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THE NOONER for March 11, 2015
GO AGS: As The Nooner goes out at, well noon, tomorrow, the #1 seed UC Davis Aggies will face off against #8 Cal State Northridge in the Big West men's basketball tournament. The Ags turned in their best performance since moving to D1 ten years ago.
The database problem at LegTrack.com has been fixed. Sorry about that...glitch with the feed from the Leg Data Center.
DROUGHT: Paul Mitchell looks at the landscape under Proposition 28's changes to term limits. It's bad news for political consultants as, after 2016, if the class of Assemblymembers stay put, there will be no Assembly vacancies until 2024!
What the heck am I going to write about? Bad time to make this my quasi-full-time endeavor.
FREEDOM! O.C. Register owners quit: Aaron Kushner, Eric Spitz resign executive duties [Chris Kirkham @ OCR] - "On Tuesday, [Aaron] Kushner and his partner, Eric Spitz, resigned from executive duties at the paper and Freedom Communications Inc. Their bold expansions failed after sharp staff reductions, furloughs and closures of the Los Angeles and Long Beach papers they had launched with great fanfare. Now, several media experts say the financially strapped company is readying itself for a potential sale. "
AD39 (E. San Fernando): Assemblymember Patty Lopez: It's Time to Go [Rosemary Jenkins @ LAProgressive.com] - "Thus, it is for all these reasons that I urge you to resign from office in a timely manner before the possibility of a recall effort is pursued."
UH, DAD, TIME TO MOVE: What's the chance that the 'big one' will hit O.C. in the next 30 years? More than 99 percent, earthquake forecast says [Greg Mellen @ OCR] - "[T]he chance that such a quake [the size of the Northridge quake] will occur in the state in the next 30 years remains a virtual certainty, at above 99 percent. The chance is 93 percent in Southern California and 60 percent in the Los Angeles region, which includes portions of Orange County."
TURNOUT BOOSTER: Democrats need a sugar daddy to help place the "Sodomite Suppression Act" on the November 2016 ballot.
Penal Code section 39
a) The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha.
b) Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God's just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method. (Apparently, Mr. McLaughlin hasn't read Coker v. Virginia 433 U.S. 584.)
c) No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life. (The "every public teacher must go to prison" provision.)
d) No person shall serve in any public office, nor serve in public employment, nor enjoy any public benefit, who is a sodomite or who espouses sodomistic propaganda or who belongs to any group that does. (Does that mean the entire Democratic Party as well as Meg Whitman, Neel Kashkari, and, oh yeah, the entire Republican Party can't serve in office?)
e) This law is effective immediately and shall not be rendered ineffective nor invalidated by any court, state or federal, until heard by a quorum of the Supreme Court of California consisting only of judges who are neither sodomites nor subject to disqualification hereunder. (Suddenly, the California Supreme Court is more powerful than the U.S. Supreme Court. Congrats Tani!)
f) The state has an affirmative duty to defend and enforce this law as written, and every member of the public has standing to seek its enforcement and obtain reimbursement for all costs and attorney's fees in so doing, and further, should the state persist in inaction over 1 year after due notice, the general public is empowered and deputized to execute all the provisions hereunder extra-judicially, immune from any charge and indemnified by the state against any and all liability. (Apparently, Mr. McLaughlin hasn't read Hollingsworth v. Perry, 570 U.S. ____ (2013).)
g) This law shall be known as "The Sodomite Suppression Act" and be numbered as section 39 in Title 3 of the Penal Code, pertaining to offences against the sovereignty of the state. The text shall be prominently posted in every public school classroom. All laws in conflict with this law are to that extent invalid. (Wow, do "laws" include the state and federal constitutions?" That's pretty cool to do in a statutory initiative!)
Obviously, this initiative is going nowhere. However, I am certain that it will cost the state more than the $200 that Mr. McLaughlin paid to get his discriminatory and absurd agenda posted on the Secretary of State's website. I've seen plenty of stupid, unconstitutional intiatives over the years, but this one may just be the most pronounced.
It is time for initiative reform in California.
BACKWARDS: Apparently, this recycling every-other-week in Sacramento has touched a nerve. It's amazing how many people emailed me, including Birkenstock-wearing granola eaters, who admitted to throwing away recyclables in the trash or yard waste bin, both of which are emptied weekly and usually under-utiiized.
COMCASTICALLY IDIOTIC: So, this morning, I was on the phone with Comcast. While a root canal would have been preferable, I wanted to upgrade the plan I ordered before I moved in, as I realized it didn't have HD. Therefore, I'm looking at a pretty ugly picture on my large TV.
So, I logged in to my account on Comcast.com and clicked "Upgrade." At the top of the screen in a very large font it says "Great new deals for Scott!" next to my address and last billing amount. Thus, it knows I am a subscriber.
