Aiello, Dan

Dan Aiello, is the Sacramento reporter for the California Progress Report.

Advocacy Day Draws Trans Folks, Allies to Capitol

By Dan Aiello

More than 50 transgender Californians and non-U.S. residents gathered at the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento Monday, May 21 as they prepared to lobby legislators on behalf of two bills aimed at addressing discrimination against transgender youth in California's foster care system and non-US residents victims of crime who risk deportation under federal law.

Both Assembly bills are authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

Queer Youth Lobby Lawmakers on School Discipline Bills

By Dan Aiello

Nearly 50 high school students from communities throughout California came to Sacramento last week to lobby state legislators in support of two bills aimed at protecting students from extreme or unjust discipline policies.

From Crescent City to San Ysidro, Half Moon Bay to Truckee, students gathered for a morning rally on the north steps of the Capitol before meeting with lawmakers and their staff as part of the April 30 Queer Youth Advocacy Day.

Encouraging them to engage lawmakers, students heard firsthand the personal stories of out state legislators and fellow students advocating for AB 1729, Creating Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion, and AB 2242, Reducing Out of School Suspensions for Minor Infractions that was authored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento).

Bill to Offer Redress to Ousted Gay Vets Amended

By Dan Aiello

Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan will amend his legislation intended to offer redress to LGBT veterans ousted under the prohibition policies of the nation's military, including "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces.

As written, AB 1505 would have required the state Department of Veterans Affairs to reinstate non-federally-funded benefits to military service members who were ousted with less than honorable discharges because they were gay.

But Pan, a Democrat from Fair Oaks, said he will instead introduce a "contingency and enactment clause" to his bill because state veterans benefits are closely tied to federal benefits and congressional action is needed.

The Costly Kings: What Sacramento's NBA Franchise Has Cost California's Capital City

By Dan Aiello

When Greg Lukenbill and other investors bought the Kansas City Kings NBA franchise in the early 1980's it wasn't for the love of the game.

Lukenbill, a Sacramento developer who had purchased cheap flood plain acreage in the Natomas basin, wanted to develop his property in the same suburban sprawl fashion as East of the downtown. But Sacramento's last citizen mayor, Anne Rudin, who believed in a strong downtown city core and despised the disjointed tract developments of Los Angeles and San Jose, had attained a majority of council members who agreed with her, that Natomas' flood plain status precluded the area from development.

"Maybe all NBA owners should be charged with unsportsman-like conduct."

Pot Regulation Bill Clears Assembly Panel

By Dan Aiello

After postponing a hearing for a week to ensure he had the votes needed, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano appeared before his own Assembly Committee on Public Safety to successfully shepherd AB 2312, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Control Act, through the panel.

The legislation, which would create the first statewide regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry in California, passed with a simple majority, 4-2. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Ammiano introduced AB 2312 in response to a months-long federal crackdown on California medical marijuana dispensaries and some growers that began last fall. The bill's language addresses the concerns of the feds as expressed by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag, in a meeting she had with Ammiano earlier this year, as well as the recommendations of state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Hearing On Statewide Pot Regulation Postponed

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

The Assembly Committee on Public Safety unexpectedly postponed a scheduled hearing on AB 2312, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Control Act, which had been scheduled for Today, Tuesday, April 10, in room 126 of California's State Capitol.  The legislation, authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would create the first statewide regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry in California if passed.

Hetch Hetchy Water Temple: A Monument To The 'Exploit' Of Nature, Says Restore Hetch Hetchy ED

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

The iconic Hetch Hetchy Water Temple in Woodside, built to celebrate the completion of the San Francisco Hetch Hetchy water system, should no longer be looked at with civic pride, says the executive director of Restore Hetch Hetchy.  

The neoclassical Water Temple welcomes thousands of visitors each year who drive, run or bike along Canada Road to picnic by its granite columns or, like my father did with me, to dangle unsuspecting and frightened children over its now-grated but still churning water within.  

As Brown Removes Barriers For Economic Recovery, Neighboring States Offer Growth Management Lessons

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

As those who fight to preserve what is left of the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta, the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast, from the persistent demands of water-wanting regions of California, it is worth noting that both Oregon and Washington - our northern neighbors - have long-managed a balance between economic and environmental concerns, an idea almost entirely foreign to Sacramento.

While in Oregon the Department of Transportation also acts as the Department of Growth Management, there exists no such California equivalent.  California’s water policy historically has been one of governance by reaction to a plethora of dire population growth predictions.

LA Times Editorial Supports Lungren’s Investigation of Hetch Hetchy Use

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

A recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times was highly critical of San Francisco’s use of Hetch Hetchy water without reclamation or efficient use of its own groundwater, a source that has diminished in its importance to the City over time as San Francisco’s PUC has found it easier to simply use more water from the Tuolomne river than through rainwater reclamation or extracting groundwater from within San Francsico, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties.

The Times’ editorial claims San Francisco has broken its agreement to ‘take no more water than it needed,’ and supports Congressman Dan Lungren’s call to investigate San Francisco’s water policies, among the most inefficient in the state.

Article ‘Baffles’ CPR Readers Who Question Sexual Orientation Relevance

By Dan Aiello,
California Progress Report

A recent article regarding medical marijuana published in the California Progress Report, elicited email from several readers who questioned why the sexual orientation of two California legislators was included in what otherwise was a story not directly related to identity politics.

To both myself, as author of the story, and to CPR’s editor, Zack Kaldveer, readers questioned why the sexual orientation of openly gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and out State Senator Mark Leno (D- Marin) would be included in an article about California State Attorney General Kamala Harris’s advice to the legislature regarding state regulation of the compassionate use of marijuana for medical patients (Proposition 215).