Portal

  • Environmentalists Sue to Block State’s Rosy Fracking Report

    Friday, July 31, 2015
    The Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint Thursday asking the Sacramento County Superior Court to kill the EIR’s certification and stop the state from handing out well-stimulation permits based on it. “We had a promise from the Legislature that we’d have a real scientific review and a real report, and they’d make a decision based on science, and that didn’t happen,” the Center’s Climate Law Institute Director Kassie Siegel told ThinkProgress.   read more
  • One in 10 Enrollees at Unaccredited California Law Schools Graduates

    Friday, July 31, 2015
    Just one in 10 enrollees graduates. Only one in five of the graduates passes the state Bar exam and earns an opportunity to compete for a job in the totally over-saturated legal job market. This is overwhelmingly a California story. The state is home to most of the nation’s unaccredited law schools because California is one of the few states that lets people take the bar exam without graduating from an accredited school.   read more
  • 38% of Californians, Mostly Republicans, Deny Climate Change Affects the State

    Friday, July 31, 2015
    Just 37% of Republicans in the state believe the effects of global warming are being felt, compared to 73% of Democrats and 65% of independents. Thirty-one percent of Republicans said the effects will never be felt. Only 26% of Republicans think the threat is very serious.The skepticism mirrors national ideological and political splits over perceptions of climate change.   read more
  • Water Agencies Don't (Want to) Know How Much Their Pipes Leak

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    The state does not require water agencies to report leaks and, consequently, not a lot do. The survey found that six out of 10 retailers combined leaks with unbilled or unauthorized water use in accounting for missing water. The four retailers that do measure leaks separately reported numbers three times better than the world champion of leak stoppers: Israel.   read more
  • Oakland’s Garbage Contract Trashes the Environment and Small Users

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    The higher compost fees are a mighty encouragement to restaurants and stores to chuck their compostable food products in the bin headed for the landfill. According to East Bay Express, that prompted Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan to blast out emails a couple weeks ago to city officials claiming, “We did NOT approve charging more for composting than for trash. . . . This is NOT in compliance with the Council's approval.” Indications are she is wrong.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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

Top Stories

  • The Kids Are Not Alright in California

    Friday, July 24, 2015
    Based on data from 2013, the latest available, the report ranked the state 14th in Health, 38th in Education and 42nd in Family and Community to go with its 49th place in Economic Well-Being. California is no stranger to income inequality, but it does have the eighth-largest economy on the planet. How can so many kids be in financially-strapped homes? The answer starts with the cost of that housing.   read more
  • If the State Ever OKs Recreational Pot, It Has a Blue Ribbon Report to Guide It

    Thursday, July 23, 2015
    The authors want the state to pursue a highly-regulated marketplace built to reduce, if not eliminate, the competing illegal pot industry without actually trying too hard to produce and deliver its own product. The report warns against “lowering the price of marijuana for recreational users, creating and promoting the largest industry possible or raising the maximum amount of tax revenue.”   read more
  • Someone Finally Looked: One-Fifth of California Groundwater Is Tainted

    Friday, July 17, 2015
    One-fifth of the 11,000 wells tested turned up high levels of man-made and naturally occurring contaminants that are especially troublesome when not treated at relatively small venues. The researchers said they studied data from 99% of the state’s public water systems. Around 8.9% of Californians rely on groundwater to drink, but nine out of 10 public water systems use it to some extent.   read more

Controversies

  • Petition Drive Aims to Turn the Showers Back on at the Beach

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    “This draconian measure will likely cause 100 million extra gallons of water to be wasted because many of the 15 million annual park visitors who had previously taken short beach showers will now go home to take much longer showers,” petition author Jonathan Greenberg argues. He says the average shower at the beach is an icy quick rinse using 1.2 gallons of water, while the more leisurely warm shower at home consumes 17 gallons.   read more
  • Everyone May Lose in UC-USC Battle over Alzheimer’s Study

