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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,962

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Defiant California Legislature fast-tracks sanctuary state bills

SACRAMENTO — As President Trump threatens to strip federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities,” defiant Democrats in Sacramento are doubling down on policies to protect immigrants at risk of deportation — bills that many say would turn California into a sanctuary state.

One would prohibit police officers from collecting information on a person’s immigration status or from responding to certain requests from federal agents. Others would use taxpayer-funded legal aid to help people in deportation proceedings and train defense attorneys on immigration law.

The fast-tracked proposals — set for hearings Tuesday — have become a key tactic in California’s resistance against the Trump administration’s policies on immigration. They have drawn plaudits from immigration advocates and criticism from opponents who say they tie the hands of local police and risk further alienating Washington.

“If we’re getting $100 billion in federal funding, $85 billion of which goes to local communities, who is Sacramento to jeopardize that funding for our local communities?” said Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican representing Orange County. “That’s playing chicken with somebody else’s money.”

Read more: http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/01/30/a-defiant-california-legislature-fast-tracks-sanctuary-state-bills/

San Jose Fire Protection Workers Win $1.3M in Back Pay

Anyone who’s ever been shorted on overtime pay can take some inspiration from a group of 81 fire sprinkler technicians in San Jose. In an unpaid wage complaint that dates all the way back to 2011, these fires sprinkler installers and testers were awarded $1.3 million due to them by their employer Cintas Fire Protection Services.

In a decision levied last week by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, these Cintas fire sprinkler technicians were found to not have been paid for time completing reports, sending emails and submitting timesheets from the period between 2011 and 2015. Cintas Fire Protection Services refused to pay for the time employees spent on these tasks because this work was not billable to their clients.

“Cintas shortchanged employees for some hours they worked that could not be billed to clients, despite us explaining the law to them directly in the past,” Director of the Wage and Hour Division Susana Blanco said in a statement. “The results of this investigation should send a strong message about how seriously the Wage and Hour Division takes compliance. Not only will dozens of workers now receive their long overdue wages, but Cintas has also agreed to a series of measures to prevent these types of violations in the future.”

Those measures include the establishment of a hotline for workers to submit wage complaints, a nationwide compliance team to enforce wage payment, and additional measures to terminate managers who request or allow off-the-clock work.

Read more: http://www.sfweekly.com/news/fire-protection-workers-win-1-3m-back-pay/

Chinese Blessing Scam Nets Long Prison Sentence

Chinese New Year is one of the highlights of the San Francisco calendar, but it’s also a most wonderful time of the year for con artists and scammers. One of the most frequently employed scams is a confidence game known as the Chinese Blessing, but the sentencing of 62-year-old Xuefang Zhou to a four-year prison term may deter the practice of the scam this year.

The Chinese Blessing scam is shockingly simple, and almost always targets elderly Chinese women. The victims are generally approached and told of an impending serious illness in the family which can only be warded off by placing thousands in cash in a bag while saying a prayer with the scammer. The scammer replaces the bag with a similar bag while the victim’s eyes are closed. Zhou not only scammed two San Francisco Chinatown women with this method in 2014, but had also scammed an additional New York City Chinatown victim out of $60,000.

“The fact that elderly Chinese women are being targeted in light of their commonly held beliefs pains me greatly,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “My office has worked to reduce these scams by conducting extensive outreach, collaborating with other agencies around the country, and aggressively prosecuting these cases.”

The District Attorney’s office notes that there are 50 other known victims of Chinese Blessing scams in San Francisco alone, with a total of more than $1.5 million having been swindled from these victims.

Read more: http://www.sfweekly.com/news/chinese-blessing-scam-nets-long-prison-sentence/

World's Largest Undie Run Coming to San Francisco--giving 'junk drawer' a new meaning

We don’t mean to get your panties in a bunch, but it looks like the old “Undie Run” stunt isn’t just for college campuses anymore. The annual Cupid’s Undie Run is scheduled for February 18 in San Francisco, is not limited to just undergraduates, and raises funds for Cupid’s Charities to benefit kids with neurofibromatosis.

