California: dead last?

Mar 5, 2018

Study says California has worst quality of life in US


BANG's KAREN D'SOUZA: "California dreamin’? Flying in the face of traditional wisdom that we live on the best coast, comes a stinging new U.S. News & World Report study that says we have the worst quality of life in the nation."


"The coveted Best States ranking is part of an annual study that scores all 50 states on eight categories including health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability and the most important of all for most of us, quality of life."


"Sadly it found that Californians are in the pits by this metric with the Golden State taking last place at No. 50. States like North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and South Dakota all kicked our butt in that category, according to this study."


California nurses union leader RoseAnn DeMoro retiring, but remains 'on call'


The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Sen. Bernie Sanders calls her “very tough” and “an invaluable ally.” Longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader praises her as “the greatest labor organizer of her time.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka admires her “iron will.” Filmmaker Michael Moore says she is “the pain-in-the-ass labor leader all workers need fighting for them.”


"Nobody would call RoseAnn DeMoro, who transformed the California Nurses Association into one of the state’s most powerful political forces and a national player, retiring. But on Sunday, she will retire from the organization she has led for 32 years, saying she leaves the union “100 percent” ready to fight its battles."


“I’ve done everything I could possibly do for one organization. I really do think we need to open up space for other people,” DeMoro, 69, said during an interview at the union’s Oakland office. “It’s not like I’m disappearing from the face of the earth. I told them I’m permanently ‘on call’ for anything.”


READ MORE related to Health & Health CareUser-friendly or error-ridden? Debate swirls around website comparing nursing homes -- CHL's JOCELYN WIENER


Sexual harassment could stop special treatment for some lawmakers' records


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Sparked by the unfolding sexual misconduct scandal at the Capitol, the California Legislature could this year expand the open records law governing itself for the first time in more than four decades."


"Assembly Bill 2032, introduced last month by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, would require the Legislature to release the results of harassment and discrimination investigations into lawmakers or high-level employees when the complaint is determined to be well-founded or discipline is imposed."


"Its passage would be a significant – yet incremental – step for a body that exempted itself from the public records act governing other state and local government bodies and has consistently resisted calls for greater transparency."


ICE said California arrests were 'target,' but observer alleges dragnet


The Chronicle's HAMED ALEAZIZ: "Federal immigration officials who launched a big enforcement operation this week in Northern California objected to the actions being labeled sweeps or raids, saying the government went after specific people and does not “target aliens indiscriminately."


"But a construction worker from the Central Valley told a different story about the four-day operation that was designed to counter California’s sanctuary policies and netted 232 undocumented immigrants."


"Miguel Botello, 37, said he and three colleagues were stopped Sunday outside a convenience store in Atwater (Merced County) by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who asked to see proof of legal status, in what he called an instance of racial profiling."


READ MORE related to Immigration: California farmers' objections could kill conservative immigration bill -- McClatchy DC's EMILY CADEI; Libby Schaaf's war on ICE may hold hidden dangers -- The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS; OP-ED: Separating children and parents at the border is cruel and unnecessary -- L.A. Times's EDITORIAL BOARD; Fear, absenteeism, falling grades among impacts of immigration crackdown, study finds -- EdSource's CAROLYN JONES


Massive avalanche at Mammoth Mountain is a reminder of the danger lurking in the snow


L.A. Times's ANDREA CASTILLO/BENJAMIN ORESKES/TONY BARBOZA: "One day after an avalanche roared down Mammoth Mountain, danger was hardly on the mind of snowboarder Caleb Hill as he carved through fresh powder under clear skies Sunday."


"Like hordes of other visitors to the Sierra Nevada resort, Hill, 24, was undeterred by avalanches at two of California's largest ski resorts that closed runs and triggered rescue operations in recent days. The Colorado native was more frustrated by the long lines and lift closures keeping him from the slopes as Mammoth reopened Sunday, saying the risk of an avalanche was a fact of life."


"It's a reminder that just because you're at a resort doesn't mean you're safe," Hill said. "Powder is forgiving but it's also dangerous."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: What, if anything, is lost in building one delta tunnel instead of two? -- LA Times's BETTINA BOXALL; Fewer salmon at the Golden Gate may mean less fishing in NorCal rivers -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW; Squaw Valley reopens after avalanche injures skiers -- The Chronicle's SOPHIE HAIGNEY; Along California-Oregon border, debate over protected lands is clash of values -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER; Utah, America's thirstiest state, wrestles with unmetered water use -- Water Deeply's MATT WEISER; Drones help find massive penguin colonies hiding in plain sight -- Oceans Deeply's ERICA CIRINO


L.A. officials push for new focus on school safety after Parkland


L.A. Times's HOWARD BLUME: "Political leaders in Los Angeles want the city to join the nation in focusing hard on how to prevent violence on campuses in the wake of one of America's deadliest school shootings."


"On Monday, L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer will announce his formation of a blue-ribbon panel to look at measures that would make schools safer and how to make them happen. The next day, L.A. school board members will introduce a resolution calling for stronger state and federal gun control and for a review of school district policies."


"Everyone recognizes this is a key moment," said Feuer of the aftermath of the shooting that killed 17 people last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. "Every school district, especially in the wake of Parkland, should be doing everything it can to ensure its schools are as safe as possible."


READ MORE related to Gun Violence Pandemic: Feinstein renews effort to ban assault weapons -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEADLocal schools gird for student walkout over gun violence -- Sacramento Bee's DIANA LAMBERT; NRA could lose gun fight to next generation -- The Chronicle's WILLIE BROWN; Police, district to add security at SF grade school after threat -- The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN


California unions planning next steps if Janus ruling goes against them


The Chronicle's LAUREL ROSENHALL: "The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on a high-profile case that could slash the power of public employee unions. But California labor leaders are already planning to push for new state laws to blunt the impact of an unfavorable ruling."


