- New Year Quakes
- Soccer/Football Honors
- Richard Robinson
- Bottorf Recovering
- Catch of the Day
- Police Reports
- Cuts & Perks
- Drought Over?
- The Turk
- Poverty Lines
- Palestinian Moves
- New Laws
- Genetically Engineered Trees
THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY reported a 5.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Humboldt County New Year's morning at 4:16am. Later in the day, a 3.2 quake shook the Kenwood area of Sonoma County.
ANDERSON VALLEY DOMINATES FOOTBALL AND SOCCER ALL-STAR TEAMS
SOCCER (Boys, North Central League II)
MVP: Alexis Morales, senior, Roseland University Prep
- Abraham Sanchez, junior, Anderson Valley
- Moises Segura, senior, Anderson Valley
- Fernando Ferreyra, junior, Anderson Valley
- Isidro Tovar, sophomore, Anderson Valley
- Jonathan Groothoff, junior, Rincon Valley Christian
- Andrian Garcia, junior, Calistoga
- Ricardo Carillo, senior, Calistoga
- Landen Gozashti, senior, Saint Vincent
- David Sammon, junior, Saint Vincent
- Fernando Vaca, sophomore, Saint Vincent
- Derian Saldona, senior, Roseland University Prep
- Enrique Sanchez, senior, Roseland University Prep
- Jose Ramirez, senior, Roseland University Prep
- Cesar Pulido, freshman, Roseland University Prep
- Erik Nielsen, junior, Saint Vincent
- Oscar Espinoza, junior, Calistoga
- Carl Smith, senior, Sonoma Academy
- Gabe Andrade, senior, Sonoma Academy
- Erik Fisher, senior, Rincon Valley Christian
FOOTBALL (North Central League III)
OFFENSIVE MVP: Cesar Soto, junior, Anderson Valley
DEFENSIVE MVP: Preston Salmans, senior, Mendocino
ALL LEAGUE TEAM
- Will Lemons, junior, Anderson Valley
- Erin Perez, junior, Anderson Valley
- Jared Johnston, junior, Anderson Valley
- Alejandro Gutierrez, junior, Anderson Valley
- Jesse Owen, senior, Anderson Valley
- Tony Pardini, sophomore, Anderson Valley
- Kyle Moore, senior, Mendocino
- Thae Shandel, sophomore, Mendocino
- Julian Braden, senior, Mendocino
- Trevor Sisneros, junior, Mendocino
- Savion Cook, junior, Mendocino
- Tyler Rasmusen, senior, Point Arena
- Rolando Marquez, senior, Point Arena
- Joe Henderson, junior, Point Arena
- Joby Baker, sophomore, Point Arena
- Daniel Maples, senior, Rincon Valley
- Morgan Aivseponi, senior, Rincon Valley
- Paul Barthalow, sophomore, Rincon Valley
- Chris Salinas, senior, Potter Valley
- Charlie Kile, senior, Potter Valley
- Ethan Mann, junior, Round Valley
- Noaha Davila, junior, Round Valley
RICHARD A. ROBINSON 1949-2014 farmer, grape grower, Husch wine lover, clinical psychologist, professor, "sparks" electrician, national swimming official, Americana music buff, Guatemalan dental helper, marathon runner, computer techie, Baja bum, loving son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. Pancreatic cancer concluded his life much too early. Per his request, no special services are planned, but several Sunday masses in Hopland will be celebrated for him. Hospice of Ukiah (620 So Dora) and St Francis Church in Hopland (c/o Hartley 1840 Antler Road, Ukiah) provided both support and faith. Arrangements are under the direction of the Eversole Mortuary.
LOCAL COLOR (Friends of Linn Bottorf, Coast artist and bon vivant presently recuperating at Sherwood Oaks):
Eleanor Cooney writes: Linn is doing fairly well at Sherwood Oaks, except that he has lately been eating very little. I sat with him at dinner recently, and the food was really not so bad at all — fresh salmon, rice pilaf, a vegetable mix. So it's not that the food is inedible. I was able to get him to eat a few bites. When he refused any more, and left the table, I finished it. Can't stand to see food go to waste. And it was good! He did, apparently, scarf down a burger I got at McDonald's (I know, I know) and left by his bed. Next I'll try a Jenny's Giant Burger. Anyone inspired to stop by with something tempting from the outside world, you're encouraged to do so! He's gotta eat SOMETHING.
