EVEN DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION, CALIFORNIA KEPT ITS PARKS OPEN, BUT ALL THAT CHANGES IN SEPTEMBER
Speaking personally, I am still having a hard time believing that the state’s scheduled parks closure will truly occur, but Timothy Egan’s NY Times Op-ed brings home the mind-numbing reality that California may really shutter some of its most irreplaceable and historic sites.
For a few months, still, you can see the sunlit room where the author of “Call of the Wild” wrote his daily thousand words before noon, and walk under redwoods and wild oaks on his 1,400-acre Beauty Ranch, where he pioneered “sustainability” before anyone was pushing $20 plates of arugula with a such a claim.
It belongs to you and me — the ranch, the cottage, the pond, the stone scraps of an old winery — an inheritance that is now being dismantled. California created the state park idea with Yosemite in 1864, before it was a federal reserve; it is destroying it in 2011 with a plan to permanently close one-fourth of its parks.
Along with 69 other sites, Jack London State Historic Park will be shuttered, gates locked, and left to meth labs, garbage outlaws and assorted feral predators. Nearly 50 percent of all of California’s historic parks are on the closure list. This is not a scare tactic from the state. Parks go dark starting in September.
Even during the Great Depression, when this state had 30 million fewer people, California somehow found a way to keep its parks and heritage sites open.
The nuclear option is being executed to reach a budget cut of $22 million mandated by a failed state that is forcing lethal whacks for all, even with an improved budget forecast. That’s right, $22 million — one-fifth the price of a recent sale of a single private mansion in Los Altos….
(Meanwhile, though, the feds say that closing some of our parks may be illegal. May it be so.)
THE PSYCHOPATH TEST, REDUX
Last month we learned that there was such a thing as a Psychopath test, and that it was being administered in American prisons (California prisons included) to help determine if an inmate should ever be granted parole—a use that has horrified the test’s inventor.
With all this in mind, naturally, Ira Glass and his This American Life team figured they all oughta take the test. In this week’s show, they have the results—plus a lot more on this whole testing-for-psychopathy issue.
Listen to the show here.
GOVERNOR JERRY ASKS THREE-JUDGE PANEL FOR MORE TIME THAN THE MANDATED 2 YEARS TO LOWER THE STATE’S PRISON POPULATION
As long as Jerry has a concrete plan and a solid timetable—which he seems to—he will likely get the extension.
The LA Times has the rest of the story.
PS: On the topic of the Brown v. Plata Supreme Court decision, the NY times’ Linda Greenhouse has an interesting take on the ruling and where it fist into an historical context.
DEAR OC D.A TONY RACKAUKAS, THE US CONSTITUTION IS YOUR FRIEND (AT LEAST IT BETTER BE IN THE FUTURE)
Last month a federal judge slapped some stringent limitations on Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas’s use of gang injunctions—an issue that is generally hard for average person to understand or care about.
But with an editorial this past weekend, the LA Times skillfully outlined the issue, and why it should matter to the rest of us. I understand that the LAT’s Sandra Hernandez was the primary author of the unsigned editorial. Brava, Sandra!
Here’s a clip:
Earlier this month, a federal judge put the brakes on Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas’ reckless attempt to enforce an anti-gang injunction against dozens of men and women who never had the opportunity to challenge his designation of them as gang members.
Injunctions are a unique kind of restraining order that bar gang members from engaging in certain activities, such as congregating, wearing particular clothes or going out after 10 p.m. Their goal is to reduce a gang’s ability to control the streets by putting limits on its members’ behavior — generally activities that would be legal if done by anyone else. In some cases, injunctions can be a highly effective tool in loosening a gang’s grip on a neighborhood. But because they impose harsh limits on an individual’s freedom, such restrictions must be subject to court review.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sued on behalf of the alleged gang members and won. U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank put it bluntly: “In sum, their constitutional rights were violated.”
At the very least, Rackauckas’ office failed to follow the law. If prosecutors believe suspected members of a gang pose a danger to the community, they have an obligation to present evidence of that to the court before limiting people’s lawful activities. Instead, prosecutors made a unilateral determination of guilt.
DON’T SHOOT THE NEIGHBOR’S CAT UNLESS YOU’RE PREPARED TO PAY THE VET BILL SAYS STATE APPEALS COURT
The SF Chron has the story:
The market value of a stray cat with a crippling pellet wound is zero, or close to it. But for his devoted owner in Brentwood, a male tabby named Pumkin was well worth the tens of thousands of dollars it took to save his life and restore some of his mobility.
Now a state appeals court has issued a first-of-its-kind decision in California, ruling that whoever shot Pumkin can be required to pay his medical expenses.
(MY NOTE: One would think so! You mean prior to this ruling, if someone deliberately shot my cat—or very nice wolf-dog— I couldn’t sue???)
“The people that perpetrate these crimes against domesticated animals are going to have to pay,” said Kevin Kimes, whose lawsuit against his backyard neighbors was revived by the ruling. “Maybe, over time, people will start to think twice.”
Colin Hatcher, a lawyer for the neighbors, said Kimes has no evidence that they shot his cat and they’re prepared to go to trial.
Read the rest here.