Category Archives: California

California May Have To Export 4,000 Inmates If Feds Don’t Postpone Population Cap

CBS Los Angeles

SACRAMENTO (AP) — California will have no choice but to move 4,000 more inmates to private prisons in other states if federal judges refuse to postpone a court-ordered population cap, state Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard said Wednesday.

The state faces an April 18 deadline to reduce overcrowding in its 33 adult prisons. The judges have found reducing overcrowding to be the key step in improving inmate medical and mental health care, but Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking a three-year delay.

Beard said such a delay would give the state time to build cells for nearly 3,500 additional inmates. That would bring the state close to meeting the federal population cap while avoiding the need to send more inmates elsewhere.

It also would give time for rehabilitation programs to work, he said. Those programs are designed to reduce the number of convicts who commit new crimes after their release and then…

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Calif. Senate Urges Congress To Revisit Vote On NSA Surveillance

CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new piece of legislation is seeking to protect Californians from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports the California State Senate has voted overwhelmingly to approve Senate Bill 828. [cbs-audio url=”http://cbsla.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/ca-spying-bill-1-mca.mp3″ size=”” download=”” name=”State Senate Introduces Bill That Would Prevent Calif. From Aiding NSA ” artist=”Margaret Carrero”]

Passed in a bipartisan 31-1 vote on Monday, Senate Bill 828 bans state agencies, officials and corporations from giving any material support, participation or assistance to any federal agency to collect electronic or metadata — including emails and text messages — of any person unless a warrant is issued that specifically describes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized.

Sen. Ted Lieu, who joint-authored SB 828 with Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), said the legislation comes in response to recent revelations of the NSA’s “massive phone and internet records collection program on Americans.”

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Noam Chomsky: America’s infrastructure is broken

Noam Chomsky: America’s infrastructure is broken

“They were General Motors, Standard Oil of California and, I think, Firestone Rubber. The origins of suburbia reveal an attempt to take over a fairly efficient mass-transportation system in parts of California—the electric railways in Los Angeles and the like—and destroy them so as to shift energy use to fossil fuels and increase consumer demand for rubber, automobiles and trucks and so on. [29] It was a literal conspiracy. It went to court. The courts fined the corporations $5000, or something like that, probably equivalent to the cost of their victory dinner.[30]

But what happened in California started a process that then expanded—and in many ways. It included the interstate highway system. That was presented as part of the defense against the Russians. It was launched under the Interstate Defense Highway Act of 1956, and was intended to facilitate the movement of people and goods, troops and arms, and, allegedly, to prevent overpopulation in specific areas that could become the focus of nuclear attack. [31] The slogan of defense is the standard way of inducing the taxpayer to pay the cost of the next stage of the hi-tech economy of course.[32] That’s true whether it be computers, the Internet or, as in this case, a car-based transportation system.[33]

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Meet David Alvarez and Mike Aguirre, two Latinos running for mayor of San Diego

NBC Latino

After Bob Filner resigned from his position as mayor of San Diego, Calif., on August 30 following an onslaught of sexual harassment allegations, 11 candidates qualified for the ballot to run for mayor in the November 19 special election.

Two of those candidates, David Alvarez and Mike Aguirre, are Latinos who have prior experience as elected office holders in the city of 1.3 million people that sits adjacent to Tijuana, Mexico. Currently, 28.3 percent of the city’s population is Latino.

Alvarez and Aguirre have the opportunity to become the first Latino mayor of San Diego since California became a state. Despite former Assembly member Nathan Fletcher’s emergence as a front-runner, the presence of two Latinos among the top four candidates for mayor in the country’s eighth largest city points to the growing influence of the Latino community.

Learn about the two Latino mayoral contenders:

Name: David Alvarez

Age: …

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Mayor Garcetti Calls For LAFD Chief’s Resignation, Announces New Interim Head

CBS Los Angeles

[worldnow id=9402389 width=420 height=315 type=video]

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday called for the resignation of LAFD Chief Brian Cummings and appointed a new interim head of the department.

James Feathersone has been appointed as Acting Chief of the department effective Nov. 1, and Cummings is set to retire in February following a period of transition, according to the Mayor’s office.

Featherstone is a former LAFD captain and is currently head of the city’s Emergency Management Department, where he will return after a permanent chief is found, officials said.

“I thank Chief Cummings for his service to Los Angeles. My agenda for the Fire Department is focused on reducing response times, improving technology, to make sure we’re prepared for every emergency,” Mayor Garcetti said in a statement.

Garcetti publicly insists Cummings’ resignation was a mutually agreed upon decision.

“He’s a good man. I’ve decided to take a different…

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California bans NDAA, indefinite detentions

California bans NDAA, indefinite detentions

“California Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed a bill in direct defiance of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act provision which legalizes the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The California law, which garnered strong support through the state legislature, bans any state cooperation with any federal attempts to indefinitely detain individuals.”

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California Budget: More money for prisons, less for the UC system and higher education

The University of California system was founded in 1868 and has become one of the most prestigious educational systems in the world. There are 10 campuses that focus on programs of technology, humanities, law and medicine. UC is an institution that engages in research, education and public services and each has its own funding. UC tuition is now about $13,000 a year. It has skyrocketed 62% since 2007, and this doesn’t include books, health insurance and other school necessities. When all of those necessities are factored in, it costs about $32,000 annually. These costs are for California residents, non resident’s costs are double, or about $55,000. Jerry Brown acknowledged the soaring costs of attending a UC and stated, ‘with respect to higher education, cost pressures are relentless. Many students cannot get the classes they need. Tuition increases are not the answer. I will not let students become default financiers of our colleges and universities.’