Marco McClean writes: What interests me is to hear that they still have Jenny's Giant Burger in Fort Bragg. I have always loved the salacious sound of it: "Jenny's Giant Burger." Somehow I forgot all about it. I'm hardly ever in Fort Bragg in the daytime anymore. Across the parking lot from Jenny's Giant Burger, the bowling alley closed forever and became some sort of local Jesus fort, but many years ago the busy bowling alley was a purveyor of fine hamburgers too. They fry-toasted thick-cut French bread on the flatgrill in the fat from the meat, and they layered on hand-cut slices of onion and ripe tomato and a slab of iceberg lettuce so they had to pin it all together with bar toothpicks to keep it from toppling off the plate.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Jan 1, 2015
EVERARDO ALVAREZ, Potter Valley. Domestic battery. (Frequent flyer.)
JOSE BARAJAS, Ukiah. Domestic battery, vandalizing phone lines.
JESUS ELIZARRARAS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
RAMONA KALER, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
JEREMIAH MCOSKER, Ukiah. Violation of county parole. (Frequent flyer.)
STACY MITCHELL, Laytonville. DUI, driving without valid license, child endangerment.
ORLANDO SANCHEZ-SUAREZ, Redwood Valley. DUI, driving without valid license.
JIMMY SHIELDS, Ukiah. Domestic assault, DUI, driving on license previously suspended by DUI, probation revocation.
TODD WARNER, Gualala. Domestic battery.
JEROME WOLTER, Ukiah. Grand theft, receiving stolen property, obstruction of justice, felony vandalism.
COPS ON PATROL IN UKIAH
ON THURSDAY December 25th at about 6:05 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 700 block of Sidnie Court for a hit and run traffic collision. Officers learned 27 years old Gregory Scott Finney was seen backing into a parked vehhcle, ane was contacted by witnesses and eventually provided expired insurance information to the vehicle’s owner. Finney was believed to be intoxicated, and began to try to drive from the scene amongst protests from numerous byst`nders. Ginney drove his vehicle into the victim, who fell onto the hood and was a carried over 15 feet before rolling off, onto the ground. Finney fled the scene and was not located. On December 26th at about 3:30 PM Finney came to the Ukiah Police Department and was arrested for assault with a vehicle. The victim sustained minor injuries from being hit by the vehicle. 14-3856
ON FRIDAY December 26th at about 9:15 PM Ukiah Police responded to the Alex Thomas Park, in the 200 block of South School Street, for a male adult fighting with juveniles. An arriving officer saw 21 year old Daniel Ray Holmes, who was shirtless, running westbound from the Plaza across School Street. The officers attempted to stop Holmes at Oak Street, who reversed direction and ran with the officer in foot pursuit. Holmes encountered another officer at School Street and tried to run around the officer, but fell and was taken into custody. Holmes had been drinking and was on probation for DUI and prohibited from consuming alcohol. Officers determined Holmes had approached a group of juveniles in the park in a threatening manner, and chased them briefly when they ran away. Holmes then approached a 16 year old female juvenile in the park, spoke with her briefly then slapped her several times and threw her to the ground. A 14 year old male juvenile pulled Holmes off the female, and Holmes elbowed the male juvenile before running away. Holmes was arrested for 2 counts of battery and cruelty to a child, resisting arrest, and violating probation.
ON SATURDAY December 27th at about 11:00 PM Ukiah Police responded to a residence in the 100 block of Washington Court to check the welfare of an 8 month old infant. Officers learned the callers reported the child was with an unconscious and unknown male at the location, and the mother was unable to be found. Officers noticed numerous empty alcohol bottles inside the location, and found the infant sleeping next to 22 year old Bruce Evan Cartwright who was on parole and passed out. Officers followed a trail of vomit to a comforter with feet protruding, and located 22 year old April Rash who on probation for burglary and who was also passed out. Both subjects were found to be highly intoxicated and were arrested for child endangerment and for violating their respective probation and parole terms. The child was released to the custody of Child Protective Services.
