Another sexual harassment case

Nov 13, 2017

After another woman accuses state Sen. Tony Mendoza of inappropriate behavior, California Senate announces big change


East Bay Times' CASEY TOLAN/KATY MURPHY: "As more cases of sexual harassment in the Capitol come to light — intensifying concerns over how such allegations are handled — the state Senate on Sunday night announced an extraordinary change in protocol: It will no longer police itself."


"The Senate Rules Committee will stop handling complaints of sexual harassment — including pending cases — effective immediately, its members said. Instead, the committee, together with the Senate Democratic Women’s Caucus, will hire an outside legal team to conduct investigations and recommend discipline."


"This process will be designed to protect the privacy of victims and whistleblowers, transparency for the public, and adequate due process for all parties involved,” said a statement released by the committee. “While — at the discretion of victims and whistleblowers — names and details might be redacted, the general findings will be made public.”"


Senate leader Kevin de León, anouncing new complaint policy, moves out of his house


Sacramento Bee's TARYN LUNA: "The California Senate, its process for addressing complaints against lawmakers under fire, announced Sunday that an outside legal firm will handle all investigations of sexual harassment in the house going forward, shifting some control away from a committee of senators who previously controlled the process."


"The Senate Rules Committee said the changes were announced in light of allegations against Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, by two former female employees, which were first reported by The Sacramento Bee. One of the incidents, involving a 23-year-old Sacramento State fellow working in his Capitol office this year, raised questions about the way the Senate Rules Committee responded to allegations about Mendoza’s behavior."


Hostile workplace claims from 2006 dog CalPERS candidate


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "A union-backed effort to protect an incumbent on the CalPERS Board of Administration is highlighting four settlements that a Bay Area school district paid six years ago to resolve hostile workplace claims that targeted his opponent."


"Digital ads and mailers that promote incumbent Michael Bilbrey draw attention to claims that four San Ramon Valley Unified School District employees filed against his opponent, Margaret Brown."


"The district paid at least $1.2 million to settle the claims, according to news accounts from the time and documents obtained by The Bee through the California Public Records Act."


California promises free community college tuition, but how will it pay?


Bee's BARBARA HARVEY: "Weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 19, which waives fees for first-time freshmen at California community colleges, officials in the Los Rios Community College District are wondering where the money will come to pay for the tuition breaks."


"AB 19, authored by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), would expand upon the current Board of Governors’ fee waiver for low-income students, recently renamed the California Promise Grant. The new grant would waive the first year of fees for all first-time, full-time students attending a California community college, regardless of need."


"National educational advocates like the College Promise Campaign celebrated the bill’s passage as a step toward their ultimate goal of free college education in the United States – a movement that experienced a surge in popularity during the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt."


Sexual misconduct rampant in restaurant industry, workers say


The Chronicle's JUSTIN PHILLIPS: "Northern California is regarded as a dining destination, home to some of the world’s top forward-thinking chefs. But as the deluge of stories about sexual harassment and abuse within the political, entertainment, tech and media industries continues, the Bay Area food world is grappling with its own history of misconduct."


"Many in the restaurant industry describe a culture that has not only failed to eradicate the pervasiveness of sexual harassment but has fostered it."


"The issue has plagued all types of restaurants, and it’s been embedded for decades. Even before he opened his popular Napa Valley restaurant Bottega in 2008, Bay Area chef Michael Chiarello was said to have a “propensity” for sexually harassing women who worked for him, according to claims made in previously unreported court documents obtained by The Chronicle."


READ MORE related to #MeToo: Hollywood #MeToo march helps give legs to movement in wake of latest sexual assault allegations -- Daily News' BRENDA GAZZAR


Funding loss threatens Saint John's program for homeless women, children


Sacramento Bee's CYNTHIA HUBERT: "Saint John’s Program For Real Change, which shelters and mentors homeless women and children in Sacramento, celebrated its successes this past month with a ceremony attended by Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other luminaries."


"Saint John’s represents all that is possible” for lifting people out of homelessness, Steinberg declared at the event. The agency, founded in 1985 on the steps of a local Lutheran church, had just opened a $2 million new wing, allowing it to house 90 more people and put them on a path toward employment and independence."


"But even as politicians and graduates of the program spoke of its longevity and track record, the nonprofit organization was facing a crisis. Sacramento County was making changes in its funding of transitional housing for homeless people, and Saint John’s had been cut off."


Politics, race now touching every sport


The Chronicle: "San Francisco native Nam Le is a die-hard Bay Area sports fan. He teaches school in Los Angeles but displays Giants, Warriors and Cal flags in his classroom. Students and teacher rib each other a lot."


