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THE NOONER for December 24, 2015
First, our hearts are with the victims of the tornado outbreak last night in the South. At least 10 dead, and hundreds of homes destroyed. Just so sad on what should be the joyest of evenings tonight. Isn't it December?
Well, yesterday seemed to be the day when every politician in the state sent "Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas" emails. A few crass ones left the "Donate" buttons in the email. Fortunately, we should have a reprieve until Saturday.
As you read this, check your toilet paper supply. I realized this morning that I was near the end of my final roll. Using paper towels tomorrow would probably have been physically painful and costly in the plumber department. Oh, life as a bachelor.
HAPPY XMAS: California Senate offers across-the-board pay raise [Alexei Kosoff @ SacBee] - "A year after laying off dozens of staff members due to a looming budget deficit, the California Senate is offering an across-the-board pay raise to its approximately 900 employees. . . . The raise, which goes into effect Dec. 31, will be 4 percent for employees making less than $12,460 per month, or $149,520 per year. That encompasses all but about 20 top staffers, mostly working in the president pro tem’s office. Staff earning between $12,640 and $14,800 per month will receive 2 percent increases, while those making more than $14,800 per month, or $177,600 per year, will receive 1 percent bumps."
The Bee's analysis suggests the cost would be about $2.4 million. The state's budget is at least $864 million (according to the Department of Finance) for the year to date, and that doesn't include the large revenue months of December and April.
Bravo for the progressive adjustments. KDL is the Un-Grinch.
And, before we here anger about state employee raises, Orange County employees are up for a nearly 10 percent raise over the next three years following a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors.
I AM IRON MAN: Gov. Jerry Brown pardons Robert Downey Jr. for 1990s drug offenses [Paige St. John @ LAT] - "Actor Robert Downey Jr., who spent time behind bars in the late 1990s on drug convictions, received a Christmas Eve pardon on Thursday from Gov. Jerry Brown, effectively scrubbing his criminal record clean. The pardon was one of 91 issued by Brown in what has become an annual Christmas Eve tradition: official proclamations for men and women who previously served time for mostly nonviolent crimes."
NOT GONNA DO IT: Another California effort targeting transgender bathroom rights stalls [Christopher Cadelago @ SacBee] - "Another bid to legally compel transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with their anatomy at birth has stalled out before it could officially get started."
Or, we can just phase-in what many high-end restaurants and countries like Japan have done and have single mixed gender stalls and shared hand washing facilities. Nobody I've seen at Haven in Oakland has complained with that structure . . .
THE GABFEST: California's top talkers: Which congressman spoke the most in 2015? [Sarah D. Wire @ LAT] - "Rep. Doug LaMalfa apparently has a lot to say. The Richvale Republican stood on the House floor and addressed colleagues on 72 of 157 legislative days this year, more than any other member of California's congressional delegation."
Of course, nobody is usually watching for these off-hour speeches, and some sleep though them. And, I don't blame them. Have you ever watching the non-legislative business speeches?
GAS RELIEF: L.A. city attorney and SoCal Gas agree on plan to relocate Porter Ranch residents [Matt Stevens @ LAT] - "Under a court order brokered Wednesday, Southern California Gas Co. must work quickly to provide temporary housing for Porter Ranch residents who want to flee fumes from a massive natural gas leak. More than 2,500 families of the northwest San Fernando Valley community are waiting to be relocated by SoCal Gas, which owns the well in Aliso Canyon that has been leaking massive amounts of methane for two months. As of Tuesday, the gas company had paid to relocate and house more than 2,000 households."
Happy for the relocation, but of course it will all be paid for by residents serviced by the utility.
To my Jewish readers, which Sacramento Chinese restaurants will you be eating at tomorrow? Need to decide where to eat after seeing Star Wars. ;-)
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Julle Sandino-Areias!
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Juanita the duck, the most famous Bay Area duck ever to spend time in a federal pen, was released from custody on Wednesday. The 2-year-old mallard went home to a San Anselmo assisted living facility with all the fanfare that any freed duck or human inmate could desire. âÂÂQuack,âÂÂ said Juanita, before taking a dip in her new pond and nibbling at the $100 assortment of high-end bird seed that her owners had been obliged to purchase in order to secure her release. If Juanita was happy, the humans were happier and they even agreed to turn off the TV in the rec room in honor of the occasion, which hardly ever happens. The tale of Juanita is an example of what can happen when well-meaning ducks tangle with the federal government. Juanita, the longtime mascot of the Bello Gardens senior home, decided to take a short flight three months ago and ended up on a neighborâÂÂs lawn a couple of blocks away. The neighbor, not knowing Juanita was the Bello Gardens pet, turned her over to a federal wildlife facility in San Rafael, which declared Juanita to be a wild duck. Nothing worked until it was decided that Juanita could be released if she were declared an âÂÂeducational resource.âÂÂ Juanita had only been granted âÂÂconditionalâÂÂ release for a year, and she could be remanded into custody if Bello Gardens fails to keep up its end of the educational duck arrangement. Juanita passed her prerelease physical at Wildcare, with 11 news cameras trained on her for perhaps the most photographed duck check-up in history.
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The family of Oakland teen Jahi McMath has filed a federal lawsuit to revoke her death certificate after an unsuccessful attempt to do so at the state level, attorneys for the family announced Wednesday. At a news conference at the law offices of Christopher Dolan in San Francisco, JahiâÂÂs mother, Nailah Winkfield, addressed the media in an online video from New Jersey, insisting her daughter is alive. UCSF Benioff ChildrenâÂÂs Hospital officials declared Jahi legally dead in December 2013 following surgery to treat sleep apnea that went wrong. Jahi, 13 at the time, had her tonsils, adenoids and excess throat tissue removed in a surgery performed by Dr. Frederick Rosen. With the latest lawsuit, the family wants a declaration from a federal judge to force the Alameda County CoronerâÂÂs Office to rescind the death certificate, which will allow Winkfield and Jahi to come back to California for treatment. Winkfield has been able to use JahiâÂÂs insurance to provide for her medical care but was forced to sell her house and deplete her motherâÂÂs savings throughout the entire costly process, although legal services remained free. Dr. Heidi Flori, director of UCSF BenioffâÂÂs pediatric intensive care unit, dismissed the motions as spinal and muscular reflexes. âÂÂWhile Jahi McMath has suffered a serious, and significant brain injury, and exhibits the presentation of one who has suffered serious brain trauma, and exhibits signs and characteristics of serious brain damage, Jahi McMath is not dead,âÂÂ Eck stated. The complaint, filed Wednesday, claimed a number of JahiâÂÂs constitutional rights have been violated, including rights outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides that no âÂÂState (shall) deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.âÂÂ [...] in New Jersey, Winkfield said JahiâÂÂs days consist of TV, getting her nails painted, and constant phone calls from friends and relatives who give Jahi words of encouragement while her mom holds the phone to her ear.
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