ON SATURDAY December 27th at about 9:25 AM Ukiah Police responded to 125 South Orchard Avenue for campers. Officers contacted 31 year old Scotty Lee Willis and 26 year old Kelisha Alvarez who were both sleeping under blankets. The surrounding area was covered in trash, blankets, and clothing, and two shopping carts also containing garbage and clothing were nearby. Ukiah Police Officers had responded to identical service calls involving these subjects 16 times within the previous 10 days, wherein the subjects were either warned or cited for violating the City’s overnight camping ordinance. Ukiah Police had responded the night prior at 11:45 PM and warned both subjects regarding overnight camping, as they didn’t meet the criteria to be cited at that time. Willis and Alvarez were arrested for overnight camping, and booked into the County Jail. Other officers responded and spent considerable time gathering and storing Willis’ and Alvarez’ large amount of possessions and other items.
ON SUNDAY December 28th at about 11:40 AM Ukiah Police responded to the Ukiah Theater parking lot, at 612 South State Street, for a subject seen trying to break into vehicles. Responding officers did not locate anybody in the lot, and an officer proceeded to the north lot of the Sunrise Inn, at 650 South State Street, which is adjacent to the theater lot. The officer saw a vehicle parked in the lot with three people inside, and knew one of the occupants was on search probation. The officer approached the passenger side of the vehicle, and saw the right rear passenger had his hands concealed near his waistband. The subject refused to show the officers his hands and did not respond to the officer. The officer opened the door and the subject began exiting the vehicle trying to push past the officer. Responding officers assisted in trying to control the subject, who began struggling and continued to refuse to remove his hands from his waistband area. After an extended struggle a Taser was deployed and the subject was finally taken into custody. A knife in a sheath was located in the vehicle where the subject had been seated. The subject verbally identified himself, and the name provided was also on an out of state identification card the subject had which was determined to be fake. Officers subsequently identified the subject as 35 year old Jose Alfredo Peredia who had two local warrants for his arrest for violating probation, and a warrant from Georgia for trafficking marijuana and possessing methamphetamine. Also in the vehicle was a shotgun with a shortened barrel and modified grip. Peredia is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms. Peredia was arrested for the warrants and for providing false identity, resisting arrest, possessing an illegal firearm, and a felon in possession of a firearm.
ON MONDAY December 29th at about 7:05 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 100 block of East Gobbi Street for an assault and kidnapping. The male victim had obvious injuries about his face and body and an ambulance was requested. The victim reported he’d met 44 year old Brian Franklin Ramsey, of Willits, several weeks prior in Humboldt County. The two had apparently been living in Ramsey’s van and traveling between Humboldt County, the Bay Area, and Ukiah. Ramsey apparently became violent with the victim, and over the course of multiple days repeatedly beat and stabbed the victim with different items and secured the van in a manner which prevented the victim from leaving. Ramsey apparently withheld food and water from the victim, and threatened to harm the victim’s dog. Ramsey had apparently just released the victim before he called police. The victim was transported to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center and later transferred to an out of the area hospital for treatment for significant injuries. Officers located Ramsey’s van nearby and seized it for evidentiary processing. At about 9:40 PM Ramsey called the Ukiah Police Department to report he’d left his van with a friend and returned to find it missing. Ramsey had the victim’s dog which was injured, and Ramsey was arrested for torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault with a dangerous weapon, threats, and dissuading a witness.
NO RAISES FOR LINE WORKERS BUT FREE CARS FOR THEIR BOSSES
Usually Mendo’s Health & Human Services Agency Head Stacey Cryer does little more in Board meeting than introducing members of her staff to make dubious presentations about things over which the Board has little authority (the number of alcohol outlets in the County, high sugar content in soda, stand out particularly), or she attempts dry explanations to programs individual board members ask about.
But Last December 16, when the Board was discussing returning to five days a week work schedules for HHSA employees (proposed by the local Court Special Advocates group now headed by former Fifth District Supervisor Norman de Vall which has had some trouble accessing county staff on Fridays), Ms. Cryer was much more blunt and expressive than usual, giving a bit of an insight into the actual workings of the agency these days.
