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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 89,028

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

New California bill would be bad news for porch pirates

As more and more people shift toward doing the bulk of their shopping online, stories of brazen package thievery abound in Northern California, from Christmas presents stolen en masse to a woman apparently stealing a package in front of her trick-or-treating children.

And people have fought back with strategies ranging from leaving out trackable bait packages to filling decoy boxes with cat poop.

After hearing from exasperated constituents, one state assemblyman is now seeking a more orthodox (though considerably less creative) solution: Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, is proposing slapping harsher penalties on the people who steal packages from porches by clarifying how the crime is classified.

Currently, these types of theft incidents exist in a legal grey area: It is up to prosecutors whether to charge the theft of items from doorsteps and porches as burglaries.

Read more: https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/ab-1210-package-theft-evan-low-porch-pirate-13724237.php

Bankrupt PG&E seeks to give out bonuses? That's rich

Is Pacific Gas & Electric trying to make its already-tattered reputation even worse? That’s the only possible reaction to this week’s Bay Area News Group report that the giant investor-owned utility has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco for permission to give at least $235 million in bonuses this year to about 10,000 employees.

Coming off a decade in which PG&E has been repeatedly found at fault for deadly disasters and been judged to be a corporate felon by a U.S. federal court for its horrible safety record with pipelines in the Bay Area, this is hard to fathom. The optics are even worse when considering the likelihood that the utility will ask state taxpayers to pay for damages from wildfires blamed on PG&E’s equipment.

PG&E executives say they need to offer the bonuses to retain key employees as it works through bankruptcy. But if these executives would get the bonuses they defend, they have no credibility. Much like the utility they work for.

(no more at link)

Oklahoma ex-senator David Boren accused of sexual misconduct

OKLAHOMA CITY — A former University of Oklahoma student alleges he was touched and kissed inappropriately by former university President David Boren on several occasions almost a decade ago when the man worked as a teaching aide for the onetime governor and senator.

The allegations by Jess Eddy, now 29, appear to be at the center of an investigation being conducted for the university by Jones Day, one of the world’s largest law firms, into whether Boren sexually harassed male subordinates. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has also opened an investigation.

Boren, now 77, has denied any inappropriate conduct in statements released by his attorneys, who have confirmed the Jones Day investigation. Boren was a Democratic governor in the 1970s before serving in the U.S. Senate for more than 15 years. He was OU president from 1994 until stepping down last year and has been married to his second wife for more than 40 years. He has denied requests to be interviewed, citing poor health.

Boren’s attorney, Clark Brewster, said Eddy’s newest account of his encounter with Boren, which he detailed in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, contradicts previous statements he gave to Jones Day investigators and to Brewster. In those earlier statements, he said he was not aware of any inappropriate behavior.

Read more: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/nation-world/sns-bc-us--boren-university-investigation-20190329-story.html

Earlier threads:

Oklahoma University president to predecessor: 'Cross me again, and I will destroy you'

Former OU prez {& Democratic governor} sought for interview by investigating law firm. Retaliation?

Hong Kong businessman gets 3 years in prison for bribery

NEW YORK — A prominent Hong Kong businessman earned leniency with a three-year prison sentence dispensed Monday by a judge who said bribes paid to the presidents of two African countries were serious crimes but kindness including playing violin for fellow inmates was extraordinary.

U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska sentenced Dr. Chi Ping Patrick Ho, 69, who is also an ophthalmologist and was once Hong Kong’s home affairs secretary.

Preska said acts of charity were common for those who had achieved Ho’s wealth, but he went “above and beyond” by restoring sight for strangers, bringing music to the Metropolitan Correction Center and tutoring inmates who then finished high school.

“It is indeed extraordinary,” Preska said.

Read more: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/nation-world/sns-bc-us--hong-kong-official-bribery-charges-20190325-story.html

San Diego's downtown planning agency stripped of power

Civic San Diego, downtown San Diego’s official planning agency, is being stripped of most of its powers as the result of a pending court settlement, meaning the agency will no longer have any direct affiliation with the city of San Diego and will operate as an independent nonprofit.

The dramatic shift in circumstances ends a years-long legal battle between the city and Murtaza Baxamusa, a former Civic board member who sued the agency in April of 2015. Baxamusa, who is affiliated with the San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council was joined in his lawsuit by the organization, argued that the agency lacked meaningful oversight and was too tight with developers.

In the tentative settlement, reached Thursday night, Civic San Diego has agreed to cease its planning and permitting of downtown projects; it will also end its administration over the downtown parking district. Those functions will be transferred back to the city, pending approval of the settlement by City Council. The city is also on the hook for $725,000 in legal fees, according to the settlement terms.

“Following execution of this Agreement ... Civic San Diego will no longer operate as agent for the City for planning, permitting, and non-successor project management functions,” the term sheet states.