I look through the offers and decide, no, I don't need a phone, so "Triple Play" is out. And then see "Preferred XF Double Play." For $99.99 and a two-year contract, it offered:
Preferred XF Double Play
The X1 Entertainment Operating System®
Again, I'm still logged in and the plan met my goal of keeping cable around $100/month, so I ordered it. Made it all the way through checkout, and ordered the self-install kit. I then watched some HBO on my laptop and went to bed.
This morning, I got a call from Comcast. They were calling to confirm my order and set up an install time. Okay, I thought, next week is pretty much open. But then the sales representative decided to remind me that, oh yeah, I'm not eligible for this package because I've had my existing service over 30 days. Mind you, after several calls with tech support and a trip to the Comcast store to swap boxes, my cable only started working yesterday.
The sales rep this morning explained that the DVR (claimed to be included on my account page) was $7.99/month, and HD service (similarly claimed) would be $10/month. So, a deal offered to me on my logged-in "Great new deals for Scott!" page at $99.99/month became $117.98/month.
The service agent pointed out a small link under a big "Add to Cart" button that said "Pricing & Other Info." Funny, when you click that link in Google Chrome, the pop-up flashes and then disappears. I'm sure it's just a coding error... He said that the fine print stated that the offer was only available to new customers.
Two questions: why does the offer show up if I am logged and it claims the displayed offers are "Great new deals for Scott!" and, why does the terms and conditions pop-up only flash for one second before your eyes (at least on Google Chrome, the most popular web browser).
I argued with him for awhile and then said I didn't want the upgrade. And, as soon as I get alternative internet service and when HBONow launches in April, I'll be saying farewell to Comcast--which I have used for 20 years. The tactics of Comcast are accellerating the demise of cable.
Additionally, I mentioned that my modem was dropping out and I needed a firmware update, which only Comcast can do on its end. His reponse was that my modem was outdated and unable to have a firmware upgrade and I should lease one from them for $10/month. Now, this Motorola modem/router is listed on Comcast's approved modems that appears on even its highest-end internet packages. It was $129 at Amazon, and I bought it in January. Seriously???
It's time to #CutTheCord.
P.S. I did have one good experience with Comcast in the last 60 days. It was after I finally persuaded them to get me a new box yesterday. Of course, it didn't work out of the box, and I had to call. Fortunately, it was India time, and I had a great tech who took about 30 minutes to try everything and finally got it working. It's likely this person didn't work for Comcast, but rather a contracted firm overseas.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Joe Cislowski, Tom Kaptain, Carrie Nocella, Courtni Pugh, and Martin Wisckol!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Prime Healthcare pulls out of deal to save local hospitals
Victoria Colliver @ sfgate.com
Citing Attorney General Kamala Harris' "unprecedented" list of demands, Prime Healthcare Services pulled out of its deal to buy Daughters of Charity Health Systemâs six nonprofit Catholic hospitals, including Daly City's Seton Medical Center.
Arkansas lawmaker unveils bill allowing Tom Cotton to run for White House and Senate
Nick Gass @ politico.com
A lawmaker back in Tom Cottonâs home state of Arkansas who wants to make sure the freshman Republican senator can run for reelection and the presidency at the same time in 2020 has introduced a bill that would allow House and Senate candidates to also appear on the ballot for president or vice president.
S.F. supes put large Corona Heights homes on hold
Emily Green @ sfgate.com
A vote to tighten regulations on the construction of large homes in Corona Heights turned into a sparring match between the measureâÂÂs sponsor, Scott Wiener, and fellow Supervisor David Campos. The vote to amend the cityâÂÂs planning code was in response to investors buying up smaller homes and âÂÂthrough lotsâÂÂ that run between States Street and Ord Court and doubling or tripling their size. In another affordable housing measure, the board unanimously passed legislation that allows property owners who complete costly seismic retrofits of apartment buildings in the Castro can add in-law units. The legislation requires drug companies to expand collection sites at pharmacies and police stations from 23 to 55 and dispose of the drugs. [...] sugary beverages were on the agenda Tuesday. Three supervisors âÂÂ Wiener, Malia Cohen and Eric Mar âÂÂ introduced legislation that would require warning labels on advertising for sodas and other sugary beverages, ban advertising for such drinks on city property and prohibit the city from spending money on them. If passed, the legislation would make San Francisco the first city in the country to require warning labels on soda and other sugary beverages, defined as sweetened drinks with at least 25 calories per 12 ounces but not including milk, infant formula or diet sodas. The three supervisors backed a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on soda and sugary drinks on last NovemberâÂÂs ballot. Because it specified where the revenue would go âÂÂ childrenâÂÂs nutrition and physical education programs âÂÂ it required a two-thirds vote to pass.