"Like legions of Giants fans who hate the Los Angeles Dodgers, Le rooted for the Houston Astros to beat them in the World Series. But he changed his mind, swallowed hard and began cheering for the Dodgers after Yuri Gurriel, a Cuban-born Astro, hit a home run against Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish then was caught on camera pulling the corners of his eyes with his fingers in a racist gesture."


“I couldn’t really be OK with them winning any longer,” Le said of the Astros."

Will we be 'wiped out?' How climate change is affecting California


Sacramento Bee's CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO: "California could one day be uninhabitable. Fire. Heat. Floods. Infestation. Disease. Suffering."


"Scientists have for years warned about the ravaging consequences of a warming planet. Decamping for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change, California academics and political leaders were mulling how to better deploy the distressing projections to give unwary citizens a better understanding of what’s at stake and compel them to see the wisdom of embracing sustainability."


"“This is bad stuff. It doesn’t get any worse,” Gov. Jerry Brown lamented to scientists, religious and political leaders in Europe ahead of the conference. “The threat is profound. It will alter human civilization. It’s not decades away. It’s closer than you think,” the Democratic governor added later."


"Homes for human beings:" Millennial-driven, anti-NIMBY movement is winning with a simple message


Bay Area News Group's KATY MURPHY: "California’s unprecedented housing crisis has ushered a new power player onto the scene with a supply-and-demand message so succinct it could fit on a T-shirt: Build more homes."


"Meet the YIMBYs, a network of pro-development, tech-funded, ‘Yes-In-My-Backyard’ organizations cropping up throughout the Bay Area and beyond to counter the sentiment against building more homes in existing neighborhoods. Led by millennials, who have been frozen out of the housing market and slammed by California’s skyrocketing rents, the movement has distilled a collection of wonky policies into an urgent problem with a ready solution."


"“Where is my generation going to live?” Laura Clark, executive director of YIMBY Action, asked the San Francisco planning commission earlier this year. “Where are my kids going to live? My entire generation is stunted by the chronic housing shortage that has been brought on by people who can’t stand to have apartment buildings in their neighborhoods. And that is an outrage.”"


Five lawmakers to watch as U.S. Senate begins tax bill debate


McClatchy DC's EMMA DUMAIN: "The corporate tax breaks President Donald Trump touted would be delayed a year. State and local tax deductions would end completely."


"The Senate Finance Committee will begin considering Monday a plan that would accomplish these goals, proposals that differ markedly from those the House Ways and Means Committee endorsed Thursday."


"The full House plans to vote on its blueprint in the next few days. Senate leaders would like to have their bill ready for a floor vote before Thanksgiving, an ambitious deadline they seem increasingly unlikely to meet."


Putin manipulating Trump with flattery, ex-CIA director Brennan suggests


AP: "A day after being criticized by President Donald Trump, a former CIA director questioned whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was manipulating Trump with flattery during the president’s lengthy trip to Asia."


"Trump’s trip was meant to be centered on trade and North Korea, and on Monday, he will talk with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a bloody drug war that has featured extrajudicial killings. But Trump remains dogged by things he has said, and not said, about Russia."


"He tried to have it both ways Sunday on the issue of Russian interference in last year’s presidential race, saying he believes both the U.S. intelligence agencies when they say Russia meddled and Putin’s sincerity in claiming that his country did not."


SF Veterans Day Parade honors wars' fallen during a time of unease


The Chronicle's KAREN DE SA: "On Sunday, as the 45th president continued his Twitter taunts of nuclear-armed nemesis Kim Jong Un of North Korea, veterans, peace activists and high school marching bands paraded down Fisherman’s Wharf — heralding the wounded and fallen, but feeling uneasy like few other times in history."


"I am very fearful that the combination of a narcissistic madman at the head of North Korea and a narcissistic madman at the head of the United States may accidentally bring us to not only World War III, but the end of the world as we know it,” said former San Francisco Supervisor Carol Ruth Silver. A civil rights Freedom Rider in the 1960s, Silver has a 40-year-old son who served in the war in Afghanistan. Blissfully, she noted, he “came back all in one piece, for which I thank the forces of the universe."


"San Franciscans marked the Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday on Sunday, the 100th anniversary year of the United States’ entry into World War I, before a crowd including a good number of tourists enjoying a sunny day by the bay. But stalwart onlookers included those committed to honoring veterans each year in a city legendary for its antiwar sentiment."


City Hall strangely worried over weed as legal use nears


The Chronicle's HEATHER KNIGHT: "When 74 percent of San Francisco voters last year backed legalizing the adult recreational use of marijuana statewide, the idea was to make it easier to buy and smoke pot — a substance that has never been that hard to buy or smoke in San Francisco anyway."