“This is a deeply operational issue. We have operationalized Fridays off for a long period of time. You begin to pull that thread and the entire operation of this organization begins to fall apart. I believe this would be a critical mistake. There are two sides of this issue. One is the employees and the impact to the employees who continue to suffer a wage cut of 10%. Many have taken second jobs, many have saved for carpool costs, many have saved on childcare costs. We begin to impact employees who are still suffering from that 10% wage loss. They begin to wonder, Why are we able to open on Fridays when the original premise behind that was that we would save money? If we don't need to save money anymore, then the question I've been asking I've been asked by several employees is, Well then where is my 10% back? So you have all of those issues. Second, you have all of the operational issues. We use Fridays for many many things. Some people take Fridays off as I've mentioned. Some people work Fridays to catch up on paperwork. Some people work Fridays to do home visits. Some people work Fridays to handle health care. We do trainings on Fridays. We have experienced over 100% workload increase in many areas of our agency. We started out with over 750 staff. We have 434 today. I don’t disagree that there are problems, the problems stem from a lack of staff, not a lack of Friday hours. I think operationally, this would really tear apart this agency when you begin to micromanage at a level like this. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) has not approached me. They had not asked me any specific questions. They went straight to the Board of Supervisors. This came up in conversation about the family dependency drug court. That's where it started. That is a non-mandated program that this agency has decided to support. The question is, Can we even continue to support that with the lack of staff we have? We're seriously down and staff. Part of that is the wages that we cut. If we begin to look at Friday hours, some of the staff that we have been able to recruit and retain, even though we have less wages, they will leave as well and we will have a bigger problem on our hands. We don't have enough staff. It's that simple. One of the examples cited, we had four social workers in Willits the day they cited the example where it to an hour and a half to respond. We had force social workers working on that Friday in Willits. It was not that people were not working. It's just the way it goes that it sometimes takes us an hour and a half to respond. So I think you are getting into a level of detail — and I appreciate that CASA has suggested that perhaps we stagger hours. But they do not know the operations of this agency well enough because that will not work.”
Supervisor Carre Brown suggested that the CASA people (lead by former Supervisor Norman de Vall) speak to agency staff and try to work something out.
Supervisor John McCowen thought that the issue should be discussed further with the board: “This has certainly been quite a process. If anyone is unhappy with the process, this has been a very odd one. I disagree that this is purely an operational issue. I think it also gets into policy when we're talking about being open to the public or not open to the public. I think it's unfortunate that we are not having a full discussion of the range of issues related to this, that we don't have the full information that Supervisor Brown earlier requested that we get an advance. I think we are doing a disservice to the public, to ourselves and our employees by not having a full discussion and I don't know why we are so defensive about having that discussion. So I will not support this motion” (to simply send a letter of denial to CASA).
Supervisor Dan Hamburg: “I am not feeling defensive. I feel that there are times when this board really needs to support the staff. This is a decision that was made five years ago. The reason that decision was made for still in existence. We still have a 10% wage cut in effect for the employees of this agency. We are trying our best to triage, to make the system work when we know there's more pressure on that system every single day and if there's anything that would make me defensive it is the implication, and I saw this in CASA’s letter, that somehow the Board of Supervisors countenances risking the well-being of the children in Mendocino County. I resent that implication. I don't think it's true. And I don't like it. And I certainly don't think that's true of the staff of HHSA. So I'd like to call the question.”
The Board voted 3-1 (with Supervisor Dan Gjerde absent) to send a letter to CASA saying that the board would not change current hours of operation but that members of CASA should meet with HHSA and see if anything can be worked out.
De Vall concluded by saying he fully intended to bring the issue back, but that he would indeed try to reach some accommodation with County staff in the meantime.
* * *
AGENDA TITLE: APPROVAL OF AUTOMOBILE ALLOWANCE for Assistant Chief Executive Officer Position
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions: On December 7, 1999, the Board of Supervisors approved Agreement No. 99-263 creating an executive automobile allowance for appointed Department Heads, and extended by Resolution to elected and exempt Department Heads and approved County executives. On June 5, 2007, the Board amended agreement No. 99-263 by adopting Resolution No. 07-100 and Agreement No. 07-100A.
Summary Of Request: As provided in BOS Agreement No. 99-263, the following classifications/positions are eligible for an automobile allowance upon application to, and written approval from, the acting or appointed County Executive Officer, or designee, and acceptance by the Board of Supervisors: a) an assistant department head, who is an exempt bargaining unit employee, at the request of the appointing authority department head; b) Alternate Defender; and c) an acting, interim temporary or other non-appointed or non-exempt department head. The Chief Executive Officer requests the Board of Supervisors formally approve the Automobile Allowance being granted to the position of the Assistant Chief Executive Officer in the amount of $115.39 per pay period (effective PP 02/15).
Annual Recurring Cost Budgeted in Current Year for CEO’s office goes from $1,442 to $3,000.
