open doors to minorities and women to jobs and promotions so that San Francisco became the “liberal leader” of America. When Dianne Feinstein is the most conservative mayor in a span of thirty years, you know how liberal was this city even if you didn’t follow it.

Mosconi saved the Giants from moving to Toronto and if nothing else he had done, that fact alone would have made him beloved to Giants fans everywhere  He was a revolutionary mayor who appointed large numbers of women, gay men, lesbians and racial minorities to city commissions and advisory boards. He also was the first to agree that a court enter a judgment ending discriminatory recruiting practices by the police department, a first big such move in the nation. He supported an occupation sit-in of the Federal Building by 100 disabled people demanding their civil rights; while the feds wanted to starve them out, Mosconi took in portable showers and towels and food. The sit-in got results, and eventually is credited with passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Alioto, Agnos, and Brown all championed in one way or another finding suitable facilities for the homeless while other cities continued to shunt them from place to place. All  endured strikes from city and county personnel and found a way to mediate them and get better benefits for them, including coverage of domestic partners for health benefits. All continued and furthered the hiring and promotion of all nationalities, sexual preferences and races—to the point where San Francisco was the melting pot model for all America.

Free speech, free living, free choices of alternatives—this was San Francisco. Writers have portrayed the San Francisco scene as the freest there was in the counter culture of the 60’s for example, providing the natural spot for nurturing all differing interpretations of the American Dream

As an inhabitant of Boise, Idaho, and even having had experiences in Chicago and Baltimore, San Francisco was my ideal as an  American experience.  Whenever I could, I read Herb Caen of the Chronicle (and I still read Wilie Brown’s column) and listened to KGO at night—I remember Caen’s coverage off and on of the legendary Magnolia Thunderpussy, a San Francisco native and burlesque queen who has been described as “something of a cross between a den mother to San Francisco weirdos and a proto-Bette Midler”. Her place at 1398 Haight Street was legendary; featured briefly in the Jack Nicholson movie Psyche Out, you can be sure it could have been a vape shop had vaping even been in existence.

At stake yesterday was the freedom of choice of people who want to escape the dregs of cigarette smoking with the use of e-liquid and vaping devices  The Committee took away that freedom—-in a city whose entire history is built on free thinking, free wheeling, live and let live openness.

It has been proven that cigarette smoking is addictive to large parts of diverse minority populations.  Vaping would offer an effective, safe escape for the diverse populations of the Mission District, Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill, the Castro, the Excelsior District, the Sunset District, the Richmond, Chinatown, and Forest Hill. But neither they nor anyone else in the city/county can buy flavored e-liquid after the Ordinance is passed finally.

Sad that here in this beautiful city of freedom, the axe of arbitrary, autocratic political dictatorship fell today. And why? Money is the answer—money from the big tobacco settlement by which the big companies managed to buy their way out of huge tort cases in which people dying from tobacco exposure were cashiered out, and those not yet in court torn from their claims by a monetary settlement.

Tragic also are the excuses given for passage of the Ordinance. Supervisor Cohen who is sponsor of the ordinance represents a huge African American population in Bayview Hunters Point, said that she was driven by her experience with family members who smoked menthol cigarettes and died of cancer. But, Supervisor Cohen, no one has died of cancer from vaping; it provides the only effective, safe way for people to kick the cigarette habit. With your experiences you should be welcoming vaping, and the flavoring that makes it successful as an alternative to smoking cigarettes and death.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee endorsed the proposal. “We know from research and studies that tobacco-related diseases continue to be the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths, especially among low-income and minority communities,” he said. But again, vaping is the answer to these statistics because it gets people OFF CIGARETTES.

Those elected officials who profess to protect the cause of minorities and low-income folks should be lining up to back vaping, because it is the soul and life saver of all those folks who want to get off the cigarette road to death. One would think that in this city of ideas the elected officials would have done some research. The Trustees of the small Village of Hartland, Wisconsin did their homework, and learned of the great health value of vaping to all those who want to avoid poor health and death from cigarettes. The elected Supervisors of San Francisco would do well to read their Findings and Conclusions. One might be surprised to know that a Village in mid Wisconsin is more enlightened today than the venerable Supervisors of San Francisco.

