Friday, August 29, 2014

Stanislaus Forest Announces Rim Fire Salvage Logging Plan

The U.S. Forest Service has released a plan to move ahead with salvage logging in the Stanislaus National Forest after last year’s Rim Fire burned through four hundred square miles of timber in the national forest, as well as in private forest land and Yosemite National Park. The logging plan has stirred up controversy. Some environmental groups are threatening to sue the federal government. Other forest watchdogs support salvage logging plan after working with the Forest Service to scale down its original proposal. The Rim Fire is the largest wildfire ever recorded in the Sierra Nevada. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Latino Law Professor Wins Approval for State Supreme Court

Stanford law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar has won approval from a state commission to become a California Supreme Court justice, replacing an out-going conservative justice with a more liberal appointee who would be the only Latino on the high court. Cuellar is an immigrant from Mexico who has advised president Barak Obama on issues including immigration and repealing the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. Christopher Martinez files this report from San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chevron millions lubricate mayor and city council campaigns in Richmond

Richmond politics took on a new twist August 8 when Councilman Tom Butt filed to run for Mayor, hoping to replace Gayle McLaughlin who is termed out. Butt’s move derailed the Mayoral campaign of Mike Parker who had been running hard since February with Richmond Progressive Alliance backing. Parker subsequently withdrew from the race leaving Butt, Nat Bates and Uche Uwahemu in a 3 way contest. Tom Herriman reports from Richmond. (Photo Chevron will spend $6.1 million on billboards and other campaign ads supporting their favored candidates in the 2014 election.)

Proposed Minimum Wage Hike in San Francisco to Benefit People of Color

San Francisco's proposed minimum wage hike would disproportionately benefit low income workers of color and would not harm economic growth. That's according to a new study by The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UC Berkeley. This summer, city officials, workers and the business community unveiled a ballot measure that would increase the city's wage floor to $15 per hour by 2018. The report finds the measure would increase the average annual earnings of minimum wage workers by $2800 per year. People of color would represent over 70% of those affected. The report also finds a wage increase would have minimal impact on employment and consumer prices. Nick St. Charles files this report.

Gun Violence Restraining Order Law Passes Senate Vote

The State Senate has approved a bill to create a gun violence restraining order, letting a judge remove firearms from persons deemed at risk for committing acts of violence. The measure was inspired by the Isla Vista shooting massacre, where a disturbed young man went on a shooting spree after his family had unsuccessfully tried to get help for him. Republican lawmakers opposed the bill as an infringement of second amendment gun rights. Christopher Martinez reports from Sacramento.

Ferguson, Race, and the Law

Interview with John a. Powell, Professor of Law; African American Studies, and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, where he’s also Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. His most recent book is Racing to Justice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mexican President Visits California Legislature

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto wrapped up his first state visit to the United States with a speech to the California legislature, praising recent state legislation that increases undocumented immigrants’ labor protections, college access and access to California drivers licenses. The visit comes weeks after Governor Jerry Brown’s trade mission to Mexico, California’s top trade partner. Christopher Martinez reports from Sacramento.

Four Generations of San Francisco Women Fight Sale of their Apartment Home

Four generations of women who have been fighting the sale of their family home in San Francisco’s Mission District where they’ve lived since 1969 won at least a temporary victory today. The family has been afraid that if their apartment sold, they’d be evicted under the new owner. The Gonzales family joined by activists from Poor Magazine, a low income rights organization, and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project of San Francisco, staged a protest at the real estate agency handling the sale of their apartment. Later in the day KPFA learned that their apartment has been taken off the market, at least for now. Marissa Ortega-Welch reports from San Francisco.

Monday, August 25, 2014

California Requires Abortion Coverage in Health Plans

The state agency that regulates health insurance has told insurers health plans must cover all abortions. The move reverses an earlier policy that had allowed two Jesuit-affiliated universities to offer health insurance policies to their employees that exclude elective abortions. Supporters of the new policy hail the move as a step toward protecting reproductive rights, but some anti-abortion groups say the move violates a federal law and could cost the state billions of dollars in federal funding. Christopher Martinez reports.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why is Latin America Taking a Stand on Gaza?

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge—Israel’s ongoing military campaign in the Gaza Strip—pro-Palestinian demonstrations have occurred across the globe, including in the United States. Prominent among them was an action last week, in which roughly a thousand Bay Area activists blocked an Israeli cargo vessel from docking in the Oakland port. The act sought to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and apply economic pressure on Israel for its hand in creating it. But such efforts do not seem to be swaying politicians in the United States. On August 1st, all one hundred US senators voted to allocate 225 million dollars of emergency funds to rearm Israel in the midst of a conflict that has killed over 2,100 Palestinians, three-quarters of them civilians, as well as 68 Israelis, 4 of them civilians. But south of the US border, steadfast loyalty to Tel Aviv is by no means the norm. Recently, many governments in Latin America have been joining their populations in condemning Israeli aggression. KPFA’s Andrew Klein filed this report from Buenos Aires.