California Tax Revenue Beats Estimate By $1 Billion In February
David Siders @ sacbee.com
In the latest sign of Californiaâs improving budget outlook, tax revenue last month beat estimates by about $1 billion, the state controller said Tuesday.
Bill aims to protect East Bay land close to Muirâ
The view from the ridge overlooking Alhambra Valley was spectacular, but Glen Lewis and his fellow hikers couldnâÂÂt help but notice the Shell refinery in the distance and the sound of speeding cars on busy Highway 4. Lewis, the open space ranger for the Muir Heritage Land Trust, wondered what John Muir would think if he could look out today at the panorama of modernity around Martinez, which, back in the famous naturalistâÂÂs day, consisted of fruit orchards almost as far as the eye could see. The land, known as West Hills Farm, was once part of the estate of John Swett, the former California superintendent of public education and one of the founders of the California Teachers Association. The idea behind the proposed acquisition is to preserve the remnants of pastoral beauty in the Alhambra Valley that Muir loved so much, extend existing wild lands and protect the diverse wildlife. The trust plans to donate the land to the park service, but congressional approval is required because the acreage exceeds the amount that federal agencies are allowed to acquire administratively. Muir, who got used to sleeping outside on his many excursions, was never comfortable living in the 10,001-square-foot Martinez mansion, which was built by his father-in-law, but he apparently enjoyed tending the 2,600-acre fruit ranch surrounding the home and made a tidy profit selling the produce. Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians would have access and interpretive hikes would be expanded into the area, where there are several remnant olive orchards planted more than 100 years ago. âÂÂHe had a lot of influential friends in Washington, and he urged them to form an agency that would preserve and protect for the future wild places,âÂÂ said Jim MacDonald, the lead park ranger for the historic site.
Interactive: The Money Moves In Key California Senate Special Election
Jim Miller @ sacbee.com
Less than a week to go, and outside groupsâ spending in the campaign leading up to Tuesdayâs special election in the East Bay's 7th Senate District has climbed past $2 million.
Janet Napolitano Says She Never Sent Email, Texts As Cabinet Secretary
University of California President Janet Napolitano said she steered clear of email while serving in President Obama 's cabinet, a topic that has dogged Hillary Clinton as she prepares for a potential presidential campaign.
California Drought: Big Water Rate Hike Plan Reduced By Santa Clara Valley Water District
Paul Rogers and Katie Nelson @ mercurynews.com
The Santa Clara Valley Water District officials introduced the idea Tuesday night at a public meeting of the agency's seven-member elected board. Staff making the presentation told board members that some reductions could be made through staffing vacancies, while high-priority projects such as seismic retrofits and dam improvements would have to remain in the budget.
National Briefing | Washington: Senate Vote Expected Next Week on Attorney General Nominee
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said Tuesday that he expected to bring the nomination of Loretta E. Lynch to be attorney general to the Senate floor for a vote next week.
Anaheim Police, Sacramento Sheriff Sued Over Surveillance Device
Richard Winton @ latimes.com
It's a surveillance tool that allows law enforcement agencies to simulate a cellphone tower that lets them track a suspect's phone and their movement.
Video: Discrimination Motivated Assemblyman Evan Low To Seek Office | The Sacramento Bee The Sacramento Bee
Jeremy B. White @ sacbee.com
Be sure to include your name, daytime phone number, address, name and phone number of legal next-of-kin, method of payment, and the name of the funeral home/crematory to contact for verification of death.
L.A. Unified To Send Layoff Notices To Hundreds Of Teachers
Howard Blume @ latimes.com
Hundreds of teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District will receive layoff notices this month under a budget plan approved Tuesday by the Board of Education.
Prime Healthcare deal to buy six Roman Catholic hospitals collapses
s proposed deal to buy six financially struggling Roman Catholic hospitals has collapsed, raising questions about how the nonprofit chain will keep its doors open.
UCLA Student Government Unanimously Condemns Anti-Semitism In Vote
Matt Hamilton @ latimes.com
The student government at UCLA unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday that condemns all forms of anti-Semitism.
National Briefing | Midwest: Wisconsin: Unions Sue to Stop Law Halting Dues Collection
The state A.F.L.-C.I.O. and two local unions filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to at least temporarily block a new law barring unions from requiring workers to pay the equivalent of dues.
Likely 2016 Presidential Candidates Put Money To Work Through Their PACs
Kurtis Lee @ latimes.com
For New Hampshire's Republican Party, the swarm of likely presidential candidates about to blanket the state has been preceded by another much-appreciated influx: money.
Task Force Unveils Plan To Overhaul Special Education | Edsource
Updated March 7.
Flag Ban: UCI Cancels Student Meeting; 'Viable Threats' Cited
Veronica Rocha @ latimes.com
UC Irvine administrators have canceled a Tuesday night student meeting after receiving "viable threats" connected to a short-lived decision to remove the American flag and other flags from a student government office lobby.