"The California Senate on Thursday approved compacts allowing six Indian tribes to expand gambling
despite objections from some labor unions," reports Jordan Rau in the Times.
"If approved by the state Assembly, the pacts negotiated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would allow five Southern California tribes to increase their number of slot machines from 10,000 to 32,500. The state anticipates that the compacts would add $506 million to its coffers in the fiscal year that begins in July.
"The tribes are the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which owns two casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage; the Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Palm Springs; the Pechanga Band of Luiseņo Indians in Temecula; the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in San Bernardino; and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in San Diego County.
"Unite Here, a union that organizes casino and hotel workers, is expected again to contest the compacts when they are considered by the Assembly
, where the tribes and labor are among the biggest donors to Democrats. The union objects to details in the pacts that govern worker unionization and it objects to the lack of a requirement that casino books be independently audited."
The Chron's Bob Egelko reports, "A state appeals court has given San Francisco a chance to reinstate its affirmative action program
for minority and female contractors, saying a history of discrimination may justify preferential treatment despite California's Proposition 209.
"A judge who struck down the program in 2004 failed to review San Francisco's claims that long-standing and pervasive discrimination by both city employees and contractors caused firms owned by minorities and women to be excluded from winning city business, the First District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday."
"Tulare County violated state environmental laws in its recent approval of two dairies near the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, state Attorney General Jerry Brown charged in a lawsuit filed Thursday
," writes the Bee's E.J. Schultz.
"With a combined 12,000 dairy cows, the two dairies will generate more than 20 tons of manure a day and 10,000 gallons of wastewater, threatening the historic integrity of the park, a former village settled by a black Civil War hero, according to the suit.
"'The enjoyment and experiences of visitors to Allensworth State Park will be compromised by the odors, flies and air and water pollution,' Brown said in the suit, which seeks to block construction of the dairies and demands that the county start a new environmental review.
"The county is still reviewing the allegations, but 'we feel that we have a very solid environmental review process -- it's the most stringent in the world for dairy operations of this kind,' spokesman Eric Coyne
"In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi
is talking to cellular telephone companies about establishing a system to alert cell phone users to emergencies on college campuses
"He said the technology exits to broadcast text and voice alerts to cell phones on and around a campus.
"'This system would save lives should a Virginia Tech situation occur at one of our California campuses,' he said in a statement issued Thursday.
"Garamendi had discussed the proposal with a representative of AT&T and was setting up meetings with major cell phone companies to figure out the details, Garamendi spokesman Norman Williams
"'This will be like an emergency broadcasting system,' Williams said. 'Everyone within range of that (cellular phone) tower will get it.'"
"Ignoring the advice of its own legal counsel, the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners on Thursday did not reverse an anesthesia-related resolution that has drawn fire from state lawmakers
," reports the Bee's Kevin Yamamura.
"Board members instead officially stated that the board never attempted to interfere with an ongoing prosecution in San Joaquin County of chiropractors who manipulate patients under anesthesia.
"State lawmakers previously raised concerns that the chiropractic board passed the March 1 resolution to influence the case's outcome in favor of chiropractors.
"After facing condemnation from state lawmakers last month, board Chairman Richard Tyler
promised that the panel would reconsider the anesthesia resolution at Thursday's meeting. The board reconsidered its action but ultimately chose to leave it intact."
"The Schwarzenegger administration's widely praised plan to move nonviolent female inmates out of their cells and into neighborhood correctional centers is in peril, a victim of politics and the prison overcrowding crisis," reports the LAT's Jenifer Warren.
"Experts say the fate of the proposal, which criminologists endorse because it would house the offenders near their families and better prepare them for release, illustrates the difficulty of tinkering with punishment in California.
"'This was a no-brainer,' said Barry Krisberg
, president of the nonprofit National Council on Crime and Delinquency in Oakland. 'If we can't succeed in moving these non-dangerous, low-risk women into well-designed community programs, then you have to wonder whether we can accomplish any prison reform at all.'
"Former state Corrections Secretary Jeanne Woodford
, a champion of the plan before she retired last year, was blunter.
"'Shame on the Legislature
,' she said. 'Most of these women are mothers, and keeping them in prisons far from their homes punishes thousands of children as well.'"
"State auditors have filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission against a former Corcoran State Prison contract pharmacist, accusing him of improperly directing more than $1 million in business over a year's time to his own medical registry corporation
," writes Andy Furillo in the Bee.
"Officials with the California state auditor's office identified the pharmacist Thursday as David F. Elder
, 58, of Hanford. They uncovered the billings in an audit of Elder's registry business conducted last year, state Auditor Elaine Howle said Thursday.
"'Rather than following appropriate protocol and seeking services from a variety of registry providers, 93 percent of the time he immediately went to his own registry where he had a financial interest,' Howle told The Bee.
"'We think it's very serious,' she added. 'That's why we referred it to the FPPC.'"
It tough being a baby polar bear -- there's the media attention, the large crowds, and of course, the death threats
. Yes, somebody has actually written a death threat to Knute, the bear cun in the Berlin Zoo. We didn't even know he could read.
"Bild newspaper said the zoo had received a hand-written fax from a suspected animal hater with the words: "Knut is dead! Thursday midday."
But that deadline came and went safely for media star Knut, who has been on newspaper front pages around Germany and the world for weeks. "He is safe and in good spirits," said zoo official Ragnar Kuehne after the time had passed.
Berlin police said they had investigated a letter containing a threat but did not believe it was serious.
Berlin Zoo's business manager Gerald Uhlich said: "They told us prominent figures often have things like this happen but in this instance we need not be too worried."
Nonetheless, Bild said the zoo had trebled the number of minders responsible for Knut's safety to 15."
That's almost as many handlers as Antonio Villaraigosa