Archives for March 2018

Resistance to the Resistance and the 2018 Elections

VotingOpposition in Orange County from government bodies to the state’s sanctuary law could serve as a sign of the electorate’s mood and just might influence the hotly contested Orange County congressional races. This resistance to the resistance – the state resisting the federal government, the locals resisting the state – comes against the background of Democratic efforts to take back the House of Representatives. Intense efforts are being made to flip congressional seats in Orange County in which Hillary Clinton outpolled Donald Trump.

The state legislature passed and the governor signed SB 54, the sanctuary state law, which blocks local law officials from working with federal immigration enforcement officers in certain situations. The Trump Administration has challenged the sanctuary state and sanctuary city laws in court. This week, a number of states with Republican governors filed briefs in support of the Administration’s position.

After the city council of Los Alamitos in Orange County voted to oppose the sanctuary state law, other Orange County communities and the county supervisors considered actions to oppose the state law, with the county voting to join a federal lawsuit against the sanctuary laws.

Supervisor Michelle Steel who introduced the resolution against SB 54 argued that safety of citizens is at issue, insisting the county should increase “our cooperation with federal immigration enforcement and stop our county from becoming a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants.”

Hints on how this issue might play in the coming congressional elections could be gleaned from polling done by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The Orange County districts targeted by the Democrats are Congressional District (CD) 39 currently held by Ed Royce (who is retiring), CD 45 held by Mimi Walters and CD 48, Dana Rohrabacher – Republicans all.

CD 39, which sits about 60% in Orange County with the remainder in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, has a plurality of Republican registered voters, but barely, 1.5% more than Democrats.

CD 45 and CD 48, both completely within the boundaries of Orange County, have 8% and 11% Republican registration leads over Democrats, respectively.

Last May, PPIC asked likely voters if they supported or opposed the then-proposed sanctuary state law. 43% favored the law; 48% opposed the idea. While Democrats were in favor of the proposal by a 2 to 1 margin, Republicans were opposed by nearly 4 to 1.

In the PPIC survey last month, likely voters were asked if they thought if the federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants is a good thing or a bad thing. In the Republican leaning districts, 61% said it was a good thing, 34% thought it was a bad thing.

With local elected officials standing up on the side that the polling seems to indicate likely voters in the district support, this could be a positive sign for those hoping the contested districts will remain in Republican hands.

However, the California Target Book publisher, Darry Sragow, thinks the Republicans will have a hard time turning this issue into a winning formula. “If the Republicans in the three threatened Orange County Congressional seats seize on this issue, the poll numbers confirm that they will be preaching to the choir.  Whether it will produce a boost in GOP turn out is one question.  A second question is whether it will be counterproductive, driving Democrats, particularly Latinos, to the polls.”

Sragow continued, “Beyond 2018, the data tells an interesting story.  Back in 1980, Latinos were a little less than 15 percent of the population in Orange County.  In 2010 that number was almost 34 percent.  In 1994, the year Proposition 187 was on the ballot, Republican registration in Orange County was more than 52 percent.  Today, it’s less than 38 percent. Which raises the question of whether the California Republican Party is destined to repeat history, once again trading short term incumbent protection for long term alienation of many Latinos, who now outnumber every other ethnic group in the state.”

How California goes in the coming mid-term elections in the challenged races very well could determine who controls Congress in January.

ditor and co-publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

The Real Cesar Chavez has Been Lost to the Open Borders Myth Makers

The United Farm Workers Union, formed by Caesar Chavez, was against illegal aliens taking the jobs of honest Hispanic American citizens.  The UFW, today, wants honest Hispanic citizens to go jobless, with agriculture jobs held by illegal aliens.  They use the money of the few citizen members to support the criminals.  Chavez was a leader against illegals.  Too bad this is a union based on support of law breakers—not what Chavez wanted.

“That same year, a New York Times article addressed the “many reports of alleged brutality against aliens by the U.F.W.” that were appearing in Mexican papers, but not by American news outlets.

Travis Yancy, the sheriff of Yuma County, said the union had established a 100-mile-long “wet line” of tents set up to prevent illegal aliens from crossing the border and even bribed Mexican officials not to interfere.

When the allegations were raised with Chavez, he acknowledged: “We had a ‘wet line;’ it cost us a lot of money, and we stopped a lot of illegals,” the paper noted.

If Cesar Chavez Day is to have any meaning, there must be a fair and accurate account of his views.

President Trump is honoring the real efforts of Chavez by building the Wall—no brutality, just a security wall.

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The Real Cesar Chavez has Been Lost to the Open Borders Myth Makers

By Jennifer G. Hickey, Immigration Reform,  3/29/18

In recent years rabid open border advocates and Leftist politicians have readily invoked the image and mythology of Cesar Chavez, the leader of the farm labor rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s and the co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW), to push their agenda.

Unfortunately, they have done so by pushing a distorted and revisionist history of the activism of the Yuma, Arizona, native to further their goals of unlimited immigration and importation of cheap labor.

For example, two years after creating a monument to Chavez, President Obama proclaimed March 31, 2014 as Cesar Chavez Day and called for people to remembering his legacy in pushing “to fix a broken immigration system.”

It is an injustice to history to ignore an important part of the legacy of Chavez and the union which he led. His activism in favor of immigration enforcement bears directly on the current immigration debate.

For example, it was during an October 1, 1969 hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee that Chavez criticized the use of the 72-hour pass by illegal immigrants and their disrespect for U.S. immigration law.

“It is a significant problem in that it facilitates the entry of the illegals who can apply at the American consulate, get a 72 hour pass, and then they moment they get into the country disregard the pass, the restrictions on the pass which limit their travel and also the time period.”

The onetime migrant worker further noted to the members that legislation might help, but would fail to address the “other problem” with the easy access to green cards.

