Believe it or not, some among California's 725 death row inmates oppose a November ballot measure that would abolish the death penalty.
From the Chronicle's Bob Egelko: "It's not that they want to die, attorney Robert Bryan said. They just want to hang on to the possibility of proving that they're innocent, or at least that they were wrongly convicted. That would require state funding for lawyers and investigators - funding that Proposition 34 would eliminate for many Death Row inmates after the first round of appeals."
"Bryan has represented several condemned prisoners in California as well as Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical activist and commentator whose death sentence for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman was recently reduced to life in prison. The attorney said California inmates have told him they'd prefer the current law, with its prospect of lethal injection, to one that would reduce their appellate rights."
"Many of them say, 'I'd rather gamble and have the death penalty dangling there but be able to fight to right a wrong,' " Bryan said.
Speaking of the death penalty, the latest Field Poll shows California vorters are closely divided.
From the Field Poll: "The latest statewide survey conducted jointly by The Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley and The Field Poll finds sentiment closely divided on Prop. 34, with 42% of likely voters intending to vote Yes to repeal the death penalty and 45% voting No to keep the law in place."
"There are big partisan differences in preferences about the initiative. While pluralities of Democrats and independents are in support, Republicans are more one-sided in their opposition."
"Support for repealing the death penalty is strongest among liberals, African-Americans, voters in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and those who have completed post-graduate work. Opposition is greatest among political conservatives and voters who live in the state’s inland counties, especially those in Northern California outside the Bay Area."
One impact of climate change is strictly for the birds.
From Susanne Rust in the Bay Citizen: "Super-hot summers, explosive storms and melting ice caps are the usual images that spring up when discussing climate change.
But researchers at San Francisco State University are bringing the conversation to the birds."
"These scientists have found that as the climate changes and the northern latitudes heat up, avian malaria – a devastating bird disease – is steadily creeping toward the North Pole.
And when it gets there, it could prove to be devastating to arctic birds that have no immunity to the virus."
"Right now, there's no avian malaria above latitude 64 degrees,” said Ravinder Sehgal, an SFSU associate professor of biology. “But in the future, with global warming, that will certainly change.”
Gov. Brown has signed into law same-day voter registration, a first in California. The law will take effect in 2015 and comes close on the heels of the state's move to allow online voter registration.
From Josh Richman in the Mercury News: "Under the new law, a voter's registration information must match data on file with the California Department of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration; if not, the voter will be issued a unique identification number in order to confirm his or her eligibility before the ballot is counted. Fraud on such a form would be punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $25,000 fine."
"The governor also signed bills Monday letting family members from the same household drop off each other's vote-by-mail ballots at polling places, and letting county elections officials use information from credit-reporting agenciesto update and maintain voter rolls."
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, issued a statement saying California "once again leads the way for our nation" by affirming "our commitment to ensuring all citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in our democracy."
In San Francisco, a ghost from the past: Remnants of the foundation of the City Hall that was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Work crews doing renovation stumbled upon the ruins.
From the Chronicle's Carol Nolte: "The imposing old City Hall collapsed in a shower of bricks, stone and steel in the 1906 earthquake. It was the largest municipal building west of Chicago and was so elaborate it took 25 years to build. The City Hall was supposed to be earthquake proof, but it collapsed in seconds after the great quake struck. It had been open for less than 10 years."
"Its ruins were demolished in 1909, but workers digging under the sidewalk on Hyde Street near Fulton Street for a landscaping project struck something big Sept. 14 - bricks and concrete and steel reinforcing bars. They called archaeologists from the federal General Services Administration, which owns the adjacent former federal building at 50 United Nations Plaza."
"They looked at old maps and old reports: It was the 1906 City Hall, all right. "We were surprised to see it," said Rebecca Karberg, historic preservation specialist for the GSA. "You really never know what's under the surface."