Failing grades

May 21, 2018

A bar too high? Pass rate plummets to record low for California lawyer exam


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Only a quarter of applicants passed the California bar exam in its most recent sitting, the State Bar of California announced this week, a record low for the test that lawyers must successfully complete to practice in the state."


"The pass rate for the February exam sank to just 27.3 percent, about 7 percentage points lower than last year and the first time since 1986 that it has fallen below 30 percent. The previous low, according to a summary of resultssince 1951, came in the spring of 1983, when 27.7 percent of applicants passed."


"In a statement Friday, executive director Leah T. Wilson said the State Bar recently launched an intervention program to "improve performance on the bar exam" and "better understand the downward trend of the bar exam pass rates." It is also preparing to complete a study about the needs of entry-level lawyers, in order to evaluate the exam standards."


Get a text ad from a candidate? Invasive, maybe, but it works, say experts.


Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is taking to texts to get her message out in her bid for re-election in June."


"Schubert for two months has sought the support of potential voters via messages that pop up on cell phones. Text messaging, said Schubert campaign manager David Gilliard, is just “another tool in the tool box” of a political campaign. Real Justice, which supports Schubert's challenger Noah Phillips, also targets potential voters via texts, said Vince Duffy, Phillips' campaign manager."


"Campaign texts, though not new, are part of a growing base of media strategies raising concerns among voting rights and privacy advocates. Campaigns, they say, have access to an increasing amount of voters' personal information from which to build detailed profiles of potential voters."


Trump endorses Cox for California governor


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "President Donald Trump has endorsed Republican businessman John Cox for California governor."


"California finally deserves a great Governor, one who understands borders, crime and lowering taxes. John Cox is the man - he’ll be the best Governor you’ve ever had," Trump wrote Friday on Twitter. "I fully endorse John Cox for Governor and look forward to working with him to Make California Great Again!"


"The president's backing could be critical for Cox as he tries to consolidate GOP voters ahead of the June primary. Only the top two candidates will advance to a runoff, and Cox is locked in a tight battle with fellow Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen for second place in the gubernatorial race. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic lieutenant governor, is the frontrunner in polls."


California GOP has a lot riding on 2 candidates for governor


From JOE GARAFOLI in the Chronicle: "Californians looking to vote for a Republican in the June 5 governor’s primary face largely the same choice they have for the past decade: a tough-talking conservative officeholder or a wealthy businessperson who has never been elected."

"In 2010, the choice was between then-state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and billionaire former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. In 2014, the options were Tea Party favorite Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and former Goldman Sachs Vice President Neel Kashkari."

"Both times, the wealthy businessperson advanced to the general election, to be crushed by Democrat Jerry Brown."


The Chronicle's June 5 election voter guide


STAFF: "The Chronicle urges all voters to take part in the June 5 election. Here is our guide to the ballot measures and races that state and local voters will be deciding. For additional campaign coverage, visit our Election 2018 page. For details on how and where to vote, see the state's website."


Sometimes, you just have to bring that baby to a meeting


Sacramento Bee's MARCOS BRETON: "A male politician carrying his baby son into constituent meetings, zoning negotiations, fundraisers, press conferences, neighborhood association gatherings, political conventions, cross-country lobbying trips and every other form of grip-and-grab required of politicos is not, even in 2018, a familiar sight."


"But it has been at City Hall since last November, when Javier William Guerra was born to Christina Lokke and Sacramento City Councilman Eric Guerra. Since then, baby Javier and his councilman father have been a ubiquitous pair on the local political scene. They have turned heads and opened eyes. They have stretched the boundaries of gender norms in the workplace. They have caused old-timers to tease Guerra mercilessly for being a new version of Mr. Mom. But they have also moved other people who are a generation older than 39-year-old Guerra to recall wistfully moments gone by when they chose work over family and missed out on time with their kids."


"I've been shocked at how often I've heard that," said Guerra."


Legislators try again to ban Cow Palace gun shows


The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN: "A pair of local legislators will make yet another run at banning gun shows at the Cow Palace — and they say growing American revulsion at mass shootings, particularly at high schools, puts momentum in their favor."


