Feds closing down Bay Area data centers

Two federal data centers in the Bay Area have been shut down and a third will be shuttered next year as part of an Obama Administration’s “Campaign to Cut Waste.”

The White House Office of Management and Budget announced today that it plans to shut down a total of 373 such data centers across the nation by the end of 2012, part of the President’s goal of shutting down 800 by 2015 to save taxpayers more than $3 billion.

“Duplication, waste, and inefficiency are never acceptable, but it is especially intolerable in these challenging budgetary times,” Jeffrey Zients, Federal Chief Performance Officer and OMB’s Deputy Director for Management, said in a news release. “As part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, President Obama has directed his Administration to aggressively root out misspent tax dollars in agencies across the government to ensure we are spending tax dollars wisely.”

The data centers essentially are computer server sites – often with backup power supplies, air conditioning, fire suppression systems and special security – that could be as big as a building or as small as a room, the OMB said. Their number has rocketed since 1998 from 432 to more than 2,000, often creating redundancies and creating far more infrastructure than the government needs; they’ve used only about 27 percent of their collective computing power, even as taxpayers shell out for costs such as electricity use that can be 200 times that of a standard office.

Closing some of them saves money and improves data security, OMB says.

A Justice Department data center in San Francisco and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration data center at Moffett Field near Mountain View already have been shut down in the past year and a half; another NASA site at Moffett Field will be closed in 2012.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    How’s that hopey changey thing workin’ out for ya?

    “WASHINGTON (AP) — A new bipartisan plan to reduce government borrowing would target some of the most cherished tax breaks enjoyed by millions of families — those promoting health insurance, home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings — in exchange for lowering overall tax rates for everyone.

    Many taxpayers would face higher taxes — a total of at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade, and perhaps more.”


  • John W

    Elwood, that would be fantastic in my opinion. The tradeoff is phased out limits on tax expenditures in exchange for lower marginal tax rates for everybody. People with comparable gross incomes should pay comparable income taxes, which is definitely not the case with all these tax expenditures. Many would pay more. Many would pay less. Overall, a broader tax base with lower marginal rates and less tax-driven distortion in how people spend their money. Canada has no mortgage interest deduction. Yet their rate of home ownership is equal to or greater than the U.S. And they had no housing bubble and meltdown.

  • Elwood

    “cherished tax breaks enjoyed by millions of families — those promoting health insurance, home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings”

    I hope O’bummer pitches that to the millions of families who will lose these deductions.

    This will assure his popularity in Nov. ’12. Republicans will have a field day with this! Can you say President Bachmann?

  • John W

    Re #3

    So, am I to assume you are a champion of higher marginal tax rates, which is what you have to have if you stick with all those “cherished” tax breaks? Every one of the breaks you list makes for horrible economic policy. There was a time when we could deduct credit card and auto loan interest too, thereby encouraging people to take on debt. Those were “cherished” too. Reagan did away with those when he lowered marginal rates. My taxes went up as a result, but, I thought eliminating those breaks was good tax and economic policy. Paul Ryan and Simpson-Bowles are advocates of limiting these breaks, so it would be ironic for voters to hold it against Obama. Wouldn’t be the first time Obama got blamed for embracing Republican ideas, such as mandatory health insurance.

    Having “power saved” to pay off my mortgage, I don’t want to subsidize yours. Having spent several years paying for my own damned health insurance and paying out of pocket for dental and vision, I don’t want to subsidize $25k Cadillac health care benefits at BART.

  • Elwood

    “Republican ideas, such as mandatory health insurance.” ???? Please elaborate.

    Apples? Oranges? Plums? Pomegranates?

    Your post is a regular fruit salad.

  • John W

    Re: #5

    I’ll answer you comment. But it’s all academic now. The debt ceiling talks are off. Hope you enjoyed any recovery you had from the 2008 meltdown. I have. But it’s all going down the drain when the markets open Monday.

    Now about your comments.