And, as to the statements by Supervisor Cohen and Mayor Lee, trying to pass off vaping as the same as cigarettes, in the colorful words of that venerable veteran of politics Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland “Oh come onnnn now! Y’all know better.”

The reason lies not with the merits of the ordinance as applied to vaping; the reason is that California, like all other states, is addicted to money from the tobacco settlement—it has used that money as the constant staple for appropriations for annual budgets.  And the cities know that their money interests are at stake if they buck the tide that runs out of Sacramento.

450,000 lives lost every year from tobacco causes don’t seem to matter to local officials—perhaps it would be therapeutic for the Supervisors to get the opportunity to meet with relatives of this year’s deaths and explain to them why they are so adamant about closing down the opportunity to escape death at the hands of cigarettes.

As vaping sales go up, tobacco sales go down. And, since most local officials are not as up to date as are their constituents, they haven’t yet seen the tax benefits of vaping—particularly when measured against medical and health costs from cigarette smoking. If the vaping business goes under, a tremendous tax revenue will be lost to the cities. Once that has happened, there will be council people and supervisors and trustees all over the land wringing their hands, crying out “who did this to us”.

“Oh come onnnnn now!”

Ron Arnold is a columnist from The Washington Examiner. He has in this article pin pointed the problem with the EPA (and subsidiaries like the California Air Resources Board): the truth is a “foreign commodity”. The so-called “war on coal” is in fact a war waged by the federal government (particularly the EPA which is simply a tool for White House policy) on one of the most fundamental industries in the nation. Coal, regardless of whether it has “lost the war of public relations”, is an essential fuel in America. Without coal there is insufficient fuel to provide energy for our industries; there is not enough fuel without coal to generate the power we need as a nation.

Link to the Washington Examiner article:
http://washingtonexaminer.com/house-panel-hopes-to-air-inconvenient-truths-about-epas-war-on-coal/article/2549851

By Fred Kelly Grant on June 18th, 2014

Preparation has begun in earnest for the northern California public hearing related to EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and their rule on diesel filters.   The hearing which is being hosted by the City of Redding, and its active Shasta Coordinating Committee, will include evidence from all folks in the area who have relevant testimony and documents as to harm to their property interests and values to be caused by the plan.

As usual when the EPA and its minions go to work to regulate rural America, they place common sense on the ledge above the sink and leave it there.

As I began early preparations I interviewed a Trustee of the Shasta Community College, a local college with fine campus resources in three locations within Shasta County.   His testimony is some of the most frightening since I have started a final thrust to de-fang the EPA.

As you will see during this short excerpt from the video, CARB destroyed perfectly good equipment being used daily at the school for its courses on operating and maintaining heavy equipment.  The equipment never leaves the campus.  But it did not have one of the newly deified diesel exhaust filters, so CARB would not allow its use.  CARB agents came to the College, and used a blow torch to burn holes through the operating parts of the perfectly operating equipment, which was then hauled off for scrap.

CARB then offered the county a grant of near $500,000 from tax dollars to replace the equipment.  The school had to come up with matching of about $98,000 which came from tax dollars and industry donations.

Keep in mind this class heavy equipment was not used off campus; it was not the type 24-7 over road use that was first attacked by EPA. CARB, by wrote, interfered in the educational quality at a state community college—-and used tax dollars to do it.  This is another example of the adage:  If you give a bureaucrat a power, he will use it!  With that in mind, here’s Shasta Community College trustee board member Scott Swendiman.

The testimony at the hearing will demonstrate the high cost of implementation of a rule that scientists say is not only unnecessary, but impractical, expensive, and perhaps unsafe.   Several witnesses have already been interviewed, but the Shasta Coordinating Committee would like to talk to you if you suffered or will suffer from the Diesel Exhaust Rule or from the rising costs of the products you buy as the expense of compliance for the trucks that carry them increases.

Many lawsuits have been filed to try to stop the state’s efforts to force this equipment on trucks.   But, the Shasta Coordinating Committee, the Redding City Council and the Construction Truckers Association will seek relief through the coordinating process which requires federal agencies to make every effort to seek consistency with local policies and authority.