    Monday, July 27, 2015
    San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes settled the dispute between the two universities, ruling in a lawsuit brought by UC that it would get the database that includes information from dozens of clinical trials across the country. Dr. Paul Aisen left UC San Diego in June to establish a rival Alzheimer’s program at USC, taking the project's database and a claim on $100 million in government funding with him.   read more
  • Prisoner Early-Release Program Accused of Discriminating against Men

    Friday, July 24, 2015
    “It is hard to believe that in 2015 the State of California is operating a facially discriminatory program that perpetuates the outdated stereotype that only women can be caregivers," said attorney Grunfeld. "Our clients meet the stringent criteria of this program except for their gender. The Governor and CDCR should stop defending their discriminatory law and let qualified men participate in the ACP. Defendants’ policies de-legitimize the role that men play in their families."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Boston’s Exit from 2024 Olympics Picture Puts L.A. in the Frame

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    The sticking point appeared to be money. The committee wanted a commitment in writing from Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh that cost overruns would be covered by public funds, a commitment his constituents did not want him to make. After months of public finger pointing, behind the scenes negotiations and reminders by Olympic officials that folks on the West Coast were eager to host the games, the end was acrimonious.   read more
  • Edison Wants $7.6 Billion from Mitsubishi for San Onofre

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    Mitsubishi manufactured the vibrating steam generators and hundreds of tubes that leaked a small amount of radioactive steam shortly after installation. For its part, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries claims the most it could owe is $137 million and said in a statement, “The allegations and demands made by those parties disregard the history of the contract negotiations and performance and are factually incorrect, legally unsound, and inappropriate.”   read more
  • California (and Just About Every State) Gets an “F” in Health Care Transparency

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    “You will find little progress since last year and, in some cases, regression,” the authors of the report warned in the intro. Availability of information on a website is one-third of a state’s grade. The other two-thirds involve a complex review of laws and regulations that states pass facilitating and compelling transparency of health pricing information. The report also analyzes how effectively the laws are applied.   read more

California and the Nation

  • California Urban Roads Are Still the Worst and Cost Motorists Even More

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    TRIP deems 74% of major urban roads in the San Francisco-Oakland area to be “poor.” That’s the worst large metropolitan area in the nation, followed closely by Los Angeles-Long Beach (73%) and Concord (62%) in the Bay Area. The report calculated that the lousy S.F.-Oakland roads cost an average driver $1,044 per year. Two years before, 56% of the roads were rated poor and cost drivers $782.   read more
  • L.A. Closes State Ammo Loophole, Bans Large-Capacity Magazines

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    Before Tuesday, people in Los Angeles were barred by California law from manufacturing, selling, distributing or bringing into the state the kind of large-capacity gun magazines used in recent mass shootings. But they could possess them. Not anymore. The city council voted 12-0 to join San Francisco and Sunnyvale and close the loophole.   read more
  • Kamala Harris to Investigate Group’s Video Sting of Planned Parenthood

    Monday, July 27, 2015
    Two activists posing as biotech representatives secretly recorded a meeting with a Planned Parenthood executive about the system that facilitates research on fetal tissue and edited it into two videos, released a week apart, to sound like her agency sells fetal parts for profit.That’s illegal and, in this case, not true. California also has an Invasion of Privacy Act and it is generally against the law to record someone without their knowledge.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery: Who Is Scott Smithline?

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015
    Smithline is an environmental lawyer who has split his time between the private and public sectors.Governor Jerry Brown appointed him this month to replace Caroll Mortensen, who was director since October 2011. Mortensen is now senior environmental specialist in CalRecycle’s Legislative and External Affairs Office, agency spokesperson Mark Oldfield told Resource Recycling.   read more
  • Housing Agency Head, Blasted for Evicting Tenants, Won’t Stick Around

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    The evictions by Jacobs became a hot topic about two months ago when consumer and renter advocacy groups, like Tenants Together (TT), started using him as the poster child for the state’s insincerity about affordable housing issues. The agency he heads, CalHFA, provides financial assistance for poor and working-class first-time home buyers and participates in the rental market through loans to developers building multifamily housing.   read more
  • Director of the California Department of Conservation: Who is David Bunn?

