Posts Tagged California

Building Snowmobiles: Crowdfunding Private Security

Definition of ‘Crowdfunding’: The use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Crowdfunding makes use of the easy accessibility of vast networks of friends, family and colleagues through social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get the word out about a new business and attract investors. Crowdfunding has the potential to increase entrepreneurship by expanding the pool of investors from whom funds can be raised beyond the traditional circle of owners, relatives and venture capitalists.
In the United States, crowdfunding is restricted by regulations on who is allowed to fund a new business and how much they are allowed to contribute. Similar to the restrictions on hedge fund investing, these regulations are supposed to protect unsophisticated and/or non-wealthy investors from putting too much of their savings at risk. Because so many new businesses fail, their investors face a high risk of losing their principal.-Investopedia

One of the exciting things to develop last summer was the advent of crowdfunded security. It is a concept that I wanted to share here on the blog that is really cool and cutting edge. It is a new way of doing business and I wanted to introduce the concept. Who knows, maybe someone will take the ball and run with this.

So here is the concept–create a crowd funding website called or similar, that is completely dedicated to helping countries, states, cities, towns, communities and even individuals in starting crowd funding campaigns for their security. The model is already out there with such places as Idiegogo, Kickstarter, or Crowdtilt.

The idea for this came from a Crowdtilt campaign that was done in Oakland, California by a community in need of security services. Their neighborhood was constantly dealing with criminals, and the police were stretched too thin because of budgetary constraints to deal with that crime. So a member of the neighborhood started a campaign to raise money to contract the services of a local security company.

What happened next is amazing. They were able to raise all of the money needed to fund their own security, and in a very short time. Folks from all over the country could contribute funds to this campaign–and they did.

Now what makes Securityfundr an interesting concept is that it would be a ‘security specific’ niche crowdfunding site. A place to go, to specifically raise funds for whatever security is required. I envision something that a small village in Somalia could take part in, or some town Idaho could get into, or what some female jogger that runs in Central Park, NY could tap into–all to raise money for their security.

You could also raise money to secure websites and protect against hackers. The cyber element of securityfundr could be big, just because the ferocity of attacks that can hack places like Target, could easily be turned on small mom and pop websites–and they do. But small businesses and individuals are limited in their ability to protect their websites, all by how much money they have. Enter crowdfunding and the potential of a site like securityfundr….

I would also create a portal for security companies to advertise their wares on the site. They could receive alerts through the website, for when a funding campaign is started within their area.  A company could sign up, and get alerts for specific types of security work, within a certain distance. The website would have a highly secure and encrypted online interface and mobile interface. Each company would be voted on and rated by the public, kind of like what Yelp or Amazon does, all so folks can voice their opinions on the quality of companies and their services. Like I said before, the models are there, and all it takes is to make a snowmobile out of all of them for the purpose of Securityfundr.

Below I have posted all of the pertinent stories related to the crowdfunded security. If you know of others, by all means let me know and share them in the comments. As to the potential of such a concept? Who knows, maybe a crowdfunding campaign could be started to fund securityfundr?  lol –Matt


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Oakland Neighbors Crowdfunding Private Security
BY Sam Roudman
Friday, October 4 2013

Oakland California’s Rockridge neighborhood has generally been better known for its fresh pasta and pricey Craftsman homes than for brazen daylight robberies. But that changed last month when three men held up a line of drivers waiting at the Rockridge BART station to pick up passengers in order to use the carpool lane on their morning commute.
“The casual carpool line is sort of a sacred thing,” says Rockridge resident Steve, Kirsh, “they robbed 20 people and they kind of freaked out the community.”
What’s a violated yet technologically savvy community to do? In Rockridge, the answer has been to crowdfund private security services, with the aim of compensating for an understaffed police department in the city with the highest robbery rate in America. In the last few weeks three separate campaigns have been started on Crowdtilt in order to fund four months of private security patrols in three different section of Rockridge. Near $35,000 have been raised so far, and two of the three projects have raised enough funds to ensure they will move forward.
The campaigns illustrate the power of crowdfunding tools to propel civic action, but they also point to the potential of crowdfunding to increase urban inequality in the name of a civic virtue like neighborhood safety.

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California: Sacramento International Airport Dropping TSA

Interesting news. Hopefully some more airports will jump on board with this option. Although it looks like the TSA still has a lot of involvement with controlling these PSC’s if used.  Hopefully this public/private partnership is constructed well enough to only enhance the effectiveness of each side, and not degrade security/screening in the process.

