Rod Wright reports to jail

Oct 31, 2014

Former Senator Rod Wright, convicted on eight felony counts related to living outside his district, begins serving his sentence today.  Alexei Koseff reports in the Sacramento Bee.


“The Baldwin Hills Democrat will be donning an orange jumpsuit today when he turns himself into Los Angeles County Jail to begin his 90-day sentence for perjury and voting fraud.”


Given the lack of drama surrounding the AG’s race (today’s trivia question: who IS Kamala Harris’ GOP opponent?) it’s easy to forget that Kamala Harris is even running for office this year.  Scott Shafer caught up with California’s Top Cop and discussed her campaign and her commitment to ‘prevention before treatment’ policing policies  From KQED:


“It is, Harris acknowledges, a distinctly different emphasis from the typical ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ approach to law enforcement.


“‘I think we have accepted a false choice, which suggests that one can either be soft on crime or tough on crime, instead of asking, “Are we smart on crime?”’ Harris said this week.”


Yesterday’s court decision on Stockton’s bankruptcy wasn’t the atom bomb some feared, but still leaves many questions in its wake.  Ed Mendel looks into the complicated concepts behind the ruling (can you say, “triangle of bilateral relations in the law”?) at Calpensions.


“U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein issued a ruling on Oct.1 that CalPERS pensions, despite attempted safeguards in state law, can be cut in a municipal bankruptcy much like any other debt.


“’Nobody should think that Chapter 9 (municipal bankruptcy) is an easy or inexpensive process,’ Klein said yesterday, one of several remarks aimed at any thought that bankruptcy might be a painless way out of financial problems."


The state released the latest update of its comprehensive Water Plan, which looks at California’s water needs through 2050.  Governments currently spend $20 billion a year on water – state water officials project spending $500 billion in investments in the coming decades.   Amy Quinton has a report at Capital Public Radio and Ellen Knickmeyer also has the story for the AP.


“California's growing population and dwindling water require up to $500 billion in additional investment in water in coming decades, and new state fees for water users could be one way pay for it, a water plan released Thursday by the state's top water officials said.”


A report issued Thursday by the California State Auditor finds that the California Department of Public Health is failing in its oversight of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Marjie Lundstrom has the story in the Bee.


“The widely anticipated report, released Thursday, details how the department has failed to effectively manage investigations of complaints related to long-term care in California. The auditor detailed problems up and down the state, where district offices were found to be inconsistent and haphazard in their handling of complaints, investigations and corrective action plans.”


The story of Brittany Maynard, a California woman with terminal brain cancer who moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state’s Death With Dignity law, has made headlines around the world.  Yesterday, the Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times weighed in, urging California lawmakers to revisit right-to-die legislation, last considered – and rejected – in 2007.


“The Gallup Poll has found for 20 years that about 70% of Americans support allowing physicians to help terminally ill patients end their lives ‘by some painless means.’ Surveys of Californians by the Field Poll have mirrored those results. Yet only four states have right-to-death laws, the oldest in Oregon. Legislation in California and elsewhere has been defeated partly because of outcry from religious groups that suicide is an immoral act. Others complain that such laws create a slippery slope in which suicide becomes the norm, and patients are denied life-extending treatment by greedy insurance companies that would rather they kill themselves, or are pressured to do so by evil-intentioned relations who don't want to spend the patients' savings on end-of-life care.


“The reality, after 16 years under Oregon's law, is nothing like that.”


It’s Halloween, and in that spirit we revisit the legacy of the Wiggin sisters - Dot, Betty and Helen - better known as The Shaggs, the oddest rock group America ever heard.  Their 1969 album, “Philosophy of the World” was issued by their impresario father Austin Wiggin who had forced his daughters to form the band after his mother read his palm and predicted stardom for the girls.  


Raised almost entirely without access to music, the Wiggins’ output sounded nothing like the pop of the day – or the pop of any day.  Unsurprisingly, “Philosophy” saw nearly no sales and when Austin died of a heart attack, The Shaggs disbanded in relief.  The band might have been forgotten if a copy of their LP hadn’t been discovered by Frank Zappa, who declared it one of his favorite records of all time – as did Kurt Cobain.


Examining the Shaggs decades later, Guitar Player magazine wrote, “One thing is for sure: The incredibly strange, atonal, arrhythmic tunes on Philosophy are completely devoid of cliché.”


Here then, in honor of the day, is a Shaggs classic:  “It’s Halloween


(Trivia answer- Ronald Gold is the GOP candidate for Attorney General)

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