GOP says no to legalized pot

May 2, 2016

State Republicans gathering in Burlingame weighed in on California ballot measures, reflecting the GOP's traditional views.


From the LAT's Phil Willon: "The California Republican Party stuck mostly to its conservative roots Sunday, opposing proposed ballot initiatives to legalize pot, increase cigarette taxes and require background checks for people buying ammunition."


"Those were among the slate of initiatives expected to appear on the November ballot that Republicans considered Sunday at the party’s spring convention in Burlingame."

"The only mild surprise was the party's support for a $9-billion school bond measure which had faced opposition from some fiscal conservatives. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown also opposes the measure."


Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is headed to California despite flak from local Dems who are frustrated with Scott's overly critical perspective of business in Democratic states.


Associated Press: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott is heading west for a three-day California jobs jaunt that is drawing fire from Democrats."


"Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz says the governor on Sunday leaves on a trade mission to Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco where he is scheduled to meet with 13 companies. Scott will also participate in a panel discussion being hosted by the Milken Institute."


"This is the latest visit by the Republican governor to states run by Democrats. In those visits Scott criticized the business climate of the other states."


"That is the audience that we're targeting," said Scott Konopasek, Contra Costa County's assistant registrar."


An investigation by the Associated Press has revealed that many states and school districts across the nation are encouraging migrant youth fleeing from violent South American countries not to enroll in school--or to enroll in alternative programs with subpar education. 


AP's Garance Burke and Adrian Sainz report: "Candelario Jimon Alonzo came to the U.S. dreaming of becoming something more than what seemed possible along the rutted roads of his hometown in Guatemala's highlands. This was his chance: He could earn a U.S. high school education and eventually become a teacher."


"Instead, the 16-year-old spends most days alone in the tumbledown Memphis house where he lives with his uncle, leaving only occasionally to play soccer and pick up what English he can from his friends."


"Local school officials have kept Jimon out of the classroom since he tried to enroll in January. Attorneys say Jimon and at least a dozen other migrant youth fleeing violence in Central America have been blocked from going to Memphis high schools because officials contend the teens lacked transcripts or were too old to graduate on time."


SEE ALSO: Housing crisis: Bay Area school districts struggling to retain teachers -- Joyce Tsai reports in Mercury News.


The beltway has shifted the campaign focus to an age-old battle of the sexes after Trump accuses Clinton of using the gender card to garner votes.


Julia Prodis Sulek reports in Mercury News: "The politics of gender roared back into the presidential campaign this week as Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of playing "the woman's card" to win votes, while his rival Ted Cruz played one of his own by announcing former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate even though he's nowhere near securing the nomination."


"Suddenly, women are front and center in a presidential campaign that, among the Republican candidates anyway, has often uncomfortably focused on who's "man enough" to be commander in chief."


"It's an amazing moment," said Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, executive director of Stanford's Clayman Institute for Gender Research. "Hillary's very running has put women into this debate, with candidates feeling they have to respond, and that's exciting."


This year's Oakland May Day rally protested police brutality and the spate of lethal-force killings plaguing the state. 


AP reports: "In Oakland's May Day rally, workers with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union marched from the Fruitvale BART station to San Antonio Park, where a fair on community resources was being held."


"Oakland police issued traffic advisories and monitored a peaceful crowd of several hundred without incident and no reported arrests."


"Across the Bay in San Francisco, hundreds of workers were rallying and marching along the city's bay front in support of immigrant and workers' rights and to demand punishment for several men fatally shot by city police."


Voters with busy schedules but a desire to participate in an old-fashioned ballot casting may get their wish with polls opening up early this year


Mercury News' Sam Richards reports: "Not everyone likes voting by mail, and not everyone has time to vote at the polling place nearest their home on Election Day."


"For those harried commuters who still want the traditional cards-behind-curtains, get-your-name-checked-off communal experience of old-fashioned, polling-place voting, they will have a handful of places to do that the week before the June 7 primary election. Those places may well be closer to their workplace than to their home."


A historic cruise from the United States to Cuba took place this past Sunday, reaffirming the restoration of diplomatic ideals with the estranged country after the cold war.


Associated Press: "Passengers set sail Sunday from Miami on an historic cruise to Cuba, the first in decades to depart from a U.S. port for the communist island nation."


"Carnival Corp.'s 704-passenger Adonia left port at 4:24 p.m., bound for Havana. Carnival's Cuba cruises, operating under its Fathom brand, will visit the ports of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba on the seven-day outing."


"The cruise comes after Cuba loosened its policy banning Cuban-born people from arriving to the country by sea, a rule that threatened to stop the cruises from happening. Restarting the cruises was an important element of a bid by President Barack Obama's administration's to increase tourism to Cuba after the Dec. 17, 2014, decision to restore diplomatic relations and move toward normalization."


An environmental program, Heroes on the Water, is aimed at helping wounded warriors by using the therapeutic affect of water sport and hobby to relieve physical stress and emotional pain. 


Mercury News' Gary Peterson writes: "It's a simple concept. Round up a few veterans who came home with broken bodies or damaged psyches or a lung full of poison. Take them to a body of water. Let them fish. Put them in a kayak, and give them a gentle push away from the shore."


"Then watch the magic happen."


"What I've observed is veterans who have disabilities will come up to the kayak, and they'll have a certain amount of trepidation," said Raydon Shippey, Northern California chapter coordinator for Heroes on the Water, a Texas-based national nonprofit that hosted between 40 and 50 veterans Friday at San Pablo Reservoir."


Researchers at U.C. Berkeley have created a semantic map of the human brain--a fascinating atlas showing the connections between different parts of speech and which regions of the brain they affect. 


Shradha Ganapathy with Daily Californian writes: "A group of UC Berkeley researchers has mapped a semantic atlas of a relatively uncharted region: the human brain."


"In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, campus scientists mapped regions of the brain that each represent information about the meaning of language. The research suggests that related concepts are clustered into semantic domains found at multiple locations in the brain, according to Jack Gallant, campus psychology professor and a researcher on the study."


“Each location represents a constellation of related semantic concepts,” Gallant said."


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