California’s finances are bouncing back after a lengthy recession, and tax revenues are primed for strong growth over the next several years, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Legislature’s budget analyst.
“We now find that California’s state budget situation is even more promising than we projected one year ago,” said the report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office. “The state’s budgetary condition is stronger than at any point in the past decade.”
The state is on track to end the current fiscal year next June with a reserve of $2.4 billion, more than twice the original estimate of $1.1 billion, thanks to higher-than-expected tax revenue, the report said. California’s school funding formula is also expected to send $3.1 billion more to schools.
By 2020, state revenue could be $27.1 billion higher than the latest projections for the current fiscal year, according to the report.
It’s something of a tradition among super-rich Californians to occasionally emerge from their mansions in the hills, take a collective deep breath and politely ask, “WHY ARE YOU RUINING OUR LIVES WITH ALL THESE TAXES!?!?”
It’s hard not to feel for these wealthy men (it’s basically always men). Leaving aside for a moment all those (actually) poor people in the Golden State, it’s tough to be rich in California. Just this year, those who earned more than $1 million had to pay out more than 50 percent of their income in federal and state taxes, a hit unlike anywhere else in the nation, according to The New York Times.
So they threaten to leave. Never mind the perfect weather, beautiful people, wonderful beaches, amazing professional networks, world-renowned food, thriving start-up scene, Disneyland, and Los Angeles Lakers, they say! We’re getting the hell out! Las Vegas looks fun! Or maybe Florida? Don’t they have Disney World or something?
The only problem with these threats is that people have been keeping track of whether or not they ever come to fruition. It turns out, California was the “largest absolute gainer” of super-rich people between 2012 and 2013, according to a new report by Wealth-X, a think tank focusing on rich people, that was sponsored by UBS. In other words, the super-rich just can’t get enough of California.
Everett Sutton is an old friend of the family, specifically a classmate of my younger brother. If you are in central or southern Cal, and see anyone who resembles him, please call the Bakersfield PD. (I assume it is permissible to post a police number.)
The Bakersfield Police Department is asking for the community’s assistance in locating a missing person.
Everett Lee Sutton Sr. is a black man, 45 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds.
The Bakersfield Police Department said Sutton was last seen on August 31, at Bakersfield High School at 1241 G Street.
Police said Sutton works at Bakersfield High School.
The family said he went to work Saturday morning and has not been seen or heard from since then.
Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is encouraged to call the Bakersfield Police Department at[no phone numbers allowed].
Fire crews battling to keep a massive blaze from invading the heart of Yosemite National Park in California planned to take advantage of cooler temperatures early on Friday to continue the progress they have made in slowing the advance of flames.
The work by fire crews to get a better handle on the so-called Rim Fire comes ahead of a holiday weekend marking the end of the peak summer tourist season. The blaze in recent days has led to a decline in attendance at Yosemite.
Much of the work on Thursday was devoted to preparing key roadside areas in the park and adjacent forest for controlled burning by hacking away excess vegetation before starting the risky, painstaking process of fighting fire with fire, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Dick Fleishman.
Crews were set to spend the night conducting burn operations from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite to areas deeper into the park in an effort to clear the rugged terrain of unburned trees and chaparral.
The Rim Fire, which broke out on August 17 and has burned in Yosemite and more extensively in the Stanislaus National Forest west of the park, had charred 199,237 acres by late Thursday.
Proposition 8 is dead.
The California Supreme Court pulled the plug Wednesday on any last hopes for anti-gay marriage proponents to resuscitate the law that banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State.
“Today’s decision reaffirms that all loving, committed couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the freedom to marry in every county across the state,” says John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA legal and policy director.
In closed session, the state supreme court “rejected arguments by ProtectMarriage, Proposition 8’s sponsors, that only an appellate court could overturn a statewide law,” the L.A. Times reported.
Proposition 8 backers are now out of legal challenges.
Cases of an illness known as valley fever have increased dramatically over the past decade. So what is it exactly? And who’s at risk? We went to California’s Central Valley to find out—watch the video above, then read this handy FAQ.
What is it? Coccidioidomycosis—commonly known as valley fever—is a fungal disease. Its spores live in the soil. If the soil becomes dry and dusty, people and animals can breathe it in, allowing the spores to grow inside their bodies.
What does valley fever feel like? It depends. Some people who get valley fever don’t have any symptoms at all; in others the disease resembles a cold or flu. Some develop a pneumonia-like condition from the fungus in their lungs. In rare cases, the fungus disseminates and can even attack the brain. According to the CDC more than 40 percent of people who become ill from valley fever may require hospital visits; the average cost of that visit is $50,000. Between 1990 and 2008 there were 3,089 reported deaths from valley fever, though some public health experts suspect that it was an underlying cause of many more deaths.
Who’s at risk? People who live in or travel to the southwestern United States—where the disease is endemic—are at risk. Within that area, working outdoors—at construction sites, archaeological digs, and other places that involve undisturbed soil—also seems to be a risk factor (though plenty of people who don’t have outdoor jobs—for example, this little girl—also get valley fever). Prisons have been hard hit; 18 inmates in California’s Central Valley have died of valley fever in the past few years, and many more have become ill. The state of California recently ordered the transfer of 2,500 prisoners out of two Central Valley prisons with high incidence of the disease; many of the prisoners set to transfer are black and Filipino, two ethnic groups that seem to be disproportionately affected by the dangerous disseminated form of valley fever. Women in their third trimester of pregnancy and people with compromised immune systems are also at higher-than-normal risk.
More: Valley Fever, Explained
This is so wrong on so many levels. I can’t even… added emphasis mine:
Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money,” Heinrich said, “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years – and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.
