Helter Skelter

Nov 20, 2017

The Roundup is compiled by Associate Editor Geoff Howard. Email him at geoff@capoitolweekly.net


Infamous cult leader Charles Manson has died. He was 83.


LA Times' MILES CORWIN: "Charles Manson was an unlikely figure to evolve into the personification of evil. A few inches over five feet, he was a petty criminal and small-time hustler. And his followers bore little resemblance to the stereotypical image of hardened killers. Most were in their early twenties, middle-class white kids, hippies and runaways who fell under his charismatic sway."


"But in the summer of 1969, Manson masterminded a string of bizarre murders in Los Angeles that both horrified and fascinated the nation and signified to many the symbolic end of the 1960s and the idealism and naiveté the decade represented."


"Considered one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century, Manson died of natural causes at a Kern County Hospital at 8:13 p.m Sunday, according to Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was 83."


READ MORE related to Charles Manson: Charles Manson 'a pathetic, cowardly con man' who should be remembered for that alone.' Reactions to his death -- LA Times' ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN; Charles Manson, 'Helter Skelter' mass murderer, dies at 83 -- The Chronicle's STEVE RUBENSTEINCharles Manson dead at 83, here's why his health crisis was shrouded in secrecy -- LA Times' JOSEPH SERNA/ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN; Charles Manson dies of natural causes in California hospital -- East Bay Times' MATTHIAS GAFNI; Plans for Manson's remains 'undetermined' -- AP


Feinstein says 2018 could be another 'Year of the Woman'


LA Times: "Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California told party officials Saturday that the sexual harassment allegations that have rocked the federal government and state legislatures across the country could lead to a wave of new female lawmakers not seen in decades."


"I predict based on what I see out there that we are going to have another Year of the Woman," Feinstein said, referencing 1992, when she was first elected to Congress with many other women."


"Feinstein, who seldom appears at state party functions, spoke to the Women's Caucus at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Millbrae. She's facing a primary fight for re-election next year against state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles."


Build-it-yourself 'ghost guns' bypass California's tough laws


The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "The man who shot five people to death on a rampage through a small town in the northern Central Valley couldn’t buy guns legally. But by building his own untraceable weapons, he was able to amass an illegal arsenal."


"Kevin Janson Neal used at least two homebuilt semiautomatic rifles to massacre his wife and four other residents of Rancho Tehama Reserve in Tehama County, authorities who seized the weapons said."


"Such “ghost guns” are slipping through a loophole in California’s tough firearms laws, according to gun control proponents. One manufacturer of the technology that makes such weapons easy to build says the state’s tough-on-guns stance has created a demand for workarounds that is making him rich"


READ MORE related to Gun Violence: Pizza and hugs -- school targeted by shooter tries to move on -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW


California has message for the state's new legal pot industry: Pay your taxes


LA Times' PATRICK MCGREEVY: "California’s shift to legal sales of marijuana for recreational use hits a milestone Monday when the state begins issuing tax permits to marijuana distributors."


"State regulators estimate the California market could eventually generate $1 billion in taxes and fees annually. But the industry has resisted handing over its share of profits to the state treasury, and the pressure is on to reduce delinquencies and force scofflaws to pay up. Industry officials and state regulators say a proposed carrot-and-stick approach to taxes may lead to more compliance in the future."


"The state is scheduled to begin licensing the growth, distribution, testing and sale of recreational pot starting Jan. 2, as approved by voters last November. But medical marijuana sales have been legal and taxed since voters approved the Compassionate Use Act of 1996."


READ MORE related to Cannabis: Wrecked and Retching: Obscure vomiting illness linked to long-term pot use -- California Healthline's PAULINE BARTOLONE


State workers: Want a nepotism audit at your department? Send evidence


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "The report that detailed a dense web of personal relationships at a California tax agency was the first deep look at nepotism in the state workforce by an auditing arm of the State Personnel Board."


"It likely won’t be the last, said State Personnel Board Executive Officer Suzanne Ambrose."


"She anticipates that her office will receive a wave of tips about nepotism in different offices because of the publicity her team’s report on the Board of Equalization received. But, she cautioned, the board will need solid evidence for it to pursue an investigation."


