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Sunday
May202018

SACRAMENTO: "California moves closer to crafting specific water caps for urban districts"; "30 percent of California tax agency managers have a relative on staff"; "California lags other high-tax states on state and local tax deduction workaround"; "Approved for ballot: Prop. 13 measure to exend tax break (for some) after moving" ....  

Sunday
May202018

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: New study, Salton Sea, receding shores, dust clouds, health impacts?: "California's only sea is dying and now threatening children" ....  

***New study, Salton Sea, receding shores, dust clouds, health impacts?

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "California's only sea is dying and now threatening children" - From the Chronicle:

The Salton Sea is steadily disappearing, and communities near it are literally being left in the dust.

California's largest body of water — located in Imperial County near the Mexico-U.S. border — has been sinking for years, and dust clouds containing heavy metals, agricultural chemicals and fine particulates connected to asthma and other diseases are harming young people in that area.  Children living in Imperial Valley have higher rates of respiratory problems compared to children elsewhere in the United States, according to a recently released government-funded survey conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California.

The USC scientists surveyed parents of first- and second-graders at four elementary schools near the Salton Sea, and found that up to 43 percent of parents said their children experienced wheezing, and up to 30 percent said their child had asthma.  Preliminary results from dust sample analysis suggest that the wind-blown matter may lead to adverse changes in the movement of immune cells into the lung immediately following exposure, though more research is needed.

Southeastern California has some of the worst air pollution in the United States, as farm dirt and desert collide with clouds of dust rising from the Salton Sea's receding shores.

"The Salton Sea has exacerbated an already bad situation," said Michael Cohen, senior researcher with the Pacific Institute in Oakland who has studied the Salton Sea for years. "There are a lot of children suffering there now and the amount of suffering will get worse." .............

Sunday
May202018

MISCELLANEOUS: Chicago, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, "windfall" sale of painting: "Painting That Hung In a Chicago Convention Center Brings Unexpected Windfall" ....

***Chicago, Metropoitan Pier and Exposition Authority, "windfall" sale of painting....

* New York Times:  "Painting That Hung In a Chicago Convention Center Brings Unexpected Windfall" - From the NYT:

A lone painting by a celebrated contemporary artist turned into a windfall on Wednesday night for a small municipal agency in Chicago.

The painting, Kerry James Marshall’s “Past Times,” sold for $21.1 million at Sotheby’s in New York, nearly 900 times the $25,000 that the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority spent on it in 1997, and a record for the artist. In a statement, Lori Healey, the authority’s chief executive, said the M.P.E.A. was “thrilled” by the auction results, adding that the price tag ended up “far exceeding anyone’s expectations.” While it was not the most expensive piece auctioned off Wednesday — that was $34.1 million for a small Jackson Pollock drip painting on paper — it most likely produced one of the biggest returns on investment for one of the least likely of collectors.

The authority, which was formed by the state of Illinois, oversees McCormick Square, which includes the McCormick Place Convention Center, the Wintrust Arena and two hotels along the lakefront. It is required to spend a portion of its budget on art displayed to the public. As a result, it currently possesses more than 100 pieces from a wide variety of artists.  One of the works it bought in 1997 was Mr. Marshall’s “Past Times,” ......................

Sunday
May202018

POLITICS/LEGAL: State Bar of California, Bar exam, pass rate/ exam standards?: "A bar too high? Pass rate plummets to record low for California bar exam" ....  

***State Bar of California, bar exam, pass rate/exam standards?

* Sacramento Bee:  "A bar too high? Pass rate plummets to record low for California bar exam" - From the Bee:

Only a quarter of applicants passed the California bar exam in its most recent sitting, the State Bar of California announced this week, a record low for the test that lawyers must successfully complete to practice in the state.

The pass rate for the February exam sank to just 27.3 percent, about 7 percentage points lower than last year and the first time since 1986 that it has fallen below 30 percent. The previous low, according to a summary of results since 1951, came in the spring of 1983, when 27.7 percent of applicants passed.

In a statement Friday, executive director Leah T. Wilson said the State Bar recently launched an intervention program to "improve performance on the bar exam" and "better understand the downward trend of the bar exam pass rates." It is also preparing to complete a study about the needs of entry-level lawyers, in order to evaluate the exam standards ...................

 

Sunday
May202018

POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, immigration judges: "Justice Dept. Restricts a Common Tactic of Immigration Judges"; "Sessions takes key authority away from immigration judges"; "Sessions curbs authority of immigration judges with policy change"; "Sessions Moves to Curb Immigration Judges' Authority" ....  

***President Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, immigration judges....

* New York Times:  "Justice Dept. Restricts a Common Tactic of Immigration Judges"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Sessions takes key authority away from immigration judges"

* The Hill:  "Sessions curbs authority of immigration judges with policy change"

* NPR:  "Sessions Moves to Curb Immigration Judges' Authority"