THE END OF THE DROUGHT?
Proposed agenda item for Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting January 6, 2014
Adoption of Resolution Terminating the Declaration of a Local Emergency Due to Drought Conditions and Imminent Threat of Disaster in Mendocino County, Originally Declared on January 7, 2014, and Extended at Least Every Thirty Days Since that Date
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions: On January 7, 2014, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 14-007 declaring a local emergency due to drought conditions and imminent threat of disaster in Mendocino County. Subsequent to said action, the Board has extended the existence of a local emergency via adoption of Resolution Nos.14-007, 14-008, 14-015, 14-033, 14-046, 14-056, 14- 069, 14-088, 14-106, 14-117, 14-130, 14-140 and 14-148, due to continued drought conditions, pursuant to Government Code §8630.
Summary Of Request: The Office of Emergency Services requests that the Board of Supervisors consider adoption of the proposed Resolution discontinuing the declaration of a local drought emergency as declared by Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on January 7, 2014. The Board’s Drought Ad Hoc Committee no longer meets and there are currently no communities/water agencies/districts on a drought critical list.
BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STANDARDS, I’m not poor, but by any rational standard, I am. My income is above $11,670 annually, which, in 2014, puts me above the poverty line for a single person. My Social Security comes to more than that. The federal minimum wage in 2014 is $7.25 an hour, or $15,080 annually. When FICA taxes of 7.65 percent for Social Security and Medicare are deducted, that brings the income of a full time minimum-wage worker to $13,949. For a family of three, the poverty line is $19,790. This is not a joke. It doesn’t leave much extra for an ice cream cone.
I have a roof over my head, thanks to the aforementioned HUD subsidy, which required hours of paperwork, signed affidavits from doctors, many duplicate copies, and a lot of running around. (The Paperwork Reduction Act was passed in 1980. How many trees, I wonder, has it saved?) The management of the building where I live used to deal directly with HUD. Now a company based in Alabama has been hired as a distant intermediary of sorts between the very capable management and HUD. I don’t believe this was done in an attempt to reduce paperwork.
If you’re poor, what might have been a minor annoyance, or even a major inconvenience, becomes something of a disaster. Your hard drive crashes? Who’s going to pay for the recovery of its data, not to mention the new computer? I’m not playing solitaire on this machine; the hard drive holds my work, virtually my life. It is not a luxury for me but a necessity. I need dental work. Anybody got $10,000? Dentists are not a luxury. Dental disease can make you seriously ill. Lose your cellphone? What may be a luxury to some is a necessity to me. Without that telephone and that computer, my life as I have known it would cease to exist. Not long after, so would I. I am not eager for that to happen. Need to go to a funeral hundreds of miles away? Who pays for the plane ticket? In the case of the funeral, my nephew paid for the plane ticket. My daughter and son-in-law paid for the dental work. Sometimes, I find it deeply humiliating that I am dependent on such kindnesses when I would prefer that the kindnesses flow the other way. Most of the time, though, I am just extremely grateful for the help of family and friends. It’s not so much humiliating as it is humbling, which is a good thing.
I am ashamed to have gotten myself into this situation. Unlike many who are born, live, and die in poverty, I got where I am today through my own efforts. I can’t blame anyone else. Perhaps, it should be humiliating to reveal myself like this to the eyes of any passing stranger or friend; more humiliating to friends, actually, some of whom knew me in another life. Most of my friends probably don’t realize or would rather not realize just how parlous my situation is. Just as well. We’d both be embarrassed.
Although I am embarrassed by my condition, and ashamed of myself for putting myself there, I feel grateful to have had some of these experiences and even more grateful to have survived them.
I am glad that none of my friends has ever found himself sitting on a bench in a park with a quarter in his pocket, as I once did, and nothing in the bank; in fact, no bank account. It’s a very lonely feeling. It gives new meaning to the sense of loneliness and despair.
I wallowed in that slough for a bit. It was not, after all, a happy situation and I am not a dim-witted optimist. But I had two choices, die in the slough or move on. I thought of the last two lines of Milton’s Lycidas,
At last he rose, and twitch’d his mantle blue:
To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.
So I got up, forever grateful to Mr. Barrows, my college English instructor, for teaching me to study Lycidas seriously and realize what a great poem it is and why that matters.