"Tell that to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors."


"The Keystone Cops of Cannabis have spent countless hours over endless committee meetings in recent weeks, devising ways to dramatically limit where people can buy and sell marijuana once the substance becomes legal for recreational use statewide on Jan. 1."


Jewish leaders from around the world gather in downtown Los Angeles


CITY NEWS SERVICE: "Jewish leaders from across the United States and around the world will gather in downtown Los Angeles Sunday, Nov. 12 as the Jewish Federations of America’s 2017 General Assembly kicks off its three-day gathering."


"The assembly is packed with events, with speakers and seminars scheduled from 7 a.m. to as late as 11:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott at LA Live."


"Among the highlights will be an address from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, making his first major appearance before a Jewish audience outside Israel. Rivlin is expected to speak at 5 p.m. Monday, in the JW Marriott’s Diamond Ballroom."


These Sacramento suburban neighborhoods face the highest risk of wildfire


Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS: "As a city resident, Linda Conroy never thought she’d have to defend her home against a wildfire. Her wake-up call came in 2003."


"A wildfire scorched several acres of a nearby olive orchard and the grass-lined canyon behind her Folsom home, coming within 20 feet of her back porch. More than 40 homes in the neighborhood were evacuated, but none were damaged."


"Conroy has owned a home in the Folsom Bluffs neighborhood since 1979. It’s a hillside community close to the conveniences of the city, but where many of the homes have sweeping views of Folsom Dam and acres of wild grassland."


READ MORE related to Wildfires: Bay Area crews in Wine Country fires to be tested for toxic chemicals -- The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS


Resistance aces early test as voters show up this time


The Chronicle's WILLIE BROWN: "The resistance to President Trump and his GOP enablers had its first real test Tuesday, and the winner was the Democratic Party, in more ways than one."


"Gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey saw Trump supporters turn out in their usual force. But once again, his voters capped out at about 33 percent of the electorate base, which is also consistent with Trump’s current popularity numbers."


"Democrats had to turn out only enough voters to beat that 33 percent mark — and they did, as voters who sat out the 2016 presidential election returned to the voting booth to protest Trump."


Study suggests women less likely to get CPR from bystanders


Daily News' MARILYNN MARCHIONE: "Women are less likely than men to get CPR from a bystander and more likely to die, a new study suggests, and researchers think reluctance to touch a woman’s chest might be one reason."


"Only 39 percent of women suffering cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR versus 45 percent of men, and men were 23 percent more likely to survive, the study found."


"It involved nearly 20,000 cases around the country and is the first to examine gender differences in receiving heart help from the public versus professional responders."


Where will money from new gas tax go? (East Bay Times Q&A)


East Bay Times' GARY RICHARDS: "The new fuel taxes and auto fees will raise roughly $5.4 billion a year, with $3.7 billion going for maintenance repairs, building roads, and repaying transportation debts. The rest will go to transit, safety issues and things like bike lanes. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group File)"


Powerful quake near Iran-Iraq border kills more than 300 across both countries


AP: "A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake near the Iraq-Iran border killed over 350 people across both countries, sent residents fleeing their homes into the night and was felt as far away as the Mediterranean coast, authorities said Monday."


"Iran’s western Kermanshah province bore the brunt of the temblor Sunday night, with authorities saying the quake killed 348 people in the country and injured 6,603. Kermanshah is a rural, mountainous region where residents rely mainly on farming."


"In Iraq, the earthquake killed at least seven people and injured 535, all in the country’s northern Kurdish region, according to Iraq’s Interior Ministry."


Three chances of rain this week, including an atmospheric river


East Bay Times' MARK GOMEZ: "Three separate storm systems are expected to bring rain and snow to Northern California this week, including a potential “atmospheric river” on track to deliver as much as 1 inch of rain to some Bay Area cities and 1 foot of snow to the Sierra Nevada."


"The first system was moving across the North Bay on Monday morning, and expected to move south of the Golden Gate during the afternoon with scattered showers the evening, according to the National Weather Service. Rainfall totals from the Monday storm range from a half-inch to 1 inch in the North Bay Mountains, one-quarter to one-half inch in the North Bay valleys and Santa Cruz Mountains, and less than one-quarter inch in the East and South Bays, according to the weather service."


"Wednesday, a stronger storm system could deliver between a half-inch to 3 inches of rain across the Bay Area."








Staff: "Political Data whiz Paul Mitchell joins the Capitol Weekly podcast to talk about last week’s results and what they do — or don’t — portend for California in 2018. We also chat about the strengths and weaknesses of polling."



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