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THE NOONER for March 31, 2015
CÉSAR CHAVEZ DAY OF SERVICE AND LEARNING: Remember, today is not just a day off. Do something kind for someone else, or pick up The Grapes of Wrath and remember where things stood in 1939. It's reasonable to debate incremental proposals that may come before the Legislature, but the advancement in the human conditions of the people who put food on our plates can not be ignored. As you eat your salad tonight, be thankful that restroom and handwashing facilities are now required in the fields, something that wasn't required in César's time.
U.S. SENATE: In San Diego, Rep. Xavier Becerra fuels speculation about Senate run [Christopher Cadelago @ SacBee] - "Mulling a run for the U.S. Senate, Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra stopped off Monday in San Diego to talk with business and labor groups. Becerra said the congressional recess presented an opportunity to travel well outside of his Los Angeles district to hold discussions with the Chamber of Commerce, local labor leaders and representatives from the biotechnology industry."
BLURRED LINES: Politics in Play if the Supreme Court Throws Out Redistricting Commission [Joel Fox] - "Chatter around the capitol suggests that the Democratic majorities plan to leave the district lines unchanged until the next census although none of the legislative leaders have made any such clear-cut declarations. In the political world of Sacramento it is hard to imagine that a hands-off policy would last more than one election cycle, if that."
California is America's most populous state and one of its most diverse, a place that researchers have long suggested is leading the rethinking of what it means to be American.
But not at the ballot box. When it comes to elections, California looks much more homogenous, even predictable. And the change so many have expected — well, it hasn't happened.
TAKE THE SLOW LANE: California, drive carefully toward 'motor voter' law: [LAT Editorial] - "It's important to remember that registration won't address many of the deeper reasons people don't vote -- disconnection with issues, disgust with the candidates or disillusionment with the political process. But if automatic registration can have some impact on the ever-sinking voting turnout rates, it's well worth considering."
HOT WATER: Tribe fights Coachella Valley water agencies for aquifer rights [Matt Stevens @ LAT]: Agua Caliente vs. desert water agencies...
So, in the desert it's a well-heeled tribe against two water agencies. Meanwhile, San Diego continues to fight Los Angeles over water. [Chris Nichols @ UTSD] - "The suit stems from the San Diego County Water Authority’s contention that the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District has overcharged it for the cost of transporting Colorado River water from the Imperial Valley to San Diego."
WTF? Michael Jackson prank called Russell Crowe [Josh Hicks @ MercNews] - "In a recent interview with The Guardian, the 50-year-old actor said, 'Two or three (expletive) years, I never met him, never shook his hand, but he found out the name I stayed in hotels under, so it didn't matter where I was, he'd ring up do this kind of thing, like you did when you were 10, you know.'"
CONDOLENCES: To Governor Jerry Brown on the loss of his sister, Cynthia Kelly.
#CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Kara Howard and Sam Mahood!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Politics In Play If The Supreme Court Throws Out Redistricting Commission :: Fox&hounds
The case was heard before the Supreme Court earlier this month with the decision slated for sometime in the summer. Speculating on this site at the possible outcome after analyzing the questions asked by the justices during the hearing, political analyst Tony Quinn thought the justices would throw out the redistricting commission; Kathay Feng of Common Cause was not so sure.
What If California's Electorate Actually Looked Like ... California?
John Myers @ ww2.kqed.org
California is Americaâs most populous state and one of its most diverse, a place that researchers have long suggested is leading the rethinking of what it means to be American. But not at the ballot box. When it comes to elections, California looks much more homogenous, even predictable. And the change so many have expected â well, it hasnât happened.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has a warning about income inequality
The concentration of economic and political power among âÂÂa small number of billionairesâÂÂ at the expense of average Americans. Sanders, at 73 the longest-serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history, said San Francisco deserves credit for âÂÂconsistently being one of the most progressive cities in the United States.âÂÂ Companies like Yahoo, Google and Twitter âÂÂhave created hundreds of thousands of jobs ... but thereâÂÂs no justification âÂÂ moral or economic âÂÂ for the casino-type capitalismâÂÂ in which a few âÂÂhave such incredible amounts of wealth when so many people have nothing âÂÂ or are losing money,âÂÂ Sanders said. Sanders, who over the years has been a vocal supporter of campaign finance and tax reform, raising the minimum, national health care and addressing climate change was in town for a sold-out Commonwealth Club appearance. The advantage of running in the Democratic caucus is that itâÂÂs much, much easier to do so ... you will be in debates with other candidates, you will attract more media attention ... thatâÂÂs a decision I will have to make. Sanders said a âÂÂpolitical oligarchyâÂÂ is also being established as a result of the controversial Supreme Court ruling on campaign spending known as Citizens United decision âÂÂenables the Koch brothers and other billionaire families to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.âÂÂ There clearly is something wrong with the political system if weâÂÂre not seeing dozens and dozens of vibrant young leaders whoâÂÂs dad wasnâÂÂt president or whoâÂÂs husband wasnâÂÂt president.âÂÂâÂÂ
Prospective White House Candidates Tussle Over Indiana Religious Law
Mark Z. Barabak @ latimes.com
The controversy over Indiana's religious freedom law has opened a new -- and predictable -- divide in the 2016 presidential race, as Republicans rise to its defense and Democrats condemn the legislation as discriminatory against gays and lesbians.