While today’s open border advocates decry the notion of E-verify, Chavez spoke to the problems not having the ability to verify was creating.

“This is a very difficult problem in terms of properly policing and discouraging employment of strike-breakers, the wetbacks. There has never been any case that we know of brought by the government against the employers because of the recruitment and hiring of these people.”

Nor would Chavez be in the same city, much less camp, as those lawmakers who slander border control agents and tougher enforcement measures.

“I would like to remind the Congressmen present that in the last week and a half we have seen how effective the Border Patrol can be when they want to stop marijuana from being imported into the country. It seems to me it would be a lot less difficult to stop human beings coming across than to stop the weed coming across. It can be done.”

Little had changed about enforcement of immigration law – or about Chavez’s view of illegal immigration when he testified the Senate in 1979.

“For so many years we have been involved in agricultural strikes; organizing almost 30 years as a worker, as an organizer, and as president of the union–and for all these almost 30 years it is apparent that when the farm workers strike and their strike is successful, the employers go to Mexico and have unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal alien strikebreakers to break the strike,” Chavez told senators.

“And, for over 30 years, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has looked the other way and assisted in the strikebreaking,” he said.

That same year, a New York Times article addressed the “many reports of alleged brutality against aliens by the U.F.W.” that were appearing in Mexican papers, but not by American news outlets.

Travis Yancy, the sheriff of Yuma County, said the union had established a 100-mile-long “wet line” of tents set up to prevent illegal aliens from crossing the border and even bribed Mexican officials not to interfere.

When the allegations were raised with Chavez, he acknowledged: “We had a ‘wet line;’ it cost us a lot of money, and we stopped a lot of illegals,” the paper noted.

If Cesar Chavez Day is to have any meaning, there must be a fair and accurate account of his views.

L.A. City Council: Opposes SB 827—Bill By White Male Democrat to Kick People of Color Out of Los Angeles

Democrats claim they are for diversity.  Should SB 827 pass, by white, male San Fran Democrat Scott Weiner, the Confederate State of California, not the city of L.A. will decide where housing is built, how much it will cost—please the State can mandate a building eight stories high with NO parking spaces, but bike racks.  Can you imagine the traffic jam of folks looking for street parking!

“Senate Bill 827, which is still being drafted, is meant to address California’s housing crisis and promote more a more sustainable, transit-oriented future, one in which Californians rely less on cars, according to proponents. But in its current form, the bill would significantly loosen local zoning restrictions within a quarter-mile of bus and rail stops, including in single-family neighborhoods. Large swaths of L.A. would be essentially upzoned — the Los Angeles Times estimates it would affect 190,000 parcels. That means existing residences could be torn down and replaced with larger, more expensive developments.

Councilman David Ryu, who represents a district from Koreatown to the Hollywood Hills and to southern San Fernando Valley, wrote the resolution opposing SB 827. It carries no legislative authority because cities cannot supersede state law. But it was clear, the Council supported Ryu’s resolution.

It called the bill too broad and criticized it for stripping the city’s ability for “planning self-determination,” according to the City News Service.

Actually cities can supersede State law.  Since the Confederate Sta of California has nullified Federal immigration laws, there is no reason a city or county can not nullify State law.  Los Alamitos has nullified SB 54, the sanctuary State bill that protects criminals from foreign countries.   The L.A. City Council needs to pass an ordinance that only they may determine zoning issues.

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In show of solidarity, LA City Council denounces proposed state housing bill

The unanimous resolution said SB827 would strip city of its “housing self-determination”

By Dennis Lynch, The Real Deal,  3/28/18

 

Meant to send a clear message, the Los Angeles City Council has unanimously rejected a proposed state bill intended to ease the affordable housing crisis, but whose critics say will push lower-income families out of their homes.

Senate Bill 827, which is still being drafted, is meant to address California’s housing crisis and promote more a more sustainable, transit-oriented future, one in which Californians rely less on cars, according to proponents. But in its current form, the bill would significantly loosen local zoning restrictions within a quarter-mile of bus and rail stops, including in single-family neighborhoods. Large swaths of L.A. would be essentially upzoned — the Los Angeles Times estimates it would affect 190,000 parcels. That means existing residences could be torn down and replaced with larger, more expensive developments.

Councilman David Ryu, who represents a district from Koreatown to the Hollywood Hills and to southern San Fernando Valley, wrote the resolution opposing SB 827. It carries no legislative authority because cities cannot supersede state law. But it was clear, the Council supported Ryu’s resolution.

It called the bill too broad and criticized it for stripping the city’s ability for “planning self-determination,” according to the City News Service.

Ryu added that the “well-intended bill” would accelerate displacement of renters and spur “a housing boom for a privileged few and eviction notices for everyone else,” according to the Times.

Mayor Eric Garcetti came out against the bill earlier, arguing it didn’t do enough to protect people already living in affordable apartments and threatened the character of some of the city’s neighborhoods. The bill, however, does have a number of provisions to ensure existing residents are paid if they are displaced and have an opportunity to rent in a new building at their old rate.

Los Angeles is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The city and county have introduced a number of programs to promote or require affordable housing units as part of new developments.

 

Discipline Policies Complicate Response to Violent Episodes at Lincoln High

This is an easy one, the brain dead professional educators in a government school in San Diego allowed a student that knifed another student, back into the classroom.  The parents, knowing this should have banded together and held their children back from school until the thug was off campus.  At the same time the parents need to sue the Principle and other administrators for endangering the lives of their children.  This is not the time to talk—it is time to protect the children.  If government officials won’t, then you need to keep the kids from class.

Would you knowingly send your child into a riot?  Then why send your child to a San Diego school, knowing they protect thugs, not decent kids?