UC  budget cuts and prison funding

UC funding comes from many different sources, but most are restricted to specific uses and cannot be applied for other purposes. Almost three-fourths of UC’s revenue is restricted by the funding source. This means that UC cannot legally transfer funds and use money to cover cuts in state funding.

According to Californiacommonsense.org K-12 and higher education receive the largest portion of funding (more than half) of State General Fund Expenditures, Health and Human Services receives about one-third, and corrections one-tenth. Although higher education used to receive far more than corrections, higher education now receives slightly less than corrections.

Over the past 30 years higher education’s share of the state budget has consistently been declining, while corrections’ share of the budget has been increasing over the same period. Prison guard salaries have been subject to periods of sustained increases while faculty salaries saw only weak growth during the 80s and 90s and then experienced a real decline during the 2000s. While spending on higher education has decreased by 13%, spending on prisons has skyrocketed 436%. Although corrections’ funding has even increased during some downturns, higher education has always experienced cuts in state funding during those periods. After the most recent recession both saw a decline in state funding. In a state of 38 million, the inmate population has been the key factor for increased spending on corrections.

When Gov. Schwarzenegger was in office, he and the Democrats thought it would be best to revise California’s sentencing laws to reduce the number of people being sent to state prisons. The costs of housing 167,000 state prison inmates were more than educating 226,000 students in the UC system. Reasons for the high costs of prisons have been tougher sentencing, like the three-strikes law. Also, rising salaries and more hires for the prison staff are a factor. Darrel Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento stated, ‘In what civilized state of country do you spend more on prisons than on higher education? That’s a compelling argument to vote reform.” Between 2000 and 2008 the state’s correction budget doubled to $10.8 billion. UC President Mark Yudof said that he didn’t understand how California managed to build 24 prisons in the 25 years but only one additional research university.

The University of California recently wrote that state disinvestment has affected nearly every part of the university. Over the past five years campuses have laid off more than 4,000 employees, eliminated or left unfilled 9,500 positions and deferred faculty hiring. Also there have been cuts to academic programs, elimination of courses, increased class sizes, and cuts in student services like library hours and counseling.

UC’s 2012-2013 core funds operating budget sources are: state general funds ($2.38 billion); student tuition and fees ($2.98 billion); and UC general funds ($848 million). UC’s 2009-2010 state-funded budget was $2.6 billion a 20% decrease from 2008-2009. Even before that the state’s per-student funding for UC education had fallen 54% since 1990. In 1990, the state contributed $16,430 per student, or 78 percent of the total cost of education. By 2009-10, that figure had fallen to $7,570 per student, or 48 percent of the total cost. In 2009 UC faced at minimum a $1 billion gap in state funding.

Larry Gordon reported in The Los Angeles Times that in 2011 the total amount that UC students pay in tuition surpassed the funding the public university receives from the state. Larry writes, “Propelled by budget crisis in California and elsewhere, the burden of paying for education at a public college or university, once heavily subsidized by taxpayers, is shifting to students and their families.”

Dianne Klein, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, states that there has been nearly a billion in cuts since 2008.

California’s disinvestment in higher education

According to the Public Policy Institute of California tuition increases are because of state disinvestment and state officials. It is the California Legislature that has the sole authority to set student fees at college. Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, stated, ‘There’s no question that California has had the most emulated public universities in the nation, and for the rest of the world. What we are seeing is the abandonment of the state’s commitment to make California’s education available to all citizens.’

It is not so much the poor or the rich who become marginalized because of budget cuts, but the middle class who don’t qualify for much financial aid. While I attended UC Riverside in 2010 it was not uncommon to hear people say they would have to drop out because of not being able to pay for tuition. Even for people who did get to stay in school they graduated with an incredible amount of debt that leaves them as indentured servants once they graduate. Many would have to attend community college before going on to a university in order to save money. I should note that budget cuts have affected all higher education in California–that means community colleges (the California Community College system is the largest system of public higher education in the nation) and Cal States also. Now I understand some people don’t see a problem. Many believe that higher education is not a right, but a privilege that one must work for and that students are not owed an education. That if you want higher education, then you must work for it. At the same time though, how could there be more money for prisons and correction officers, but not money for people to go to school or for professors? Realize that this renders education only for those that are privileged. And make no mistake, higher education and more educated Californians is good for everyone. Education contributes to a better society, brings down poverty and brings down the crime rate. It leads a country to progress not only economically, but also socially and enriches society. Unfortunately though, education is not just being slashed in California, but also in Chicago, New York, New Jersey and other states. Chicago is seeing many school closures, up to 49, mostly in black neighborhoods.

Education should be a priority

The fact is that if America really cares about education then it needs to make it a priority. We have a country where schools are closed and prisons are wide open. We have a country where you have to be increasingly financially wealthy in order to go to school and even to find a job because of the proliferation of unpaid internships. What does that say about our country? How does this not undermine our commitment to education and equality? What does it say when correction officers make more money than professors? Is it any wonder why America’s rankings in education have fallen? How could it be that we are the richest country in the world and we don’t have money for education? This is embarrassing. We rank 17th in global education, but number one in defense. Legislators keep talking about deficits and how there’s no money for healthcare, or social services, but the military never goes without. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, I know it is not so black and white, but there are definitely things we can do. We can start by looking at our prison sentencing (not all of those in jail are violent offenders), we can start to look into prison costs and where we can cut, we can start to take more money from our bloated defense, any many other things if we are really serious. And for those who don’t care about the growing number of prisoners, if you care about education and the money that’s being taken away by prisons then there’s a reason for you to start caring. I’m with Robert Fulghum, “It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.”

If you’d like to get more involved go here. It is a link to the nonprofit Student Debt Crisis, which works on legislation to help solve the student debt crisis. There you can sign the petition for the Student Loan Fairness Act.

-Marina Espinoza

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