President orders CA reenlistment review

Oct 26, 2016

President Obama has ordered the Defense Department to expedite its review of reenlistment bonuses for more than 10,000 soldiers in California's National Guard.


DAVID S. CLOUD with LAT: "President Obama has told the Defense Department to expedite its review of nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers who have been ordered to repay enlistment bonuses improperly given a decade ago, but he is not backing growing calls for Congress to waive the debts, the White House said Tuesday."


"The comments by White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggest the administration is running into legal and policy roadblocks as it struggles to handle a public relations headache for the Pentagon, the National Guard and members of Congress who were caught off guard by the scope of the problem."


"Appeals filed by some soldiers to waive repayment of the bonuses, which frequently exceeded $15,000 per soldier, have “dragged on for too long,” Earnest told reporters in Beverly Hills while Obama attended a fundraiser for Senate Democrats."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Legislators vow to help California guardsmen keep bonuses -- CAROLYN LOCHHEAD with The ChronicleLAPD gang injunctions deny targets due process, ACLU lawsuit says -- JAMES QUEALLY with LAT; Two corrupt cops joined forces with drug dealers. Now, dozens of criminal cases could be in jeopardy -- RICHARD WINTON with LAT; California correctional officers launch pro-death penalty campaign -- ALEXEI KOSEFF with Sacramento Bee


Former kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard is speaking out against Governor Brown's plan to reform prison sentencing with Proposition 57.


ADAM ASHTON with Sacramento Bee: "One of California’s most famous kidnap victims is opposing a parole overhaul backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would make more inmates eligible for early release."


"Jaycee Dugard, who spent 18 years in confinement after being kidnapped by Phillip and Nancy Garrido, wrote on Facebook that she fears Proposition 57 could speed the release of former criminals."


"“I do not pretend to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of this proposition but am horrified at the thought that Nancy Garrido could get out and victims like those the JAYC Foundation helps weekly will have to live in fear. Criminals who do these despicable acts are often masterminds about how to work the system,” she wrote, referencing the nonprofit organization she leads that helps kidnapping victims."


READ MORE related to Ballot: 500,000 Californians register to vote in 2 days, set record -- AP; California judicial watchdog agency sues over state audit -- GREG MORAN with Union-Tribune; Why Prop. 64 is about more than just smoking marijuana -- BROOKE EDWARDS STAGGS with L.A. Daily News; Cities prepare to take the driver's seat in marijuana trade -- KATIE ORR with KQED; Drug price backers overstate savings of Proposition 61 -- CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO with Sacramento Bee


California's roads are in a dire state, with most thoroughfares being rated 'at risk' due to poor conditions -- conditions that can only be remedied by a $70 billion, decade-long repair plan.


JOHN HOWARD with Capitol Weekly: "California’s 143,000 miles of local streets and roads are deteriorating rapidly, and the average local thoroughfare across the state is rated “at risk” because of its poor physical condition, according to a study commissioned by a coalition of local governments and their allies."


"A mix of state, local and federal funds – about $1.98 billion annually – is provided for California’s streets and roads, but the minimal amount needed to maintain the existing quality is $3.5 billion, according to the study. To fix the roads to an optimum level of repair and maintenance would cost about $70 billion or more over the next 10 years, the report says."


"The biennial report, released by a group called Save California Streets, is the latest in a series of studies that have tracked infrastructure conditions since 2008."


California is seeing an increase in STD rates across the state -- the highest in a quarter of a century.


SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA with LAT: "National health officials sounded the alarm last week about a troubling rise in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis rates, with cases reaching an all-time high in 2015."


"Now health officials say the picture is even worse in California, where sexually transmitted disease rates are higher than the national average and climbing even faster."


"Cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are going up in California at a concerning rate,” Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, said Tuesday. “This is the second year in a row that we have seen increases in all three diseases."


READ MORE related to Health: Stem cell: A look at Lou Gehrig's Disease -- DAVID JENSEN with Capitol Weekly; States see peer-recovery coaches as a way to break the addiction epidemic -- SHEFALI LUTHRA with California Healthline Federal exchange rate hikes for 2017 outpace covered Californian's -- CALIFORNIA HEALTHLINE


The DMV has suffered from a catastrophic computer failure but now says statewide offices are open for business.


AP: "The California Department of Motor Vehicles says it expects field offices around the state to soon be operating normally after what it calls a "catastrophic" computer failure."


"The DMV said Tuesday that crews rebuilt the system after the outage began Monday due to a hardware failure. Officials said the computers were not hacked or targeted."


"The department says its offices should be operating normally by Wednesday morning."


