A new poll conducted in California indicates that ending the practice of taking property from people who have not been convicted of a crime is broadly supported across a myriad of demographic groups.
Voters among all ethnicities in California including nearly nine-in-ten African American voters (89 percent), over three quarters of white voters (76 percent), and more than seven in ten Asian (73 percent) and Latino voters (72 percent) oppose seizing and permanently taking away the assets of those not convicted of a crime by law enforcemen.
Opposition also carries across party lines as strong majorities of Democrats (75 percent), Republicans (75 percent) and independent voters (79 percent) oppose this practice.
These sentiments also hold across the state as at least three quarters of voters in every region of the state, from coastal to inland areas and from North to South opposes asset forfeiture in the absence of a conviction.
Although dozens of police officers are slain on duty in any given year, active and retired police officers across the country said the recent bloodshed feels different.
As the nation has been roiled by strong currents of distrust and fear of police that surfaced after last year’s killing of Michael Brown by a cop in Ferguson, Mo., an ugly byproduct of the turmoil has been a newfound willingness to do harm to those in uniform, many police officers say.
Conservative author and media personality Ann Coulter declared on a recent radio show that she despised presidential candidate Carly Fiorina “with the hot, hot hate of a thousand suns” over her support for birthright citizenship.
Her ascension in the GOP field was prompted by “affirmative action among Republicans,” Coulter said.
Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was a front-runner in the presidential polls at this point four years ago, and other conservatives questioned Fiorina’s judgment for a speech she made shortly after Sept. 11 praising the contributions of Muslims to society.
And in recent weeks, Democrats have been highlighting stories about Fiorina’s rocky tenure at Hewlett-Packard.
California is about to find out if taking three decades or more to execute death row inmates will turn out to be the fatal flaw in the state’s long-faltering death penalty system.
In a case that may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal appeals court on Monday will review a Los Angeles federal judge’s startling ruling last year declaring California’s “dysfunctional” death penalty law unconstitutional because of systemic delays in a state with more than a quarter of the nation’s condemned inmates.
In that ruling, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney concluded that death sentences in California, where there are now more than 750 condemned killers at San Quentin, have been transformed into “life in prison, with the remote possibility of death.”
In January, back when she could still breathe well enough to stand and complete a sentence, Jennifer Glass came to the Capitol to ask state lawmakers to help her maintain her dignity in the dwindling time she knew she had left.“
The most debilitating thing about living with life-threatening illness is often the fear that comes with it, because so much is out of your control,” she said at a news conference introducing the End of Life Option Act for California.
It hasn’t been a year since Californians approved a $7.5 billion water bond. But with drought still ravaging the state – and Democratic-heavy turnout expected in November 2016 – a former Brown administration official is mulling asking voters to approve a follow-up measure.
Gerald Meral, a former deputy secretary of the state’s Natural Resources Agency, sent draft language for “The Water Supply Reliability and Drought Protection Act of 2016” to water agency officials, environmentalists and others in recent days.
Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olson, R-Modesto, and other members of the GOP caucus will speak at a press event Monday calling for Democrats to support the minority party’s transportation plan.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, has held a series of press conferences across the state in recent weeks to discuss transportation infrastructure. Republicans on Monday will “urge the Democrats to put the brakes on their political road show” and support the Republican transportation plan, they said in a statement.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker surged into the top tier of the Republican presidential race with a fiery speech in the depths of winter in Iowa.
But his candidacy has wilted in the heat of a summer dominated by Donald Trump, with loyalists and supporters now calling for an immediate mid-course correction.Walker backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump’s booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues.
They see in Walker a candidate who — in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races — continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman’s following.
Is hating Hillary enough to get Americans to vote for a GOP candidate for president?
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state presents security implications that might land her in prison, charged Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Sunday.”
With Hillary Clinton, it just seems to be one scandal after another,” the GOP candidate said on ABC’s “This Week.” “She’s literally one email away from going to jail.”
How did things go so horribly off track? How did that Vester Flanagan become the Vester Flanagan who two decades later would hunt down and fatally shoot two former colleagues from WDBJ7, a CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia while they were filming a live shot and wound the woman they were interviewing?