EPA’S GINA MCCARTHY AND CARB’S MARY NICHOLS—“BIRDS OF A FEATHER” RECKLESSLY REGULATE AMERICAN JOBS AND ECONOMICS WITH NO REGARD TO ETHICS AND CREDIBILITY

  • EPA ADMITS THERE IS NOT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT CREDIBILITY OF STUDIES USED AS BASE FOR AIR QUALITY RULES.
  • CARB ACKNOWLEDGES THAT MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR DIESEL EXHAUST STUDY LIED ABOUT HIS CREDENTIALS—AND THAT DIRECTOR WITHHELD THE FACT FROM VOTING CARB MEMBERS.

When the California Air Quality Board (CARB) issued its arbitrarily restrictive diesel exhaust regulations, it subjected truckers in California to an economic disaster “just because”—-certainly not because of any credible scientific evidence to support health improvement claims, and assuredly not because of  credible economic evidence that the cost is not prohibitive.

Californians who still believe that reason, common sense and the law will trump overzealous bureaucrats have been startled to see CARB lead the EPA into the establishment and implementation of the exhaust rule.  Perhaps they wouldn’t have been shocked had they pondered the entwined history of Mary Nichols (Director of CARB) and the all star cast at EPA:

  • Lisa Jackson, former Administrator of EPA, resigned pending investigations of her using a false name, Richard Windsor,  for email exchanges so that her messages would be protected from Freedom of Information Requests, (The agency actually gave fictitious “Richard Windsor” an award for high level performance and integrity),
  • John Beale is given credit for devising the National Ambient Air Quality Standards in 1997 (designed to establish and regulate particulates damaging to personal health and the environment). This was no doubt the most controversial, costly, and unnecessary regulation ever issued by a regulatory bureaucracy. It affects every element of our economy, eliminating jobs and industries without credible evidence that either public health or the environment benefits. With co-workers Mary Nichols and Carol Browner, he set the particulate 2.5 level.
  • According to the report issued by the minority staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Beale was not in the slightest qualified to develop such standards.  His background included no “legislative or environmental experience policy experience, [and he had] wandered between jobs at a small town law firm, a political campaign and an apple farm.”  (Justin Sykes, “EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Emergency Response Command Post”, PERMALINK, March 20, 2014, quoting from the Report issued by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works)
  • The Report asserts that the evidence available to the Committee shows that Beale’s primary motive in developing the NAAQS was not to help the environment, air quality or human health, but “his own self interest”.  The Report states:  “Evidence suggests that Beale used the NAAQS as a vehicle for his own self aggrandizement and rose above reporting just to Brenner[a co-worker supervisor] and began to work alongside Mary Nichols, the Assistant (AA) for OAR at the time.”   The OAR is the office of air resources where both Nichols and Gina McCarthy served the extremist cause long and well.
  • Beale was later imprisoned for drawing full EPA salary while he was absent from the EPA, pretending that he was an agent of the  CIA,
  • Gina McCarthy, current administrator of the EPA, finally had to admit to the Congress that EPA had no raw evidence supporting the climate rules such as the PM(2.5) now in effect in California.  In earlier testimony, McCarthy carefully dodged questions as to why and how CARB was given such a highly visible role, even a leading role, in devising air quality rules.
  • McCarthy and Nichols (then at CARB) worked together to extort the auto industry cooperation with a National motor vehicle program administered by EPA, NHTSA and CARB.   The agencies threatened to impose a potential 50 state hodgepodge of fuel rules unless the industry agreed to the national program.   None of the evidence of negotiations for this “historic agreement” (so named by President Obama) was documented.   Mary Nichols said to the New York Times:  “We put nothing in writing ever.”  (See post “Gina McCarthy’s Responses to Sen. Vitter’s Questions Part II: Fuel Economy” in Cooler Heads Digest, by Marlo Lewis, May 15, 2013)
  • When Lisa Jackson decided to resign rather than face the inquiries about her use of the false e-mail name, President Obama considered Nichols for appointment as administrator of the EPA.  The threat of a huge outpouring of congressional dissent, from both sides of the aisle, drew him, instead to Nichols’ cohort, Gina McCarthy.
  • Nichols became California’s Resources Secretary and then was appointed to the California Coastal Commission by Governor Gray Davis just before his recall.  From there she returned to the California Air Quality Board, a position from which she obviously can still arbitrarily lead the EPA in devising economically destructive regulations.