The brief description of this annual event is that it’s “the world’s largest organized undie run,” because these Undie Runs are now held in 47 cities worldwide around Valentine’s Day. San Francisco has been holding a Cupid’s Undie Run for the last few years, and is at least a warmer place for a February jaunt in just your drawers than some of the other host cities like Chicago, Detroit and New York.

This is a pretty short run for your short-shorts, as the Cupid’s Undie Run is only a mile long. You can jockey for position when the Undie Run gets underway at 2 p.m., but the party kicks off at Noon at Pedro’s Cantina with open bar privileges and other prizes for top fundraisers.

Runners raise funds by registering, then creating a custom page for soliciting online donations from your friends. You can register as an individual, or as a group to run with your closest intimates. While there are many nice prizes at various fundraising levels, you’ll be most interested to know that the open bar privileges come once you’ve raised $250.

Read more: http://www.sfweekly.com/news/worlds-largest-undie-run-coming-to-san-francisco/

Two Highly Touted Oakland Charter Schools Quickly Closed, Now Owe the District Money

When nonprofit Youth Uprising opened two new Oakland charter schools in 2015, they were hailed as anchors of a "cradle-to-college" education pipeline serving families in a troubled deep east neighborhood. Private donors, and even the the state of California, showered the schools with grant money. Parents and community leaders praised the charters.

But both schools failed to enroll enough students and quickly ran out of money. One, Castlemont Junior Academy, was shut down entirely in 2016. The other, Castlemont Primary Academy, is currently being merged into a district-run public school.

Now, according to Oakland Unified School District officials, taking on the students will cost the district as much as several hundred-thousand dollars.

And the operator of both charters, the Castlemont Community Transformation Schools organization, still owes the district at least $22,101 in unpaid rent — at the same time OUSD is facing a $14 million budget shortfall.

Read more: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/two-highly-touted-oakland-charter-schools-quickly-closed-andmdash-and-now-owe-the-district-money/Content?oid=5091277

Were Oakland Police's Tactics Against Anti-Trump Protesters 'Excessive'?

In the evening after last Friday's inauguration, rain dumped on downtown Oakland, and a crowd of protesters lingering in Frank Ogawa Plaza near City Hall grew restless. After a day full of demonstrations, they were getting soaked trying to wait out a storm, for more than an hour, in hopes of beginning the nighttime march. "Are we marching or what?" someone shouted. "Fuck Donald Trump!" another person yelled. A man with a megaphone called out, "Whose streets?" The 200 people huddled together yelled back, "Our streets!" And then everyone followed him out of the plaza. The protest was underway.

It wouldn't last long.

Officers from the Oakland Police Department and other agencies immediately flanked the march. To the protesters' left, motorcycle cops sped in a single-file line on the sidewalk. To their right, police ran on foot. Behind the action was another row of officers, followed by bike cops, law-enforcement vans and vehicles, and even a helicopter circling above.

Officials framed these actions as necessary steps to prevent vandalism and ensure the safety of both officers and participants. But protesters denounced the show of force as unusual, excessive, and unnecessary.

EmilyRose Johns, a legal observer with a local chapter of National Lawyers Guild, commented that she had never seen these kinds of police tactics used before Friday. "The conduct of the Oakland Police Department went beyond any suppression efforts I have seen recently," she wrote in an email. "It was a likely unlawful, and certainly baffling, infringement upon people's First Amendment activities."

Read more: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/critics-call-oakland-polices-tactics-against-anti-trump-protesters-excessive/Content?oid=5091287

Gray Area, Leading Ghost Ship Fire-Relief Fundraiser, Hasn't Distributed a Dime

This past December 2, local nonprofit Gray Area Foundation for the Arts held an eight-hour team meeting to plot its coming year. After the meeting, some staffers had planned to attend an electronic-music event, at a warehouse in Oakland. While wrangling friends to carpool to the artist colony and underground venue, however, Gray Area education program manager Chelley Sherman got a text: "Don't come. There's a fire."