Tom Steyer scores publicity with ads seeking Trump's impeachment


The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS: "Who is Tom Steyer, the guy showing up on your TV screen every 20 minutes calling for the impeachment of President Trump?"


"He’s a 60-year-old, retired billionaire hedge fund manager who loves Elmore Leonard novels, does the Chronicle crossword and Sudoku puzzles daily, and — when not trying to save the world from ecological or political self-destruction — is working at climbing all 15 peaks in California that are above 14,000 feet tall. So far, he’s scaled nine."


"“I like to stay active,” said Steyer, whose $20 million, self-financed ad campaign is doing some climbing of its own — up the political charts."


Sexual predation has a foothold in nearly every corner of American culture; the American Music Awards is no different.


LA Times' MIKAEL WOOD: "At least this thing had its heart in the right place."


"In an age of widespread awards-show overload, nobody looks to the annual American Music Awards — broadcast live Sunday night on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles — for an authoritative diagnosis of what matters in pop music, never mind the larger culture that pop is supposed to reflect."


"Unlike the Grammy Awards, the AMAs presents itself as a fan-voted event that recognizes the “favorite” over the “best” — which would be fine (maybe even preferable!) if those favorites didn’t seem more often than not to overlap with whoever was willing to show up and perform."


READ MORE related to #MeToo: Russell Simmons and Brett Ratner face new allegations of sexual misconductc -- LA Times' AMY KAUFMAN/DANIEL MILLER/VICTORIA KIM; Surprise Weinstein Co. bidder -- a former Obama official -- proposes majority-female board -- LA Times' RYAN FAUGHNDER


Sexual misconduct has not only permeated pop culture but politics as well.


The Chronicle's JOHN DIAZ: "One of the dispiriting trends in modern American politics is the pervasiveness of tribalism: the willingness to forgive or condemn on the basis of party or ideology, no matter the facts. It’s us against them, no principle too sacred to sacrifice. That phenomenon was pushed to the fore with allegations that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, had preyed upon young women in their teens when he was in his early 30s."


"The most disturbing account, with on-the-record quotes in the Washington Post, involved the initiation of sexual contact with a 14-year-old."


"As Americans, as decent human beings, can we agree that pedophilia is indefensible regardless of how long ago it occurred, and regardless of its consequences on the balance of power in the nation’s capital?"'


READ MORE related to Boy's ClubThis Capitol sex harassment scandal isn't going away -- Sacramento Bee's DAN WALTERSIgnoring sexual harassment: Political Cartoons -- OC Register's Editorial BoardThey reported sex harassment in state jobs and found 'retaliation is alive and well' -- Sacramento Bee's MARJIE LUNDSTROM/ALEXEI KOSEFF


Judge says Sutter Health destroyed evidence in crucial antitrust case over high prices


California Healthline's CHAD TERHUNE: "Sutter Health intentionally destroyed 192 boxes of documents that employers and labor unions were seeking in a lawsuit that accuses the giant Northern California health system of abusing its market power and charging inflated prices, according to a state judge."


"In a ruling this week, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow said Sutter destroyed documents “knowing that the evidence was relevant to antitrust issues. … There is no good explanation for the specific and unusual destruction here."


"Karnow cited an internal email by a Sutter employee who said she was “running and hiding” after ordering the records destroyed in 2015. “The most generous interpretation to Sutter is that it was grossly reckless,” the judge wrote in his 12-page ruling."


READ MORE related to Health Care: Despite ACA cost protections, most adolescents skip regular checkups -- California Healthline's MICHELLE ANDREWS; About a third of Americans unaware of Obamacare open enrollment -- California Healthline's PHIL GALEWITZ; Podcast: 'What the health?' Tax bill or health bill? -- California Healthline


White House open to striking health provision from tax bill


AP's DARLENE SUPERVILLE: "The White House says it's willing to strike a health-care provision from Senate legislation to cut taxes and overhaul the tax code if the provision becomes an impediment to passing one of President Donald Trump's top legislative priorities."


"The provision would repeal a requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine, but has emerged as a major sticking point for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote the White House needs. Collins said Sunday that the issue should be dealt with separately."


"Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said the White House is open to scrapping the provision, which would repeal a key component of the Affordable Care Act health law enacted by President Barack Obama. Trump had pressed for the provision to be added to the bill, partly to show progress on the GOP goal of undoing the health care law following Congress' failed attempts to repeal it earlier this year."


READ MORE related to Death & Taxes: Why a Republican owner of a booming business says he wants a tax cut (and what it says about the GOP's biggest goal) -- WaPo's TODD C. FRANKEL; Nix the mortgage-interest deduction, but not like this -- East Bay Times' DANIEL BORENSTEIN; Deduction targeted by GOP used by tax filers in most states -- AP


'Oui' or 'non'? Sacramento could soon get a French FM radio station


Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "Of nearly 100 radio stations listenable in the Sacramento area, less than 20 broadcast in foreign languages, and none of them in French."


"That could soon change at the hands of the nonprofit Sacramento French Cultural Society. According to a Facebook post made Friday by the Sacramento French Film Festival (SFCS does not have its own separate Facebook page), the SFCS recently received the license to a low-power FM radio frequency in Sacramento."


"Broadcast information website fccdata.org confirms that the SFCS on Nov. 6 was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast from KZAC (97.3 FM)."


Songs about computer coding? It's what happens when an arts school adds STEM focus


EdSource's GEORGE WHITE: "When Zane D’Amico enrolled at Renaissance Arts Academy in 2011, he expected the Los Angeles charter school to help him enhance his skills as a cellist."


"What he didn’t expect was that two years later the school would adopt a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum and he would be using engineering and math skills to build massive stages for the school’s dance, orchestra and singing performances. And he certainly didn’t anticipate joining classmates on stage to sing about the joys of computer coding."


"Zane, now a senior, plans to major in computer science and hopes to attend UC Berkeley. An “A” student, he’s among the top performers in a school with a track record of preparing students for college. An average of 97 percent of its students over the past four years have been accepted at four-year universities — including MIT, Caltech, Harvard and the Juilliard School of Music."


READ MORE related to Education: Encouraging students to make mistakes to improve math outcomes -- EdSource's LIZZY HULL BARNES


Tesla mass firings could show impact down the road


East Bay Times' LOUIS HANSEN: "Frank Morales joined Tesla about four years ago, eager to work for a growing company."


"Morales handled the aggressive deadlines of the Tesla warehouse — until last month. He said he received years of strong performance reviews, but was fired one day “with no warning."


"A friend and a cousin recently asked him if they should go to work for the car maker. “I told them no,” Morales said, “stay where you’re at."


READ MORE related to Economy: Should Sacramento be paying a Fortune 500 company millions to bring jobs here? -- Sacramento Bee's MARCOS BRETON


Afghan feminist who battled domestic violence now helps refugee families make it here


Sacramento Bee's STEPHEN MAGAGNINI: "Basira Haidari, a fearless Afghan refugee, had her family shattered and her heart broken last winter after she’d declared war on domestic abuse."


"Child Protective Services had taken her two small children way because she didn’t know how to file an temporary restraining order against her husband, Omid, who had been arrested for slapping her in a fight over money."


"On Saturday morning, she was on the front lines at the Yolo County Childrens’ Alliance Community Giveaway Day, one of several staff members and an army volunteers from River CIty High School helping 500 families, many of them refugees who began lining up at 4 a.m. at Westfield Village Elementary School for Thanksgiving meals, groceries, clothes, blankets and toys."


Release of juvenile salmon jump-starts Russian River


The Chronicle's TOM STIENSTRA: "In a special moment Monday, 6,000 juvenile coho salmon are being released in a coastal creek in Sonoma County."


"It is part of the release of 140,000 coho salmon this fall in a public-private partnership to restore coho, or silver salmon, in 10 tributaries that feed into the Russian River."


"The result of restoration efforts in the Bay Area and beyond has turned salmon watching into a spectator sport."


Drug needles are damaging the toilets in this iconic Sacramento park


Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS: "Hypodermic needles are being flushed so often down the toilets in McKinley Park, damaged sewer systems have forced the city to shut down the bathrooms twice in recent months."


"City officials think they may have found a fix."


