By Miriam Rotkin-Ellman
Natural Resources Defense Council
From polluted skies to contaminated drinking water and hazardous waste, communities of color in California get way more than their fair share. If the oil and gas industry gets their way, drilling – and the environmental and health threats from fracking, acidizing, and other technologies – will be piled onto communities already staggering under smoggy skies and unsafe water.
By Public Policy Institute of California
Jerry Brown maintains his strong lead among likely voters in the governor's race against Neel Kashkari. Among two statewide ballot measures that Brown is campaigning for, Proposition 1—the $7.5 billion water bond—continues to have majority support and Proposition 2—the "rainy day fund"—has gained ground since September, with about half of likely voters in favor today.
A majority continue to favor Proposition 47, the measure to reduce sentences for some drug and property offenses. Support for Proposition 45—which would give the state insurance commissioner authority over health insurance rates—has declined since last month and continues to fall short of a majority.
By Chuck Idelson
National Nurses Union
We are in the midst of the worst Ebola epidemic in history-- over 4,500 deaths globally and now two U.S. nurses are infected. RNs from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where Ebola victim Thomas Duncan died describe a chaotic and unprepared environment where workers and patients were not adequately protected. "There was no advanced preparedness on what to do with the patient. There was no protocol. There was no system."
By Steve Hochstadt
The history of scientific hoaxes is often amusing. In 1813, Charles Redhoffer created a “perpetual motion machine,” a device that created more energy than it used. After hundreds of people paid a dollar to see it spinning around, Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat, grew suspicious of its uneven motion. When pieces of wood were removed from the wall behind the machine, a belt drive made of cat-gut was revealed, leading to an upper floor, where an old man was turning a crank with one hand and eating bread with the other.
By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California
Health care industry-funded ads sounding the Prop 46 privacy alarm flunk the straight face test.
The ads allege Prop 46 sets up a secret medical record database that will be vulnerable to hacking. Not only is this absolutely false, it's galling when you consider that the hospitals and insurance companies funding the ads have exposed millions of their own patient records through their negligence.
By Dan Bacher
As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.
The Center said the wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking (hydraulic fracturing) fluids and other pollutants.
By Terrance Heath
Monday, the Supreme Court made history by deciding not to make history. The Court rejected appeals in the marriage equality cases set to appear before it, and left intact appeals court rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans in Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana -- effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in those states. The same goes for North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, and Colorado, which are under the jurisdiction of the same circuit courts.
By Chuck Idelson
National Nurses United
Following reports that a Dallas hospital failed to hospitalize a patient infected with the Ebola virus and failed to properly communicate essential information to caregivers about his health status, National Nurses United is stepping up the call on U.S. hospitals to immediately upgrade emergency preparations for Ebola in the U.S.
By Karen Garrison
Natural Resources Defense Council
On Tuesday, we toasted healthier oceans and Governor Brown’s leadership in signing a landmark law to help keep the estimated 13 billion single-use plastic bags used in California every year from polluting our waters and lands. Building on the action taken by more than 100 local communities in the state, State Senator Alex Padilla authored SB 270 to ban single-use plastic bags from distribution by major retailers. He did an outstanding job of building a broad coalition of support. The Senator himself said it well: “A throw-away society is not sustainable. With SB 270 we have an opportunity to greatly reduce the flow of billions of single-use plastic bags that are discarded throughout our state. This is good for California and reflects our values as a state that cares about the environment, sea life and wildlife.”
By J.G. Preston
Consumer Attorneys of California
Proposition 46, the patient safety initiative on California’s November ballot, would adjust the state’s 39-year-old cap on compensation for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases to give it the same economic value it had when it was enacted in 1975 (it has not changed since). “Non-economic damages” are awarded as compensation for such harm as the loss of limbs, brain damage, ongoing crippling pain, or the death of a child, just to name a few.