    Friday, June 19, 2015
    David Bunn has worked in the private sector, the state Legislature, the executive branch and academia. He has participated in village poultry health and extension projects in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nepal since 2006. Bunn was a co-leader of the Global Livestock CRSP and USAID Flu School Program. He conducted avian flu workshops in eight African countries for health and agriculture ministry professionals.   read more

Unusual News

  • 1,200 Weapons Is a Lot, Even for an Alien-Human Hybrid Secret Agent

    Friday, July 24, 2015
    Jeffrey Lash told people he was some sort of secret agent, under surveillance by U.S. agencies. He shared an over-stuffed 2,000-square-foot condo with his fiancée, whose name is on the lease. Every room was crammed with guns, ammo, chemicals and stuff that had to be removed by a Hazardous Materials Unit (Hazmat). It was valued at between $500,000 and $1 million.   read more
  • Homeless Woman Faces Life in Prison for Picking up a Police Baton

    Thursday, July 23, 2015
    Carey’s encounter with the police was caught on a surveillance camera at Union Rescue Mission and someone’s cellphone and went viral, but she received little attention at the time because she was not the focal point. All eyes were on Cameroonian immigrant Charly Keunang and his struggle with police, during which the homeless man allegedly pulled a gun from an officer’s holster and was promptly shot to death.   read more
  • Oh, What a California It Will Be When These Initiatives Succeed

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    Many people have heard that California will most likely be considering some form of legalized recreational marijuana initiative on the November 2016 ballot. But the state’s secretary of state has cleared 28 other prospective ballot initiatives for circulation and the gathering of qualifying signatures. This would be a very different state if they passed.   read more
  • Environmentalists Sue to Block State’s Rosy Fracking Report

    Friday, July 31, 2015
    The Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint Thursday asking the Sacramento County Superior Court to kill the EIR’s certification and stop the state from handing out well-stimulation permits based on it. “We had a promise from the Legislature that we’d have a real scientific review and a real report, and they’d make a decision based on science, and that didn’t happen,” the Center’s Climate Law Institute Director Kassie Siegel told ThinkProgress.   read more
  • One in 10 Enrollees at Unaccredited California Law Schools Graduates

    Friday, July 31, 2015
    Just one in 10 enrollees graduates. Only one in five of the graduates passes the state Bar exam and earns an opportunity to compete for a job in the totally over-saturated legal job market. This is overwhelmingly a California story. The state is home to most of the nation’s unaccredited law schools because California is one of the few states that lets people take the bar exam without graduating from an accredited school.   read more
  • 38% of Californians, Mostly Republicans, Deny Climate Change Affects the State

    Friday, July 31, 2015
    Just 37% of Republicans in the state believe the effects of global warming are being felt, compared to 73% of Democrats and 65% of independents. Thirty-one percent of Republicans said the effects will never be felt. Only 26% of Republicans think the threat is very serious.The skepticism mirrors national ideological and political splits over perceptions of climate change.   read more
  • Water Agencies Don't (Want to) Know How Much Their Pipes Leak

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    The state does not require water agencies to report leaks and, consequently, not a lot do. The survey found that six out of 10 retailers combined leaks with unbilled or unauthorized water use in accounting for missing water. The four retailers that do measure leaks separately reported numbers three times better than the world champion of leak stoppers: Israel.   read more
  • Oakland’s Garbage Contract Trashes the Environment and Small Users

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    The higher compost fees are a mighty encouragement to restaurants and stores to chuck their compostable food products in the bin headed for the landfill. According to East Bay Express, that prompted Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan to blast out emails a couple weeks ago to city officials claiming, “We did NOT approve charging more for composting than for trash. . . . This is NOT in compliance with the Council's approval.” Indications are she is wrong.   read more

