Only 19% of California voters said illegal immigrants should be required to leave. More than half see immigrants as a positive economic force in the state.
Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times newspaper reports that in a dramatic reversal, California voters now see undocumented workers as a positive economic force in the state — and they overwhelmingly favor allowing a path to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants in the country.
Only 19% of California voters in a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll said those in the country illegally should be required to leave the United States. About two-thirds of survey respondents said illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay with eventual citizenship rights. An additional 10% said they should be permitted to remain in this country to work but should not be allowed to apply for citizenship.
At a time when the push for immigration reform has gained momentum in Washington, more than two-thirds of California voters say the current immigration system isn't working and nearly three-quarters favor President Obama's plan to change it, the poll found.
Across different ages and ethnic groups, voters were largely supportive of the measures outlined by Obama and a bipartisan group of senators, including enhancing border security, requiring employers to verify the legal status of their employees and permitting certain undocumented workers to become citizens as long as they pay taxes and fines and are processed behind those who come legally.
Though Obama's association with the proposal made it less palatable to some Republicans, a slender majority of GOP voters in the state said they backed the president's plan — a finding that, along with the drubbing their party took from Latino voters last fall, helps to illustrate why Republicans have grown more comfortable aligning themselves with citizenship for illegal immigrants.
"There's really not much of a debate in California about immigration anymore, and there may not even be a national debate," said Drew Lieberman of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm that conducted the poll with the Republican firm American Viewpoint. "It's no longer a partisan or racial issue for Californians."
Sweeping the globe is a system that steadily hands over a $400 billion ocean fishing industry to corporations.
San Francisco fisherman Larry Collins waits for a crabbing boat near Fisherman’s Wharf in January. Collins says catch shares are squeezing out small fishing operations. “This system has given it all to the big guys,” he says. Photo by Mike Kepka/San Francisco Chronicle
Susanne Rust of The Bay Citizen reports that for centuries, men like Larry Collins, a garrulous crab and sole fisherman, were free to harvest the seas.
But sweeping across the globe is a system that slowly and steadily hands over a $400 billion ocean fishing industry to corporations. The system, called catch shares, in most cases favors large fishing fleets, a review of the systems operating across the United States shows.
“We’ve been frozen out,” said Collins, who docks near the Golden Gate Bridge. “This system has given it all to the big guys.”
More and more wild-caught fish species and fishing territories in the United States are managed under catch shares, which work by providing harvesting or access rights to fishermen. These rights – worth tens of billions of dollars in the United States alone – are translated into a percentage, or share, that can then be divided, traded, sold, bought or leveraged for financing, just like any asset.
Catch shares have been backed by an alliance of conservative, free-market advocates and environmental groups, some of which have financed scientific studies promoting the merits of the system, the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
Thousands of jobs have been lost in regions across the United States where catch-share management plans have been implemented, researchers have noted.
(Originally published on March 18, 2013, on SFBay, a news website for the San Francisco Bay Area.)
by Thomas K. Pendergast
Another victim of a fraud targeting elderly Chinese women has come forward, San Francisco police said, reporting she was scammed for large amounts of cash and jewelry, like many others in the last year.
Officer Gordon L. Shyy of the San Francisco Police Department said last week the victim told police she was conned by several women, who convinced her that either her or her family would be harmed if she didn’t perform a ritual involving lots of cash and jewelry in a bag tied up tight.
This fraud allegedly occurred in January, but the victim only recently came forward to police. Reporting this type of crime well after the fact has been part of the problem with investigating them, Shyy told SFBay:
“She reported it this week but it occurred last January. Two months have elapsed and that really hinders our investigation."
It is not uncommon with these crimes for the victims to be so ashamed of getting fooled that they don’t tell anyone until well after the crimes have occurred, so this has been a recurring problem for investigators.
Winston Lum, 48, (left) was sentenced to 13 years, while Jay Shah, 48, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Vivian Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reports that two accomplices of a convicted murderer and swindler known as the "Dark Prince" were sentenced Tuesday to more than a decade in state prison for their part in a $2.2 million condominium fraud in San Francisco's Rincon Hill neighborhood.
Businessman Jay Shah, 48, was sentenced to 20 years for 13 counts of grand theft, money laundering, burglary and forgery.