From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners. […]
Former inmates and prisoner advocates maintain that prison medical staff coerced the women, targeting those deemed likely to return to prison in the future. […]
One former Valley State inmate who gave birth to a son in October 2006 said the institution’s OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich, repeatedly pressured her to agree to a tubal ligation. […]
The allegations echo those made nearly a half-century ago, when forced sterilizations of prisoners, the mentally ill and the poor were commonplace in California. State lawmakers officially banned such practices in 1979.
In an interview with CIR, Heinrich said he provided an important service to poor women who faced health risks in future pregnancies because of past Caesarean sections. The 69-year-old Bay Area physician denied pressuring anyone and expressed surprise that local contract doctors had charged for the surgeries. He described the $147,460 total as minimal.
“Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money,” Heinrich said, “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”
The top medical manager at Valley State Prison from 2005 to 2008 characterized the surgeries as an empowerment issue for female inmates, providing them the same options as women on the outside. Daun Martin, a licensed psychologist, also claimed that some pregnant women, particularly those on drugs or who were homeless, would commit crimes so they could return to prison for better health care.
“Do I criticize those women for manipulating the system because they’re pregnant? Absolutely not,” said Martin, 73. “But I don’t think it should happen. And I’d like to find ways to decrease that.” […]
We can’t do anything about the oppressive heat wave that’s cooking states across the nation’s Southwest.
We can, though, wish everyone the best and point to the always-important tips and guidance for how to stay safe when temperatures soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Those include:
— Stay inside if you have air conditioning. Go to a library, store or cooling center if you don’t.
— Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
— Slow down. This isn’t a time to be outside exercising.
And we can also point you to sites that are tracking the news from Death Valley, Calif., where it’s possible that some time this weekend the all-time record high of 134 degrees will be threatened:
— There’s this National Weather Service page that’s being updated with readings. As of 5:10 a.m. local time Saturday (8:10 a.m. ET), the temperature was 98 degrees.
— And The Atlantic Wire has created a little graphic that it’s updating with the same information.
Less than 24 hours after California started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state’s same-sex marriage ban filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stop the weddings.
Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly on Friday when it allowed same-sex marriage to resume by lifting a hold it had placed on same-sex unions while a lawsuit challenging the ban made its way to and through the Supreme Court.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks says the Supreme Court’s consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider their decision holding that Proposition 8’s backers did not have legal authority to defend the ban.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage to return to the nation’s most populous state by ruling 5-4 on Wednesday that the sponsors of California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex unions lacked authority to defend the measure in court.
The actual Filing is here
The application argues that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Proposition 8 case is not yet “final,” so the stay must remain in place. The Supreme Court ordinarily does not issue its formally binding ruling – known as the “judgment” – in a case from a federal court of appeals until 25 days after it releases its “opinion.” Because the Court issued its opinion in the Proposition 8 case on June 26, it would by default not issue the judgment until Monday, July 22. (The 25th day is July 21, a Sunday.) The principal point of that delay is to permit the losing party to prepare and submit a petition for rehearing to the Justices, though such petitions are as a practical matter never granted.
The parties could ask the Supreme Court to expedite the release of the judgment. That is in fact what occurred last week in the “Baby Girl” Native American adoption case. After a request by the petitioner, the Court ordered the mandate issued in 7 days, rather than the usual 25.
Absent such a request, most observers expected that same-sex marriage in California (in the places in the State it did become available) would not begin again for roughly a month. Even if the court of appeals was not required as a matter of law to wait, that appeared to be the more measured and prudent course. But the Ninth Circuit acted more quickly, lifting the stay before the Supreme Court’s ruling became effective.
Whether the emergency request to Justice Kennedy can succeed is unclear. But it is unlikely. As a formal matter, the Ninth Circuit did not put the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Proposition 8 case into effect prematurely. The Supreme Court held that the proponents of Proposition 8 could not file appeals in federal court. That ruling says nothing about imposing or lifting a stay on same-sex marriage. The court of appeals likely has the authority to act with respect to its own previously entered stay, which is a form of controlling its own docket. Although the court of appeals had previously stated that they stay would remain in effect until the Supreme Court’s ruling was final, it presumably can change its mind.
This week NASCAR takes its traveling carnival show to Sonoma, California. Wine country. To the early pioneers of the sport, it would have been all but unthinkable.
From Lloyd Seay to Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR was built on the backs of Southern heroes. Junior Johnson, who learned to drive running ‘shine for his daddy in North Wilkesboro, N.C., became the “Last American Hero.” He was the most successful and famous race car driver in America before the mustachioed Richard Petty took his title in the 1970s and Earnhardt usurped them both in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jeff Gordon, a driver from Indiana by way of California, might as well have been an alien to many NASCAR fans. He faced even more scorn than Bodine when he debuted in NASCAR in 1992, perhaps because of his greater success. The booing that rained down on Gordon at tracks in the South, booing even when he crashed his car, reached what Sports Illustrated called “the point of cruelty.”
Today Gordon is a respected veteran, and you’ll be hard pressed to hear a “y’all” on pit road or see a single RC Cola or moon pie. Of the top 20 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings, only three are from the South, and one of them, Aric Almirola, is from Florida. That hardly even counts.
Abandoning? I don’t think so. Growing beyond is more like it. NASCAR has another “root”quality for most Americans. In many ways these cars most resemble the cars many of us buy or grew up around. Can’t say that for that other great American motor sport, Indy car. Update for the distant critics-Toyota has a place in NASCAR. Sure foreign cars like Mercedes have their fans too. But no American racing to support them. With genuine popularity will come more diverse drivers and fans. Baseball was once all white. Then all American. Now, increasingly global. NASCAR might do the same.