"The case argued before the court last week, Janus vs. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, challenges whether public employee unions can collect fees from workers who choose not to join the union. California is one of several states that allow unions to collect “fair-share fees” from workers who benefit from services such as contract negotiations but don’t want to pay for their union’s political activity."


"Plaintiff Mark Janus, a state child support specialist in Illinois, contends that all union activity is political when the workers’ boss is the government. He argues that requiring him to pay the fee infringes on his constitutional rights to free speech and association by essentially forcing him to support a group that advocates positions with which he disagrees — in particular, its push for boosting worker salaries in a state facing a budget crisis after reportedly mismanaging its pension program."


For mentally ill homeless patients, new center offers 54 beds and a dose of hope


The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN: "Few things are more appalling to anyone on San Francisco’s streets than being incoherently ranted at by agitated, psychologically unhinged homeless people. And few things are more appalling, somewhere deep inside those unfortunate human beings, than to be so trapped in the grip of mental illness that their self-awareness is destroyed."


"On Monday, city officials plan to announce a major step toward rescuing those severely mentally ill homeless people from their afflictions — the opening this month of 54 new lockdown psychiatric beds at St. Mary’s Medical Center."


"This will more than double the current number of beds in the city for mental patients who have been ordered by a judge into conservatorship, meaning they must involuntarily accept round-the-clock treatment because they are too ill to live on their own."


Oakland schools balance improving student performance while making deep budget cuts


EdSource's THERESA HARRINGTON: "Oakland Unified is struggling with a balancing act that requires it to improve its students’ academic performance next year while also slashing millions of dollars from its budget."


"At a school board meeting last month, Troy Christmas, the district’s financial services director, told the school board they must cut $5 million to $7 million from their budgetnext year or face insolvency."


"At the same time, the East Bay district is one of 28 in California that could face state intervention in the 2019-20 school year because of poor performance by students based on California’s new school accountability system. That’s because of a little-noticed provision in the law that enacted the three-tiered support system that is part of the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFFthe school funding system championed by Gov. Jerry Brown and implemented in 2013-14."


State may tear down major Sacramento bridges to build bigger ones for mega-trucks


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "Flush with new gas tax funds, state officials are exploring what could be the biggest Sacramento freeway redo in modern times – tearing down and replacing the twin freeway bridges that carry Interstate 5 over the American River."


"Caltrans says the half-mile spans just north of downtown are among 45 pinch-points the agency has identified on three major freight corridors – I-5, I-580, I-10/60 – that force oversized trucks onto sometimes long and costly detours."


"In some cases, overpasses are too low. A notorious one on I-80 in Berkeley less than 5 miles from the Oakland port is only 14 feet, 9 inches tall, more than a foot lower than the 16-foot modern federal standard for existing bridges. Federal standards for new bridges are 16 feet, 6 inches."


Why Sacramento erased 23 crosswalks, including one where a grandmother died after removal


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "Freeport Boulevard, one of Sacramento's busier thoroughfares, has become the epicenter in recent weeks for renewed debate over pedestrian safety in Sacramento."


"Four weeks ago, a 71-year-old woman was killed and her 6-year-old grandson seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver as they crossed the street at an intersection just north of Fruitridge Road."


"The intersection where it happened, Oregon Drive, holds a distinction that has left area residents and even some city leaders surprised and caused some to question the city's safety tactics:"


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Will a harassment complaint against a sheriff change how California treats its dead? -- Sacramento Bee's ANITA CHABRIA


Amazing 1906 footage of SF in ruins found at flea market


SFGate's AMY GRAFF: "A film reel with nine minutes of rare, startlingly clear footage of a San Francisco in ruins two weeks after the 1906 earthquake and fire has surfaced at a flea market."


"Film historians say the footage, a series of clips, was produced by an early San Francisco studio run by the Miles brothers — Harry, Herbert, Joseph and Earl. It’s a bookend to their most famous work, “A Trip Down Market Street,” a 13-minute movie shot from a cable car days before the earthquake."


"The newly found footage chronicles a similar trip down Market Street, from Fifth Street to the Ferry Building. But in this one, many of the buildings lining the city’s main thoroughfare have collapsed."


Trump says maybe US will have a president for life someday


AP: "President Donald Trump says he thinks it's great that China's president now holds that office for life and muses that maybe the U.S. will do the same someday."


"Trump's remarks were met with laughter and applause during a luncheon for Republican donors Saturday at his South Florida estate. CNN said it obtained a recording of the remarks."


"Chinese President Xi Jinping recently consolidated power. Trump told the gathering: "He's now president for life. President for life. And he's great." Trump added, "I think it's great. Maybe we'll give that a shot someday."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Trump says North Korea 'called up,' seeking talks with the United States -- WaPo's ANNE GEARAN; OP-ED: Five things Trump could do to stop Russia's meddling -- L.A. Times's DOYLE MCMANUS


Elizabeth Warren seeks to neutralize 'Pocahontas' barbs


AP's STEVE LEBLANC: "U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is hoping to defuse an issue that has dogged her for years, her claims of Native American heritage, ahead of a possible run for president in 2020."


"Last month, Warren addressed the National Congress of American Indians, trying to cast her family's story in the larger context of challenges facing native peoples. The prominent Democrat has also met with tribal leaders, signed on to legislation supported by Native American activists, and called on Republican President Donald Trump to nominate a director for the Indian Health Service."


"The push is in part a rebuttal to Trump, who has repeatedly referred to Warren as "Pocahontas" to try to discredit a potential rival in 2020 by calling into question her claims of heritage."

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