October 30, 2018

$310,000: San Francisco's Failed Voter Registration Drive

I always enjoy reading the Matier & Ross column in the San Francisco Chronicle.  And yes, I still get a printed newspaper delivered daily, two in fact:  the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Anyhoo, Sunday's Matier & Ross column was a doozy.

You see, in 2016, San Francisco voters passed a new law - the first in California - that allowed San Francisco residents who are not US citizens, including people living in the country illegally, to vote in San Francisco School Board elections.  The non US citizens had to be of legal voting age, live in San Francisco, and have at least one child under the age of 19.

The idea - not a bad one, in my opinion - was that this group of individuals were stakeholders in the San Francisco public school system, given they had at least 1 child under the age of 19 who presumably attended public school.

Okay.  So just how did this voter effort work out for San Francisco?


For the past 2 years, the City of San Francisco has spent $310,000 on this new program, designing a special voter registration form, and implementing voter registration drives.

$310,000:  San Francisco's Failed Voter Registration Drive

In the past 2 years, a whopping 49 people have registered to vote under this program.  That's a cost of $6,323 per signed-up voter.
And no idea if any those 49 people will even bother to vote in the upcoming midterm election, in which 3 School Board Seats in the San Francisco Unified School District are up for grabs.
Crazy!  $310,000 down the drain.  Another head shaking, only-in-California event.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.   She has already voted by mail for the November midterm election.  👍  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 24, 2018

Third Point LLC: Did you receive their despicable racist mailer?

Third Point LLC, an $18 billion investment firm, has earned the Bonehead of the Month Award!

How so?  Glad you asked!


With midterm elections drawing near, our mailboxes are inundated with campaign mailers.  You know, that annoying junk that goes in the trash.

Speaking of these mailers, yesterday's experience was a head shaking jaw dropper for my husband Jim and me.  You see, we received a mailer packet with this mailer showing through the plastic wrapping:



Yep, a mailer advocating to  VOTE THE WHITE CARD  , if you can believe it.

And here's the rest of the story ...

My husband Jim and I looked at this mailer, jaws dropped open and heads shaking. At first appearance, to both of us, the unopened packet appeared to be a campaign mailer from a right wing extremist group advocating voting for a “white card”, or “white (Caucasian) slate” in next month’s midterm elections.

Third Point LLC


Upon opening the packet, we saw it was actually a mailer from $18 billion investment firm Third Point LLC, directed towards a Campbell’s Soup proxy vote. (Disclosure: we own shares in Campbell's Soup stock.) Nevertheless, the very offensive racist tone in Third Point LLC's mailer remains unchanged.


Amazing in today’s #MeToo and inclusivity-focused environment that Third Point LLC, an $18 billion investment company,  would undertake such a despicably themed public campaign against Campbell’s Soup.  You can bet my husband and I would never, ever Vote For The Racist White Card.  

And I kinda think it's time for Third Point LLC to refresh their public relations department, or otherwise #REFRESHTHEIRPRDEPARTMENT.

I sent an email to Third Point LLC this morning, with a copy to Ken Gosnell, VP Finance Strategy & Investor Relations at Campbell's Soup, voicing my extreme displeasure of Third Point LLC's conduct, and their derogatory racist mailer aimed at Campbell's Soup.  If you would like to share your thoughts with Third Point LLC, here are pertinent email addresses:

Third Point LLC General Inquiries:  ir@thirdpoint.com
Third Point LLC Media Inquiries: edoyle@thirdpoint.com
Third Point LLC Voting Related Matters:  Okapi Partners LLC, cpbinfo@okapipartners.com

Ken Gosnell, VP Finance Strategy & Investor Relations at Campbell's Soup, can be reached via email at ken_gosnell@campbellsoup.com.

And to paraphrase a quote from one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes:

No Soup For You, Third Point LLC!
and while I'm at it ... 
#JustSayNoToSoupRacism

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  And yes, she loves soup!  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

San Francisco: Van Ness Avenue Construction Project Kills Local Businesses

In San Francisco, the error ridden, 18-months behind behemoth Van Ness Construction Project has claimed a victim:  locally owned Bootleg Bar & Kitchen.

This project was supposed ... supposed ... to somehow improve Van Ness Avenue, a main thoroughfare in San Francisco, from Mission Street to Lombard Street.  In its infinite stupid wisdom, the City of San Francisco tore up the street and sidewalks all along the stretch in one swoop.  The project is now 18-months behind, with untold misery for residents and businesses along Van Ness.

Reason for the extreme and ever growing delay?  Contractors are surprised they continue to strike water pipes and other underground utilities they didn't know were there.

As my Architect husband Jim - who has worked on many projects in San Francisco - said this morning:
"Duh!  Did the contractors actually think water pipes from the 1840s would be on City drawings?!"
Locally owned Bootleg Bar & Kitchen, located along the construction zone, is closing its doors.  Since the project started, Bootleg Bar & Kitchen's business is down 50%, and the establishment cannot financially stay open any longer.  You see, patrons can't get to the establishment, given that the road and sidewalks are all torn up, adorned with barricades and 6 foot fencing.  Read more in today's San Francisco Chronicle article.

