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Journal Archives

San Diego may change sidewalk policy in wake of $5M injury settlement

In the wake of a nearly $5 million city payout to a bicyclist injured by damaged sidewalk, San Diego Councilman David Alvarez wants a new policy shifting the responsibility of repairing sidewalks almost entirely to the city.

Alvarez says the existing policy, which makes adjacent property owners responsible for repairs in all but a small number of circumstances, has resulted in too many damaged sidewalks and large injury payouts by the city.

The council approved such a payout early this month to a man who was launched 28 feet on his bike by tree-damaged sidewalk in Del Cerro. The man, who got $4.85 million from the city, tore spinal cord ligaments, lost several teeth and suffered a possible stroke during the 2014 crash.

Such payouts and injuries can be avoided or made much less frequent by having the city take more responsibility for repairs, Alvarez said.

Read more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sd-me-government-0322-story.html

Brexit leader Nigel Farage wants to split California in half next

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May made Britain’s exit from the European Union official nine months after voters in the United Kingdom narrowly approved what is now known worldwide as “Brexit.”

May said “this is a historic moment from which there can be no turning back.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said it was no a “happy day” for him or the EU.

So where was the man who led the successful “Brexit” campaign? Nigel Farage was enjoying a beer and probably pondering his latest plan: to make a similar political move across the pond in California.

Read more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sd-brexit-leader-nigel-farage-california-20170329-htmlstory.html

Muslim doctor enters race for California lieutenant governor, vows to fight Trump

Asif Mahmood, a Democrat and Muslim doctor from Los Angeles, on Wednesday announced his run for California lieutenant governor – with fighting President Donald Trump the centerpiece of his campaign.

“As a Muslim immigrant from the great blue state of California, I’ll be a triple threat to Donald Trump,” Mahmood said at a press conference outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters downtown Los Angeles. “I’m running for office to fight against him, and to fight for our families.”

Mahmood, a political newcomer, is the second candidate to officially join the 2018 race for lieutenant governor.

Democratic state Sen. Ed Hernandez, chair of the Senate Health Committee and a doctor himself, is also running to succeed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. Unlike Mahmood, Hernandez isn’t positioning himself as a counterbalance to Trump.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article141550869.html

CalPERS hires attorney from pension lawsuit that strikes fear in state workers

Ashley Dunning brought some baggage to a job interview Wednesday at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

She was one of two finalists for an assignment as a special counsel to the CalPERS Board of Administration, where she’d advise board members on conflicts of interest and their fiduciary responsibilities. She’s the board’s acting fiduciary counsel, and she delivered a top-notch presentation that had board members ready to offer the job on a longer contract.

The hang-up for some board members, however, is that she’s the attorney representing Marin County in a lawsuit striking fear in public employees around the state.

Her side is defending the county’s interpretation of a law aimed at ending pension spiking. The case gained a broader scope in August when an appeals court used the lawsuit to rule that public workers are entitled to a “reasonable pension,” but not necessarily one that’s calculated on the most favorable formula for them.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article139157283.html

Sacramento police confrontation leaves man with severe brain damage

A methamphetamine user with a troubled past, John Hernandez was behaving strangely enough in a Sacramento drug store parking lot for two people to call 911 on a recent weekday afternoon.

Police said Hernandez challenged strangers to fight while walking around shirtless near Alhambra Boulevard. Soon after officers arrived, he fled. Officers chased him into the back hallway of a nearby medical office, where they hit him with batons and used Taser stun guns.

More than three weeks later, Hernandez is still in an intensive care unit with severe brain damage. Late Wednesday, his condition declined and he stopped breathing on his own, according to his mother, Debbie Hernandez.

What transpired during the incident is unclear. Sacramento police have not discussed the matter in detail, citing an ongoing investigation. The Police Department said Tuesday it will release video from the event, though it did not specify when it will make the footage available, nor did it identify John Hernandez by name, referring to him as a “combative subject.”