“The afternoon of Jan. 23, near the end of the school day at Lincoln High, a student took a knife and slashed his classmate’s neck. Police officers quickly arrived. Television news crews descended on the scene and filmed the blood drops left behind.

The principal sent notice to parents that day through email and voicemail. What Lincoln’s principal didn’t tell parents, however, was that two weeks earlier, the same student who stabbed his classmate was caught with a knife on campus.

After the first instance, members of the student’s special education team determined that bringing the knife was a manifestation of the lack of impulse control caused by his disability. The student was soon back on campus.”

Under these circumstances, I blame the parents for allowing their kids on campus.  Does child Protective Services know about this?  Should these kids be allowed back on campus or the parents allowed to knowingly send their kids to an unsafe school?

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Discipline Policies Complicate Response to Violent Episodes at Lincoln High

Documents show a Lincoln student who stabbed a classmate had brought a knife to campus two weeks earlier but was allowed back to school. Administrators at Lincoln say they must balance district efforts to lower suspensions with keeping the campus safe.

 

Mario Koran, Voice of San Diego,  3/28/18

 

The afternoon of Jan. 23, near the end of the school day at Lincoln High, a student took a knife and slashed his classmate’s neck. Police officers quickly arrived. Television news crews descended on the scene and filmed the blood drops left behind.

The principal sent notice to parents that day through email and voicemail. What Lincoln’s principal didn’t tell parents, however, was that two weeks earlier, the same student who stabbed his classmate was caught with a knife on campus.

After the first instance, members of the student’s special education team determined that bringing the knife was a manifestation of the lack of impulse control caused by his disability. The student was soon back on campus.

According to documents obtained by Voice of San Diego, members of his special education team determined he was not responsible for bringing a knife to school in the first instance, but was responsible for slashing his classmate’s neck in the second:

“The conduct in question was within (the student’s) control … (He) planned to use a knife if provoked even after being caught in possession of a knife. (He) and the other student deliberately engaged in a physical altercation after mutually deciding whether to fight in the restroom or in front of the classroom. (He) intentionally attempted to avoid being caught by placing the knife in a trash can after the confrontation.”

MaryLynn Gonzalez, a teacher’s aide at Lincoln, witnessed the injured student stumble from classroom to classroom in a daze, looking for the teenager who’d assaulted him.

“He was bleeding from the side of his neck. It was really, really bad. He was going into various classrooms, dripping blood in each of the rooms. There was blood everywhere,” she said.

School hadn’t yet let out for the day, Gonzalez said. She ran to the school’s main office to get help, but found a locked door and nobody in sight. A staff member finally appeared and the student received medical attention. He was taken to the hospital, where he recovered.

Citing student privacy rights, Lincoln High Principal Jose Soto declined to say whether the knife the student used to slash his classmate’s neck was the same knife he’d been caught with two weeks earlier.

Had the same incident happened five years earlier, a student who brought a knife to school could have faced expulsion. But owing to a districtwide shift away from discipline policies perceived to be punitive, San Diego Unified four years ago moved to a more therapeutic approach to discipline known as restorative justice. In the process, it eliminated several offenses for which principals must recommend students for expulsion.

Starting in 2014, students only face automatic expulsion if they brandish a knife – that is, use it in a threatening manner. Simply bringing a dangerous weapon to school is no longer enough to expel a student.

Under the new discipline model, school staff try to address the underlying issues that lead to misbehavior instead of defaulting to suspensions. But four years after the district changed discipline policies, San Diego Unified is only in its first year of training staff districtwide on how to effectively implement restorative practices. Administrators at Lincoln have been left to figure out ways to lower suspension rates while keeping campuses safe and orderly.

Now, educators, parents and students are coming forward to say they fear for students’ safety at Lincoln High and worry even more about what might happen if nothing changes.

From Suspensions to Blue Slips

Lincoln High reopened in 2007 after a $129 million rebuild – the most expensive project in district history. For the price tag, for the opportunities if offered the underserved students of southeastern San Diego, expectations soared from the beginning.

Lincoln High / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

Since then, however, Lincoln High has seen its student body dwindle. It has faced ongoing staff turnover and grappled with poor academic performance. Last year, just over 10 percent of students met or exceeded state standards in math and 26 percent did so in English. That was the lowest rate of proficiency in English of all district high schools and second lowest in math.

Various attempts by district leaders to address the problems by restructuring or rebranding the school have fallen short time and again.

Soto says violence isn’t a problem for the vast majority of students on campus, and suggested a deeper problem is press coverage that unfairly portrays the school as more violent than it actually is.

But last year, more Lincoln students were suspended for violent incidents than any other high school in the district – and that’s not even counting the number of students who administrators have sent home informally, mid-day.

Nicole Stewart, who served as a vice principal at Lincoln from 2014 to 2016, said when the district softened its discipline policies, administrators started dealing with misbehavior by kicking kids out of school for the day. Instead of suspending kids who got into fights – which would show up in Lincoln’s suspension rates – they started sending kids home informally, a practice known as “blue-slipping.”

Stewart believes the practice led to inconsistent consequences and made it harder for teachers to control student behavior.

“The kids run that school from the opening bell to the closing bell,” Stewart said.

Lonnie Boswell, who has worked as a long-term substitute teacher at Lincoln, said fights aren’t uncommon at other middle and high schools where he’s worked over the past four years, but he hasn’t seen any as violent as Lincoln.

He said Lincoln administrators failed to take appropriate action even after a student assaulted him during class, injuring his back.

“It’s only gotten worse over the years. Someone is really going to get hurt. I think something is going to explode at Lincoln. It’s right on the verge,” said Boswell.

Not a New Problem

In the 11 years since the school reopened, Lincoln has wrestled with both the perception and reality of violence.