    I assume your “fruit salad,” apples and oranges remark pertains to the fact that I brought up the health insurance mandate in a response to your comments about “cherished” tax deductions. I was just trying to point out that Republicans have a habit of backing away from ideas that they have historically supported whenever somebody from the other side embraces those same ideas, as Obama has during the debt ceiling talks. Limiting tax expenditures in exchange for lower marginal tax rates (Reagan, Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan, among others) and the individual insurance mandate are two examples of that. If Obama says the sky is blue, they say it’s orange.

    The idea of an individual health insurance mandate originated with the Heritage Foundation. Google it. When the various Senate and House committees began the discussions on health care reform, before “death panels” got injected into the debate, a number of Senate Republicans, such as Chuck Grassley, were for more of a “market based” approach, but one that would include an individual mandate.

    On taxes, I simply pointed out that you can’t have both low marginal tax rates and all the “cherished” deductions and exemptions. Conservative policy wonks and economists of all stripes have typically favored the former. But you appear to either favor the latter or reject the notion that we can’t have both.

  • Truthclubber

    Boehner (BEAU’-ner) has really painted himself into a really tight box now…

    The same genius (“I know I’m smarter than any colored!”) guy who let his second-in-succession to the White House ranking go to (what there is to) his head is the same rocket scientist who timed his walkout on the debt talks to happen after the US markets closed on Friday, and is now the same panicked rat in a cage trying to come up with a solution in time to beat the Asian markets opening Sunday night.

    Must be taking his economic clues from Hellwoody — they both make the same excremental sense when their mouths open or their writings are shown…

    Note to Johnny (smokin’ like a chimney) Quest: You need to get whatever BS you pass in the House past the likes of Reid in the Senate BEFORE you can laugh as (as Hellwoody calls him) O’bummer vetoes it on his desk.

    Slight problem — those little pesky constitutional requirements can be such a bitch, can’t they?

    But Cantor doesn’t care — the WSJ revealed that he’s short the long-term Treasury market big-time (personally) so he makes a killing even as he kills off the recovery with this economic disaster…

  • Elwood


    Your mother should have spit!

  • Truthclubber

    Witness in full force (via the previous regurgitation of #8, @hellwoody) the current level of intelligence of the Republican Party of California, and for that matter, the Republican Party of these United States of America — on full display for all to see (and vote thereof).

    Judge for yourself on November 6th, 2012, and (as former GOP VP Dan Quayle would say) “don’t forget to vot!”

  • Elwood

    Yo,spitboy! (Liar)

    I’ve been a registered Democrat probably longer than you’ve been alive.

    What an ass you make of yourself. You should not have reneged on your promise never to appear here again.

  • John W

    “Boehner has really painted himself into a really tight box now…”

    Yes, and he’s got the rest of us in that box with him. Asian markets opened. No deal. Goin’ over that cliff, just like Thelma and Louise.

    One is reminded of JFK’s famous caution to leaders of free nations who might be tempted to engage in unholy alliances with the Soviets: “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

    That seems to be the situation with formerly mainstream Republicans who signed stupid pledges and egged on the Tea Party lunatics in order to gain the House majority. Now, the sane conservatives can’t do anything reasonable for fear of being “primaried” out of office.

  • Truthclubber

    I could not agree more with you, John W.

    I smile at the fact that, now that Reid has fashioned a plan that meets all of BEAU’-ner’s requirements (cuts spending more than the debt ceiling is raised, has no revenue adds whatsoever) — BEAU’-ner moves the goalposts he accuses Obama of doing, and says (on FAUX News, no less) that anything other than a two step process (requiring another vote right in the midst of a Presidential election) is “impossible”.

    It’s clear that both BEAU’-ner and McConnell have as their only agenda the defeat of Obama in 2012 — employment can go to hell, the dollar can go to hell,, inflation can go to hell, but as long as Obama’s re-election chances go to hell, it’s “ALL GOOD!”

    BTW, I love that Hellwoody supported Adlai Stevenson as a good Democrat way back when…

  • Truthclubber

    BTW, John W, here’s Eric (I’m short the dollar and you’re NOT!) Cantor’s take on BEAU’-ner’s new demand for multiple votes on the debt ceiling, a demand that (JUST!) magically emerged after Reid created a $2.7T package of cuts to match a $2.7T debt ceiling increase:


    Q: Would you be open to a short-term increase?

    Cantor: I don’t see how multiple votes on a debt ceiling increase can help get us to where we want to go, we want big reforms, we want big spending cuts, and big changes to how this town works. And to me, it is a case of having to make some tough decisions. I am not so sure that if we can’t make the tough decisions now, why we would be making those tough decisions later. Frankly, I put the onus on the President. I have talked about the productive talks I have had with the Vice President. But the President has not seemed willing to engage and say that he is willing to do the tough stuff with us. Again, if you look at what is going on in those meetings, which I am sure you would like, there is some real tough stuff in there. Big numbers, big changes to popular programs, but frankly, the right medicine we need to try will begin to bend the curve back towards not having to spend money we don’t have. So I don’t see how multiple votes are going to help us towards that end. And I have said all along, as you know, that it is my preference that we do this thing one time, again, based on the notion that we have to make some tough decisions. Putting off tough decisions is not what people want in this town.

  • John W

    Obama and the Dems could offer to repeal health care reform, eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy, eliminate the EPA and FDA, adopt Ryan’s Medicare plan and reduce Social Security by half; and the Republicans would still come up with a reason to say no.

    Boehner is now back to talking about “Cut, Cap and Balance.” Or as I like to call it, “Gut, Zap and Ruin.” Not just any old balanced budget amendment, but one that would require a California-style two-thirds vote to change even the tiniest, most idiodic loophole in the tax code, unless it’s an outright tax cut.

  • Elwood

    Isn’t that nice!

    John W and toothsucker find true love on the CCTimes forum.

    I’m disappointed in John W.

    I thought for a time that he had regained some measure of sanity. As for toothsucker, his insanity is apparent. And of course he’s a liar, reneging on his promise to leave this forum forever.

  • Truthclubber

    This is just classic troll behavior from someone who has such whopping lies about his so-called “Democratic roots” — and I now formally declare Hellwoody to a member in good standing of the GOP’s version of the “50 cent party” (you can look it up on Google or just click it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party).

    He has no interest in honestly “attacking the message” (with something cogent of his own), only “attacking the messenger” with personal slurs, baseless innuendos and inane ad hominems — juvenile “middle school debate club” sort of stuff that befits his stunted IQ.

    I do soooooooooo love getting under his skin, though — kinda miss the little fascist when he hasn’t dropped a “troll bomb” (it’s like virtual BS — the kind you find in a field of cows) for a while…

    Hey, Hellwoody — how are your fascist buddies at FAUX News hangin’ these days?

  • John W

    I’ll find agreement with almost anyone from time to time, Elwood; even you!

    At the moment, the “insanity” I see is in D.C. Nothing I’ve seen on the news today changes my view that (a) the Republicans won’t say “yes” to anything, even an all cuts, no taxes deal on the debt ceiling; and (b) the Congressional Tea Party caucus actually wants us to drive off the cliff. Apparently, they think the Dems will be blamed for the devastation and that the chaos will pave the way for them to blow up everything they don’t like about government.

  • Truthclubber

    I see absolutely nothing in the atmospherics hovering over DC that is going to prevent a train going off that cliff come August 2nd — a technical default — since BEAU’-ner desperately wants Obama’s chances of re-election to go down with that train.

    When that happens, and Geithner has to pick and choose which bills get paid going forward, a lot of this is going to happen across Congressional Districts all over Tea Party land, once the AARP gets organized:


    Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., said his office is getting calls from constituents saying, “If I don’t get my Social Security check, it’s your fault.”

  • Elwood

    @ #18 et al:


    Your mama should have spit!

  • Truthclubber

    I sooooooo love getting under this Rush Limpwrist dittohead troll’s skin — he is soooooooo predictable and so thin-skinned with soooooooo many buttons to push!

    Yo, yo, fascist boyya — how’s that “we gonna default the country!” thing hanging for you now, eh, Hellwoody?

    Note to Hellwoody: No one is coming to your defense — because they are too busy ROTFLTAO!

    I see T-shirts being printed right now with an image of the local GOPer Congressperson’s picture and name below their image, and above the image is:


    And below the image (and name) is:

    HIS (or HER) FAULT!

    Or as the kid in the movies said…

    “I see dead people.”

  • John W

    I heard a caller to a radio talk show say he hoped we would default, so that interest rates would go up, so that he could get higher bank interest on his savings. Of course, he’s assuming that things don’t crash so badly that there’s a run on the banks, and FDIC won’t be able to deliver on it’s deposit insurance.

  • Elwood

    @ toothsucker

    See #19

    Your insanity screams from your every post.

    I would hate to be you.

    Have you ever considered getting a life?

    For the sake of your own mental health you should have kept your promise to leave here and never return.

  • Truthclubber

    This is just (more) classic troll behavior from someone who has such whopping lies about his so-called “Democratic roots” — and I now formally declare Hellwoody to be a member in good standing of the GOP’s version of the “50 cent party” (you can look it up on Google or just click it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party).

    He has no interest in honestly “attacking the message” (with something cogent of his own), only “attacking the messenger” with personal slurs, baseless innuendos and inane ad hominems — juvenile “middle school debate club” sort of stuff that befits his stunted IQ.

    I do soooooooooo love getting under his skin, though — kinda miss the little fascist when he hasn’t dropped a “troll bomb” (it’s like virtual BS — the kind you find in a field of cows) for a while…

    Hey, Hellwoody — how are your fascist buddies at FAUX News hangin’ these days?

  • Elwood

    @ toothsucker

    Now you’re reposting your insane posts?

    As Albert Einstein said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.

    Thank you for proving my point.

  • RR, senile columnist

    Way too soon to call next yr’s election. Obama is in trouble but the debt issue is more an indictment of Congress than a reflection of his shortcomings. Truthy, stop calling Elwood names.

  • John W

    The Repubs have rolled the prez and Dems on the debt ceiling. When you’re willing to take the country over the cliff and blow up the economy rather than compromise, you pretty much have all the leverage. This situation reminds me of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember how worried my parents were, and the whole country and world for that matter, just hoping that somehow sanity would prevail between Moscow and Washington. We dodged a nuke then. Will we dodge an economic nuke this time?

  • Elwood

    There must be something wrong with my panic button. I just don’t believe that not raising the debt ceiling would be the end of the world as we know it. And neither do the markets apparently. The Dow is down somewhat but certainly nowhere near a panic or even a really strong selloff.

    Could all the alarums and excursions simply be dimmiecrat propaganda?

    And another thing: all the previous raises of the debt ceiling signed by O’bummer were shorter than the one he wants now. What he really wants is to get his pathetic rear end re-elected.

  • John W

    Re #27

    Markets are only moderately reacting, because the conventional wisdom is that there will be a last minute deal before Tuesday. I don’t share that confidence. No deal means debt downgrade, means higher rates for government debt and all business and consumer interest rates. That means higher deficits due to higher government interest cost. With 300 billion in payment obligations and 170 billion in receipts in August and subsequent months, somebody won’t get paid (lots of somebodies). That will slow slow down the economy and create more unemployment, which creates even bigger deficits. Nothing mysterious about it.

    As for Obama, of course he doesn’t want to deal with yet another debt ceiling crisis from now through the elections. Nor does the public. But, apart from all that, further uncertainty is bad for the economy and may lead to a debt downgrade (because of the continued uncertainty), even if we raise the debt ceiling by 8/2. Don’t see how all that is good for anybody, not even the Repubs.

  • Elwood
  • Truthclubber

    Hellwoody (the GOP 50 cent party patsy fascist troll) wants some video — here’s yer video for ya!


    Remember yer history or be a dumb@$$ and repeat it!

  • Elwood


    Liar! You reneged on your promise to leave here and never return! That and your insane rants about the health of Ellen Tauscher destroyed your credibility for all time.

    I never knew that a debt ceiling crisis caused the crash of ’08. Which incidentally was backfilled long ago. Silly me, I thought it was caused by the government telling lenders that ability to repay would no longer be a criterion for lending. Especially for the melanin enhanced.