How did someone who the news director once described as a “testament to the quality and professionalism” of the station when he was hired in March 2012, become someone who three years later would videotape himself shooting his former co-workers and then post the footage on the Internet in a sickening act of bravado before he killed himself?
Are some jobs really that much more valuable to our society than others?
Absolutely, says the free market. Some work requires advanced education and some skills are more in demand, so they should get rewarded with much higher wages.
But one result of huge differences in our paychecks is growing income inequality.The California Budget & Policy Center is the latest to sound the warning, with a study spotlighting that the economic recovery has not boosted wages for the vast majority.
Last year, the median-wage worker made $19 an hour ($39,520 annually), 2 percent less than in 2011 and 6 percent less than 2006, adjusting for inflation.
One proposed law would prohibit drones from flying above schools, prompted by concerns that kidnappers or child molesters could obtain images of students.
Another would bar their use above prisons, responding to the possibility that they could deliver contraband to inmates.
A third would prohibit their use lower than 350 feet above private property without permission, making sure neighbors couldn’t spy on one another.
As drones rapidly become more prevalent, efforts intended to regulate their use are also multiplying.“The technology has gotten ahead of the law,” said Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills, the author of several drone-regulation bills pending in the California Legislature.
The legislation comes as drone use spreads both commercially and recreationally.
With her nimble hands, tiny feet and low center of gravity, Angelica Guerrero Ortega makes an excellent opium harvester.
Deployed along the Sierra Madre del Sur, where a record poppy crop covers the mountainsides in strokes of green, pink and purple, she navigates the inclines with the deftness of a ballerina.
Though shy, she perks up when describing her craft: the delicate slits to the bulb, the patient scraping of the gum, earning in one day more than what her parents do in a week.
That she is only 15 is not so important for the people of her tiny mountain hamlet. If she and her classmates miss school for the harvest, so be it. In a landscape of fallow opportunities, income outweighs education.
“It is the best option for us,” Angelica said, leaning against a wood-plank house in her village, where nearly all of the children work the fields. “Back down in the city, there is nothing for us, no opportunities.”
Earlier this summer, it would have appeared unlikely that environmentalists and their Democratic allies would have so much trouble passing new rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California.
After Gov. Jerry Brown announced plans to curtail petroleum use in vehicles and to increase the proportion of electricity derived from renewable sources such as wind and solar, the Senate drafted a package of bills and passed them easily in June.
The legislation enjoyed public support, and it rolled along as the White House and other governments intensified their own efforts to reduce emissions – while praising California for its more ambitious strides.
But following a barrage of advertising from oil companies in recent weeks, the legislation has run into resistance in the state Assembly, where moderate Democrats hold more influence than in the Senate.
This week, about 20 Democrats in the lower house walked into Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ office to voice a range of concerns. They say the legislation isn’t specific enough about how it will affect motorists.
North Carolina prosecutors will not attempt a second criminal trial for a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man, officials said Friday.
Last week, a judge declared a mistrial after jurors failed to agree on whether Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick had committed voluntary manslaughter when he shot former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013.
“While our prosecutors tried to seek a conviction, it appears a majority of the jurors did not believe the criminal conviction was the appropriate verdict,” Senior Deputy Atty. Gen. Robert C. Montgomery wrote in the letter.
One of Kerrick’s superiors, testified at trial that the shooting violated department policy. Kerrick has been suspended without pay since the incident.
Ferrell’s family was disappointed both by the trial and prosecutors’ decision not to try again.
“It’s a trying time, but we’re going to get through it with faith and prayer,” Ferrell’s mother, Georgia Ferrell of Tallahassee, Fla., told the Los Angeles Times on Friday, when asked about the jury and the prosecution’s respective decisions. “We will not give up, we will continue to fight for Jonathan, and we will do everything in our power to make sure the state doesn’t give up on justice for Jon.”
She urged protesters to keep pushing for change peacefully.
Ferrell’s brother, Willie, 25, told The Times that he didn’t think prosecutors did enough.
“The guy was not convicted who shot someone unarmed 10 times,” Willie Ferrell said. “They did not fight the entire fight like they should have.”