In 2016, chaos erupted when a “play fight” between students at lunch turned serious. A school police officer followed a student into the parking garage and shot him with a Taser.  At some point during the struggle, a student struck the officer in the head, injuring him. Other officers who arrived used pepper spray to disperse the crowd of students who had gathered.

Superintendent Cindy Marten used the incident to display the district’s newly softened approach to discipline, and no students were expelled for the incident. Over the objections of the school police officers union, who said the decision set a dangerous precedent, district officials allowed the student to return to Lincoln the following school year.

To the frustration of community members and students, the ordeal attracted major attention from local media outlets. In the days following the brawl, Lincoln students organized demonstrations of unity and made clear to reporters the violent incident did not define the students of Lincoln High.

“I believe it’s worth noting that, according to current research data, safety is not an issue at Lincoln for 97% of our students (See the California Healthy Kids Survey results on the CDE website),” Soto wrote in an email. “As principal, I will not be happy until 100 % of our students feel safe at all times on campus. In the meantime, I will continue to highlight the incredible academic and other achievements of our students, including the more than $9.4 million in college scholarships received by our students last year. I hope you will also begin to report on these accomplishments, because our community, our parents and especially our students have the right to expect fair coverage from all of our city’s reporters. … We all know it takes time for public perception to catch up with reality. I believe the media can help with that process.”

The survey results Soto referenced in his email came from about 100 students – 27 percent of last year’s freshman class. That represents just under 7 percent of the school’s 1,447 students.

But the violence was very real in several incidents in recent years.

In 2014, a student took a butcher knife to his classmate in the bathroom, slicing his hand.

In 2016, a student with a long history of violent and sexual offenses was caught with a box-cutter at school – an expellable offense – and was later suspended for slapping a girl. Administrators did not attempt to expel him, and several months later, he admitted to sexually assaulting a special needs classmate in the boys’ bathroom.

This year, the student who was previously caught with a knife returned to campus and two weeks later slashed his classmate’s neck.

The parents of two Lincoln High students, whose names we’re withholding because they’re minors and facing threats, told VOSD their sons have been attacked, harassed and spit on by other students since September.

They say they’ve repeatedly brought the concerns to school administrators, who have failed to stop the violence. In mid-January, the father took his sons out of school out of concern for their safety. They’re now at home completing coursework independently.

“I have to think about my safety and my brother’s safety before I can think about my education,” one of the boys said.

Soto said student and staff privacy rights prevent him from answering questions about the family’s complaints.

With 1,625 students, Lincoln is the ninth largest high school in San Diego Unified. But last year, Lincoln recorded 84 suspensions for violent incidents – more than any other district-run high school and more than four times the district average for high schools.

And that’s not counting the unknown number of times administrators sent students home from school informally, without documenting the suspensions.

In other words, suspension rates are not a true measure of all violent incidents on school campuses – they’re only a measure of the way administrators respond to violent incidents.

‘It Starts at the Top’

Stewart was so shaken by her experience as vice principal at Lincoln that she left her career altogether. She still works in education, as a consultant, but said she isn’t ready to go back to work for a school, and doesn’t know if she ever will be.

Stewart said she loved the students, but left Lincoln in 2016 after she said she was retaliated against for filing a harassment complaint against a superior.

In her final year at Lincoln, Stewart was injured in a fight that broke out between two students. Stewart said she grabbed one student by the backpack, trying to pull him off the teenager he was punching, when he suddenly let go. She flew backward and injured her back when she fell.

Records of fights on Lincoln’s campus show students have assaulted teachers and staff members numerous times since 2012. Consequences for such assaults varied widely.

In some cases, students who assaulted staff members received a five-day suspension and were recommended for expulsion. In others, consequences were much lighter.

In 2012, for example, a student punched and attempted to kick her teacher multiple times, then threw objects around the classroom. The only consequence listed on the report indicates the student had to have a conference with a parent. There is no indication the student was suspended.

In fall 2016, a student ripped a handful of hair from a teacher’s head. Another student was also injured in the altercation. Documents show the student was suspended for one day.

Prior to 2014, principals were required to recommend expulsion for students who assaulted teachers or staff. But that rule was among those changed when the district moved toward restorative practices, which might include gathering students together to discuss the impact of their behavior rather than suspending them.

When San Diego Unified first shifted its approach, district officials said they’d provide schools with additional resources to support students and ramp up training for staff members. But, four years after it changed its discipline policies, the district is only now in its first year of training staff districtwide on how to effectively implement the strategies and evaluate whether they’re working.

Stewart said she and other administrators faced pressure from school and district officials to avoid suspending kids and to keep numbers low. So instead of suspension, they started sending students home informally.

“We were constantly reminded of restorative practices and told we couldn’t suspend kids. So we started to think of other ways to suspend them, like blue-slipping. We would just blue-slip them, then we wouldn’t have to document the behavior,” Stewart said.

The Washington Post reported on a similar trend in D.C. Public Schools, where at least seven of the city’s 18 public high schools kicked kids out of school without labeling it a suspension.

As they do with other offenses, administrators look at assaults on staff members on a case-by-case basis, said San Diego Unified spokeswoman Maureen Magee. They consider a number of factors when deciding consequences, including whether the student has a disability, is homeless or in foster care.

This helps account for why students can face such different consequences for the same behavior.

In 2017, for two consecutive days, Lincoln administrators dealt with two students who, according to documents, had been “posturing, mad dogging and name calling” each other. On the third day, when the students got into a fight, one student took a swing at the other, put him in a bear hug and slammed him to the ground. The boys were sent home early that day to “cool down.”

Magee said in an email that it’s not against district policy to issue students blue slips in lieu of suspension. But informally sending students home appears nowhere on the district’s Uniform Discipline Plan, a framework that’s been in place since 2012 for how to handle discipline at school.

