Index
Thursday
Jan222015

POLITICS/MEDIA (South Bay/Los Angeles): More info/details, Carson, City Hall unhappiness with local newspaper, proposed boycott: "Carson officials slam Daily Breeze, but back off planned boycott" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (Carson, City Hall unhappiness with local newspaper Daily Breeze, introduction of resolution proposing boycott)....

* Daily Breeze:  "Carson officials slam Daily Breeze, but back off planned boycott" - From the DB:

Carson Mayor Jim Dear and Councilman Al Robles blasted the Daily Breeze this week for what they contend is negative and inaccurate reporting of the city but backed off a resolution urging the city to pull its advertising and residents and businesses to boycott the newspaper.

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the two accused the Breeze of portraying Carson in a “negative” light, routinely fabricating news reports based on gossip, and publishing letters to the editor from people they don’t like. Robles accused the paper of casting “aspersions on our great city” and publishing news stories designed to reflect poorly on Carson.  “They’re very negative to the city of Carson,” Dear said. “I am a very strong supporter of the First Amendment. I believe people should be able to say whatever they want as long as it doesn’t cause a crime or a violent act to take place.”

Though Dear offered mostly generalizations about how the city has been wronged by the Breeze, Robles took the paper to task for using the phrases “near Carson” and “West Carson” to describe events that occur in the unincorporated Los Angeles County strip bordering the city. Most residents of West Carson have Torrance mailing addresses even though they do not live in Torrance.

Robles claimed only the Daily Breeze uses the term West Carson, when, in fact, that is the official government census tract designation of the area of 22,000 residents sandwiched between Carson and Los Angeles’ Harbor Gateway.

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Robles proposed the resolution urging the city to not spend advertising money with the Daily Breeze and not to subscribe to the newspaper. Additionally. . . . . . . .

Several residents questioned the wisdom of the city trying to stifle a constitutionally protected free press.  “I don’t understand why this item is on the agenda,” resident Faye Walton said. “This seems like a boycott on the Daily Breeze, and I didn’t know the city of Carson was in the business of telling citizens what to boycott.”

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Executive Editor Michael Anastasi wrote a letter to Carson officials in response to the proposed boycott, calling it “interesting” that the city’s resolution immediately followed a news article published about .....................

Thursday
Jan222015

POLITICS (National, New York): Various reports, indictment, arrest, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver indicted in $6 million bribery and kickback scheme, taken into custody"; "New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Arrested by FBI"; "Top N.Y. lawmaker arrested on possible corruption charge"; "New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver arrested" ....

***Sampling of initial coverage, arrest of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver....

* New York Daily News:  "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver indicted in $6 million bribery and kickback scheme, taken into custody" - "Silver, who has been one of the most powerful lawmakers in Albany for more than two decades, surrendered to authorities following a five-count federal indictment accusing him of accepting millions from law firms seeking his influence."

* Wall Street Journal:   "New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Arrested by FBI" - "Silver Taken Into Custody After a 'Long-Term Investigation,' Officials Say"

* USA Today:  "Top N.Y. lawmaker arrested on possible corruption charge"

* Los Angeles Times:  "New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver arrested"

 

Wednesday
Jan212015

POLITICS (National): U.S. Supreme Court, Fair Housing Act of 1968: "Supreme Court asked to scale back landmark fair housing law" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Supreme Court asked to scale back landmark fair housing law" - From the LAT:

The Supreme Court signaled Wednesday it may be about to chip away at  another 1960s-era civil rights law. At issue is the Fair Housing Act of 1968, passed a week after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. The law makes it illegal to refuse to rent or sell housing units based on race.

In the decades since Congress passed the landmark legislation, the government and most judges have concluded that it forbids not just blatant racial bias, but also sales or lending policies that have a discriminatory effect on blacks and Latinos, even when there is no proof of overt bias. The Obama administration, for example, has aggressively used the law to sue banks and force large settlements for lending practices that left minorities paying higher rates or fees.

But the court's conservatives have been skeptical of these so-called "disparate impact" claims. Twice before they have taken up challenges to bias claims that rely on such statistics, only to have the cases settled by civil rights advocates before a ruling. After arguments Wednesday, the fate of this part of the Fair Housing Act looked to be in doubt .....................

