By Michael Jasny
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Senate will shortly be voting on a bill that would allow the U.S. Navy to injure and kill California sea otters, without complying with the core wildlife statutes protecting this threatened species.
Recently, the House added language to this year’s defense authorization bill that outright exempts the Navy from two federal laws, the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act, for any harm it causes sea otters off its Southern California bases.
By Leo Gerard
Anthony Tenny told Clearwater Paper several times that he was concerned about working in excessive red cedar dust at its Lewiston, Idaho, sawmill. But nothing changed. So he reported his fears to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Within a month of OSHA inspecting the plant, Clearwater fired Mr. Tenny – despite his six-year tenure, supervisors’ praise and promotions. Five days after Clearwater sacked Mr. Tenny, another worker, John Bergen III, a 10-year Clearwater veteran, died after inadvertently stepping into a gaping opening in the floor of the adjacent paper products plant.
By Dean Preston
Assemblymember Christina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) deserves credit for being the first state legislator to call on Senator Ron Calderon (D – Montebello) to resign following the release last week of evidence that Calderon accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from an FBI agent as part of an undercover operation. Senator Calderon would be well advised to heed the call or face an escalating campaign from constituents, activists and colleagues who have lost faith in his ability to govern with any credibility.
By Dan Bacher
Joe Caves, a "campaign manager" for three successful water bonds, told attendees at a dinner of the Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) on October 24 that the bond that is currently on the 2014 ballot would lose "pretty dramatically."
The legislature doesn't have a very good record of passing successful water bonds, according to Caves.
"The one passed in 2009 was the first one they even managed to get a 2/3rds vote on since 2000," said Caves. "And that one was constructed in a way necessary to put legislative compromises together, but also created elements of it that created opposition to the bond."
By Gary Cohn
Last week San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed delivered his usual speech about the benefits of slashing the retirement benefits of his city’s public employees – and why he is now pushing for a statewide ballot measure that could dramatically change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians. Reed’s initiative – which he characterizes as a bipartisan effort and which hasn’t yet qualified for the 2014 ballot — would allow the state and local governments to reduce retirement benefits for current employees for the years of work they perform after the measure’s changes go into effect. What was not usual about Reed’s speech was its setting: The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, 3,000 miles from California.
By Robert Cruickshank
Another year, another Congressional Republican attack on Amtrak’s popular long distance rail service.
This time California Republican Jeff Denham is among those seeking to shut down the high ridership service:
In a May hearing, Rep. Jeff Denham, a California Republican and chairman of the railroads subcommittee in the House of Representatives, noted that Amtrak’s long-distance routes lost a combined $600 million in 2012.
“We simply cannot afford to continue these levels of subsidized losses year after year,” Denham said.
By Annie Notthoff
Natural Resources Defense Council
Monday afternoon, the governors of California, Oregon, Washington, and the premier of British Columbia will sign an ambitious Pacific Coast climate and energy action plan that will encompass a population of 53 million in the world’s fifth-largest economic region.
By Steve Smith
California Labor Federation
Last Thursday California’s Fair Political Practices Commission sent a strong message to shadowy out-of-state special-interest groups and donors trying to influence our state’s elections by levying record fines for contributions to committees that supported Prop 32 and opposed Prop 30.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
In a campaign finance case watched around the country, California's political watchdog has levied a $1 million fine against two non-profit groups for inappropriately laundering money during last year's ballot initiative wars.
By Adam Scow
Food & Water Watch
Sometimes talk isn’t just cheap, it’s downright misleading. While he preaches about climate change being the single greatest challenge to mankind, Governor Brown’s current policies would actually worsen our climate crisis. Once perceived to be a trailblazer on the environment, Governor Brown is now siding with the oil and gas industry to push fracking at the expense of our climate, health and water.
By Selena Teji
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
There are many collateral consequences to criminal convictions in California, such as barriers to employment, housing, and social services. An additional concern that criminal defense attorneys should consider when advising their clients is the possible immigration consequences of their conviction. Under current immigration laws, even legal permanent residents can face deportation and bars on reentry following a conviction for a low-level drug offense.