He added, “Jonathan cannot speak from the grave. … I must speak for my brother. … He tried to receive help; instead he received 10 bullets in the chest.”
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter landed Friday at Moffett Federal Airfield for his second appearance in Silicon Valley in four months to reassure technology industry leaders that the Pentagon views their work as vital to the future of national defense.
“I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country,” Carter said during a speech inside the world’s largest wind tunnel near the sprawling airfield.
He announced that the Pentagon was investing $75 million in a consortium of more than 100 companies, including Apple Inc. and Boeing Co., called the Flexible Hybrid Electronic Institute, which specializes in wearable electronics. Colleges and local governments will contribute an additional $96 million over five years.
As a reaction to national news reports about police killings, the California Legislature had introduced a flurry of bills designed to provide better oversight of law-enforcement officials.
In May, this column was optimistic about the focus on this long-neglected matter, and wondered whether the Capitol was seeing a civil-liberties rebound.
Legislators who pushed for new oversight and accountability laws warned that they had a tough road to hoe given the power of the state’s law-enforcement unions. Sure enough, the centerpiece of the police-oversight-reform effort — creating policies that regulate the use of police body cameras — has fared poorly.
As optimism about the state of California’s public schools continues to rise, a strong majority of California voters would back the re-authorization of Proposition 30 to channel additional money to public campuses, according to a new poll released Thursday.
The PACE/USC Rossier School of Education Poll shows 63 percent of voters are in favor of extending at least one provision of Prop. 30 – the tax increase on high incomes or the sales tax hike or both – that is set to expire at the end of 2016. Only 28 percent of voters said both fiscal provisions should be allowed to expire, the poll showed.
Approved by the voters in 2012, Prop. 30 temporarily increased the state sales tax by a quarter cent and the personal income tax rate on people earning more than $250,000 a year to fund public education and other government programs.
Six in 10 voters said California should be spending more on schools, as opposed to 26 percent who said the state’s public schools have enough money, the poll showed.
“Since the inception of this poll in 2012, we have identified valuable trends that not only reflect the opinions of the state’s voters but also influence policymakers in Sacramento,” said USC Rossier School Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “The latest results indicate a growing confidence in our public school system as voters are clearly willing to provide greater financial support to education.”
Voters were comparatively less enthusiastic about proposed changes to Proposition 13, which sets limits on property taxes. Changing the rules on the taxation of business and commercial property would raise an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion per year, of which 40 percent would go to public schools. A slight majority of voters – 51 percent – said they would support changes to Prop. 13, as compared to 39 percent who would oppose it.
“Although voters want more invested in education, we don’t see an underlying appetite for more extreme measures, such as making changes to Prop. 13,” said Jeff Harrelson, chief operating officer of Republican polling firm MFour Mobile Research, part of the bipartisan team with Democratic polling firm Tulchin Research that conducted the PACE/USC Rossier Poll. “Policy makers should be prepared to engage in an extended voter education effort on this issue.”
Said Ben Tulchin, president of Democratic polling firm Tulchin Research: “Voters believe California’s public schools have made some progress over the last few years. As a result, a large majority of California voters wants to extend Proposition 30, particularly its tax on the wealthy, in order to continue this progress.”
California voters have become less pessimistic about the state of their public schools. Between 2012, when the question was first asked, and 2015, the percentage of voters who say the state’s public schools have gotten better more than doubled, from 7 percent to 17 percent. During that same time period, the percentage of voters who said public schools were getting worse declined, from 57 percent to 39 percent. Thirty-six percent of voters said public schools had stayed the same.
When asked about their neighborhood public schools, 17 percent of California voters said they had gotten better, up from 11 percent in 2012. Thirty-four percent of voters said their local public schools had gotten worse, down from 45 percent in 2012. Thirty-eight percent of voters said local public schools had stayed the same.
“Voters are clearly not satisfied with the state of California’s public education system, but they are beginning to see their schools moving in the right direction,” said David Plank, executive director of PACE. “They still see a lot of room for improvement, but this is a very encouraging trend.”
Lack of awareness of Local Control Funding Formula “alarming”
Sixty-five percent of California voters said they have never heard or read about the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2013 reform under which billions of dollars have been funneled to school districts to directly help English learners, foster children and students from low-income families, and an additional 21 percent said they had not heard or read much about it, the poll showed. Only 14 percent of voters said they had heard or read a little or a great deal about the LCFF.
When given basic information about the new funding formula, 57 percent said they approved of the policy, while 22 percent said they opposed it.
The new LCFF policy requires school districts to work with their local communities to develop accountability plans and decide on the allocation of funds, but just 4 percent of voters said they had been invited to or made aware of a meeting regarding LCFF. Eighty-seven percent of California voters said they were not invited or made aware of meetings related to deciding how schools should spend funds, the poll showed.
Among parents, 76 percent said they had not been invited to or made aware of a planning meeting, while 9 percent said they had.
“To have such low levels of awareness and participation after two years of LCFF implementation is alarming,” said Julie Marsh, USC associate professor and PACE co-director. “California’s new accountability system under LCFF depends on broad public engagement and an expectation that the usual suspects are not driving decisions. The overwhelming majority of voters endorse public participation, but we’ll have to do a lot more to bring them into the process.”
Those California voters who had heard “a good deal or a little” about LCFF were more likely than those who were unaware of the new funding policy to be engaged already with their schools in other ways. Voters who were aware of LCFF were nearly twice as likely to vote in school board elections (38%) as those who were unaware (20%), and more than four times as likely to be members of a PTA (29% versus 7%).
Nearly 8 in 10 voters (79%) said they thought it was important for parents and community members to be involved in the LCFF process, as opposed to 10 percent who thought it was unimportant, according to the poll.
While LCFF intends to broaden the measures by which school are held accountable to include more than performance on state tests, voters appear to still greatly value student achievement measures above all others. When asked about the eight state priorities for which schools are accountable under the new LCFF policy, voters were most likely to rank student achievement as the most important (29%); followed by provision of basic services as measured by, for example, the condition of school facilities (16%); and student engagement using measures such as school attendance (14%). School climate, implementation of Common Core State Standards and course access were the least likely to be ranked by voters as most important.
Approval ratings on education rise for Brown, but CA schools earn middling grades
A plurality of voters said they approved of the job Gov. Brown is doing on education, with 45 percent who approve as compared to 38 percent who disapprove – the highest approval rating since the PACE/USC Rossier Poll first asked this question in 2013.
Forty-six percent of voters said they approve of the job President Obama was doing on U.S. education issues, as compared to 41 percent who disapprove.
The PACE/USC Rossier Poll also showed that Californians continue to give the state’s public schools average grades, although fewer voters believe schools are failing.
The largest percentage of Californians (43%) gave their state’s schools a grade of “C.” And 32 percent of voters graded them a “D” or “F,” down from 42 percent in 2012.
Twenty-one percent of voters gave their local public schools a “D” or “F” rating, down from 32 percent in 2012.
When asked to rank the state’s public schools on specific measures of performance, on a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best), Californians gave the best mean score – 5.24 – to “teaching the basics of reading, writing and math.” The next highest marks came for “preparing students for a four-year university” (4.9) and “providing parents with a choice of public schools to send their child” (4.74). The lowest was “not spending too much on bureaucracy” (3.98).
The PACE/USC Rossier School of Education Poll was conducted August 3-22, 2015 by polling firms MFour Mobile Research and Tulchin Research and surveyed 2,411 registered California voters. The poll was conducted online and allowed respondents to complete the survey on a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. The poll was conducted in English and Spanish. The margin of error for the overall sample was +/- 2.9 percentage points.
The poll is the fifth in a series from Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and the USC Rossier School of Education.
About the USC Rossier School of Education
The mission of the USC Rossier School of Education (ross-EAR) is to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally and globally. USC Rossier leads the way in innovative, collaborative solutions to improve education outcomes. Their work is field-based, in the classroom, and online, and reflects a diversity of perspectives and experiences. USC Rossier prides itself on innovation in all its programs, preparing teachers, administrators, and educational leaders who are change agents. The school supports the most forward-thinking scholars and researchers, whose work is having direct impact on student success in K-12 schools and higher education. USC Rossier is a leader in using cutting-edge technology to scale up its quality programs for maximum impact.
About Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)
Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) is an independent, non-partisan research center based at Stanford University, the University of California – Berkeley and the University of Southern California. PACE seeks to define and sustain a long-term strategy for comprehensive policy reform and continuous improvement in performance at all levels of California’s education system, from early childhood to post-secondary education and training. PACE bridges the gap between research and policy, working with scholars from California’s leading universities and with state and local policymakers to increase the impact of academic research on educational policy in California.
Accusing the Justice Department of stonewalling, media company Associated Press filed a suit Thursday against the FBI for failing to turn over information under the Freedom of Information Act about a criminal sting operation in which it created a bogus news story and impersonated an AP journalist.
The federal suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., also demands that the government catalog all instances since 2000 when it has impersonated the news media and that it disclose its internal policies governing the practice.
The media group says that it learned last October that the FBI had “masqueraded as a member of the news media — specifically, as the AP — in order to deliver surveillance software to a criminal suspect’s computer.”
“Death isn’t fun to talk about,” says Margaret Hall, an advocate for disability rights. Yet, death is inspiring a lively debate in California, where doctor-assisted suicide may finally become legal.
Last week, lawmakers in Sacramento revived a bill to legalize “aid-in-dying” — the preferred term — that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.
This is a second chance at life for the bill, which died in committee in July before being resuscitated during a special session of the Legislature. If passed, the bill could lead to “suicide pills” being handed out to the poor as viable and medically-accepted “treatment,” warns opposition group Californians Against Assisted Suicide.
“This isn’t about choice, but social and racial justice,” says Hall, who notes that slogans such as “death with dignity” appeal to an upper middle-class perspective that prioritizes individual choice.
That “choice” is illusory for many poor, minority, or rural patients, she adds. Given the option of lengthy, expensive, and ultimately futile treatment or an affordable dose of quick-release pills, many patients will opt for the latter, she believes.
Hugo Landecker, named citizen of the year in 2014 by the San Rafael City Council, is raising some eyebrows with the hostile tenor of his daily email postings on homelessness.
Landecker, a retired Mare Island Naval Shipyard engineering technician who has lived in the Gerstle Park neighborhood of San Rafael since 1968, says he has been firing off the emails for more than three years and now has a list of more than 400 Marin residents to whom he posts.
“I see a parade daily of homeless come by my house on the way to the open space,” Landecker said. Landecker’s emails often focus on the negative impacts that homeless people have on downtown San Rafael and blame the two nonprofits attempting to aid the homeless — St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin and Ritter Center — for the growing homeless presence in San Rafael.
Carly Fiorina’s presidential candidacy has been surging since her well-received performance in this month’s “happy hour” forum for low-ranking GOP candidates, but her supporters are now fuming that the former Hewlett-Packard CEO still might not get a spot at the “grownup table” for the top 10 at next month’s debate.
There are lots of good reasons to raise California’s tax on tobacco, not the least of which is that when cigarettes are more expensive, fewer kids smoke.
California’s existing tobacco tax hasn’t been raised since a voter-approved initiative in 1998.
Although they are averse to taxes, Republicans should make an exception in the interest of public health, and follow the lead of Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican. He signed legislation earlier this year raising Nevada’s tobacco tax by $1 to $1.80 per pack.
The current tax doesn’t deal at all with e-cigarettes, the one segment of the nicotine delivery market that’s booming. More than 470 brands of electronic cigarettes now crowd the market in more than 7,700 flavors from Captain Crunch to Atomic Fireball to cotton candy. With names like that, it’s not hard to guess the target demographic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled between 2013 and 2014.
A Caltrans engineer played dozens of rounds of golf during work hours for 19 months while management approved his time sheets without knowing what he was doing, according to a new audit that highlights some state employees’ poor behavior.
The legally mandated report by State Auditor Elaine Howle catalogs the results of investigations prompted by whistleblower complaints. It doesn’t name individuals, but it does detail, among other things, how employees misused state resources, accessed sensitive data to benefit friends and family and wrongly received excess pay and leave time.
In the case of the Caltrans engineer, auditors found he played golf for parts of 55 workdays between August 2012 and March 2014. He got away with it, according to the audit, because his supervisor “neglected his duty to ensure the subordinate engineer’s time sheets were accurate.”
A measure to raise California’s minimum wage to $13 per hour over the next two years was held in a key financial committee, despite last-minute amendments put forth by author Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, to delay the increase by another year.
Rat Democrat Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, suggested he would look for other changes to advance Senate Bill 3 next year.
The move drew praise from Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, but Leno, smelling another rat, slammed the notion of a piecemeal approach.
In a statement, he vowed to return in January with his amended version of the bill, pointing to recent polls showing overwhelming support for a minimum wage hike.
A woman contracted to help inmates overcome addiction was stopped earlier this month as she allegedly tried to enter a state prison in Imperial County with illegal and prescription drugs, booze, tobacco, cough syrup and dozens of cell phones.
A confidential incident report prepared by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and obtained by The Sacramento Bee states that Carr was attempting to enter Calipatria State Prison on the morning of Aug. 7 when a lieutenant smelled “a strong odor of marijuana” coming from her direction.
The officer approached Carr, identified himself and determined the marijuana smell came from “a large bag of potato chips that Ms. Carr had beside her,” the report states.
Asked if the large bag of chips was hers, Carr said, “Yes,” according to the report. She also said “yes” when asked if it contained contraband.
The California Senate Republican Caucus voted in Sen. Jean Fuller as its new minority leader Thursday, months ahead of a scheduled transition in November.
Fuller, of Bakersfield, will immediately take over from Sen. Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, as the Legislature enters its hectic final weeks of session.
Most Republican senators declined to openly discuss the circumstances of the vote. In an interview, Fuller downplayed any policy difference with Huff.
Fuller would not reveal the vote tally or if Huff agreed with stepping aside ahead of plans, but she said the change had nothing to do with any caucus sentiment that Huff has been too amenable to any of the transportation, health care or other tax proposals currently under consideration.
GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush’s clarification of his usage of the term, “anchor baby” did not go over well with Asian Americans, who took to Twitter Monday evening in response to the former Florida governor’s latest remarks.
Bush, conflating the current debate over undocumented immigration with maternity tourism, effectively shifted the focus surrounding the use of the controversial term “anchor babies,” from Hispanics to Asians.
“What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed, where there’s organized efforts — and frankly it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country — having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship,” Bush said Monday in McAllen, Texas.
Asian Americans, the fastest-growing racial group in the country, were quick to respond on social media.
Rosie O’Donnell‘s teenage daughter has left home again — this time to live with her birth mother.
Rosie’s spokeswoman Cindi Berger told Page Six, “Chelsea made a decision when she turned 18 that she wanted to go to her birth mother.
This was her choice.” She added that Rosie will not be commenting on this. Chelsea, who went missing for a week earlier this month before turning up at the home of an alleged heroin dealer, turned 18 on Monday.
Chelsea’s birth mother, Deanna Micoley, has previously accused Rosie of stealing her daughter. Rosie and first wife Kelli Carpenter adopted Chelsea in 1997.
William Smith Jr. and James Yates walked out of the clerk’s office, shaking their heads in bewilderment.
Two months ago, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the nation, Yates proposed to Smith, his partner of more than a decade.
They wanted to plan a summer wedding, so went days later to office for a license, and were turned away. That first time, they were shocked by the rejection.
Davis cited her Christian belief against gay marriages and declared she would refuse licenses to all couples, gay or straight.
Two weeks ago, the morning after U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses, Smith and Yates returned to her office. And when she rejected them again, their shock turned to anger.
On Thursday, they were turned away again.
“They just don’t like gay people, they don’t want us to get married,” Yates said. “And they’d rather burn the earth and not let straight people in Rowan County get married either.”
A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling ordering a Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis objects to same-sex marriage for religious reasons. She stopped issuing marriage licenses in June, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.
Two straight couples and two gay couples sued her.
A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the marriage licenses, but later delayed his order so that Davis could have time to appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit denied Davis’ request for a stay.
“It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court,” Judges Damon J. Keith, John M. Rogers and Bernice B. Donald wrote for the court. “There is thus little or no likelihood that the clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”
Not only does San Francisco have the nation’s highest rents – a median of $3,500 a month for a one-bedroom apartment – but three other California cities are in the top 10, a new report by Zumper, a nationwide rental listing service, says.