Read more: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/growth-development/story/2019-03-29/san-diego-downtown-planning-agency-stripped-of-power

'California deserves better.' Gavin Newsom rips PG&E plan that would 'prioritize' profits

Gov. Gavin Newsom accused PG&E Corp.’s top executive Thursday of paying lip service to public safety, saying the troubled utility is planning to stock its board of directors with hedge-fund managers and others interested only in “prioritizing quick profits.”

In a blistering letter to interim Chief Executive Officer John Simon, the governor belittled PG&E’s plan to overhaul its board of directors and said the company is ignoring candidates with experience in wildfire safety.

“I am troubled to learn that PG&E is primed to reconstitute its board with hedge fund financiers, out-of-state executives and others with little or no experience in California and inadequate expertise in utility operations, regulation and safety,” Newsom wrote.

“With this move, PG&E would send a clear message that it is prioritizing quick profits for Wall Street over public safety and reliable and affordable energy service,” Newsom added. “Time and again, PG&E has broken the public trust and its responsibilities to ratepayers, wildfire victims, and employees. This board appears to be more of the same.”

Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article228542594.html

Major labor union alleges University of California is intimidating members, sabotaging strike

The largest labor union at the University of California, AFSCME 3299, this week filed a second complaint against the university system, alleging a coordinated effort to intimidate workers, sabotage strike activity and push employees to drop their union membership.

Claire Doan, a UC spokesperson, said in a prepared statement that the UC Office of the President has not received a copy of the complaint from the Public Employment Relations Board and was unable to review it or determine whether there is merit to the allegations. But she suggested it’s aimed at influencing protracted contract negotiations that have led to a series of temporary employee walkouts.

“This charge and related press release come on the heels of the third systemwide strike in a year, which again failed to shift the university’s stance on AFSCME’s unreasonable demands,” Doan stated. “That includes asking for 8 percent raises that are nearly triple those given to other UC employees. We hope AFSCME leaders will channel more time and effort into actual bargaining.”

In the 71-page complaint, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 said UC representatives are flouting state labor laws through their actions and communications. Among the tactics alleged in the document:

Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article228568829.html

Caltrans must pay $3 million after losing appeal in worker's perfume allergy lawsuit

Caltrans must abide by a jury’s decision to award $3 million to an employee who claimed his supervisors harassed him by ignoring his allergies to perfume and several cleaning products, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

The ruling appears to leave Caltrans little room to keep fighting the award, which a Nevada County jury set in May 2017 after a one-month trial.

Employee John Barrie, 62, of Grass Valley, filed suit after supervisors repeatedly ignored directives to keep perfumes and cleaning chemicals like Windex and Comet away from him starting in 2010. He said his supervisor called him an “idiot” and a “jerk” and that after his desk was moved he would sometimes find his things soaked in perfume.

Caltrans contested the jury’s $3 million figure. A trial court judge sided with the department, ruling the award was “so excessive as to indicate that it was prompted by passion, prejudice, whim or caprice” on the part of the jury.

Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article228565254.html

Video of Placer County jail guards beating inmate released; $1.4-million payout OK'd

A federal judge has approved the release of a video showing Placer County authorities brutally beating and shocking a mentally ill inmate with a stun gun, topping off a two-year legal battle between the man and county officials accused of covering up the abuse.

The judge on Thursday also approved a $1.4-million settlement to be paid to inmates in Placer County jails who accused authorities of using excessive force, said attorney Mark Merin. The lawsuit was filed in August 2017, following the arrest of three county law enforcement officials who were investigated after the video was brought to the sheriff’s attention.

Merin said 15,000 inmates were eligible to make claims as part of the class-action suit. More than 200 will be compensated after attorneys evaluated 458 claims.

Lead plaintiff Beau Bangert, who appears in the recently released video, will receive $50,000 as part of the suit in addition to $250,000 he already received in a separate settlement, Merin said.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-placer-county-jail-abuse-video-surfaces-20190329-story.html

Supreme Court halts Texas execution over Buddhist spiritual advisor

The Supreme Court has taken a new and stronger stand against religious discrimination with liberals and most conservatives agreeing to halt a Texas execution.

By a 7-2 vote, the court granted an emergency stay for Patrick Murphy and ruled prison authorities may not proceed “unless the state permits Murphy’s Buddhist spiritual advisor or another Buddhist reverend of the state’s choosing to accompany Murphy in the execution chamber during the execution.”

In a concurring opinion, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh noted that Texas would have allowed a Christian or Muslim inmate to have a state-employed Christian or Muslim religious advisor present in the execution room.

“In my view, the Constitution prohibits such denominational discrimination,” Kavanaugh wrote. The state may choose to keep all clerics and religious advisors from entering the execution chamber, he said.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-supreme-court-religion-discrimation-texas-20190329-story.html
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