Of course the TSA employee’s union is not happy about the move either. lol Which is great, because in the private model, poor companies and poor employees should be fired, and not protected by some overbearing and highly protective union. –Matt


Sacramento International Airport Dropping TSA
30 July 2012
Sacramento International Airport has been approved to replace TSA agents with private contractors. Airport officials made the request in April after Congress expanded an opt-out clause in the federal law that created the TSA.
Airport Director Hardy Acree said he believes private screeners can do a more efficient job than government employees and provide the same level of security. “I think there is going to be a higher level of customer service”, Acree said.
Current only San Francisco, Kansas City and 14 smaller airports currently use private security employees. Sacramento International Airport would be the third largest airport to move to private security.
According to federal law, private contract screeners are trained by the TSA, they follow TSA procedures, use TSA equipment, and display TSA badges. There are even TSA supervisors that oversee operations. The private company is paid by the TSA.
Even with all this TSA involvement the TSA employee union, American Federation of Government Employees, was quick to criticize the move. The move would reduce costs and increase efficiency, but union president James Mudrock said they will “continue to fight this”.

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California: Increased Farm Thefts Plus Decrease In Police Forces, Equals Increase In PSC Use

Here is another example of the economy having an impact on how folks do business out there. Because there is less money for local law enforcement agencies to hire more officers, and because there are high prices for copper and/or food, thieves are targeting big farms. So these farms have no choice but to hire security. I imagine this is playing out in other economically depressed areas of the country as well, and we will see what else pops up. –Matt


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History: The 1854 Tong War, California

This is some fascinating US history that does not get much mention. I had heard about the Tong War in Weaverville when I was fighting forest fires there way back when. But I did not know about the details of this little known war.

Basically this was a classic Chinese battle between two mining companies/gangs in Northern California during the Gold Rush. And boy what a battle? Ironically, only four combatants died in the battle that had 2,500 participants! (the monument says 2000 participated and 26 were killed?)

The one bit of information that really perked me up after reading this article below was the the use of ‘white’ advisers. Here is the quote:

The Sam Yap Company, Hanley wrote, had purchased 150 muskets and bayonets and muskets in San Francisco.  They had employed fifteen whites as drill instructors.  The instructors were paid ten dollars daily along with all the food and whiskey they could handle.(What cost $10 in 1854 would cost $239.63 in 2010.)
Before the battle the fifteen white mercenaries painted themselves yellow, put on Chinese costumes, and hung a yard of horsehair tail down their backs in a mocking depiction of a Chinese queue.

I would be very interested to know who these fifteen advisers were?  At that time period, security contractors were vital to supporting all of the mail and banking activities that came along with the gold rush. The west was a rough place to operate in back then, and hired guns were essential for protecting shipments of gold heading back east or between the various towns of the west. Wells Fargo, American Express, Pinkertons, Butterfield Overland Mail, all started up around this time period. I am sure the Sam Yap Company was able to draw from this pool of security contractors that serviced this industry, to train their forces for this battle.

China was also in the process of modernizing it’s own military and drawing from the military expertise of Europe. So it does not surprise me that these companies would outsource the training of their combatants to insure a win. Which this little tidbit is also pretty cool. Here was the cost of the battle for each side:

After a hundred shots had been fired, the woefully underarmed Yan Wo beat a hasty retreat.  Thousands had watched and dueled, but the casualties were light.  Sources indicate a death toll of four.
The cost figures were much higher.  The Sam Yap Company had expended $40,000 in pursuit of victory, while the Yan Wo Company had spent $20,000 in defeat.

Either way, if you are ever in Northern California and looking for something interesting to do, go visit Weaverville and check out the Joss House. This place has a few of the original weapons that these combatants used. It would have been cool if more of the tactical details of this battle were available, but there really isn’t much out there about it.

I would speculate that if you were to draw from Chinese war fighting tactics of the early 1800’s, that we probably could have drawn some conclusions on how they might have went about fighting this war. But of course these guys were all miners/prospectors and if they had to resort to hiring advisers, and only 4 people died in the battle out of the 2500 that participated, then I have to imagine that it wasn’t that well planned or organized. So no Sun Tzu at this party. lol

Also, I am getting different dates for this war, and have decided to go with what the monument and the Joss House said about the date. So disregard the time period below. –Matt



CHINESE TONG WAR – Near Chinese Camp, October 1856
The historic Gold Country was a violent land — claim jumping, murder, theft, cheating at cards, and much more was quite common.
In October 1856, a different type of violence occurred near Chinese Camp.  It was a Chinese Tong War.
A Tong is defined as a Chinese secret society or fraternal organization.  While many Tongs were mostly social, some organizations engaged in gang warfare or ethnic revenge.
The Tongs were often rivals for control in the Chinese communities and public challenges toward one another were not unusual.  Along the Mother Lode in late Gold Rush California two Tongs were rivals for hegemony.  They were the Tuolomne County Sam Yap Company and the Calaveras County Yan Wo Company, headquartered near Chinese Camp.