"The cavernous, state-owned exhibition hall in Daly City hosts five gun shows a year, the most recent in April, but those shows have drawn a growing number of protesters as gun massacres proliferated throughout the nation. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is now proposing legislation that would ban the sales of guns or ammunition at the hall, beginning in 2020."


Police were called to handle an escalating mental-health crisis. This is why they backed off


Sacramento Bee's ANITA CHABRIA: "Stevante Clark was slipping out of control, and the police cruiser parked on his front lawn wasn't improving his mental state."


"It was the evening of April 16, almost a month since the fatal shooting of Clark's younger brother. Stephon Clark, 22, had been killed outside of his grandmother's house by two Sacramento Police Department officers on March 18 after they apparently mistook his cellphone for a gun and fired 20 rounds at him."


"Stephon Clark's death became an international story, and Stevante Clark, 25, was at the center of it — a grieving, flamboyant, increasingly erratic figure featured in a whirlwind of protests, press interviews and unpredictable encounters with the public."


Kaiser will put $200 million toward affordable housing, homelessness


The Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV: "Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente said Friday it will invest $200 million in the coming years in programs to grow affordable housing and mitigate homelessness in Bay Area cities and other locations where the health system operates."


"The exact projects into which the “impact-investing” dollars will go have yet to be determined, but Bechara Choucair, a physician and Kaiser’s chief community health officer, said they will be focused on preserving and expanding affordable housing. Programs that prevent displacement of low- and middle-income families also will be a funding priority, the company said."


How cash-strapped Pomona bit the bullet and came up with a solution for its homeless residents


SGV Tribune's LISET MARQUEZ: "The idea of putting a homeless services center isn’t the type of project council members fight to have in their district."


"Let’s face it, “there’s always the potential for community backlash,” Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval said."


East Area Rapist arrest has police scouring old files. Is a 13th murder charge to come?


Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON: "When authorities in Sacramento announced the arrest of a suspect in the East Area Rapist case last month, 60-year-old Jim Sigle in Alabama immediately took notice."


“They finally caught the guy,” Sigle thought to himself. “It just doesn’t seem right that this could happen and there not be somebody held accountable."


"Like countless others who have lost friends to unsolved cold cases, Sigle was hoping the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo would solve the Oct. 16, 1980, disappearance of his onetime girlfriend, Kathy Emilia Neff."


A computer system failure hit Sutter Health. Now, patients and nurses are concerned


Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "The companywide information system failure at Sutter Health last week is raising concerns among some nurses and at least one patient about how the health-care giant functioned amid the crisis."


"In a video message to Sutter Health employees, Sutter Chief Executive officer Sarah Krevans complimented the patience, thoroughness, commitment, compassion and resilience of employees, saying "all of this helped to ensure the continuity of high-quality, safe patient care."


"We will be reviewing every aspect of this event and taking seriously every recommendation for improvement," she said. "I also want to hear from all of you. I want to know what happened where you work."


Shaped by AIDS crisis, Covered California's leader champions health access


The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO: "In the 1980s, Peter Lee headed for the front lines of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In Washington, D.C., the Pasadena native helped organize rallies in front of the White House to protest the Reagan administration’s tepid response to the epidemic."


"It was his first job in health care, and 30 years later, the lessons still resonate as he heads the enormous insurance marketplace known as Covered California."


House Republicans set terms for Trump to campaign on their turf


McClatchy DC's KATIE GLUECK/ALEX DAUGHERTY: "Rep. Mike Coffman threw his hands in the air and stomped away. Rep. Leonard Lance smiled ruefully as he said the White House was "cross" with him. And Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick cited the uncertainties of his schedule as he stepped into an elevator."


"The question of whether endangered GOP candidates want President Donald Trump to campaign with them sparked dodges, lengthy pauses and a cascade of caveats in interviews with about two dozen GOP House members who are facing varying degrees of competition in races this fall."


"But the answer several Republicans from tough districts have settled on is, sure — if Trump will campaign on their terms."



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