Tennis instructor Winston Lum, 48, was sentenced to 13 years for six similar charges.
The two were among five accomplices accused of fraudulently taking ownership of three luxury condos in 2010 at the One Rincon Hill high-rise.
Prosecutors said they forged the real owner's signature to secure the title, and Lum, posing as the owner, convinced a bank to issue him a $2.2 million loan on the condos, which were worth about $7.5 million.
Shah arranged the financing and escrow services through his business contacts to handle the loan, and provided instructions on how to distribute the proceeds, according to prosecutors.
Also involved was the so-called Dark Prince - Nepalese exchange student Kaushal Niroula, 31 - who is serving life without parole for the murder of a 74-year-old Palms Spring man in another scam to steal his money and property. He has not been tried in the Rincon Hill case.
Shah had jumped $1 million bail after he was convicted of the 13 felonies in September. Authorities arrested him in Watsonville after tracking him to San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
George Sky of San Francisco can't use this reverse vending machine in front of the Safeway at 7th Avenue and Cabrillo until it is emptied by an employee.
Story and photograph by Thomas K. Pendergast
(Originally published on March 15, 2013, on SFBay, a news website for the San Francisco Bay Area.)
Some neighborhood markets in San Francisco may also have to offer recycling services soon, depending upon developing City policies and upcoming decisions by a California state agency.
State law exempts stores and supermarkets from offering recycling services in areas already served by a recycling center — like the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) recycling center evicted from Golden Gate Park in January.
When a recycling service is removed, though, it triggers a review by the state, which may remove the exemption and require stores within the zone to redeem deposits for CRV containers.
The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act — a 1986 law which set the rules for CRV redemption — requires stores with annual sales of $2 million or more that sell beverages in CRV containers to either buy back recycled bottles and cans or pay a $100 fine for each day they fail to do so.
The law also establishes a “convenience zone” of a half-mile radius around such stores. If a supermarket chooses to pay the fine rather than offer recycling services, then all the other stores selling beverages within this zone must offer recycling or pay the fine, which totals around $36,500 annually.
If a new supermarket is established, it automatically creates a convenience zone around it.
While San Francisco’s curbside recycling with blue bins is a factor in the state’s decision, it might not change the final outcome.
Mark Oldfield of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, which enforces the rules, says they review exemptions annually but only for zones that have changed substantially since the previous review.
The department’s current review ends this month and decisions should be announced sometime in the next few weeks. Oldfield told SFBay:
“Anything where the situation has changed, such as HANC closing or a new store opening up, will trigger an exemption review. … The idea is that we want to make sure it is still convenient for the consumer to redeem their recyclables.”
Abstract Notion Hits Home at Bill Dewey’s Dabob Bay Farm
In April 2010, The Santa Barbara Independent newspaper published an in-depth cover story on ocean acidification, becoming one of the first general interest publications to explain how our planet’s 200-year addiction to burning fossil fuels is dramatically increasing the toxicity of the seas.
Nearly three years later, despite much more media attention, lots of government funding, and repeated warnings from scientists, Matt Kettmann opines that the everyday earthling still has very little clue how much trouble we are almost certain to face in our lifetimes when the oceans’ rising acidity decimates the marine system as we know it, putting the supply of seafood at risk, among other global impacts.
But the public may be starting to pay attention, Kettmann reports, thanks to our collective love for oysters, as the popular slurpable shellfish is emerging as the canary in the acidification coal mine. “Oysters are the first things being affected that have a spokesman for them,” said Bill Dewey, who will speak at the Edible Institute this weekend and had the BBC and USA Today coming to visit his farm last week. “The science is irrefutable. Hopefully people start paying more attention.”
A longtime Washington state aquaculturist, Dewey started noticing problems in those seas in 2006, when some oysters were unable to reproduce. Scientists first attributed the problem to bacteria, so boatloads of money were spent on addressing that, yet the woes remained. “We realized we had a bigger issue,” said Dewey, who then heard the leading acidification researcher talk at the annual shellfish conference in 2008. “It was a sobering talk for everybody. It was a pretty grim message.”
Since then, and thanks to government funding, Dewey and other oysterers have installed weather warning systems that inform them when the bad waters will arise (the high-acidity stuff tends to be down low and rustled up by wind), and that’s helped. But the toxic waters are only on the rise.