The report provides new fodder for burgeoning political debates in the Capitol and many city and county governments over how soaring housing prices can be tempered.
While rent control and other regulations are competing with proposals for more construction at the local level, the Legislature is weighing various measures to pump more money into low- and moderate-income housing, including a tax on real estate transactions and revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade fee on carbon emissions.
While Mayor Ed Lee announced this week that “the homeless must leave the street” for Super Bowl 50, it’s more what they leave behind on the street that is a concern for the million or so people who have to walk a few blocks or a few miles in the city every day.
A Hayward police officer’s gun was stolen during a car burglary in Oakland’s Fruitvale District on Wednesday, marking at least the third such theft in the Bay Area in recent months, authorities said. The latest incident was reported about 10 a.m. when members of an unspecified law enforcement task force informed Oakland police that an officer’s duty weapon had been stolen from a car parked near a Starbucks at the Fruitvale Station shopping center on the 3000 block of East Ninth Street. Police, including officers in unmarked vehicles, were searching the area for any signs of the thieves or the gun. Officers were told to be on the lookout for a .40-caliber SIG Sauer P226, four magazines, an iPad and other items, including Hayward police identification.
A Bay Area Latina woman says recent news of a group of black women getting kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train for making too much noise motivated her to share her own experience on the same tour.
Norma Ruiz of San Leandro, Calif., was celebrating her 28th birthday in the train’s lounge car with 10 friends in April, when a fellow passenger aggressively approached the party and said they were “annoying” other guests.
The group moved to the dining car, and even though they kept their voices low, a staff member threatened to boot them off the train. Ruiz complained about the incident on Yelp, posting a two-star review with a lengthy account on April 20.
“I felt so ridiculed when the manager approached me about keeping our noise down when in fact our noise level was no longer an issue,” Ruiz wrote. After this experience I sincerely have no desire to come back.” “I really advise you if you will be celebrating a special occasion with a group larger than 4 PLEASE really consider taking your business elsewhere because you will not be welcomed.”
Federal agents spent over $1 million during their investigation of alleged racketeering by an organization in San Francisco’s Chinatown, much of it plying their suspects with food and drink at fancy hotels and restaurants, a defense lawyer said in a court filing Wednesday.
The expenses were disclosed in evidence provided by prosecutors in the case against Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and two dozen others charged after a five-year undercover investigation, said an attorney for defendant Leslie Yun, an Oakland woman charged with racketeering, money laundering and drug dealing.
A “large percentage”’ of the out-of-pocket costs, tabulated by the FBI at $1.088 million as of June, was devoted to “undercover agents staying in luxury accommodations and taking Chow and others to expensive restaurants where the government agents wined and dined their … guests on the public trough,” said defense lawyer Dennis Riordan.
In the latest in a series of legal troubles involving the 49ers, starting linebacker Ahmad Brooks was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor sexual battery by the Santa Clara district attorney’s office and former teammate Ray McDonald was indicted on a rape charge by a Santa Clara grand jury, officials said.
The charge against Brooks, 31, and indictment of McDonald, 30, stem from separate assaults, according to the district attorney’s office, but they occurred on the same night and against the same victim.
As the use of e-cigarettes has risen dramatically in the United States in recent years, so have calls to poison centers about them. Yet many parents who use e-cigarettes – or “vape” – aren’t aware of the dangers to children, according to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The question is neither casual nor rhetorical, not when it comes to Obama and the climate crisis. Like the fictional case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Obama from the day he was first elected president has repeatedly said and done impressive things one day, only to turn around and say—and more importantly, do—appalling things the next.
His current climate-change speaking tour is the latest case in point. Environmentalists swooned when the president, in a speech in Las Vegas on Monday, called out the Koch brothers for their free-market hypocrisy in opposing solar energy. But a review of Obama’s own climate record over the past seven years suggests he should be careful about calling the kettle black.
Likely voters in California overwhelmingly support allowing public access to investigation reports in all cases where a police officer is accused of misconduct, a statewide poll released today has found.