“Only in collaboration with parents or guardians are students released from school with a blue slip. In some cases, releasing students with a blue slip can help defuse a situation,” she said.

But Stewart believes this amounts to inconsistent consequences for students. And if students face no consequences, negative behavior manifests and violence can spiral, she said.

“If people are out there robbing banks and nobody is getting in trouble, how many more people will be out there robbing banks?” said Boswell, who worked as a long-term substitute teacher at Lincoln for the entirety of last year.

Boswell is 6-foot-2 and weighs over 200 pounds. He said he believed concerns about assaults on staff at Lincoln were overblown – until he was assaulted.

One day, while teaching at Lincoln, an agitated student charged into him, he said, knocking him backward into a post and injuring his neck and back. Boswell said the student wasn’t expelled, and weeks later came to school with a knife and tried to stab his classmate.

He said he’s speaking out now because he’s concerned for the students at Lincoln – not only for their safety, but their academic progress.

At every school he works as a substitute teacher, Boswell said, he’s found lesson plans prepared in advance for the students. Not so at Lincoln. He once taught an advanced chemistry class in which students were supposed to take a final exam, but when Boswell arrived, he found no exams to give students. He summoned Soto, the principal, who came to the classroom and handed him a stack of crossword puzzles.

“He told me to just give students an A if they completed the puzzle,” Boswell said.

Soto did not respond to a request for comment on Boswell’s account of the exam.

Cindy Barros, president of Lincoln’s parent-teacher organization, said the problems at Lincoln are no different than those on any other high school campus.

If there are issues with discipline, she said, it has more to do with a lack of resources from the central office, district rules that have made it exceedingly difficult to expel students and an administration that doesn’t always document behavior appropriately.

Out of Lincoln’s roughly 1,450 students last year, 450 were English-learners, 250 had disabilities and 1,300 – about 90 percent of the total student body – came from low-income households.

“When you have a population like ours, you need more resources and staffing to support them, and we’re not getting that from the district,” Barros said.

Both Boswell and Stewart chalk up most of the problems to a lack of strong and consistent leadership at the school, and a lack of support from district officials.

In the past 10 years, Lincoln has had five different principals. Soto, who is currently at Lincoln’s helm, is in his first year as principal.

“How are you going to take the most challenging school in the district and appoint leadership with no experience?” Stewart said. “Lincoln is red flag, after red flag – discipline, safety, academics – it’s bad across the board. And nobody can put their finger on the exact problem. But I’ll tell you this much: It starts at the top, and trickles down from there.”

The Learning Curve: ‘Restorative Justice’ Can Make Schools More Violent if Not Done Right

There is a weird belief that is you allow drug dealers, those carrying weapons, those that bully students and threaten teachers, there is a “right” way” to keep them in class.  Not part of the equation is the fear of those honest students who want to learn in a safe environment.

“According to the researchers, a disproportionate number of suspensions and expulsions had involved students of color and those with disabilities. Students repeatedly suspended from school were more likely to drop out of school or be involved with the criminal justice system.

The year before the report was released, black students in the district represented 10 percent of the student body but made up 25 percent of suspensions and 21 percent of expulsions. They were more than three and half times more likely to be suspended than their white peers. Students with special needs made up only 10 percent of the student body, but 34 percent of suspensions.

Common sense is missing among the brain dead education professionals.  Does it matter to my son or daughter if the person threatening them with a knife is white, Hispanic or disabled”  It is the knife that is the problem, not the gender or color of the skin of the thug.  Until government schools become safe, more kids will either leave school or bring protection with them—and I am not talking about condoms.

Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

The Learning Curve: ‘Restorative Justice’ Can Make Schools More Violent if Not Done Right

The DA vows to hold accountable students who make school threats, a review of discipline referrals in Minnesota raises questions about teacher biases and more in our biweekly roundup of education news.

 

Mario Koran Vocie of San Diego,  3/29/18

 

In 2014, a team of Harvard researchers visited San Diego Unified and produced a report that convinced school district administrators their punitive, zero-tolerance policies weren’t working.

According to the researchers, a disproportionate number of suspensions and expulsions had involved students of color and those with disabilities. Students repeatedly suspended from school were more likely to drop out of school or be involved with the criminal justice system.

The year before the report was released, black students in the district represented 10 percent of the student body but made up 25 percent of suspensions and 21 percent of expulsions. They were more than three and half times more likely to be suspended than their white peers. Students with special needs made up only 10 percent of the student body, but 34 percent of suspensions.

Along with school districts across the country, that year San Diego Unified shifted its approach to discipline, moving to what it calls “restorative practices” — a more therapeutic approach than turning to suspensions as a first resort. It was part of a nationwide push under the Obama administration to close the gap between the way students of color and their white peers are disciplined.

Restorative justice is more focused on prevention — addressing students’ underlying issues before they act out — than punishment. It includes things like mediation and dialogue. It stresses the need for students to build relationships in school and understand the impact of their decisions.

The problem is that while San Diego Unified changed its discipline policies four years ago, it’s only now in its first year of training staff members districtwide. This year, it hired a staff member to oversee the program and inked a three-year, $866,000 contract with National Conflict Resolution Center to train teachers and administrators on how to implement the strategies. But according to the district’s timeline, restorative justice practices won’t be fully implemented until 2020.

In September, school board members diverged from their typically glowing evaluation of Superintendent Cindy Marten when they dinged her for being slow to implement restorative justice practices across the district.

And now some educators are voicing concern about the unexpected consequences of the softened approach to discipline. They say the change has actually increased violence in schools.

Lindsay Burningham, president of the San Diego Educators Association, said she’s heard concern from teachers about how the program is being implemented.