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article141343523.html

Hundreds of protesters greet U.S. immigration enforcement chief in Sacramento

Hundreds of protesters greeted the country’s top immigration enforcement official Tuesday during a Sacramento stop that inflamed passions over the Trump administration’s hardline stance on refugees and undocumented immigrants.

The public forum held at the Sacramento County Youth Gym was billed as Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan’s first ever public event leading the enforcement agency known as ICE. Homan came at the invitation of Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

Protesters, including officials such as Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, condemned the administration’s policies with speeches, chants and songs. The protest outside the gym stayed peaceful as law enforcement patrolled on mountain bike and motorcycle, and a sheriff’s helicopter circled overhead.

Once the forum got underway, however, protesters booed and yelled at both Homan and Jones, with Steinberg attempting to keep the peace. Several protesters were escorted out of the forum by deputies after yelling at the speakers. Some attendees also showed their support of Jones and the Trump administration.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article141353198.html

Board member asks Jerry Brown to take over troubled California tax collection agency

A critical audit of the Board of Equalization is not yet public, but it’s already prompting demands for changes at an agency that collects $60 billion a year in tax revenue.

Board member Fiona Ma on Monday sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to appoint a public trustee to oversee the agency.

“This extraordinary step is necessary to restore public trust and to address the various serious issues outlined by the recent” audit, she wrote.

She’s referring to an audit by the Department of Finance that revealed slippery accounting, elected leaders steering resources to events that promote themselves and a climate of fear among civil servants who worry about crossing board members.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article141511014.html

Jerry Brown, Democratic leaders agree to increase taxes to fix California roads

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced a $5.2 billion road-funding package Wednesday that would raise gas taxes and user fees on motorists, setting off a major political struggle to pass it in the Legislature.

Officials have set an April 6 deadline to approve the package, which would increase fuel taxes and contains a new sliding charge linked to a vehicle’s value. The agreement also includes a constitutional amendment meant to keep lawmakers from shifting transportation revenue to other uses, something that happened frequently in the past.

For the owner of a $30,000 vehicle, who drives 13,000 miles a year at 25 miles per gallon, Wednesday’s package would cost an additional $16.80 a month at full implementation, assuming tax levels in place today.

Likening the condition of the state’s roads to a homeowner’s deteriorating roof, Brown said the state has to act to avoid even worse maintenance and repair problems in the future.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article141475034.html

California Democrats want a 'sanctuary state' for immigrants here illegally. But those who are felon

California Democrats want a 'sanctuary state' for immigrants here illegally. But those who are felons should be sent packing

Democratic politicians want California to be a sanctuary for immigrants here illegally. OK. If they’re hard working and obeying the law, fine.

But if they’re thugs? Call the feds and boot their butts back across the border.

That’s my view. And it’s also the opinion of most sane people, I suspect. Even Democratic office holders must think this down deep. So why is it so hard for them to say it?

Being mushy just makes Democrats easy targets — not only for the hotheads who are constantly riled up about all illegal immigration, but ordinary citizens who may be sympathetic toward struggling undocumented families, but wonder why California seems to tolerate the few hoodlums among them.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-sanctuary-state-bill-felons-20170330-story.html

Aaron Schock staffer was FBI informant, court filings reveal

The FBI wired a congressional staffer and turned him into a secret informant during its investigation into former Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-Ill.) alleged misuse of government and campaign funds, Schock’s attorneys said Tuesday in federal court filings.

The staffer, who is not named, secretly taped conversations with Schock and people working in his office while Schock was still a member of Congress, according to a 30-page motion and attached memo that cites documents from the court discovery process.

The informant took documents from Schock’s Illinois district office, including from another staffer’s desk and email inbox, and provided them to federal investigators, the documents say.

Schock was indicted last year on 24 counts related to alleged misuse of government and campaign funds. His trial is set to begin this summer.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/326208-schock-staffer-was-fbi-informant-court-filings-reveal
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