California's National Guard vs. the Pentagon

Oct 25, 2016

California's National Guard is being forced to pay back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers to the Pentagon -- an issue Congress has been aware of for two years.


DAVID S. CLOUD and SARAH D. WIRE with L.A. Times: "The California National Guard told the state’s members of Congress two years ago that the Pentagon was trying to claw back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers, and even offered a proposal to mitigate the problem, but Congress took no action, according to a senior National Guard official."


"The official added that improper bonuses had been paid to National Guard members in every state, raising the possibility that many more soldiers may owe large debts to the Pentagon."


"This is a national issue and affects all states,” Andreas Mueller, the chief of federal policy for the California Guard, wrote in an email to the state’s congressional delegation Monday. Attention had focused on California because it was “the only state that audited” bonus payments at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Soldiers struggling to repay enlistment bonuses issued in error -- DAVE PHILIPPS with N.Y. TimesIllegal bonuses given to California National Guard soldiers should be forgiven, lawmakers say -- ADAM ASHTON with Sacramento Bee; Contra Costa deputy describes jail fistfight with convicted killer -- NATE GARTRELL with East Bay Times; Pittsburg woman's parents seek answers from Navy in death -- RICK HURD with East Bay Times


Critics of the Delta water tunnel project say flooding is a better alternative


MATT WEISER with Water Deeply: "When California officials got serious about building two giant tunnels to divert freshwater out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, it didn’t take critics long to propose alternatives."


"One of the first was a grassroots scheme that, at first, seemed radical and counterintuitive: Let winter floods retake vast parts of the San Joaquin Valley – the very farmland that needs those Delta water diversions. The floods would recharge depleted groundwater that could then be used to irrigate the farms, preventing the need for Delta water exports."


"The idea came in 2007 from Tom Zuckerman, then an attorney for the Central Delta Water Agency, one of many groups still battling the tunnel project. Zuckerman drafted it in the form of a 26-page “white paper” that he presented to the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, a panel appointed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger."


READ MORE related to California Water Crisis: Climate change is shaping California's water future -- JULIET CHRISTIAN-SMITH with Union of Concerned ScientistsLate-week storm to deliver critical rain to California -- RENEE DUFF with AccuWeather; As rains begin, officials warn of flash flood danger -- TERESA MCGAFFIC with ACWASites Reservoir has a new website, logo and more than enough investors -- HEATHER HACKING with ChicoER; Review and comment available for Draft EIS for long-term protection of Lower Klamath adult salmon -- STAFF with California Water News Daily


Opponents of the death penalty have used inflated numbers in their latest television ad


ALEXEI KOSEFF with Sacramento Bee: "If voters approve Proposition 62 this November, California would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Rather than focusing on moral arguments, supporters of the initiative have sought to make the campaign an issue of fiscal sensibility."


"In a new television ad, Ron Briggs, who managed his father’s successful 1978 ballot measure to expand California’s death penalty, says it was a mistake, emphasizing that the state would save money if it abolishes capital punishment. But the spot paints an exaggerated picture of the cost by juxtaposing unrelated figures."


READ MORE related to November Ballot: California voters are being asked to force transparency on Legislature. Here's a Proposition 54 explainer. -- JOHN MYERS with L.A. Times; Californians race to meet voter registration deadline ahead of historic election -- AARON KINNEY with East Bay Times; Election may be a turning point for legal marijuana -- THOMAS FULLER with N.Y. Times


Friends of Tom Hayden remember his tenacity


MICHAEL FINNEGAN with L.A. Times: "The day before his death, Tom Hayden was talking with his ex-wife Jane Fonda in his Santa Monica hospital room when conversation turned to a 1961 “Freedom Ride” in the Deep South, his initiation into the civil rights movement."


"He met activists who were willing to die for what they believed was right,” Fonda said Monday. “He said that it changed him forever, meeting people like that."


"Hayden’s embrace of civil disobedience in Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi launched his career as one of America’s best-known advocates of leftist causes, most importantly as a top organizer of protests against the Vietnam War."


READ MORE related to Remembering Tom Hayden: Tom Hayden: Peace activist, lawmaker, teacher, author -- STAFF with Sacramento Bee


Experts say that this year's election has affected American health in unprecedented ways


SAMMY CAIOLA with Sacramento Bee: "Like many Americans, Micah Weinberg is counting the days until the November election is over."


"He’s exhausted by the onslaught of political news coming out of the presidential race, most of it relaying the latest off-color comment or personal attack caught on tape. He’s lost sleep because he can’t stop checking his phone for headlines that inevitably sadden or anger him. And while working at the Bay Area-based health think tank that he heads, he rides the roller coaster of every poll result that flashes across his screen, anguishing over how it reflects on his favored candidate."


"The inability to get away from the really negative, constant flow of information is unlike anything I’ve experienced in my entire life,” the 40-year-old Democrat said. “We cannot isolate ourselves from the news – it’s this constant bombardment of negative information, and that’s tiring, frankly. My cellphone is just this source of poisonous information about the world."


Tragedy struck after 13 people are killed and 31 are left injured in a bus crash near Palm Springs, California.