“Members have raised concerns about the implementation of what should be a great opportunity to keep kids in school, end the disproportionate number of suspensions for students of color and put a dent in the school-to-prison pipeline,” she said. “I think, in general, our members believe in restorative justice but they don’t have the resources or training to make it successful.”

Two educators who have worked at Lincoln High told VOSD that teachers and administrators are under pressure to keep suspension rates low. But without adequate training or support, administrators improvised by sending students home informally instead of suspending them.

Behavior reports from Lincoln High show that’s what happened in 2014, when two students who’d been challenging each other for two consecutive days got into a fight. A student bear-hugged the other and slammed him to the ground. The document says administrators sent them home informally that day to “cool down.”

A district spokesperson said the practice, known as “blue slipping,” doesn’t violate any rules, and can be an effective way to diffuse a tense situation. But informally sending students home appears nowhere on the district’s Uniform Discipline Plan, a framework for how to handle discipline.

And blue slipping students in lieu of documented suspensions puts into question the accuracy of the school’s — and potentially the district’s — suspension rates. Kicking kids out of school for the day is a suspension, whether it’s labeled that way or not.

The Washington Post reported on a similar trend in D.C. public schools in July, when it found at least seven of the district’s 18 high schools had kicked kids out of school for the day without labeling them as suspensions.

The Lincoln educators I spoke with say the practice creates unclear and inconsistent consequences for students, which contributes to a cycle of negative behavior.

Similar tensions are playing out in other cities. In Buffalo, N.Y.,  a survey of 1,217 teachers — representing a third of the district’s teachers — found that less than 10 percent of teachers believe disruptive student behavior is being handled quickly and properly in their schools.

In Oklahoma City, teachers said they felt more like babysitters than educators, and one reported that teachers were told misbehavior would not result in suspension unless there was blood.

Anthony Ceja, a senior manager for the San Diego County Office of Education who helps train schools on how to implement restorative practices, said they absolutely can lead to more chaotic classrooms when they’re not done properly.

To do restorative practices effectively, he said, administrators and teachers need to have clear communication. He often hears from frustrated teachers who say they send kids out of the room, only to see them reappear later. Because the teacher doesn’t know what was said in the office, he or she may assume the student faced no consequences.

“When you have a disconnect between teachers and the main office, that’s a formula for disaster,” he said.

Ceja said one of the biggest mistakes school districts have made is conflating lower suspension rates with restorative justice.

“The mistake that a number of school districts have made is tying restorative practices to reduced suspensions. If you do restorative practices well, the suspension rates will probably go down, but it’s not meant to be an alternative to discipline.”

Too often overlooked, Ceja said, is the relationship-building component of restorative justice, which helps students and staff see each other as people.

“This is what some schools really aren’t willing to do: Invest the time in the relationship building aspect of restorative justice. When students are able to humanize staff and other students, they’re much less likely to act out or hurt their classmates,” he said.

The Link Between Safety and School Discipline

Last week, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan joined Superintendent Cindy Marten for a press conference to assure the public that students who call in threats to schools will be identified and held accountable.

In the weeks that followed the shooting in Parkland, Fla., Marten said the district received 49 threats to schools, which has resulted in more than 125 hours of overtime for officers, lost staff time and missed instructional time. In addition to student walkouts and protests calling for increased gun control, one outcome of the shootings in Parkland has been a nationwide conversation about the link between safety and discipline in schools.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is among those who called on U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to revise Obama-era discipline policies, arguing the “federal guidance may have contributed to systemic failures to report Nikolas Cruz’s dangerous behaviors to local law enforcement.”

Any effort to roll back the federal guidelines, however, would likely have little impact on California’s statewide discipline policies or its newly established accountability measures, EdSource reports.

When a former Minneapolis schools superintendent launched her own review of discipline referrals for kindergarten boys, she had a troubling revelation, reports the New York Times.

“The descriptions of white children by teachers included ‘gifted but can’t use his words’ and ‘high strung,’ with their actions excused because they ‘had a hard day,’ the Times reports. “Black children … were ‘destructive’ and ‘violent,’ and ‘cannot be managed.’”

That finding raises uncomfortable questions about teachers’ biases — something that research indicates is seen as early as preschool.

It’s difficult to explain away those differences without confronting racism. That point is at the center of a groundbreaking new study by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, which found “black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds.”

Among other revelations, the study found that most white boys raised in wealthy families will stay rich or upper middle class as adults, but black boys raised in similarly rich households will not.

The tentacles of racism and discrimination reach across generations. Only 60 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that separate schools for white and black students were fundamentally unequal. Linda Brown, who was at the center of Brown v. Board of Education, died this week at 76.

  • A San Francisco public school student failed every class in high school and not a single adult stepped up to help him. The story lays bare the ugly results of social promotion. (San Francisco Chronicle)

 

Lawsuit: SF let Uber and Lyft kill taxi cabs, and stuck credit union with the bill

When a bank or credit union loans money, they need to know the credit worthiness of the customer, the laws surrounding their industry.  No one expects a bank or credit union to know how new technology or disruptors are going to affect the loan.  For generations taxi cab owners borrowed, in New York up to one million dollars, to buy a “medallion” to legally operate a cab.  This was the way government created monopolies, instead of a free market.  The cab owners played into this and the banks and credit union thought that a government monopoly could not fail.

Along came Uber and Lyft, and the corrupt taxi/bank/government cabal collapsed.  N ow the credit unions want the government to pay off the bad loans for the worthless medallions.   They want to be bailed out because they bought into a corrupt practice and now think taxpayers should foot the bill.

“Since the world was neither ready to sponsor City Hall (not directly) nor ready to re-privatize the 30-Stockton and the N-Judah—not quite yet—the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) moved to monetize a valuable asset it did have, and had a monopoly on: taxicab permits.

