Index
Wednesday
Oct222014

SACRAMENTO: SB 270, statewide ban, single-use plastic bags, referendum campaign: "Plastic bag industry gives $1.2 million to repeal bag ban"; also, "Group seeks referendum signatures for referendum to repeal California's plastic bag ban"  ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Plastic bag industry gives $1.2 million to repeal bag ban" - From the Bee:

Out-of-state plastic companies hoping to block California’s freshly signed ban on single-use plastic bags have poured over $1 million into a referendum campaign.

Moments after Gov. Jerry Brown announced having signed Senate Bill 270, a plastic industry group that vociferously fought the bill announced its intention to launch a referendum campaign. If proponents secures enough signatures by the end of December, the measure would be placed on the 2016 ballot, suspending the law’s implementation until then.

Five plastic firms accounted for the entirety of the $1.2 million sitting in the referendum’s ballot committee. Only one of them, Tustin-based Durabag Co., is headquartered in California. The other four are located in Texas (Superbag Corp.); South Carolina (Hilex Poly Co.); Mississippi (Heritage Plastics Inc.); and New Jersey (Formosa Plastics Corporation USA).

The national scope of the donations speaks to the potentially sweeping repercussions of California’s ban. Bag manufacturers could be shut out of a vast market, although municipalities throughout California have already enacted bans. And in part because of California’s size and influence, policies passed in the state often ripple out to other parts of the country..................

***ALSO:

* San Jose Mercury News (Vacaville Reporter):  "Group seeks signatures for referendum to repeal California's plastic bag ban"

 

Wednesday
Oct222014

POLITICS/MEDIA: Death of Ben Bradlee, "legendary Washington Post editor," age 93 ....

* Washington Post:  "Ben Bradlee, legendary Washington Post editor, dies at 93" - From the WP:

Benjamin C. Bradlee, who presided over The Washington Post newsroom for 26 years and guided The Post’s transformation into one of the world’s leading newspapers, died Oct. 21 at his home in Washington of natural causes. He was 93.

From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily. He achieved that goal by combining compelling news stories based on aggressive reporting with engaging feature pieces of a kind previously associated with the best magazines. His charm and gift for leadership helped him hire and inspire a talented staff and eventually made him the most celebrated newspaper editor of his era.

The most compelling story of Mr. Bradlee’s tenure, almost certainly the one of greatest consequence, was Watergate, a political scandal touched off by The Post’s reporting that ended in the only resignation of a president in U.S. history.

But Mr. Bradlee’s most important decision, made with Katharine Graham, The Post’s publisher, may have been to print stories based on the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon history of the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration went to court to try to quash those stories, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the New York Times and The Post to publish them................................

Wednesday
Oct222014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, commentary (Steve Lopez): "Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf?" ....  

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf?" - From the LAT:

It was back-to-school night in August. A time for new beginnings and high hopes at Thomas Starr King Middle School on the Silver Lake/Los Feliz border. Then came an awkward moment. With new parents and students in the room, a teachers union rep got up on a soapbox to lay out the labor issues that could lead to a strike.

"He could not have been more tone deaf," said Tomas O'Grady, a parent who was in the room. "What a stupid thing to do, for a new group of parents excited about this school." O'Grady said the speaker is "one of the most amazing teachers at King," so out of kindness, O'Grady reined him in by suggesting this was not the time or place for a labor rally. "In an attempt to protect him, I spoke up. Because if it was anyone else, I'll be honest, it wouldn't have been to protect him, but to reprimand him."

I offer this as a snapshot of a big problem for United Teachers Los Angeles, and in larger measure, the entire district. To borrow O'Grady's words: Is UTLA tone deaf?............................

Wednesday
Oct222014

SACRAMENTO: Proposition 48, Indian gaming, commentary (Dan Walters): "Prop. 48 is new episode in California's long-running Indian saga" ....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Prop. 48 is new episode in California's long-running Indian saga" - From the Bee:

The multibillion-dollar casino gambling monopoly that Indian tribes enjoy is one of California’s most remarkable cultural and political sagas – and it’s not over yet.

When Spanish explorers first set foot in California in 1542, they encountered a few Indians, and for centuries thereafter, natives were subjugated, massacred and enslaved. “The Indian was not kept in formal slavery, but he was exterminated at the wish and the expense of the Legislature, and for years in the southern part of the state, under the guise of penal labor, Indians were hawked from the auction-block,” historian Kevin Starr has written of 19th-century California. Even after overt mistreatment stopped, Indians were relegated to abject poverty on reservations deemed to have no economic value – a condition still evident in the last decades of the 20th century.

Then the worm turned.  A few tribes opened bingo parlors, claiming sovereignty. And in 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a suit by Southern California’s Cabazon Band, invalidated local and state restrictions on tribal gambling.

Within a few years, a few rudimentary casinos had popped up, Congress had passed a law to clarify their legal status and tribes had begun spending heavily on lobbyists, campaign contributions and ballot measures, buying clout in the Capitol and other arenas.

Some state officials and Nevada gambling interests fought back, contending that what the tribes were doing was illegal. Two ballot measures, however, locked in the tribes’ monopoly. Since then, a number have constructed elaborate casino resorts rivaling those on the Las Vegas Strip.

As tribal gambling morphed into a multibillion-dollar industry, though, some rifts emerged – rivalries between tribes and conflicts within casino-owning tribes, both of which are now on graphic display ..........................

Wednesday
Oct222014

POLITICS/SPORTS (Bay Area): Oakland, update, Coliseum City Stadium development, commentary (Matier & Ross) ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):

   ****

Overtime:With the clock ticking down, the Oakland City Council on Tuesday gave a revamped group planning the Coliseum City stadium development a 90-day extension of its exclusive negotiating agreement with the city.

Council members told us they were encouraged by the team’s 11th-hour addition of new deep-pocket investors being represented by San Diego asset manager Floyd Kephart, chairman of the board of Renaissance Cos. Kephart is expected to take the lead role in the newly reconstituted group, New City Development LLC.

We’re told the group expects to have a developer with a national reputation signed on within 60 days, as well as approvals from the Raiders and NFL — plus the city and Alameda County — to begin detailed planning for a new football stadium. The stadium would be the centerpiece of a development that would also include housing, retail, offices and perhaps a ballpark for the Oakland A’s.

For some time, council members had said they were reluctant to extend the exclusive deal unless Raiders owner Mark Davis signed on to the agreement. He still hasn’t, but council members say they’re at least satisfied that Davis is “comfortable” with the new investment group and wants the negotiations to proceed. One notable exception was mayoral candidate Rebecca Kaplan, the only council member who voted against extending the agreement Tuesday. Kaplan did not immediately return our calls for comment, but it’s no secret she’s had a close working relationship with A’s owner Lew Wolff, who has repeatedly expressed his opposition to being part of any Coliseum City deal......