Some New Ideas For A New Year

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

Can it be true? The pensions for generals and admirals will be trimmed to ensure they make no more in retirement than they earned while in uniform. I guess the straw that broke the camel’s back was a retired four star officer with 43 years’ experience was getting a pension of $272,892 per year.

We’ve talked numerous times over these many years, going back to when I was a county commissioner and Herb Wesson was chief of staff for Supervisor Burke. Yes, yes, yes, Herb Wesson, our former Assembly

Member, is joining with the Los Angeles County Democratic Party to consolidate all federal, state and local elections – a great idea whose time has come.

I really don’t have to remind you of the stupid statement the entrenched tell you and me. It goes like this: If we consolidate the city and board elections with the state, the ballot would be so long we would get lost in the shuffle. Is this poppycock or is this poppycock? Do they have such a low opinion of us or is it to maintain their hold on power?

Herb’s proposal is to consolidate city elections with presidential and state elections starting in 2020. City elections would be moved to June and November of even numbered years. To achieve this it will be on the March 3, 2015 ballot for the voters to decide. The post office will balance its books with all the anti-Wesson mail.

Well, partner, our friends, the Chinese, just bought the Los Angeles Airport Marriott for $160 million. Now, you could say, “What a bargain,” and others could say “What a steal.” The hotel has 1,004 rooms and is 90% occupied on an average night. Soon the only thing left will be a motel in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The water situation, so everybody says, is very serious in California. So why don’t they dam the La Ballona Creek and divert the water to a purification facility for recycling? Why don’t they use ocean water after the salt and other nasty chemicals have been removed? Why do we have to go from crisis to crisis before Sacramento and its high speed train travel down the track at 200 MPH to the poor house? They will be back with another bond issue, just you wait and see.

My friend is a Cal Tech type and he estimates all the rain we got in December was about 10 trillion gallons.

Am I the only one who has noticed how many friends, family and neighbors have recently suffered a stroke? After 30 years of failure, there is a new procedure that greatly improves the prognosis for those having the most sever and disabling strokes. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers in Holland found that a new type of stent threaded up from the groin can remove large blood clots from the brain. Doctors can save brain tissue that would have otherwise died, enabling the patient to return to an independent life. This new procedure will be brought up at the International stroke Conference in Nashville this month.

I see the Church of England named its first female bishop. It’s been 500 years in coming.

Technology and innovation are always ahead of the curve. Take, for instance, elevators, and one thinks about moving people up and down. Well, guess what ThyssenKrupp will be testing in Rottweil, Germany beginning in 2016: an elevator than will not only go up and down but also sideways. The giant firm feels a mile high building is easily achievable.

You just know I am no fan of China even though I hope our school district drops Japanese for Chinese – and the sooner the better. Have you heard the decline in new Chinese bank accounts was 23% in 2014 over the same period in 2013? Their citizens are hopeful the government will increase the interest rate immediately. Their banks are so hard pressed they are offering not the toaster or iron that Americans once got but a Mercedes.

A former Countrywide financial executive who became a whistleblower is collecting more than $57 million for helping federal prosecutors force Bank of America to pay a record $16.65 billion penalty in connection with its role in churning out shoddy mortgages before the financial crisis.

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