Bryan Denson of the Portland Oregonian newspaper reported that U.S. government prosecutors argued in court papers Tuesday that Mohamed Mohamud, convicted in January of plotting a terrorist attack in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, got a fair trial and that defense motions calling for either an acquittal or a new trial were groundless.
"In his motion, defendant merely invites this court to disregard the jury's verdict -- and evidence unhelpful to his defense -- and construe the evidence in a light favorable to him," prosecutors wrote in opposing Mohamud's acquittal. "That is not this court's role. Defendant's motion must be denied."
A jury in Portland's U.S. District Court found Mohamud guilty on Jan. 31 of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction at the city's 2010 holiday tree-lighting ceremony. The panel deliberated for fewer than seven hours.
On Feb. 14, Mohamud's defense team filed motions seeking a new trial for their client or his acquittal, arguing that his rights to a fair trial were violated in several ways.
Perhaps their key objection was that Judge Garr M. King allowed the government -- in the interest of national security -- to hide the true identities of its star witnesses, a pair of undercover agents central to the FBI sting operation. The defense described this arrangement as a violation of Mohamud's Sixth Amendment rights to fully cross-examine his accusers.
At trial, the defense accused the government of entrapping their client. This put the burden on the government to prove that Mohamud was either predisposed to commit his crime or that the FBI hadn't talked him into it.
Mohamud's lawyers objected to the prosecution's closing argument, in which Knight declared that the entrapment defense was not available to Mohamud.
Jon Talton opines in the Seattle Times Newspaper that knowing how much the other person makes in the same office can be combustible if management hasn’t fairly set wage scales. Reading a survey such as you’ll find on these pages and in Sunday’s Parade magazine is harmless voyeurism, salary porn as it were.
But beneath this are serious questions amid a slow-growing economy, high unemployment and great challenges facing ordinary working people.
Talton then lists a number of startling statistics, including but not limited to the following:
• Productivity has increased almost 23 percent since 2000, but the hourly wage of the median worker rose 0.5 percent. Median hourly compensation, which consists of all wages and benefits, increased 0.4 percent.
• Going back to 1973, the trend is more pronounced, with productivity rising 80 percent as median hourly compensation grew by about 11 percent.
• If you worked for the lowest wages in 2011, you earned less than the workers in the same percentile in 1979.
• From 1979 to 2011, median wages increased 6 percent. All the growth happened during the 1990s expansion. During the same period, those with high earnings (in the 95th percentile), saw their wages rise 37 percent. Wages of the top 1 percent increased 131 percent.
Having begun full-time work around 1979, I can attest that we are not the country I came of age in. We have smartphones and reality television. But the shared prosperity of mid-20th century America is largely gone. And with a few exceptions, the American dream that anyone who works hard can get ahead and do better than her parents is passing into myth.
If you’re a hedge-fund manager, software engineer or elite surgeon, good for you. Odds are you came from a moneyed family. The rest of us are likely to be struggling, a situation that has been made much worse by the Great Recession.
Loss of economic mobility in America is a growing concern across the ideological spectrum. The data keep growing and the message is grim.
A judge Wednesday reduced the bail of the man accused of driving drunk and killing Lowell High School student Hanren Chang late Saturday night on her 17th birthday.
Kieran Brewer (Photo courtesy of the SFPD)
(Originally published on March 6, 2013, on SFBay, a news website for the San Francisco Bay Area.)
by Thomas K. Pendergast
Kieran Brewer, 28, has been charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter, driving with a blood alcohol level above .08 and driving under the influence resulting in death or bodily injury. He faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.
Brewer, of San Francisco, is accused of striking Chang with a car as she crossed Sloat Boulevard at Vale Avenue, about 11:20 p.m. last Saturday.
After hearing arguments from the prosecution and defense, Judge Jerome T. Benson reduced Brewer’s bail from $800,000 to $300,000.
“In a matter of seconds, a young girl’s life was taken on her 17th birthday because of the irresponsible behavior of the defendant,” says District Attorney George Gascon. “When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you are responsible not only for yourself but to the cars and pedestrians around you. We hope this case serves as a reminder of the tragic consequences when you drink and drive.”