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June 27, 2012

Meet Stockton, Calif.: The country’s biggest bankrupt city

  • $90 million the amount Stockton has had to drastically cut from its budget in the past three years, in an effort to remain solvent
  • $26 million the city’s shortfall as of July 1st; the city will be the largest in the country to seek bankruptcy protection; the cuts didn’t work source

» “All that’s left is sadness.”: Stockton’s failure to keep its budget in line is a bit of a lingering effect from the mid-2000s housing boom and later recession. With economic growth built on credit and expensive projects (including a sports arena) built during the stronger times, the city’s fall during the recession — it has the second-highest rate of foreclosures in the country — hit particularly hard. The city has stopped making bond payments, and on Tuesday, the city council voted to file for bankruptcy protection.

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10:12 // 1 year ago
June 22, 2012
David Blankenhorn’s evolution on marriage equality is emblematic of the paradigm shift we are experiencing as a country on this issue.  Loving gay and lesbian couples should not be denied the ability to make the same lifelong commitment as everyone else and Blankenhorn’s agreement with that proposition puts him in the mainstream of American opinion.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin • Discussing David Blankenhorn, a once-star proponent for California’s controversial Proposition 8, and his shift towards supporting marriage equality, which he expressed in an op-ed in the New York Times, which you can read here.  Blankehorne founded the Institute for American Values and testified in favor of Prop. 8 during the trial in California.  source (viafollow)
15:31 // 1 year ago
June 20, 2012

xorand says: My dad’s a car got stolen last night from the parking area under our apartments. He’s a photographer and it had his camera and other tools and papers in there. If you could please send this out/signal boost, I’d really appreciate it. He doesn’t know what to do. It’s a 2008 Toyota Solara Convertible and it may/may not (now) have the license plate MNDGSMZ. It’s around the Lafayette, CA area and the police have also been notified, so if you find it please call (925)284-5010. Thank you infinitely.

» SFB says: Sure, we’ll offer up a signal boost for you. (The phone number for the city’s police department is above; here’s their site.) She also notes that the vehicle is all black. If you happen to be in the region, be sure to keep an eye out! And good luck finding your dad’s vehicle! — Ernie @ SFB

13:56 // 1 year ago
June 13, 2012

California voters will decide on labeling genetically-modified foods

  • 70% of foods in supermarkets in the U.S. are estimated to have genetically-modified organisms
  • 5% of foods in supermarkets in Europe are estimated to have GMOs; it’s way more controversial there
  • 51% of Americans say they would not buy genetically-modified food if it was labeled
  • 89% of Republicans polled want such food to be labeled as genetically modified
  • 90% of Democrats polled want their GMO food labeled as such; well, it’s unanimous source

» Nearly one million signatures in California: In a fairly unprecedented move, voters — not politicians — will get to decide on the issue of genetically-modified food. This has food producers, who previously could deal with politicians without too much issue, freaked out. The result? Lately, lobbying groups with such names as the “Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP)” and the “California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)” have been ratcheting up their fight against these bills — and some of the lobbyists behind them have worked for the tobacco industry. Hey lobbyists! If you need some help fighting this, we have an idea for another organization: “California Citizens Against Organizations With Unwieldy Scary Names To Convince You Not To Vote For This Bill We Don’t Like (CCAOWUSNTCYNTVFTBWDL).” You’re welcome, guys.

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11:00 // 1 year ago
June 6, 2012

L.A. Kings match city officials’ posted reward in baby slaying case

  • $50,000 offered by law enforcement officials in Los Angeles for information related to the murder of 1-year-old Angel Mauro Cortez-Nava
  • $50,000 was donated by the Los Angeles Kings (who are one game away from winning a Stanley Cup), bringing the total reward to $100,000 source

» What happened: Police believe Cortez was shot and killed after his father, Mauro Cortez, was mistaken to be a member of a rival gang. The mix-up is attributed to a purple T-shirt he wore which read, “I own a Honda. Be nice to me.” As for the donation, Timothy Leiweke, the president of AEG (the firm that owns the Kings) noted: “During such an exciting time such as this we can’t lose sight of the importance and responsibility we all share in keeping our community safe.”