Cynthia Brown Kelly, sister of governor, dies at 81
Cynthia Brown Kelly, a public school teacher better known as the daughter of one California governor and sister of another, died Sunday after a brief illness.
California, Drive Carefully Toward 'Motor Voter' Law
Editorial @ latimes.com
It's important to remember that registration won't address many of the deeper reasons people don't vote -- disconnection with issues, disgust with the candidates or disillusionment with the political process. But if automatic registration can have some impact on the ever-sinking voting turnout rates, it's well worth considering.
CPUC Won't Document President's Party Payment
Ricky Young @ utsandiego.com
The California Public Utilities Commission apparently won't be following through on its commitment to provide proof that President Michael Picker paid his own way to a tribute dinner for his predecessor.
Hundreds march against S.F. archbishop's 'morality clauses'
Victoria Colliver @ sfgate.com
Carrying signs reading âWho Am I to Judge?â and âLove One Another,â hundreds of students, teachers and supporters marched Monday evening from the Mission Dolores Basilica to the Cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco, where they delivered petitions opposing the archbishopâs âmorality clausesâ at four Catholic high schools.
Sen. Hertzberg Uses Futuristic Lingo To Push Old Ideas: Taxing And Spending
Steven Greenhut @ utsandiego.com
Is this a futuristic plan to increase upward mobility or the oldest idea in Sacramento: Increasing taxes to fund more government spending? â(Hertzberg's) first bill is a huge, historic tax hike,â explained columnist George Skelton, who supports it. I disagree with his conclusion, but am glad someone finally is using words based in reality.
UnitedHealth to acquire pharmacy benefits firm Catamaran in $12-billion deal
UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest health insurer in the United States, agreed to spend more than $12 billion to buy an Illinois pharmacy benefits management firm, saying it is seeking to control the rising costs of prescription drugs.
Republicans, Democrats Lose Voters To "No Party Preference"
Ben Adler @ capradio.org
New statistics show a big jump in "No party preference" voters in California.
Arkansas Legislator Drops Proposal To Ban California Wine
ALLEN REED @ sacbee.com
Republican Rep. Dan Douglas of Bentonville told House members to enjoy California wine while they can on Friday, but told the Associated Press on Monday morning that he wouldn't run the bill before the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Indiana Law Shows Lgbt People The Closet Door
In a private ceremony Thursday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 101, the innocuous sounding Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It prevents state and local governments from enacting laws that would "substantially burden" a person's exercise of his or her religion. You might think the 1st Amendment already covered that, and you would be correct. But SEA 101's definition of a "person" also includes "a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, a company, a firm, a society, a joint-stock company, an unincorporated association, or another entity" that claims its practices are compelled or limited by a religious belief. In simpler terms, if a business says its services are tied to its owners' faith, it can turn away customers who don't adhere to its religious views. The obvious intention of the bill, given recent advances in LGBT civil rights, is to permit discrimination against gays and lesbians.
S.F. Police Chief, D.A. Clash Over Corruption Task Force
Vivian Ho @ sfgate.com
An anti-corruption task force will be formed following a series of misconduct among city employees, announces District Attorney George Gascon during a news conference at the Hall of Justice, Monday, March 30, 2015, in San Francisco, Calif.
Dedicating Ted Kennedy Institute, Obama Recalls Senator As Consensus Builder
President Obama called the work of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy a positive example for a country increasingly weary of politics, saying Monday that he hoped a new institute devoted to Kennedy's work and the Senate he served in could "help plant the seed of noble ambition in future generations."
Mayor Declines To Ban City Travel To Indiana, Calls For Repeal Or Amendment To Controversial Law
Michael Smolens @ utsandiego.com
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer Monday night announced plans to block the use of municipal funds for employee travel to Indiana beginning next week if that state does not change or repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say allows discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. To Attend Anti-vaccine Film Screening In Sacramento
Jeremy B. White @ sacbee.com
Amid a heated debate in the California Legislature over whether the government should pass legislation making it tougher for parents to skip vaccinating their kids, vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will arrive in Sacramento next week to attend a screening of a film questioning the safety of vaccines. Kennedy said he plans to press attendees on what he called âpervasive corruptionâ in how the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention manages its vaccine program.
Bill Would Require Search Warrants For Digital Files
Katie Orr @ capradio.org
The bill is sponsored by the ACLU of Northern California. It would require that law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant to search digital files, such as emails or documents saved on a "cloud" server.
Virginia Prisoner Captured After Escaping With Guard's Gun
Law enforcement officers in northern Virginia captured a prisoner who escaped custody and had been believed to be armed and dangerous.
California drought: Sour water -- a new normal in the East Bay?
Rachel Swan @ sfgate.com
It turns out the taste, and a foul odor associated with it, comes from algae in the Pardee Reservoir, which supplies most of the drinking water for East Bay Municipal Utility District customers. The good news is that itâs safe to drink, said Abby Figueroa, an EBMUD spokeswoman. The district continually tests for contaminants that derive from toxic algae, and so far it hasnât found any, said EBMUD Director Andy Katz.