California laws are some of the most secretive in the country when it comes to police misconduct, placing statutory barriers around details of investigations into shootings and other uses of force that keep them hidden from public scrutiny.
But the poll indicates that California voters are ready for major reforms, finding widespread public support for lifting that veil of secrecy. The poll also found that four of five voters want police to wear body cameras, and voters support giving the public access to that footage.
Water shortages aren’t that different than food shortages that arise in some parts of the world. The weather is the proximate cause, but the real problem stems from failed public policy. Quite simply, California policy makers have not been building and permitting sufficient water projects to carry this state through dry years.
The first GOP presidential candidate to go to war publicly with the Republican National Committee is not Donald Trump. It’s Carly Fiorina.
Faced with the very real possibility that she will again be relegated to a lower-tier debate, Fiorina’s campaign is going after the RNC and the news organization the committee picked to host the next debate, CNN.
What has ensued is a tense back-and-forth, with Fiorina’s camp charging that the RNC should be doing more to ensure that the debate stage represents the true top 10 candidates, and the RNC saying tough luck, the rules are set.
Two hours after Vester Flanagan, 41, shot and killed two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday morning, he faxed ABC News a manifesto. In the manifesto, Flanagan writes the Charleston church shooting, in which Dylann Roof killed nine African-American worshippers earlier this summer, “sent [him] over the top.”
He also said Jehovah told him to commit the shooting.
Flanagan shot Alison Parker, a 24-year-old morning news reporter, and Adam Ward, a 27-year-old cameraman, both with WDBJ7 in Roanoke.
In the 23-page fax, Flanagan writes, “As for Dylann Roof? You [deleted]! You want a race war [deleted]! Bring it then you white [deleted]!!!” Flanagan went on to call Seung-Hui Cho “his boy.” In 2007, Cho killed 32 people during a shooting rampage on the Virginia State campus. It is considered one of the deadly mass shootings in the nation’s history.
About two-thirds of California voters support increasing the state cigarette tax by $2 a pack, and a similar percentage would back a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour, according to a Field Poll released Wednesday.
Proposals to raise the tobacco tax or increase the minimum wage have been introduced in the Legislature or as voter initiatives in recent years. On Wednesday, health and labor groups unveiled legislation for a $2-a-pack boost in the cigarette tax.
City Council members are demanding an explanation for why sanitation workers apparently ignored thousands of complaints about illegally dumped trash in some of Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods.
The Times reported this month that many poor areas of L.A. saw requests for clean-up service answered at dramatically lower rates than more affluent neighborhoods. Those disparities have persisted even as Mayor Eric Garcetti says he is devoting new attention and money to handling complaints from residents about refuse left on sidewalks and in alleyways.
A performance gap on the ACT college entrance exam persisted this year between California’s Latino and white high school students, according to new test results.
Educators and experts find this trend particularly concerning. They had hoped for better results from the relatively small segment of test takers who are largely a self-selected group of students who are motivated to get to college.
“I find it really disturbing,” said Mark Schneider, a vice president at American Institutes for Research who previously directed the federal government’s education research arm.
Across the country, the class of 2015 stagnated, with 40% of the 1.9 million test takers showing what the organization calls “strong readiness,” according to results released Wednesday.
In California, 30% of the class of 2015 took the test.
The Napa Valley Wine Train chief executive officer has apologized to members of a predominantly black book club who were removed from the train for being too loud, but the group’s leader has shrugged off the mea culpa, saying it might be too late to make amends.
In a written statement released Tuesday morning, CEO Tony Giaccio said unequivocally that his staff should not have kicked off the club’s 11 female members on Saturday.
“The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue,” Giaccio said. “We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.”
Wine train employees evicted the women — whose ages range from 39 to 85 — after telling them multiple times they were being too loud during a three-hour ride through Napa’s wine country.
“I felt betrayed,” says Louise Miranda Ramirez, tribal chairwoman of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, whose people occupied large parts of northern California at the time of Serra’s arrival in 1769.
“The missions that Serra founded put our ancestors through things that none of us want to remember. I think about the children being locked into the missions, the whippings—and it hurts. I hurt for our ancestors. I feel the pain. That pain hasn’t gone away. And it needs to be corrected.