The long, slow count

Jun 30, 2016


Three weeks after the primary election, California still needs to tally half a million ballots -- but their impact on the election is believed to be minimal.


Ian Lovett reporting for N.Y. Times writes: "We like to think of California as the center of the tech universe. But, apparently, all that know-how has not helped us figure out how to run more efficient elections."


"Three weeks after the state’s Democratic presidential primary, half a million votes remain uncounted."


"The final tallies, whenever they come in, are not expected to change the result."


Despite a Supreme Court decision to upholad affirmative action in university admissions, UC Berkeley has released a statement saying it will uphold voter-sanctioned Prop. 209 because it takes precedent over the Supreme Court's verdict.


Sahil Chinoy writing for The Daily Californian reports: "Affirmative action is a policy of favoring those who have historically suffered from discrimination. In the case of college admissions, it usually refers to giving extra consideration in the admissions process to underrepresented minorities — Black, Latino and American Indian students, among others."


"Thursday’s decision reaffirmed that race-conscious admissions policies can be legal. It rejected a challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions policies brought by Abigail Fisher, a white applicant who in 2008 claimed the university had denied her admission on the grounds of race."


"At the time of Fisher’s application, the University of Texas at Austin automatically admitted the top 10 percent of each Texas high school’s graduating class. Applicants who didn’t make this cut, such as Fisher, could still be awarded admission under a holistic review process, which, among factors such as leadership qualities and family circumstances, also considered the applicant’s race."


SEE MORE related to Education: UC Spends $158,000 on publicity campaign after negative state audit report -- Haruka Senju with The Daily Californian.


A proposition dubbed "No Blank Checks" is making its way to the November ballot, and it could create pandamonium for Gov. Brown's High Speed Rail and Delta Tunnel projects.


Paul Rogers writes for Mercury News: "Two of Gov. Jerry Brown's favorite projects -- building a high-speed rail system and a pair of massive tunnels under the Delta -- face a serious threat if California voters pass a measure heading for the November ballot."


"The "No Blank Checks Initiative," bankrolled with $4.5 million from Stockton farmer and businessman Dean Cortopassi, would require a public vote on any state project in which $2 billion or more in revenue bonds would be issued. And since both the bullet train and twin-tunnels projects would most likely require that kind of financing, voters could ultimately get a chance to decide their fate."


"Cortopassi's initiative is one of more than a dozen measures California voters are expected to decide in November -- the final list of which will be announced Thursday by the Secretary of State's Office. Among them are proposals to legalize recreational marijuana, tighten gun laws, eliminate the state's death penalty and authorize $9 billion in school bonds."


Dump the Trump: Another endorsement for Donald bites the dust as Rep. David Valadao withdraws his support and refuses to back either candidate.


Razi Syed in Fresno Bee writes: "Rep. David Valadao, who represents a heavily Hispanic swath of the central San Joaquin Valley, has had a change of heart over his initial support of Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee."


"The Hanford Republican, in a statement released by his campaign last week, now says he cannot support a candidate whose divisive rhetoric “denigrates people based on their ethnicity, religion, or disabilities.”


“I am disappointed with the divisive rhetoric coming from this Presidential Election and cannot support either candidate,” Valadao said in the statement released June 22."


An engineer for PG&E testified in court Wednesday delineating the company's knowledge of faulty pipelines before the San Bruno explosion.


Bob Egelko reports in The Chronicle: "A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. engineer testified Wednesday that the company relied on records that it knew were faulty when it spiked pressure on its gas pipelines, including the line that later exploded in San Bruno."


"It was commonly known amongst the organization that it wasn’t a perfect database,” Todd Arnett told a federal court jury in San Francisco that is considering 13 criminal charges against PG&E — 12 counts of failing to identify risks to pipelines, failing to conduct needed inspections and knowingly keeping inaccurate records, and one count of obstructing a federal investigation of the deadly September 2010 San Bruno explosion."


"A March 2009 email from another PG&E engineer to Arnett and other managers, displayed to the jury, said there were “a ton of errors” in PG&E’s record-keeping system for three Peninsula pipelines, including the line that ran through San Bruno. Jurors also heard that the San Bruno pipeline section — identified only by number in court testimony, in keeping with the judge’s instructions — described the pipe as seamless, which wasn’t true."


Airbnb is suing the City of San Francisco for a recently passed bill that the entity claims to be a violation of federal law.


Jim Kerstetter in N.Y. Times reports: "Sometimes local politicians can be an awfully unpredictable bunch."


"This month, Airbnb appeared to be surprised when the once friendly San Francisco Board of Supervisors turned hostile, unanimously voting to fine Airbnb $1,000 a day for every unregistered host who uses the service, in a new law that is expected to go into effect in July."


"Airbnb is suing to stop it, arguing that the supervisors are violating a federal law that protects websites from being responsible for what people post on them."


Despite programs aimed at reducing inmate drug use, overdose rates in correctional facilities remain five times the national average.


Don Thompson with the A.P. reports: "Drug use behind bars appears to have increased since California started using drug-sniffing dogs and machinery to try to stop smuggling at state prisons, where overdose deaths are nearly five times the national rate, records show."


"It’s unclear exactly why things haven’t gone as officials projected."


"Some say the testing can yield artificially high results. Others say it’s too soon to draw any long-term conclusions. Still more say the program simply is not working. Prison officials won’t divulge details on results of the multimillion-dollar program."