State ends race-based punishment

Oct 23, 2014

California corrections officials and lawyers for inmates have settled a long-running civil rights lawsuit over race-based punishment instate prisons, agreeing to end the practice.  Paige St. John has the story at the Los Angeles Times.


“This week, California agreed to give up its unique use of race-based punishment as a tool to control violence in its crowded prisons. Corrections chief Jeffrey Beard and lawyers for inmates have settled a six-year-long civil rights lawsuit, filed in 2008, over the High Desert lockdown.


“The case was eventually widened to cover all prisoners and lockdown practices that had become common statewide. The agreement now goes to a federal judge for expected approval.”


The national plastics industry has galvanized against California’s looming plastic bag ban, spending big bucks – over $1 million - to fund a statewide referendum on the issue.  Jeremy White looks at their campaign, and its national implications, in today’s Sacramento Bee.


“Moments after Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Senate Bill 270 in September, a plastic industry group that vociferously fought the legislation declared its intention to launch a referendum campaign. If proponents secure enough signatures by the end of December, the measure would be placed on the 2016 ballot, suspending the law’s implementation until then.


“Money has begun pouring in. A new filing shows plastics companies contributing $1.2 million toward the referendum campaign. All but $50,000 came from companies based outside of California, illustrating the fight’s national dimensions.”


Just two weeks out from the election, the Public Policy Institute of California has released a new statewide poll.  Capitol Weekly has the whole survey here, and  KQED’s John Myers looks at the implications for Prop 2, which is still underwater.


“PPIC’s poll finds Prop. 2 with the support of 49 percent of those surveyed — six points better than last month, but still below the majority threshold it will need to win on Nov. 4.


“And if that’s going to change, it may all come down to one guy.


“’The burden is now on the governor,’ said Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s pollster and president.”


Capital Public Radio’s Katie Orr wraps up her three part series on women in California government with a visit to the legislature, where women hold less than 30% of the seats – and perhaps even less after November 4.


“Of the 120 seats in the Legislature, 32 are currently held by women. [Assembly Speaker Toni] Atkins expects a loss of at least one woman after the November election. And with term limits and the power of incumbency, if that loss isn’t made up for in the next election, she says it could be a decade before the legislature could get close to gender parity.”


At roughly $60 million, the battle over Proposition 46 is the most expensive campaign on the 2014 ballot.  Yes, that’s a lot of money, but Samantha Clark at the San Jose Mercury News looks at the human side of the story.


“Since Adam [Hitchcock-Glover]'s inexplicable death five years ago, his mother has been trying to find out what went wrong. Five independent doctors who Hitchcock-Glover consulted told her that Adam's death was preventable and that he died from hypovolemic shock, when the heart is unable to pump enough blood due to severe fluid loss.

“This November, voters will consider Proposition 46, a patient safety initiative, in part because of Hitchcock-Glover's work.”


We thought that stories about state furlough lawsuits ended when Arnold Schwarzenegger went back to Hollywood, but, apparently not.  The governor’s office has conceded in a case reinstating pay for scientists improperly furloughed by Governor Brown in 2011.  From Jon Ortiz in the Bee:


“The governor’s decision ends a legal battle that started in May 2011 when he imposed two more furlough days on state scientists and engineers than he imposed on their managers. A trial court ruled that Brown overstepped his authority by extending the furloughs and ordered back pay. Last month, an appellate court agreed.”


The Los Angeles Times looks at two statewide races today.  George Skelton handicaps the race for State Controller - and talks with each of the candidatesChris Megerian looks at union support for Jerry Brown.


“As Brown seeks a fourth term, unions remain a key element of his political power, providing millions of dollars in donations and deep ranks of campaign foot soldiers.

"’We agree on a lot of the issues,’ said Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Assn. ‘It's not a big surprise we would be on the same page.’"


 Perhaps it’s just another example of everything costing more in Silicon Valley, but can anyone explain why founder Gary Kremen is spending nearly $350,000 to run for a seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District? Paul Rogers has the story in the San Jose Mercury News.


“The incumbent, fellow Democrat Brian Schmidt of Mountain View, is troubled by Kremen's shock-and-awe campaign for a job that pays $260 per meeting.


"’Why is he spending so much? I don't know what to say,’ Schmidt said. ‘It could be that he thinks it's a steppingstone for higher office. It's tricky to try to get at somebody's deeper motivations, but it is really concerning.’”


Don’t tell Tim Draper, but the State of Jefferson has some new competition in the ‘name a state for a president’ sweepstakes.   More surprising, the newly-proposed state makes Jefferson seem like a liberal paradise.  Former Reagan aide Douglas MacKinnon has proposed that Florida, Georgia and South Carolina secede to form a new ultra-conservative confederacy named Reagan.  Nope, we’re not making this up.  From Jezebel’s ROYGBIV:


“MacKinnon was speaking to conservative radio personality Janet Mefferd, according to Right Wing Watch. The author was promoting his new book, ‘The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country … Now.’ OF COURSE, MacKinnon swears he's only being hypothetical. It's only a thought experiment. Completely academic! Except, you know, if it happened, he would totally be cool with that, and of course he has the perfect name already.


“’If it moves beyond the academic, then it's one of those things, too, where obviously now – in the age of instant communication – the world would also know about this country. The interim name for the country, by the way, is Reagan.’”


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