Then and now, putting a taxicab out for hire on the streets requires a city-issued permit, called a “medallion.” In other cities such as New York, taxicab medallions proved so valuable that they fetched $1 million or more at auction.

Initial plans to market medallions to investors and speculators were dropped in favor of a more worker-friendly scheme. Taxi medallions would be sold to qualified, proven taxi drivers (who until then could only receive one of San Francisco’s roughly 1,500 medallions by putting their name on a list, and waiting until a current medallion-holder retired or died). But to sell these assets at a fixed price of $250,000 to cab drivers paid mostly in cash, the SFMTA needed a lending partner.”

Corruption?  You bet Gavin Newsom was corrupt.  He wants to be Governor—will he create another phony document or asset, sell it off, pocket the money in a government account and tell the suckers “sorry” when their finances collapse.  Get government out of the permit business and stop the corruption.

Gavin newsom

Lawsuit: SF let Uber and Lyft kill taxi cabs, and stuck credit union with the bill

SF Federal Credit Union accuses SFMTA of allowing Uber, Lyft to kill cabs and taxi-permit sale program—but not before making $64 million

By Chris Roberts, SF Curbed,  3/28/18

In 2009, with the Great Recession at its nadir, with banks foreclosing on homes and with city budget coffers empty, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom hit on a novel solution to keep the public sector going: Start selling off public assets.

Since the world was neither ready to sponsor City Hall (not directly) nor ready to re-privatize the 30-Stockton and the N-Judah—not quite yet—the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) moved to monetize a valuable asset it did have, and had a monopoly on: taxicab permits.

Then and now, putting a taxicab out for hire on the streets requires a city-issued permit, called a “medallion.” In other cities such as New York, taxicab medallions proved so valuable that they fetched $1 million or more at auction.

Initial plans to market medallions to investors and speculators were dropped in favor of a more worker-friendly scheme. Taxi medallions would be sold to qualified, proven taxi drivers (who until then could only receive one of San Francisco’s roughly 1,500 medallions by putting their name on a list, and waiting until a current medallion-holder retired or died). But to sell these assets at a fixed price of $250,000 to cab drivers paid mostly in cash, the SFMTA needed a lending partner.

Since commercial banks proved unwilling to issue any additional risky loans, the SFMTA struck a deal with the San Francisco Federal Credit Union. The credit union would finance loans needed for medallion sales. Drivers would pay about $1,200 a month—in most cases, no more than 20 percent of their earnings.

In turn, SFMTA would take a cut on each sale of an existing medallion—but would be able to clear a cool $250,000 by issuing and selling brand-new permits. And at that time, there was pent-up demand for hundreds of extra taxis on San Francisco streets, according to transit experts and consultants.

In this way, beginning in 2010, the SFMTA sold 700 medallions, netting about $64 million through April of 2016.

“Taxicab medallions are now worthless. The city hasn’t sold a medallion in nearly two years. Truthfully, they are worse than worthless: They’re toxic assets.”

In return, the SFMTA was to do what it could to ensure that a permit to drive a taxi in San Francisco remained a valuable asset. As anyone venturing out onto a street in this city can tell you, this did not happen.

At the same time taxicab permits became a fungible good, salable on the open market a few startup companies began offering the same service taxicabs provided—only at a lower rate, without the same regulations.

Today, city streets are now flooded with tens of thousands of privately-owned personal vehicles driving for Uber and Lyft. Taxicab medallions are now worthless. The city hasn’t sold a medallion in nearly two years. Truthfully, they are worse than worthless: They’re toxic assets. Drivers unlucky enough to have bought a $250,000 medallion—a loan that taxi-driver earnings guaranteed to make whole within ten years—now can’t cover their monthly loan payments.

Some drivers have received modifications, but buyers of nearly 100 medallions—one out of seven sold, with friendly finance from the credit union—have given up and foreclosed. The taxi industry appears well on its way toward total collapse.

Most of the blame for this is due to Uber, Lyft, and the investor-subsidized products they provide at a rate lower than a taxi. But it’s also allegedly the fault of regulators like the SFMTA, according to a lawsuit filed by the San Francisco Federal Credit Union in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday.

Having the credit union—which also finances civic-minded projects like affordable housing and other municipal efforts, according to CEO Jonathan Oliver—sue the city is unprecedented enough. It’s never happened.

But this also appears to be the first time a regulatory agency has been sued for allegedly failing to regulate, thereby allowing Uber and Lyft to take over.

Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom (L) looks at a hybrid taxi with an advisor during a news conference March 2010. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The suit seeks $28 million in damages from the city, money it will attempt to convince a jury to award.

Notable, and a fact surely that will not be lost on anyone: That same jury will travel through the same city streets clogged with tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft vehicles.

John Cote, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who represents the San Francisco in legal proceedings, said the city had received the suit and was in the process of reviewing it. He did not comment further.

“They stuck their head in the sand,” said Oliver, the credit union CEO, describing the SFMTA’s approach to Uber and Lyft destroying the taxi industry. To this day, the SFMTA’s website declares, somewhat pitifully, San Francisco as a “taxi town”—and describes its mission as promoting a “vibrant” taxi industry.

In total, SF Federal Credit Union issued more than $125 million worth of loans for taxicab medallion sales—about 10 percent of its total assets, according to Oliver, the CEO.

According to the suit, the credit union only agreed to partner with the city to sell medallions on the promise that the city would do everything in its power to protect taxi cab medallions’ value.

Instead, despite frequent and repeated warnings from taxi drivers, certain SFMTA officials—and the federal credit union, which began complaining in 2013 that the SFMTA was letting the value of its assets crumble—the SFMTA stood aside and did nothing, the lawsuit alleges.