MOVEMENT FOR PALESTINIANS
President Abbas of the State of Palestine is playing a good game of chess as he forced a vote on the French resolution in the UN Security Council which he knew could not pass. Then he followed up the next day by requesting membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC). It should be noted the United States and Israel are not members of the ICC and are not in a position to block the membership request. There is a 90 date wait period before actions can be requested, After that time one should not be surprised if action is requested, particularly on actions of Israel during the Gaza war. He also signed 18 other treaties with international organizations. In looking over the list I do see a couple which could create problems for Israel.
As expected Israel and the United States are strongly opposed to President Abbas' actions. Israel obviously wants to continue on its path of an oppressive apartheid control of the occupied territories and Congress which is a running dog for the Israeli lobby will cut all their funding for the State of Palestine. Do not be surprised if Dubai and other Emirate states fund its operations. Also, I should mention the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDC) Movement which is an anti-apartheid international action against Israeli businesses operating in the occupied territories is having increasing successful actions in both the United States and Europe.
HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS FOR 2015
DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS. Hundreds of new laws will go into effect in California throughout the year in 2015, including a long-overdue one that will allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license starting Friday.
AB 60, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in Oct. 2013, required the Department of Motor Vehicle to begin issuing the driver’s licenses by Jan. 1, 2015.
In order to apply for a license, undocumented immigrants must show proof of California residency, but they do not need to provide a Social Security number, according to the law, which was authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville.
Potential drivers would still need to pass a driving test in order to get a license.
LAW ENFORCEMENT OR FAMILY MEMBERS CAN GET A RESTRAINING ORDER that would temporarily bar those deemed dangerous from having a firearm. The measure was passed in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting and stabbing rampage back in May that claimed the lives of six UC Santa Barbara students and left 13 others wounded.
ANIMAL WELFARE — a landmark proposition concerning animal welfare that was passed by California voters in 2008 goes into effect. It requires eggs laid or sold in the state to come from hens that have enough space to stand, turn around, lie down and stretch their limbs. Wholesale egg prices could rise as much as 40 percent this year as farmers make the necessary infrastructure changes to comply with the new law.
AN AFFIRMATIVE “YES MEANS YES” standard of sexual consent between college students. To receive state funding, colleges must only consider sex consensual if both parties actively agree to it and are not drunk or passed out, throwing out the old refrain of “no means no” and replacing it with "yes means yes." California becomes the first state in the nation to use this rubric for sexual consent. “It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others,” the law states. Lack of protest, silence or resistance does not imply consent, according to the measure. Compliance is necessary for colleges to keep their eligibility for public financial aid funds.
VICTORY FOR 'REVENGE PORN' VICTIMS — Victims of “revenge porn” can seek court orders to have sexually explicit photos posted by others removed from the Internet and to ask for damages. Even selfies are covered. The law against posting sexually explicit photos of someone online as retaliation is extended to photos taken, though not posted, by the victim.
PLASTIC BAG BAN. The state became the first in the country to ban plastic bags when Gov. Brown signed the measure into law last September. At the time, at least 120 local governments in California had already passed ordinances prohibiting the distribution of single-use plastic bags in supermarkets, pharmacies and liquor stores.
ANYONE WHO WORKS IN CALIFORNIA FOR AT LEAST 30 days to paid sick leave will be entitled to sick leave.
TWAIN'S FROG IS OUR STATE AMPHIBIAN — The California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), recognized by the federal government as a “threatened” species, becomes the official state amphibian. Mark Twain featured the creature in his story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
PUT AWAY THAT CONFEDERATE FLAG — State entities are barred from displaying or selling copies of the Confederate flag or objects marked with it, unless the image appears in a book, digital medium or state museum for educational or historical purposes.
NO HOLDING MUG SHOTS HOSTAGE — Internet firms may no longer charge people who have been arrested a fee in exchange for removing their booking photos from a website.
PRIVACY RULES FOR DRONES — Prosecution for invasion of privacy will be permitted when aerial drones are used to photograph or record another person in a private setting.
MY 2 MOMS, MY 2 DADS, MY 2 PARENTS — Same-sex couples are allowed to identify themselves on state birth certificates as “father,” “mother” or the new gender-neutral option of “parent.”
GENDER IDENTITY FOR DEATH CERTIFICATES — Transgender Californians will be able to have the gender they identify with listed on their death certificates.