Van Ness Avenue Construction Project


Here's my beef  with this issue.  The City of San Francisco currently spends over $300 million a year ... a year ... on its homeless services, to "help" an estimated 7,499 chronically homeless people (2017 homeless count) who live in San Francisco.  Homeless people who, by all reporting, are generally drug addicted, mentally ill, or both.  And nearly all, by all reporting, choose to be homeless, refusing offers of shelter but gladly accepting free handouts.

And the city of San Francisco remains a filth bucket, littered with human feces, needles, piles of trash, and homeless people openly shooting up drugs in public.

So let's do the math:  $300 million for 7,499 is $40,000 a person.  But wait, there's more!  Measure C that appears on next month's ballot in San Francisco would tax large corporations on their gross profits, supposedly generating an additional $300 million dollars a year for homeless services.  That would bring total annual spending for homeless services in San Francisco to over $600 million, or roughly $80,000 per homeless person per year.

What has the City of San Francisco done to help the businesses along Van Ness Avenue during this ill fated and disastrous construction project?  Not a darn thing.  Except to print up few cheap signs, hung crooked on the fencing around the project, that point to businesses.  Take a look:

Photo credit:  sanfranciscochronicle.com

Lovely, huh?  For the City of San Francisco to act in this manner, thumbing its nose at and destroying Van Ness Avenue businesses, is wrong.  Flat out wrong.  Plain crazy!

Just another indication of misery and wrongdoing in the once great city of San Francisco.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 20, 2018

Billy McFarland: Fyre Festival Organizer Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

Pretty Boy Fraudster Billy McFarland is headed to the big boy's slammer.  You remember, the infamous fraudster who promoted the fake Fyre Music Festival.  He was sentenced to 6 years in Federal prison for pleading guilty to fraud charges.

But wait ... There's more!

Last year I posted twice about Mr. McFarland, and opined that he appeared to be a criminal Con Artist rather than a brazen 25-year-old pretty boy salesman.  (Read my last post here, after he was arrested for wire fraud related to the Fyre Festival that was really never to be.)  And the Federal Court in Manhattan agreed with me.

But get this for taken brazen to an out-of-this-world level ...

In March of this year, Billy McFarland pleaded guilty to 2 counts of wire fraud related to defrauding investors and the bogus Fyre Festival.  He remained out on bending sentencing.

And just what did Mr. McFarland do while out on bail?  You guessed it!  He had so much time on his hands, he created a new company that sold fake tickets to high end music, fashion, and sporting events.  The tickets were completely bogus, and the purchasers of said tickets were denied entry to the events.  Mr. McFarland pleaded guilty in July of this year to 2 additional counts of fraud related to this new illegal scheme.

No update immediately available about the status civil cases filed against Billy McFarland and his ventures.

Head shaking how brazen this guy is.  Awaiting sentencing after being convicted of felony wire fraud, only to start a new fraud while awaiting sentencing.  This guy is one sick dude, and all of 26-years old at sentencing.  He will never be rehabilitated.  No doubt he'll spend his years in prison AKA Club Fed concocting his next schemes.

Billy McFarland


Anyhoo, if you wish to send a letter to Mr. McFarland, or perhaps pay him a visit, here is his current incarceration information:

WILLIAM Z MCFARLAND
Register Number: 91186-054
Age: 26
Race: White
Sex: Male
Located at: Brooklyn MDC, 80 29TH STREET, BROOKLYN, NY 11232
Release Date: UNKNOWN

Yet another example of reality being stranger than fiction!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 17, 2018

Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

Do you enjoy Bread and Butter Pickles?  Would you like to make your own, but don't can?  No problem!  Here is a yummy recipe for Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles.  No canning required and keeps fresh in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.



Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles
This is a sweet and spicy bread and butter pickle. Store in refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

Quantity: Makes 1 quart. Best stored in a quart mason canning jar or a quart glass jar with a snap on lid.

Ingredients

· 1 cup apple cider vinegar
· 1/2 cup water
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
· Thinly sliced unpeeled cucumbers
· Thinly sliced white or yellow onion
· 2 thinly sliced jalapeno peppers, or substitute equivalent diced bell pepper if you don’t want the jalapeno heat.
· 2 teaspoons pickling spice

Instructions

1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside to cool

2. In a glass quart jar, layer sliced cucumber, sliced onion, and sliced pepper. Onion and pepper are optional, but they add delicious flavor!

3. Cover cucumber mixture with vinegar mixture.

4. Refrigerate. Blended and ready to eat in 12 hours. Eat within 2 weeks.

Recipe Variations

Other vegetables including cauliflower pieces and sliced carrots are yummy pickled this way. I blanch the carrots and cauliflower first so they are a bit tender, similar in bite to a cucumber.
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About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts