Portal

  • California Targets Methane-Producing Farm Animals in Global Warming Fight

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm. The nation's leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock. Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure. Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.   read more
  • Trump Win Gives Big Boost to Campaign for California to Secede from Union

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016
    As election results rolled in, its Facebook contacts grew to 15,000 plus 3,000 emails and endless tweets. "It would frankly be better off if we were our own nation," said group VP Evans, calling Trump's election further evidence that America is a sinking ship. "Our ship can sail on its own." To the north, in Portland, Oregon, two residents filed a separate petition for a 2018 ballot initiative for Oregon to secede.   read more
  • California’s African Americans Far More Likely than Whites to Be Arrested on Felony Charges

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016
    In 2015, for felonies involving narcotics, black men were six times as likely as white men to be arrested, and black women were 2.9 times as likely as white women. Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement, the data show ``pervasive inequalities in our criminal justice system. ... We must continue the national dialogue about criminal justice reform and promote the American idea that we are all equal under the law.''   read more
  • Pentagon Orders 10,000 California National Guard Soldiers to Repay Bonuses a Decade after Serving in Middle East

    Tuesday, October 25, 2016
    Nearly 10,000 soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Faced with a shortage of troops, California Guard officials offered bonuses of $15,000 or more for soldiers to reenlist. The Pentagon demanded the money back after audits revealed overpayments by the Guard under pressure to fill ranks and hit enlistment goals. If soldiers refuse, they could face interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens.   read more
  • Media Groups Still Wary of Potential Impact on Journalists from California Law Criminalizing Undercover Videos

    Tuesday, October 04, 2016
    Californians caught secretly recording private conversations with a health care provider could be incarcerated for up to a year under AB 1671. Originally, the bill ran into fierce opposition from the ACLU and media lobbyists. They warned that journalists distributing the footage by reporting on it could be prosecuted. Changes exempted journalists from criminal prosecution, but since it creates a new crime, journalists and media groups could still be sued for reporting future undercover videos.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Hollywood Park's Final Race Click the photo for larger view Hollywood Park's Final Race

Top Stories

  • State Orders Law Enforcement to Track Use of Force With Online Tool

    Thursday, September 22, 2016
    All 800 police departments in California must begin using a new online tool launched Thursday to report and help track every time officers use force that causes serious injuries. The tool, named URSUS for the bear on California’s flag, includes fields for the race of those injured and the officers involved, how their interaction began and why force was deemed necessary.   read more
  • California Becomes First State in Nation to Allow Overtime Pay for Farm Workers

    Tuesday, September 13, 2016
    Beginning in the 1960s, Chavez brought laborers together and formed the United Farm Workers in California's Central Valley. He used the rallying cry "si se puede," or "yes we can," and became a celebrated civil rights leader, particularly among Latinos. Brown signed the historic bill granting farm workers the right to unionize when he was governor in 1975. He has declined to comment on the overtime legislation all year and declined again Monday.   read more
  • California Enacts Nation’s Toughest Climate Law

    Monday, September 12, 2016
    No other state has enacted such deep emission cuts into law. The legislation goes well beyond the reductions required by California's landmark 2006 global warming law. The state's emissions have fallen 9.5% since peaking in 2004, and analysts now consider the 2020 goal well within reach. ``Here we are, 10 years later, emissions have gone down and the economy has gone up,'' said state Sen. Fran Pavley, who wrote the new law. ``It's a success story.''   read more

Controversies

  • Judge Bars L.A. County From Restoring Cross to Seal

    Sunday, April 10, 2016
    U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder sided with seven religious leaders in granting their motion for permanent injunction in her long-anticipated 55-page order keeping the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from restoring a cross to the county seal. The lawsuit came after a 3-2 vote by the supervisors in January 2014 to include an image of a cross on the county seal. The cross would have been placed atop a depiction of the San Gabriel Mission featured in the center-right side of the seal.   read more
  • Kings County Says High Speed Rail Promises “Insane”

    Saturday, February 13, 2016
    Representing Kings County and a group of farmers, attorney Stuart Flashman dogged the California High Speed Rail Authority for proposing major changes to the train’s operating system and for attempting to use bond money without going back to California voters for approval. Flashman repeatedly disagreed with the authority’s cost and ridership estimates, calling the studies “insane” while questioning the viability of the mammoth public works project.   read more
  • Paralyzed Man—Shot in the Back by San Jose Cop—Awarded Record $11.3 Million

    Wednesday, December 23, 2015
    The award in the civil rights lawsuit is more than double San Jose’s previous largest payout. Lam has been a wheelchair-bound paraplegic since being shot in January 2014 during a domestic dispute at home with his boyfriend. Someone called the police and reported a man was acting as if he were having a mental breakdown. Lam was standing with a knife pointed at his own stomach and no one else around when an officer shot him in the back twice.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Water Agency Gave $1.4 Million Loan to Executive to Buy House

    Friday, June 10, 2016
    Westlands Water District says its 2007 loan to deputy general manager Jason Peltier — now at $1.57 million with a 0.84% annual interest rate — is allowed under agency rules on salary. But experts in governance say the deal raises red flags, not just over the unpaid loan and its generous terms but over whether Peltier and Westlands complied with laws mandating disclosure of the use of public funds.   read more
  • Labor Board Tells San Diego Pension Cuts Were Illegal; Could Cost $100 Million

    Thursday, December 31, 2015
    The state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) said the city should have talked to unions first before ripping up their contracts at the ballot box. Prop. B substituted a 401(k) for a pension for most new city hires, excluding police officers. Those public safety workers still get a pension, but it will max out at 80% of the individual’s salary, not the current 90%.   read more
  • State Tells L.A. Port Firm It Can't Pretend Driver Employees Are Contractors

    Monday, December 28, 2015
    Commissioner Julie Su awarded the short-haul drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation $6.9 million in a case that could have ramifications for hundreds of other drivers in similar situations. They do the work of employees, under the direction of the company, but don’t receive benefits, aren’t covered by overtime laws, have to pay both employee and employer ends of withholding taxes, aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance, and lack job security.   read more

California and the Nation

  • California's Marijuana Regulator Admits She Doesn't Know How it Affects People or "What it Does"

    Monday, April 11, 2016
    California’s medical marijuana czar says she believes there’s a need for weed, although she’s never smoked pot herself. “Unlike regulating alcohol, I’m not a user of marijuana, so I am not familiar with how that affects people or what it does,” Lori Ajax said. “But from the outreach I’ve done since I got here, it appears there is a medical need, and I’m tasked with doing this, and I’m going to do it.”   read more
  • California Still Ships Troubled Kids Out of State

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    ProPublica estimated that at least 900 youthful miscreants were stashed outside California in 2015, mostly in Utah. Local school districts provided the most kids, 600. County probation departments accounted for around 235 and child welfare agencies supplied another 52. ProPublica saw “signs that California has a limited ability to guarantee the health and welfare of the children it sends beyond its borders.”   read more
  • Disneyland-Bound Muslim Family of 11 Barred at London Airport Gate

    Thursday, December 24, 2015
    No story of the family’s plight failed to mention Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Stella Creasy, a Labor Party member in the British Parliament, told NPR, “U.K. Muslims believe they are ‘being Trumped,’ ” referring to his declaration a couple weeks ago that if elected President he would, at least temporarily, stop all entry of Muslims into the country.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation : Who Is Scott Kernan?

    Wednesday, December 30, 2015
    Kernan grew up in San Quentin. His mother worked at the prison in his youth, and he spent around 10 of his formative years living on the grounds. He started out as a guard, worked his way up to warden and then joined the insiders running the department during tumultuous times. He was the Number 2 guy when he retired and became a consultant four years ago. Now he's back.   read more
  • Influential Assemblyman Quitting to Join Pharmaceutical Lobbyists

    Friday, December 25, 2015
    Fresno Democrat Perea, 38, will be a senior director of state advocacy for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). That didn’t come as a huge shock to the Sacramento Bee, which noted when Perea announced his impending resignation that he was one of the top beneficiaries of Big Pharma contributions in 2013 and 2014 and a possible candidate for a job there.   read more
  • California’s Chief Oil and Gas Regulator Resigns

    Thursday, December 03, 2015
    Bohlen told the Chronicle the agency had “turned a corner” and the “future looks very bright.” Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, did not agree. He said in a statement that DOGGR was still “far too close to the industry it is supposed to regulate. . . . The next supervisor must address Californians’ concerns about water contamination and safety risks from drilling and fracking.”   read more

Unusual News

  • Assembly Rejects John Wayne Day Proposal Because of Racist Comments by “Duke”

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    The state Assembly defeated the official ode to John Wayne on Thursday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities and his support for the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee and John Birch Society. Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach sought to declare May 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to mark the day the actor was born.   read more
  • Can We Make Lawmakers Wear Donor Logos like NASCAR Ads?

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    Republican Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist/real estate mogul John Cox has proposed a ballot initiative for November 2016, California Is Not for Sale, which would require lawmakers to wear logos of their Top 10 contributors and include them on any advertising. The initiative is a response to the growing role of money in politics unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.   read more
  • Coercive or Punitive? Orange County Man Jailed 5 Years for Contempt of Court

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015
    The court ordered Nazarzai to account for all his assets and Nazarzai said he had $370,540 at an unidentified location. He was ordered to produce it by July 2, 2010, but did not. Instead, he offered a fanciful story of how the money came to be missing. The judge wrote: "I find beyond a reasonable doubt that the cash was not in the car and never was placed into it for delivery.” Nazarzai was found to be in contempt of court.   read more
  • California Targets Methane-Producing Farm Animals in Global Warming Fight

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm. The nation's leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock. Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure. Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.   read more
  • Trump Win Gives Big Boost to Campaign for California to Secede from Union

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016
    As election results rolled in, its Facebook contacts grew to 15,000 plus 3,000 emails and endless tweets. "It would frankly be better off if we were our own nation," said group VP Evans, calling Trump's election further evidence that America is a sinking ship. "Our ship can sail on its own." To the north, in Portland, Oregon, two residents filed a separate petition for a 2018 ballot initiative for Oregon to secede.   read more
  • California’s African Americans Far More Likely than Whites to Be Arrested on Felony Charges

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016
    In 2015, for felonies involving narcotics, black men were six times as likely as white men to be arrested, and black women were 2.9 times as likely as white women. Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement, the data show ``pervasive inequalities in our criminal justice system. ... We must continue the national dialogue about criminal justice reform and promote the American idea that we are all equal under the law.''   read more
  • Pentagon Orders 10,000 California National Guard Soldiers to Repay Bonuses a Decade after Serving in Middle East

    Tuesday, October 25, 2016
    Nearly 10,000 soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Faced with a shortage of troops, California Guard officials offered bonuses of $15,000 or more for soldiers to reenlist. The Pentagon demanded the money back after audits revealed overpayments by the Guard under pressure to fill ranks and hit enlistment goals. If soldiers refuse, they could face interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens.   read more
  • Media Groups Still Wary of Potential Impact on Journalists from California Law Criminalizing Undercover Videos

    Tuesday, October 04, 2016
    Californians caught secretly recording private conversations with a health care provider could be incarcerated for up to a year under AB 1671. Originally, the bill ran into fierce opposition from the ACLU and media lobbyists. They warned that journalists distributing the footage by reporting on it could be prosecuted. Changes exempted journalists from criminal prosecution, but since it creates a new crime, journalists and media groups could still be sued for reporting future undercover videos.   read more

Top Stories

  • State Orders Law Enforcement to Track Use of Force With Online Tool

    Thursday, September 22, 2016
    All 800 police departments in California must begin using a new online tool launched Thursday to report and help track every time officers use force that causes serious injuries. The tool, named URSUS for the bear on California’s flag, includes fields for the race of those injured and the officers involved, how their interaction began and why force was deemed necessary.   read more
  • California Becomes First State in Nation to Allow Overtime Pay for Farm Workers

    Tuesday, September 13, 2016
    Beginning in the 1960s, Chavez brought laborers together and formed the United Farm Workers in California's Central Valley. He used the rallying cry "si se puede," or "yes we can," and became a celebrated civil rights leader, particularly among Latinos. Brown signed the historic bill granting farm workers the right to unionize when he was governor in 1975. He has declined to comment on the overtime legislation all year and declined again Monday.   read more
  • California Enacts Nation’s Toughest Climate Law

    Monday, September 12, 2016
    No other state has enacted such deep emission cuts into law. The legislation goes well beyond the reductions required by California's landmark 2006 global warming law. The state's emissions have fallen 9.5% since peaking in 2004, and analysts now consider the 2020 goal well within reach. ``Here we are, 10 years later, emissions have gone down and the economy has gone up,'' said state Sen. Fran Pavley, who wrote the new law. ``It's a success story.''   read more

Controversies

  • Judge Bars L.A. County From Restoring Cross to Seal

    Sunday, April 10, 2016
    U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder sided with seven religious leaders in granting their motion for permanent injunction in her long-anticipated 55-page order keeping the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from restoring a cross to the county seal. The lawsuit came after a 3-2 vote by the supervisors in January 2014 to include an image of a cross on the county seal. The cross would have been placed atop a depiction of the San Gabriel Mission featured in the center-right side of the seal.   read more
  • Kings County Says High Speed Rail Promises “Insane”

    Saturday, February 13, 2016
    Representing Kings County and a group of farmers, attorney Stuart Flashman dogged the California High Speed Rail Authority for proposing major changes to the train’s operating system and for attempting to use bond money without going back to California voters for approval. Flashman repeatedly disagreed with the authority’s cost and ridership estimates, calling the studies “insane” while questioning the viability of the mammoth public works project.   read more
  • Paralyzed Man—Shot in the Back by San Jose Cop—Awarded Record $11.3 Million

    Wednesday, December 23, 2015
    The award in the civil rights lawsuit is more than double San Jose’s previous largest payout. Lam has been a wheelchair-bound paraplegic since being shot in January 2014 during a domestic dispute at home with his boyfriend. Someone called the police and reported a man was acting as if he were having a mental breakdown. Lam was standing with a knife pointed at his own stomach and no one else around when an officer shot him in the back twice.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Water Agency Gave $1.4 Million Loan to Executive to Buy House

    Friday, June 10, 2016
    Westlands Water District says its 2007 loan to deputy general manager Jason Peltier — now at $1.57 million with a 0.84% annual interest rate — is allowed under agency rules on salary. But experts in governance say the deal raises red flags, not just over the unpaid loan and its generous terms but over whether Peltier and Westlands complied with laws mandating disclosure of the use of public funds.   read more
  • Labor Board Tells San Diego Pension Cuts Were Illegal; Could Cost $100 Million

    Thursday, December 31, 2015
    The state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) said the city should have talked to unions first before ripping up their contracts at the ballot box. Prop. B substituted a 401(k) for a pension for most new city hires, excluding police officers. Those public safety workers still get a pension, but it will max out at 80% of the individual’s salary, not the current 90%.   read more
  • State Tells L.A. Port Firm It Can't Pretend Driver Employees Are Contractors

    Monday, December 28, 2015
    Commissioner Julie Su awarded the short-haul drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation $6.9 million in a case that could have ramifications for hundreds of other drivers in similar situations. They do the work of employees, under the direction of the company, but don’t receive benefits, aren’t covered by overtime laws, have to pay both employee and employer ends of withholding taxes, aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance, and lack job security.   read more

California and the Nation

  • California's Marijuana Regulator Admits She Doesn't Know How it Affects People or "What it Does"

    Monday, April 11, 2016
    California’s medical marijuana czar says she believes there’s a need for weed, although she’s never smoked pot herself. “Unlike regulating alcohol, I’m not a user of marijuana, so I am not familiar with how that affects people or what it does,” Lori Ajax said. “But from the outreach I’ve done since I got here, it appears there is a medical need, and I’m tasked with doing this, and I’m going to do it.”   read more
  • California Still Ships Troubled Kids Out of State

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    ProPublica estimated that at least 900 youthful miscreants were stashed outside California in 2015, mostly in Utah. Local school districts provided the most kids, 600. County probation departments accounted for around 235 and child welfare agencies supplied another 52. ProPublica saw “signs that California has a limited ability to guarantee the health and welfare of the children it sends beyond its borders.”   read more
  • Disneyland-Bound Muslim Family of 11 Barred at London Airport Gate

    Thursday, December 24, 2015
    No story of the family’s plight failed to mention Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Stella Creasy, a Labor Party member in the British Parliament, told NPR, “U.K. Muslims believe they are ‘being Trumped,’ ” referring to his declaration a couple weeks ago that if elected President he would, at least temporarily, stop all entry of Muslims into the country.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation : Who Is Scott Kernan?

    Wednesday, December 30, 2015
    Kernan grew up in San Quentin. His mother worked at the prison in his youth, and he spent around 10 of his formative years living on the grounds. He started out as a guard, worked his way up to warden and then joined the insiders running the department during tumultuous times. He was the Number 2 guy when he retired and became a consultant four years ago. Now he's back.   read more
  • Influential Assemblyman Quitting to Join Pharmaceutical Lobbyists

    Friday, December 25, 2015
    Fresno Democrat Perea, 38, will be a senior director of state advocacy for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). That didn’t come as a huge shock to the Sacramento Bee, which noted when Perea announced his impending resignation that he was one of the top beneficiaries of Big Pharma contributions in 2013 and 2014 and a possible candidate for a job there.   read more
  • California’s Chief Oil and Gas Regulator Resigns

    Thursday, December 03, 2015
    Bohlen told the Chronicle the agency had “turned a corner” and the “future looks very bright.” Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, did not agree. He said in a statement that DOGGR was still “far too close to the industry it is supposed to regulate. . . . The next supervisor must address Californians’ concerns about water contamination and safety risks from drilling and fracking.”   read more

Unusual News

  • Assembly Rejects John Wayne Day Proposal Because of Racist Comments by “Duke”

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    The state Assembly defeated the official ode to John Wayne on Thursday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities and his support for the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee and John Birch Society. Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach sought to declare May 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to mark the day the actor was born.   read more
  • Can We Make Lawmakers Wear Donor Logos like NASCAR Ads?

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    Republican Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist/real estate mogul John Cox has proposed a ballot initiative for November 2016, California Is Not for Sale, which would require lawmakers to wear logos of their Top 10 contributors and include them on any advertising. The initiative is a response to the growing role of money in politics unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.   read more
  • Coercive or Punitive? Orange County Man Jailed 5 Years for Contempt of Court

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015
    The court ordered Nazarzai to account for all his assets and Nazarzai said he had $370,540 at an unidentified location. He was ordered to produce it by July 2, 2010, but did not. Instead, he offered a fanciful story of how the money came to be missing. The judge wrote: "I find beyond a reasonable doubt that the cash was not in the car and never was placed into it for delivery.” Nazarzai was found to be in contempt of court.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Hollywood Park's Final Race Click the photo for larger view Hollywood Park's Final Race