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Saturday
Mar262016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, traffic, commentary (Willie Brown), "The Traffic change that's contributing to S.F. gridlock"; Oakland, "Raiders get new lease at O.co and it comes with a steep rent hike"; Silicon Valley, "Santa Clara city manager steps down"; also, discrimination/transgender legislation, "San Francisco mayor bans government travel to North Carolina" ....

***Various items relating to local issues/local government in and around the Bay Area....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Willie Brown):  "The traffic change that's contributing to S.F. gridlock commute"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Raiders get new lease at O.co and it comes with a steep rent hike"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Santa Clara city manager steps down"

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "San Francisco mayor bans government travel to North Carolina"

Saturday
Mar262016

SACRAMENTO: Fair Political Practices Commission, "Top Jerry Brown aide's sPG&E stock disclosure investigated"; education, Local Control Funding Formula, commentary (Dan Walters), "Big waves pounding on California schools"; California drought, "Granite Bay water district says it will no longer follow state water conservation mandate" .... 

***Various items relating to doings in and/or around the Capitol....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Top Jerry Brown aide's PG&E stock disclosure investigated"

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Big waves pounding on California schools"

 

* Sacramento Bee:  "Granite Bay water district says it will no longer follow state water conservation mandate"

Saturday
Mar262016

POLITICS/EDUCATION: UC Berkeley, controversy, sexual harassment cases: "At UC Berkeley, promises of a crackdown on sexual misconduct are met with skepticism by students" ....

***Following up on earler items noted here and here (UC Berkeley, sexual misconduct/sexual harassment cases)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "At UC Berkeley, promises of a crackdown on sexual misconduct are met with skepticism by students" - From the LAT:

Thirteen female students accused a UC Berkeley sociology professor of unwanted sexual advances, including hugs and attempted kisses. One of them said he offered a higher grade if she would sleep with him; another said he wrote a negative letter of recommendation when she rebuffed his advances. University officials found Abdelbaki Hermassi responsible for sexual misconduct, suspended him without pay for one quarter and placed the findings in his personnel file. Outraged students found those sanctions inexcusably lenient and mobilized campuswide sit-ins and protests. The year was 1980.

More than 35 years after UC Berkeley's first sexual harassment case, the campus seen as a bastion of progressive politics and social-justice activism is still struggling to get it right. 

The school now finds itself embroiled in three sexual harassment cases involving faculty members in the highest echelons of the university . . . . . . . .

And last week, campus officials fired assistant men's basketball coach Yann Hufnagel after finding he had sexually harassed a reporter . . . . . . . .

To Michael Burawoy, a co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Assn. who witnessed the Hermassi protests as a newly arrived sociology professor, the fact that the campus is still grappling with the same kinds of cases — and criticism — today is nothing short of appalling. Some members of the faculty group are now calling for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Provost Claude Steele. "The university administrators have tried to push this under the rug," Burawoy said. "There has been gross mismanagement of cases and a certain naivete that they can be kept quiet."

University of California regents, who wrapped up their two-day meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, issued an endorsement of UC President Janet Napolitano's intervention in the Berkeley cases . . . . . . . .

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Students frustrated by the Berkeley administration's handling of the law school case, which came to light this month, vented at the UC regents meeting Thursday.

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The current rash of high-profile cases has galvanized the campus as never before ..................

Saturday
Mar262016

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: California Environmental Protection Agency, canned food warning rules?: "California pulls back on BPA warnings, angering advocates"; "Calfornia: Chemical warning may scare poor from canned food"; "BPA warning label for some canned food to be delayed, CA EPA says" ....  

 

***California Environmental Protection Agency, BPA canned food warning rules....

* Sacramento Bee:  "California pulls back on BPA warnings, angering advocates"

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "California: Chemical warning may scare poor from canned food"

* KCRA Sacramento:  "BPA warning label for some canned food to be delayed, CA EPA says"

Saturday
Mar262016

L.A. CITY HALL: Sidewalk repair, responsibility?: Editorial, "Making property owners responsible for sidewalk repairs will be unpopular, but it's the right thing to do" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Making property owners responsible for sidewalk repairs will be unpopular, but it's the right thing to do" - From the LAT:

More than 40 years ago, the city of Los Angeles adopted a well-intentioned but ultimately disastrous ordinance that transferred the responsibility for fixing sidewalks damaged by tree roots from property owners to the city. The idea made sense — sidewalks are used by the public at large and homeowners had, for the most part, not planted the trees that were causing the damage.

So why was it disastrous? Because the city never fulfilled its obligation to fund and fix the sidewalks, leaving them a cracked, crumpled, dangerous mess.

City officials over the years have pondered possible solutions, such as raising taxes or cutting spending to pay for the repairs, or making property owners cover the cost. But they consistently avoided making the long-term, politically difficult decisions required. The condition of the walkways worsened — at one point, officials estimated that 4,600 miles of sidewalk needed to be fixed — and the total price tag continued to rise, which only made it harder for city leaders to act. It took a lawsuit by disabled residents to force Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council to commit to spend $1.4 billion over the next 30 years on sidewalk repairs.

The settlement, reached last year, also gave city leaders the impetus to come up with a plan to replace L.A.'s failed sidewalk policy. This week, the City Council may finally adopt one — a “fix and release” approach under which the city would repair the sidewalks first and then return responsibility to property owners.

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For all this policy to work, the council and mayor will have to repeal the law that made the city responsible for tree-related sidewalk damage. (Otherwise, the city wouldn't be able to hold property owners responsible for future repairs.)

This will probably be unpopular .................