Wednesday
Jan212015

POLITICS/MEDIA: Santa Barbara News-Press, controversy, "illegals": "Amid outcry, News-Press is adamant on provocative term for immigrants" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Amid outcry, News-Press is adamant on provocative term for immigrants" - From the LAT:

A few decades ago, it wasn't unusual for American newspapers to refer to people living in the United States without legal permission as "illegal aliens," or even "illegals." Those terms were criticized as offensive and eventually gave way to "illegal immigrant," a label that itself was jettisoned by most outlets two years ago, when the Associated Press banned the term from its stylebook in favor of language that more precisely describes a person's immigration status.

That approach — adopted by The Times in 2013 — seemed to have taken root and defused the criticism in most places. But the local newspaper's decision to call such immigrants "illegals" has turned idyllic Santa Barbara into an unlikely flashpoint in the nation's immigration battles.

The News-Press ran the headline "Illegals Line Up for Driver's Licenses" on Jan. 3, prompting protests and a message painted in red on the wall of the newspaper's offices. The paper used the term again last Friday in another front page story: "Driving Legal Opens Door to Illegals' Past." News-Press officials have stuck by their choice of language, saying that describing someone living in the country illegally as an "illegal" is accurate, and compared the vandalism on their offices to the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

"We will not give in to the thugs who are attempting to use political correctness as a tool of censorship and a weapon to shut down this newspaper," News-Press co-publisher Arthur von Wiesenberger wrote on the website of the Minuteman Project, which opposes illegal immigration.

But community groups have denounced the newspaper, calling for an advertising boycott ...................

Wednesday
Jan212015

L.A. CITY HALL: Owens Valley water, "Chinatown" history, end of feud, report/analysis, New York Times: "Century Later, the 'Chinatown' Water Feud Ebbs" ....

* New York Times:  "Century Later, the 'Chinatown' Water Feud Ebbs"  - From the NYT:

OWENS LAKE, Calif. — For 24 years, traveling across the stark and dusty moonscape of what once was a glimmering 110-square-mile lake framed by snow-covered mountains, Ted Schade was a general in the Owens Valley water wars with Los Angeles. This was where Los Angeles began taking water for its own use nearly a century ago, leaving behind a dry lake bed that choked the valley with dust, turning it into one of the most polluted parts of the nation.

The result was a bitter feud between two night-and-day regions of California, steeped in years of lawsuits, conspiracy theories, toxic distrust and noir lore — the stealing of the Owens Valley water was the inspiration for the movie “Chinatown.” But while the water theft remains a point of contention, the battle long ago turned into one about the clouds of dust that were the legacy of the lost lake, 200 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

In what may be the most startling development yet, the end of one of the great water battles in the West appears at hand: Instead of flooding the lake bed with nearly 25 billion gallons of Los Angeles water every year to hold the dust in place — the expensive and drought-defying stopgap solution that had been in place — engineers have begun to methodically till about 50 square miles of the lake bed, which will serve as the primary weapon to control dust in the valley.

That will create three-foot-high furrows that, sprinkled with far less water, together should scrub the atmosphere of the thick haze that often makes it impossible to see from one side of the valley to the other, with widespread complaints of asthma. “All we wanted is air pollution control,” Mr. Schade said. “We just wanted to make it so it’s not so dusty.”

Mr. Schade, 57, his pursuit of Los Angeles finally over, celebrated the moment by announcing he was retiring as the chief enforcement officer for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District. In that role, he installed cameras and air pollution maintenance stations across the lake bed, haranguing the city to step in whenever air pollution standards were violated.

No less striking, Los Angeles, after years of filing lawsuits against the basin asserting that the damage was not the city’s fault, is showing remorse. “The city has accepted its responsibility,” Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles said in a ceremony marking the agreement last month. “We took the water.”

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Mr. Schade said he was confident that the battle was finally over; if the fight were still going on, he said, he would still be heading out to the lake bed most days to check his monitors. “I am retiring because I feel like I can,” he said.