ELLIOT SPAGAT and JULIE WATSON with Associated Press: "Ana Car didn't remember the sudden impact, only that she woke up among dead and injured passengers in a dark bus filled with screams of terror and agony."


"The retired factory worker had spent an evening gambling at a desert casino and was sound asleep when the bus heading to Los Angeles smashed into the rear of a slow-moving tractor-trailer. The crash killed the bus driver and 12 passengers and injured 31 other people."


"I can't believe how many died," she said, sobbing Monday as she recovered from bumps, bruises and a sore back. "It was so horrible. These images are going to stay in my head for life."


READ MORE related to Current Events: SF filmmaker arrested in Glen Park shooting death -- JENNA LYONS and ERIN ALLDAY with The Chronicle; Bottled message sent out to sea is found 5 decades later -- AP in The Chronicle


Sacramento State will be using a new $1.28m state program grant aimed at high school and college collaboration.


DIANA LAMBERT with Sacramento Bee: "Sacramento State hopes to reduce the number of freshmen who need remedial math classes by using a new $1.28 million grant to collaborate with high school educators."


"Caliornia State University, Sacramento, is one of five colleges statewide awarded a two-year California Mathematics Readiness Challenge Initiative grant. The state program is aimed at improving high school education by having colleges work closely with secondary level teachers and principals."


"Most high school seniors in the Sacramento region do not have to take math, and less than 13 percent are prepared for college instruction, according to Sacramento State."


READ MORE related to Education: Group of educators, policymakers aims to tackle preschool suspensions -- JEREMY HAY with EdSourceParents of Cal Poly student killed in folsom staircase collapse pursue lawsuit -- DARRELL SMITH with Sacramento Bee; East Bay school districts seek approval of $870M in bond, parcel tax measures -- JOYCE TSAI with East Bay Times


One of Ro Khanna's campaign aides tried to invite Hillary Clinton to his wedding in Cleveland last year.


CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO with Sacramento Bee: "Ro Khanna, in a same-party rematch with Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, was preparing to wed his bride, Ritu Ahuja, in Cleveland, when a campaign aide put forwarded an “intriguing idea ... that may be win-win."


"In an Aug. 12, 2015 email, since hacked and posted to WikiLeaks, Khanna adviser Steve Spinner reached out to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to see if she might be willing to briefly drop by the festivities."


"Ritu’s father, Monte Ahuja, is a very prominent businessperson and philanthropist,” Spinner wrote to Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta. “He happens to be a Republican, and Sen. Rob Portman, his friend, is coming..."


A Bay Area-based technology marketing specialist is leading a boycott against Ivanka Trump.


Two dog advocacy groups are arguing over Scott Weiner and Jane Kim in their bids for the state Senate.


C.W. Nevius with The Chronicle: "This Scott Wiener-versus-Jane Kim race for state Senate is turning into a real dogfight."


"No seriously, I mean with real dogs."


"Two dog advocacy groups, SFDog and DogPAC, are barking back and forth over candidates. Supporters of SFDog, a nonprofit that does not endorse candidates, are growling that DogPAC, a registered political action committee, shed its canine advocacy to roll over for political purposes."


It appears rent around the Bay Area is on a steady decline, according to a new study


RICHARD SCHEINN with East Bay Times: "The message is becoming increasingly clear: Rents indeed are falling around the Bay Area."


"New data from the Axiometrics research firm show rents dropping in San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland. The Oakland piece is a new twist; according to other surveys, the city’s rents have remained on the rise, though at a far slower rate than over the past year or two."


"As average rents slide into “negative-rent-growth territory,” the Axiometrics study found:"


Humboldt's homeless problem has had only a single lifeline: Betty Chinn, a woman known around the county as 'the Chinese Mother Teresa.'


MIKE MCPHATE with N.Y. Times: "When we asked readers last week to describe the homelessness in their communities, several urged us to take a look at the work of Betty Chinn, a homeless advocate based in Eureka. So we did."


"Ms. Chinn is known around Humboldt County as “the Chinese Mother Teresa."


"Eureka’s police chief, Andrew Mills, described her as a philanthropic force of nature. “It’s a humbling experience just to sit in her presence,” he said on Monday."


Officials are telling seniors they should cancel their health insurance marketplace policies to prevent having too much insurance.


SUSAN JAFFE with California Healthline: "Ever since the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces opened for business in 2014, the Obama administration and California officials have worked hard to make sure Americans sign up."


"Yet state officials now are telling some older people as they turn 65 that they should cancel their marketplace policies so they don’t end up with too much insurance."


"California — which runs the largest state marketplace, with 1.4 million members — has been mailing letters to all marketplace customers who are 65 or will be by Dec. 1 to let them know about their eligibility for Medicare. They are also being told that once they become eligible for Medicare, they can’t qualify for federal subsidies to help pay the premium costs for marketplace plans."


READ MORE related to Health: Even one season of tackle football can damage young brains, study finds -- BRIAN MURPHY with Sacramento BeeTo curb unintended pregnancy, states turn to IUDs -- in the delivery room -- SHEFALI LUTHRA with California Healthline