McCarthy and Nichols not only worked together, they seem to have developed the same level of government ethics.   After her appointment as Administrator, McCarthy glowingly told the Congress that unshakeable scientific evidence supported the particulate standard of PM(2.5).  But, after the Science Committee issued its first subpoena in over two decades, and after stonewalling the Committee for nearly two years, she finally had to admit that the EPA could not produce sufficient evidence to support the Standard.

The Committee sought the raw study data on which the Harvard Six Cities and the American Cancer Society studies were based.  These are the two studies on which the EPA and CARB rely as the solid, scientific base for regulations like the diesel exhaust rule.  McCarthy finally replied:

“The EPA acknowledges, however, that the data provided are not sufficient in themselves to replicate the analyses in the epidemiological studies, nor would they allow for the one to one mapping of each pollutant and ecological variable to each subject.”(McCarthy letter to Chairman Smith, March 7,2014)

McCarthy’s duplicity is perhaps overshadowed by Nichols’ discovering that the staff “scientist” who is primarily responsible for the study justifying the exhaust rule lied about his credentials when he was employed.  In May, 2008, CARB released a report by Dr. Hien Tran that set forth the quantitative and qualitative methodology for estimating premature deaths from being exposed to particulates.  Than claimed that he held a doctorate in statistics from University of California, Davis, when in fact he possessed only a “pay for” doctorate ordered from a ups box number in Manhattan.  (The certificate evidencing a doctorate from “Thornhill U” cost $1,000 according to a blog post by Chris Hill for U-T San Diego, September 6, 2009)

In December, 2008, CARB unanimously voted to enact the rule.  Prior to that time, Mary Nichols knew of Tran’s subterfuge, but did not reveal it to the public or to Board members.  She admits that she knew about it before the vote, but didn’t reveal it because it would have been a distraction to the members of the Board who were voting.

So, the diesel exhaust rule that will drive virtually every independent California trucker out of business is based upon the work of Beale, an unqualified felon who developed it in order to get ahead in the EPA, and on a study prepared by Tran, a person who lied about having a doctorate degree from a prestigious California university.

Is that the way the system should work?  Of course not.  Both McCarthy and Nichols, and their staffs, have repeatedly violated Executive Orders insisting on integrity and transparency.  They have also violated the Data Quality Act because the tactics set forth above cannot meet the verification requirements set forth in that Act.

But it is the way the system works under the umbrella of lawlessness spread by the EPA—called by author William Perry Pendley “the most lawless agency in a lawless administration.”  (Address delivered to the 2014 Spring Banquet of Spokane County Property Rights Association, Spokane Riverside Conference Center).

While the future of the rules remains uncertain because of the fraudulent bases upon which they stand, what is certain is the economic damage that will befall all independent truckers who operate from or in California.

The video “The Green Regulation Machine” shows graphically how independent truckers expect the worst under the CARB rules.

CALIFORNIAN TRUCKERS SUBJECTED TO RESTRICTIVE DIESEL EXHAUST RULE “JUST  BECAUSE”—-NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTS HEALTH CLAIMS; NO ECONOMIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTS ESTIMATES OF LOW COST.

This month, the long battle of U.S. Senators to subpoena from the EPA the raw scientific evidence supporting imposition of the economics killer, PM 2.5 reached a battle plateau where the battling Senators stopped, took a deep breath and marveled at an audacious admission of EPA Administrator Gena McCarthy.

Important Files:

City of Redding Coordination Letter to California Air Resources Board 2.28.2014

CARB response to Redding Coordination Letter 3.19.14

Before America was born, Watermen have worked the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to bureaucratic over regulation they have become the most endangered species on the Bay. Rather than go quietly down the path to extinction, they have chosen to stand and fight.