Top Stories

  • The Kids Are Not Alright in California

    Friday, July 24, 2015
    Based on data from 2013, the latest available, the report ranked the state 14th in Health, 38th in Education and 42nd in Family and Community to go with its 49th place in Economic Well-Being. California is no stranger to income inequality, but it does have the eighth-largest economy on the planet. How can so many kids be in financially-strapped homes? The answer starts with the cost of that housing.   read more
  • If the State Ever OKs Recreational Pot, It Has a Blue Ribbon Report to Guide It

    Thursday, July 23, 2015
    The authors want the state to pursue a highly-regulated marketplace built to reduce, if not eliminate, the competing illegal pot industry without actually trying too hard to produce and deliver its own product. The report warns against “lowering the price of marijuana for recreational users, creating and promoting the largest industry possible or raising the maximum amount of tax revenue.”   read more
  • Someone Finally Looked: One-Fifth of California Groundwater Is Tainted

    Friday, July 17, 2015
    One-fifth of the 11,000 wells tested turned up high levels of man-made and naturally occurring contaminants that are especially troublesome when not treated at relatively small venues. The researchers said they studied data from 99% of the state’s public water systems. Around 8.9% of Californians rely on groundwater to drink, but nine out of 10 public water systems use it to some extent.   read more

Controversies

  • Petition Drive Aims to Turn the Showers Back on at the Beach

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    “This draconian measure will likely cause 100 million extra gallons of water to be wasted because many of the 15 million annual park visitors who had previously taken short beach showers will now go home to take much longer showers,” petition author Jonathan Greenberg argues. He says the average shower at the beach is an icy quick rinse using 1.2 gallons of water, while the more leisurely warm shower at home consumes 17 gallons.   read more
  • Everyone May Lose in UC-USC Battle over Alzheimer’s Study

    Monday, July 27, 2015
    San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes settled the dispute between the two universities, ruling in a lawsuit brought by UC that it would get the database that includes information from dozens of clinical trials across the country. Dr. Paul Aisen left UC San Diego in June to establish a rival Alzheimer’s program at USC, taking the project's database and a claim on $100 million in government funding with him.   read more
  • Prisoner Early-Release Program Accused of Discriminating against Men

    Friday, July 24, 2015
    “It is hard to believe that in 2015 the State of California is operating a facially discriminatory program that perpetuates the outdated stereotype that only women can be caregivers," said attorney Grunfeld. "Our clients meet the stringent criteria of this program except for their gender. The Governor and CDCR should stop defending their discriminatory law and let qualified men participate in the ACP. Defendants’ policies de-legitimize the role that men play in their families."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Boston’s Exit from 2024 Olympics Picture Puts L.A. in the Frame

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    The sticking point appeared to be money. The committee wanted a commitment in writing from Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh that cost overruns would be covered by public funds, a commitment his constituents did not want him to make. After months of public finger pointing, behind the scenes negotiations and reminders by Olympic officials that folks on the West Coast were eager to host the games, the end was acrimonious.   read more
  • Edison Wants $7.6 Billion from Mitsubishi for San Onofre

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    Mitsubishi manufactured the vibrating steam generators and hundreds of tubes that leaked a small amount of radioactive steam shortly after installation. For its part, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries claims the most it could owe is $137 million and said in a statement, “The allegations and demands made by those parties disregard the history of the contract negotiations and performance and are factually incorrect, legally unsound, and inappropriate.”   read more
  • California (and Just About Every State) Gets an “F” in Health Care Transparency

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    “You will find little progress since last year and, in some cases, regression,” the authors of the report warned in the intro. Availability of information on a website is one-third of a state’s grade. The other two-thirds involve a complex review of laws and regulations that states pass facilitating and compelling transparency of health pricing information. The report also analyzes how effectively the laws are applied.   read more