BREAST-PUMPING STATIONS MANDATED — Large airports in California must provide, behind the security screening and separate from restrooms, a room where women can express breast milk.
BUY IT WITH BITCOIN — Digital currencies including bitcoins will be legal for transactions in California.
PENALTIES EASED FOR 'WILLFUL' DEFIANCE — Schools can no longer expel students who “willfully defy” teachers or administrators at any grade level and cannot suspend students for that misbehavior through third grade.
BAN ON FORCED STERILIZATION OF INMATES — State prisons may not force or coerce inmates to be sterilized unless the inmate's life is in danger.
ARMENIAN GENOCIDE IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM — State education officials must consider incorporating lessons about the Armenian genocide and other mass killings, such as those in Rwanda and Darfur, into curriculum standards that will be updated in 2015. Lessons about genocide should include oral testimony from survivors, rescuers and witnesses.
GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT. A sweeping set of groundwater regulations that requires local water agencies to manage how much water is drawn from wells, making California the last Western state to end “pump-as-you-please” rules during a severe drought.
SEX ABUSE RIGHTS — Children who claim they’re victims of a sex crime have until their 40th birthday to file charges, up from their 28th birthday. (Applies only to crimes committed on or after January 1, 2015.
MASSAGE PARLOR OVERSIGHT — Local governments get greater oversight of massage parlors, which have been used as a front for sex trafficking.
GUN OWNER WELFARE CHECK — Requires law enforcement agencies to encourage their officers to consult with gun ownership records when conducting welfare checks — something agents didn’t do before Isla Vista shooter Elliott Rodger killed six people in May.
FIRING BAD TEACHERS — In 2015, a new state law will streamline the discipline and appeals process by expediting and prioritizing cases of serious misconduct, those involving sexual abuse, child abuse and certain drug offenses.
TAKING THE INITIATIVE. California’s initiative process has long been criticized as flawed, and in 2015 it will see some key changes. If a proposal gets 25 percent of signatures needed to reach the ballot, legislators will hold a hearing on the issue’s merits. Backers of an initiative will have the option of withdrawing it, if they are satisfied with a legislative solution. Today, measures invariably land on the ballot if they have enough signatures.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. This will also be the first year taxpayers have to indicate if they carried health insurance. The Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate” could require some individuals to pay a tax penalty if they did not. Some families will pay $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, capped at $285 for families. Others will pay a percentage of their income. Visit healthcare.gov for detailed federal tax instructions.
LABOR CONTRACTORS. Large parent companies can face legal liability if their subcontractors fail to pay wages or provide workers' compensation for injuries on the job.
THE GLOBAL JUSTICE ECOLOGY PROJECT ON KMEC RADIO — MONDAY, JANUARY 5, AT 1 PM, PACIFIC TIME
"All About Money" with host, John Sakowicz, returns to KMEC Radio on Monday, January 5, at 1 PM, Pacific Time, with guest Anne Petermann.
Petermann is the executive director of Buffalo, NY-based Global Justice Ecology Project and the coordinator of the International Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, which includes organizations, scientists, Indigenous Peoples, and activists from around the world and is dedicated to preventing the commercial release of all genetically engineered trees.
The majority of the research into genetically engineered (GE) American chestnuts and most of the outdoor test plots are located in New York State at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Petermann said last month, “GE trees pose unique and potentially disastrous risks to forests due to their longevity, the vast distances over which they spread pollen and seeds and their intricate relationship with complex forest ecosystems, but these GE American chestnut trees are even more dangerous. They are also completely unnecessary. They will supposedly be resistant to the blight that wiped out American chestnut trees in the last century, but the truth is blight resistant chestnuts are being developed through non-GE traditional breeding. But if fertile GE chestnuts are released into Eastern U.S. forests, which is the plan, they will contaminate both wild chestnuts and hybrid chestnuts. The impacts are unknown, but it will certainly ruin decades of work done by American chestnut breeding programs. This GE American chestnut tree is a Pandora’s box of potential disasters best left closed.”
Our show with Petermann follows up on our last show on December 27 with Bendra Jo McNanama, who organized an Indigenous Peoples’ Action Camp against GE trees in Cherokee, NC.
Julia Carrera, director of the Small Farmers Association was our other guest. She is also the third-party inspector for Mendocino County’s marijuana program. Carrera returns to KMEC on January 19.
— John Sakowicz