After that message, Sherman laid awake all night — worried not least for her friend Chelsea Faith Dolan, who was scheduled to perform at the show as Cherushii. She swapped texts and messages with Gray Area founder and director Josette Melchor.

"We felt desperate to do something, but really helpless," Melchor said of those hours after the fire.

The idea to start a fundraiser emerged around dawn, Melchor and Sherman recalled, and it launched online that morning with an initial goal of $10,000. Sherman was the original donor. "At first, I thought people were going to be saved and that there'd be medical expenses," Melchor said. "And then it was more around funeral expenses."

Read more: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/gray-area-leading-ghost-ship-fire-relief-fundraiser-hasnt-distributed-a-dime/Content?oid=5091281

California's Attempt to Exit Trump's America Is Officially Here

It's a quixotic, arguably impossible dream: A group of Californians wants the state to declare independence from Trump's America. But even if California falls short of seceding, it might make many Golden State residents feel a little better just to go through the motions in the age of Trump.

The campaign to secede, organized by the Yes California Independence movement and dubbed #Calexit, now has the approval of the California Secretary of State to begin gathering signatures to put the matter before voters in November 2018. If 585,407 valid signatures are collected, voters will get to weigh in on secession at the polls.

According to the California Secretary of State's reading of the measure's language, Californians would be able to declare independence from the United States "if 50 percent of registered voters participate and 55 percent of those voting approve."

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in December and January found that 32 percent of respondents are in favor of California seceding — up from 20 percent in 2015.

Read more: http://www.laweekly.com/news/californias-attempt-to-exit-trumps-america-is-officially-here-7870678

David Gomez Gets 41 Months for Scamming His Union's Healthcare Plan

A member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for scamming the healthcare plan for dockworkers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles out of more than a quarter million dollars.

United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner imposed the sentence Jan. 9 to David Gomez, who was convicted in October of 20 counts of mail fraud.

In 2009, Gomez and Sergio Amador opened the Port Medical clinic in Long Beach to provide medical and chiropractic care. The following year, they opened a second clinic under the same name in San Pedro.

The pair earned pay from the clinics and fellow members of the ILWU Local 13 got financial incentives in the form of sponsorships of softball and basketball teams, with the understanding that players would visit Port Medical, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Read more: http://www.ocweekly.com/news/david-gomez-gets-41-months-for-scamming-his-unions-healthcare-plan-7835724

God's Sports Co.'s Kristi McKinlay Gets Jail for Hell She Caused

The co-owner of a baseball bat company has been sentenced to a year in county jail for her part in a more than $3 million fraud that stung investors who included members of her church and an unnamed Major League Baseball player.

Investors believed they were buying stakes in Foothill Ranch-based God's Sports Co.'s prototype baseball bat, but married couple Kristi and Steven McKinlay used some of the newer money to pay back older contributors and other investments for such personal expenses as cars, their daughter's wedding, a luxury suit at Angel Stadium and rental of their homes in San Clemente and Coto de Caza.

The Ponzi scheme scammed more than 10 people, including the unidentified ballplayer, a family friend who came into money through a devastating personal injury and a cancer patient who wanted to secure an inheritance for his family.

Many who had invested from $22,500 to more $700,000 each "had been associated with the defendants through the church they attended," the Orange County District Attorney's office said at the time of the McKinlays' arraignments.

Read more: http://www.ocweekly.com/news/gods-sports-cos-kristi-mckinlay-gets-jail-for-hell-she-caused-7843804

[font color=330099]Note to the McKinlays: If you think that your sentence is tough wait until God gets a hold of you.[/font]
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