READ MORE related to Transportation: Lawsuit seeks to limit California driver license suspensions -- AP


Officials have released a report saying that faulty tire treads may have contributed to Sunday's tragic bus crash near Palm Springs, CA.


AMY TAXIN and ELLIOT SPAGAT with AP: "The treads on half the tires of a tour bus that slammed into a tractor-trailer on a desert freeway, killing 13 people, were worn down to an unsafe level, a federal investigator said Tuesday as authorities worked to determine the cause of one of California's deadliest highway crashes."


"The condition of the four faulty tires meant the 1996 bus was out of compliance with federal standards and could have been taken out of service, Earl Weener, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference in Palm Desert, near the site of Sunday's crash that also injured 31 people on Interstate 10."


"Despite the discovery, the cause of the crash remained undetermined and the NTSB was expected to take about a year to complete its investigation."


READ MORE related to Current Events: SF filmmaker won't be charged in shooting death -- EVAN SERNOFFSKY and MICHAEL BODLEY with The Chronicle


Democrats in California are using Trump's name in an effort to get more seats in the House.


JOHN WILDERMUTH with The Chronicle: "Donald Trump might be missing in action when it comes to campaigning this fall in deep-blue California, but Democrats in tight congressional races are making sure the outspoken GOP presidential hopeful isn’t forgotten."


"With Trump’s poll numbers tanking across the country and Hillary Clinton in line to become the nation’s first female president, Democratic strategists are confident Trump will be a political boat anchor they can tie to Republicans across the state."


"No one is watching those races closer than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, who knows that flipping two, three or even four Republican seats in California would be an important step toward collecting the 30 seats Democrats need in their long-shot attempt to regain the House majority they lost in 2010."


READ MORE related to Election/Beltway: Trump looms large in California congressional races -- ELLIOT SPAGAT with AP; Latinos in California have one big reason to go to the polls: Donald Trump -- SOPHIA BOLLAG with L.A. Times; The G.O.P. dead zone: You won't find any Republicans to vote for in L.A. County -- JAVIER PANZAR with LAT


The McKinsey Global Institute has a tool kit for fixing California's housing shortage.


JONATHAN WOETZEL, JAN MISCHKE, SHANNON PELOQUIN and DANIEL WEISFIELD with McKinsey: "Access to decent, affordable housing is so fundamental to the health and well-being of people and the smooth functioning of economies that it is embedded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet in developing and advanced economies alike, cities struggle with the dual challenges of housing their poorest citizens and providing housing at a reasonable cost for middle-income households."


"In a new McKinsey Global Institute report, A tool kit to fix California’s housing gap: 3.5 million homes by 2025, we look specifically at the US state of California and offer remedies for fixing a chronic housing shortage. Our objective is to provide rigorous, fact-based analysis on a charged issue, and to present a practical blueprint for how cities, state authorities, the private sector, and citizens can work together to unlock housing supply and ensure housing access."


"To understand the nature of the problem, we built a quantitative model to identify California’s housing affordability gap by household and location. To do this, we segmented the state’s more than 12 million households into 34 housing markets and 16 income bands, and assessed each household’s ability to afford housing in their local market. We learned that 50 percent of California’s households cannot afford the cost of housing in their local market. Virtually none of California’s low-income and very-low-income households can afford the local cost of housing."


A dual citizen Iranian American has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Iranian government for 'collaborating with a hostile government'--the second victim of a secret trial taking place within the Islamic Republic


MELISSA ETEHAD and SHASHANK BENGALI with LAT: "6-year-old Iranian American from San Diego said Tuesday that Iran had sentenced him to 18 years in prison for “collaborating with a hostile government,” becoming the latest dual citizen to be jailed in a secret trial in the Islamic Republic."


"Speaking to The Times from Ninava jail in Gorgan, in northeast Iran, Gholamrez Reza Shahini, who goes by the nickname Robin, said he was visiting his mother and other family members in Iran when he was arrested July 11."


"His trial took place last week, and he was convicted Saturday after a three-hour court proceeding, he said."


The first commercial delivery by a self-driving truck has been officially made: 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer over a 120 mile trip across Interstate 25.


MIKE ISAAC with NYT: "The futurists of Silicon Valley may not have seen this one coming: The first commercial delivery made by a self-driving truck was 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer."


"On Tuesday, Otto, the Uber-owned self-driving vehicle operation, announced the completion of its first commercial delivery, having delivered its beer load from Fort Collins, Colo., to Colorado Springs, a roughly 120-mile trip on Interstate 25."


"In recent years, Uber has predicted a future in which you can ride in a self-driving car that will take you where you want to go, no driver necessary. But the idea that commercial trucking could be done by robot is a relatively new idea — and a potentially controversial one, given the possibility that robots could one day replace human drivers."



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