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Industry Talk: MPRI Contractor Paul Almryde Killed In Afghanistan

This happened back on April 16 during an attack that killed several NATO and Afghan allies, as well as Paul Almryde. Contractors are a crucial element to the training mission in Afghanistan, and Paul was certainly doing his part. Rest in peace to Paul and the rest of the fallen, and your sacrifice will not be forgotten. –Matt


Barstow contractor killed in Afghanistan
April 21, 2011
A Barstow man killed last week while working as a military contractor in Afghanistan will be honored on Friday evening with a law enforcement escort as he is brought back to Barstow.
Paul Almryde, 46, was working for military contractor MPRI in Afghanistan as part of the Afghan National Army Corps support battalion on April 16 when he was killed by a suicide bomber, said his wife, Pamela Almryde. According to reports, a Taliban bomber dressed like an Afghan soldier in order to infiltrate a joint Afghan-U.S. base in the eastern province of Laghman. Four Afghan soldiers and five NATO service members — including Paul — were killed in the attack.
Rick Kiernan, a spokesman for MPRI, said the company wanted to express its condolences to the Almryde family and said that Paul was a “dedicated and professional member” of its team.
“At tragic times like these, we are reminded that we can never take for granted the sacrifices of L-3 MPRI employees worldwide,” said Kiernan. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Almryde family during this difficult time.”
Pamela said her husband was working as a mechanic at the base and was teaching Afghan troops how to repair their vehicles. Paul had served in the military for 21 years — with 12 years of active service in the Army and 9 years in the National Guard — before retiring in 2010 as a Master Sergeant. Paul joined MPRI last May. He was scheduled to come back to Barstow in June and was planning to sign another year-long contract with MPRI, said Pamela.
One of Paul’s neighbors, Jim Osbourn, is helping to organize the memorial on Friday because he wants to honor Paul’s memory as a service member. Osbourn said those wishing to honor his memory should get to Dana Park around 8:00 p.m., although the procession could be delayed because of traffic.
Paul was born and raised in San Diego before moving to Barstow about 15 years ago, said Pamela. The Almrydes would have been married for 10 years in June and were going to renew their vows once he returned.
Paul and Pamela each had two children from previous marriages and one of his sons will soon be stationed at Fort Irwin. Paul also had three grandchildren, whom Pamela said he doted on.
“He loved his grandkids to death and spent as much time with them as possible,” said Pamela.
One of the favorite things the couple would do together was simply sit outside in the summertime and talk, said Pamela.
“I’m very proud of him,” said Pamela. “He was my hero. I even have a license plate frame that says my husband, my hero.”?Contact the writer:?(760) 256-4122 or
Honoring Paul Almryde
Honor escort

• Law enforcement officials will be escorting Paul Almryde’s remains down Barstow Road to Mead Mortuary.

• The public is invited to honor Paul Almryde’s memory by gathering at Dana Park, 841 Barstow Road, Friday, around 8-9 p.m. (dependent on traffic)?Memorial service

• Tuesday, April 26

• Visitation at 10:00 a.m.

• Services begin at 11:00 a.m.

• First Baptist Church, 1320 Barstow Road
Link to story here.

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Black Swan Events: Earthquake/Tsunami In Japan, Uprisings In The Middle East

     This is tragic, and my heart goes out to all those impacted by these disasters.  I was watching the tsunami in Japan on television and the footage was remarkable.  The tsunami was a result of an earthquake and it has pummeled Japan. There is a tsunami warning for Hawaii, other Pacific islands, and the entire West Coast in the US. To follow this stuff, definitely track the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and your local news to get updates.

     A couple of things that come to mind on this.  This event, along with what is going on in Libya and potentially in Saudi Arabia, are all combining to make a Blackswan Event. Events that were not predicted, and change the dynamic dramatically. What I mean by that, is that the shock waves from both disasters, could have drastic consequence. The price of oil will rise, and all the business and economies that depend upon the stability of Japan will be negatively impacted. If Hawaii and the West Coast of the US are hit, that could have consequence as well. I will further update this post as events unfold and we will see how it goes…. –Matt

Update: 03/12/2011- Now the latest deal is the Nuclear Facilities in Japan are in dire straights. If they melt down, the fallout is of concern.  In the comments section, I have put up an article that discusses the fallout potential, and especially how it would impact North America via the Pacific Jet Stream.

Major Earthquake, Tsunami Hit Japan

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Major Earthquake, Tsunami Hit Japan

March 11, 2011

A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake has struck off Japan’s northeastern coast, triggering a four meter tsunami that washed away cars along parts of the coastline.Video from national broadcaster NHK showed dozens of cars, large ferries and some buildings being swept out to sea in the port city of Kamaishi in the province of Iwate.The Japanese Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warming for the entire Pacific coast of Japan following the quake that struck about 125 kilometers off the eastern coast, at a depth of 10 kilometers.  Residents in the coastal areas have been urged to immediately evacuate to higher ground.The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in the U.S. state of Hawaii said a tsunami warning was also in effect for Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas.  It said a tsunami watch was issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Hawaii.

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