"The City Council will consider Tuesday spending $50,000 for a mechanical grinder that would chew up needles and other objects flushed down the toilets in the East Sacramento park. The bathroom is next to the city’s most heavily used playground, and city officials want to avoid permanently shutting down the facility."


Thanksgiving is going to be a real scorcher, forecasters say


LA Times' ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN: "Angelenos can expect a hot Thanksgiving this year, with record-breaking temperatures forecast across the region."


"The mercury is expected to steadily rise throughout the week, with Wednesday and Thursday forecasted to be the hottest days."


"Forecasters predict a high of 89 degrees in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, which would tie a record set in 1950, and 87 degrees on Thursday, said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. At Los Angeles International Airport, temperatures will reach 86 and 84 on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively."


READ MORE related to Environment: Eagles, hawks flocking to Bay Area lakes, foothills -- LA Times' TOM STIENSTRA; Get ready for an 'abnormally warm' Thanksgiving -- OC Register's LAUREN WILLIAMS; Rain brings health hazards to homeless -- NYT's THOMAS FULLER/MATT STEVENS


The Shakespearean excesses and political intrigues that drove Africa's oldest strongman out of power


LA Times' ROBYN DIXON: "In a glitzy Johannesburg nightclub earlier this month, a wealthy young playboy poured an entire $660 bottle of Ace of Spades Armand de Brignac Champagne over his diamond-studded watch: It was Bellarmine Chatunga, the youngest son of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe."


"He had bragged about the watch and chunky gold bracelet on an earlier social media post: “$60,000 on the wrist when your daddy run the whole country ya know!!!"


"As Zimbabweans struggle to afford food, when many find themselves sleeping outside banks in the hope of withdrawing $10 in cash, the video drew outrage, even among the ruling elite that had propped up the 93-year-old Mugabe for 37 years."


READ MORE related to International: Mugabe defies all expectations and declines to resign as Zimbabwe's president -- WaPo's KEVIN SIEFF


HOA Homefront: What Sacramento did for (or is it to?) HOAs in 2017 


OC Register's KELLY G. RICHARDSON: "Last week’s column addressed three bills recently passed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Assembly: Senate bill 2, Assembly bill 534 and AB 1412. Today’s column will tackle three other significant bills, SB 407, AB 634, and AB 690, which also were approved and take effect in 2018."


"SB 407 created Civil Code 4515, which has the expressed intent of protecting the right of HOA members and residents to “peacefully assemble and freely communicate” regarding HOA living or “for social, political or educational purposes."


"The statute protects the right of members or residents to hold meetings regarding HOA issues, legislation, or public elections, and to invite public officials or candidates or homeowner organization representatives to speak in the association common area if the area is available.  It also protects the right of members and residents to reasonably canvass or petition other members or residents and to distribute information regarding about public or HOA legal or political concerns. A member or resident using the common area for this is not to be charged a fee or deposit for use of the common area."


READ MORE related to Housing & Development: These new homes have shiny appliances and granite counters, but you can't buy them -- Sacramento Bee's HUDSON SANGREE


Should you merge early or late when your freeway lane ends?


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "You’re driving on the freeway and you see a sign that says “Lane ends ahead, merge left.” It may be because there is construction work going on or a crash. Or it may simply be because the freeway has fewer lanes ahead."


"Should you merge right away? Or should you drive as far as you can before merging, possibly passing dozens of slower moving cars in the clogged lane next to you?"


"It’s a question Sacramento drivers may face more frequently these days, with all the construction going on, and particularly this holiday season on the crowded freeways."


One dead, one missing after boat found spinning near Half Moon Bay


Mercury News' RAMONA GIWARGIS: "One person is dead and another is missing after a boat was found spinning in circles near Half Moon Bay on Sunday evening."


"The names of the victims were not available Sunday. One person was pulled from the water shortly after 5 p.m., according to ABC 7, and crews were searching for one other person."


"The Coast Guard tried to stop the boat, which is reportedly registered to a Vallejo resident. The harbormaster at Pillar Point reported the boat spinning just after 3 p.m., according to ABC 7. The boat was first spotted near the Half Moon Bay harbor and off Martin’s Beach around 1:50 p.m., authorities said."


Jack Ohman cartoon: The beat poetry of Gov. Jerry Brown