California and the Nation

  • California Urban Roads Are Still the Worst and Cost Motorists Even More

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    TRIP deems 74% of major urban roads in the San Francisco-Oakland area to be “poor.” That’s the worst large metropolitan area in the nation, followed closely by Los Angeles-Long Beach (73%) and Concord (62%) in the Bay Area. The report calculated that the lousy S.F.-Oakland roads cost an average driver $1,044 per year. Two years before, 56% of the roads were rated poor and cost drivers $782.   read more
  • L.A. Closes State Ammo Loophole, Bans Large-Capacity Magazines

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    Before Tuesday, people in Los Angeles were barred by California law from manufacturing, selling, distributing or bringing into the state the kind of large-capacity gun magazines used in recent mass shootings. But they could possess them. Not anymore. The city council voted 12-0 to join San Francisco and Sunnyvale and close the loophole.   read more
  • Kamala Harris to Investigate Group’s Video Sting of Planned Parenthood

    Monday, July 27, 2015
    Two activists posing as biotech representatives secretly recorded a meeting with a Planned Parenthood executive about the system that facilitates research on fetal tissue and edited it into two videos, released a week apart, to sound like her agency sells fetal parts for profit.That’s illegal and, in this case, not true. California also has an Invasion of Privacy Act and it is generally against the law to record someone without their knowledge.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery: Who Is Scott Smithline?

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015
    Smithline is an environmental lawyer who has split his time between the private and public sectors.Governor Jerry Brown appointed him this month to replace Caroll Mortensen, who was director since October 2011. Mortensen is now senior environmental specialist in CalRecycle’s Legislative and External Affairs Office, agency spokesperson Mark Oldfield told Resource Recycling.   read more
  • Housing Agency Head, Blasted for Evicting Tenants, Won’t Stick Around

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    The evictions by Jacobs became a hot topic about two months ago when consumer and renter advocacy groups, like Tenants Together (TT), started using him as the poster child for the state’s insincerity about affordable housing issues. The agency he heads, CalHFA, provides financial assistance for poor and working-class first-time home buyers and participates in the rental market through loans to developers building multifamily housing.   read more
  • Director of the California Department of Conservation: Who is David Bunn?

    Friday, June 19, 2015
    David Bunn has worked in the private sector, the state Legislature, the executive branch and academia. He has participated in village poultry health and extension projects in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nepal since 2006. Bunn was a co-leader of the Global Livestock CRSP and USAID Flu School Program. He conducted avian flu workshops in eight African countries for health and agriculture ministry professionals.   read more

Unusual News

  • 1,200 Weapons Is a Lot, Even for an Alien-Human Hybrid Secret Agent

    Friday, July 24, 2015
    Jeffrey Lash told people he was some sort of secret agent, under surveillance by U.S. agencies. He shared an over-stuffed 2,000-square-foot condo with his fiancée, whose name is on the lease. Every room was crammed with guns, ammo, chemicals and stuff that had to be removed by a Hazardous Materials Unit (Hazmat). It was valued at between $500,000 and $1 million.   read more
  • Homeless Woman Faces Life in Prison for Picking up a Police Baton

    Thursday, July 23, 2015
    Carey’s encounter with the police was caught on a surveillance camera at Union Rescue Mission and someone’s cellphone and went viral, but she received little attention at the time because she was not the focal point. All eyes were on Cameroonian immigrant Charly Keunang and his struggle with police, during which the homeless man allegedly pulled a gun from an officer’s holster and was promptly shot to death.   read more
  • Oh, What a California It Will Be When These Initiatives Succeed

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    Many people have heard that California will most likely be considering some form of legalized recreational marijuana initiative on the November 2016 ballot. But the state’s secretary of state has cleared 28 other prospective ballot initiatives for circulation and the gathering of qualifying signatures. This would be a very different state if they passed.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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