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16:48 // 1 year ago
May 26, 2012
guardian:

Happy 75th anniversary Golden Gate Bridge!
Photograph: Doug Atkins/AP

Golden Gate Birthday.

guardian:

Happy 75th anniversary Golden Gate Bridge!

Photograph: Doug Atkins/AP

Golden Gate Birthday.

(via journalofajournalist)

10:23 // 1 year ago
May 24, 2012

All hands on deck: Police chief deployed ten officers to find son’s iPhone

  • cause In January, a freshman at a California high school found that his iPhone, which had Apple’s Find My iPhone software installed, was missing from his locker. He informed his father, who happens to be the Berkeley police chief.
  • reaction Chief Michael Meehan put ten officers on the case, four of which logged two hours of overtime knocking on doors. The phone was never found, and a police report was never written. But a reporter caught wind weeks later.
  • response Meehan has faced significant controversy for weeks over the issue — including wasteful spending related to the case — and recently talked to a reporter about the January incident. “I think it was worth it,” he said. source

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10:48 // 1 year ago
May 21, 2012
We got letters saying, ‘You guys are going to get what you deserve. You’re going to bring drug dealers, all this crime and lowlife in here.’
Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association board member Carl Fricke • Discussing the anger over a decision by director George Lucas to turn some of his California land into low-income housing, not long after the director scuttled plans to build a digital studio there. The studio created frustration among homeowners — the prospect of low-income housing has instilled outright anger and uneasiness into the residents. “It’s inciting class warfare,” claimed one resident group head. Lucas, meanwhile, claims he was trying to do something good for the area. His community outreach spokesperson at Lucasfilm, Tom Forster, put it like this: “George, being the great guy that he is, doesn’t want to build more housing for rich people since Marin is loaded with them.” Boom.
20:40 // 1 year ago
May 20, 2012
"She turned around and I saw flames coming from her pocket,” said San Clemente, Calif. resident Rob Hiner, regarding his wife, Lyn. “I went to smack it and at the same time the house filled with smoke. Lyn screamed, ‘get it out,’ it was terrifying and confusing all at once.” It’s a story about how the rocks a woman’s daughters picked up from a nearby beach spontaneously combusted in her pockets, leading to second and third degree burns and forcing skin graft surgery. Early tests suggest that the rocks were covered in phosphorous, and may have ignited when exposed to oxygen. Crazy. (thanks David Putney; photo by Paul Rodriguez/Orange County Register)

"She turned around and I saw flames coming from her pocket,” said San Clemente, Calif. resident Rob Hiner, regarding his wife, Lyn. “I went to smack it and at the same time the house filled with smoke. Lyn screamed, ‘get it out,’ it was terrifying and confusing all at once.” It’s a story about how the rocks a woman’s daughters picked up from a nearby beach spontaneously combusted in her pockets, leading to second and third degree burns and forcing skin graft surgery. Early tests suggest that the rocks were covered in phosphorous, and may have ignited when exposed to oxygen. Crazy. (thanks David Putney; photo by Paul Rodriguez/Orange County Register)

23:09 // 1 year ago
May 12, 2012

California’s budget deficit is a lot worse than expected

  • $16 billion budget shortfall for California this year source

» The Not So Golden State: Back in January of this year, California state officials were anticipating a $9.2 billion budget shortfall for 2012 — an enormous deficit, though considerably  less than the $26 billion that faced Governor Jerry Brown when he took over in 2010. Brown announced,while revealing the startling new figure, that he’ll be placing an initiative on the November ballot to raise the sales tax by .25%, and add an income tax surcharge for wealthy Californians. If the initiative fails, expect deeper than anticipated spending cuts to follow.

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20:10 // 1 year ago