At any time, the SFMTA had the power to declare the sales program over and start buying medallions back from buyers. At that time, according to the terms of the agreement laid out in contracts signed in 2010 and 2013, the agency would be required to remit to the credit union any balance on any outstanding loans.

By not moving to regulate Uber or Lyft and by not making any efforts to modify the medallion-sales program since the last time a medallion was sold in April 2016, the SFMTA has “constructively terminated” the program, the suit alleges.

The SFMTA also brushed off concerns from the credit union—promising at one time to alter the sales program to ameliorate the credit union’s concerns after it conducted a study. No study was ever launched.

Indeed, the city actively promoted taxicab alternatives while still offering taxicabs for sale as a viable investment opportunity.

In 2012, with the medallion sales program still in its successful early days, then-Mayor Ed Lee launched a “sharing economy working group” to ease cooperation between the crop of new tech startups and city regulators. The next year, while the SFMTA continued to push the taxi-medallion sales program and the credit union continued to write loans, Lee declared July 15, 2013 “Lyft Day in San Francisco.”

Frequent pleas to do something about Uber and Lyft were squashed mostly at the behest of Lee and others in his orbit, who preferred to promote the very entity ruining taxi medallions’ value, the lawsuit alleges—a contention supported by other observations.

“The problem is Room 200,” the city’s taxicab regulator fumed to researchers from Harvard, referring to the mayor’s office.

The suit filed Wednesday was well on its way to being filed prior to Lee’s death. The credit union first filed a claim, the precursor to a lawsuit, against the city in November. That claim was almost immediately rejected.

If the credit union’s lawsuit is successful, the SFMTA could be made to buy all of the taxicab medallions sold with credit union financing, a hit of millions of dollars—right when the transit agency is budgeting for another budget shortfall.

 

Bay Area school district wants voters to decide whether to drop at-large elections

This is interesting.  Should voters decide who gets to administer a failed government school—should it be by district or city at large?  The only difference is, by district it is cheaper for the unions to buy and election with money stolen from the teachers (which will end by the end of June with the Janus case).  Does it really matter who the Captain of the Titanic is—it will still go down.

“In response to a legal challenge charging that its at-large trustee elections are “racially polarized,” the West Contra Costa school board says it wants to let voters decide whether to change from at-large elections to those in which school board members represent specific districts.

lawsuit filed March 21 by Walnut Creek attorney Scott Rafferty on behalf of two West Contra Costa Unified residents and a group called the “Bay Area Voting Rights Initiative” accuses the district of violating the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, in which plaintiffs say at-large elections give unfair advantages to white candidates in more affluent areas of the district of more than 100,000 voters in Richmond and surrounding cities.”

Great news—kids are in a failed government school district because of the race of the Board members—no responsibility for the textbooks, political indoctrination or corruption by the unions—blame it all on the race of the Board members.  Too bad the people of the District have so little common sense—make all schools charter and create quality schools for all.

School education

Bay Area school district wants voters to decide whether to drop at-large elections

Theresa Harrington, EdSource, 3/28/18

In response to a legal challenge charging that its at-large trustee elections are “racially polarized,” the West Contra Costa school board says it wants to let voters decide whether to change from at-large elections to those in which school board members represent specific districts.

lawsuit filed March 21 by Walnut Creek attorney Scott Rafferty on behalf of two West Contra Costa Unified residents and a group called the “Bay Area Voting Rights Initiative” accuses the district of violating the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, in which plaintiffs say at-large elections give unfair advantages to white candidates in more affluent areas of the district of more than 100,000 voters in Richmond and surrounding cities.

Theresa Harrington/EdSource Today

Attorney Scott Rafferty, right, discusses his legal challenge to at-large elections in West Contra Costa Unified with a concerned district resident.

But in a twist not seen in most other jurisdictions throughout the state that have decided to move to elections based on geographic areas within their districts, the board decided last week to put the issue before voters in November instead of seeking a waiver from the State Board of Education that would allow West Contra Costa to switch to board member area elections this fall without putting the matter on a ballot.

The board intends to hold public hearings to decide on a voter district map, which must be approved by the County Board of Education before it can be presented to voters — most likely in November. According to this timeline, the November school board election would remain at-large and the district would not hold elections by board member areas until 2020, if voters approve.

According to the information provided to the board, the current system of at-large elections calls for board members to be elected by all voters within the school district. By changing to a so-called “trustee-area election” or a “district-based election,” each board member must reside within the designated trustee area boundary and is elected only by the voters of that area.

“This is a really complicated matter,” said Trustee Madeline Kronenberg, who is one of three white members of the five- member board living in El Cerritowhich includes only 10 percent of the district’s population, according to the lawsuit. “It’s a fair thing to look at and I think the fairest thing is to let our voters vote on it.”

The other two board members, who are Latino and African-American, both live in Richmond, which includes about 44 percent of the district’s population, the lawsuit says. This leaves several geographic areas with large minority populations unrepresented, including San Pablo (which makes up 11 percent of the district), Hercules (which includes 13 percent of the district) and Pinole (which includes 8 percent of the district), according to the lawsuit.

“Minority vote dilution has allowed white voters and the area in which they are concentrated to dominate the board,” the lawsuit claims, adding that 35 percent of the district’s population of more than 263,800 people are Latino, 20 percent are Asian and 16 percent are African-American.

Rafferty’s initial letter to the district said most jurisdictions in California the size of West Contra Costa do not conduct at-large elections.

“Except for Irvine, no city with a larger population elects its council at large,” he wrote. “Of the 29 school districts in California that are larger than WCCUSD, all but nine elect trustees by district. (Three of the exceptions are in Contra Costa County and two others — San Francisco Unified and Fremont Unified — are in the Bay Area.)”

Statewide, at least 125 smaller school boards have changed the way school board members are elected to represent small voting districts within the larger district as opposed to being at-large seats, the letter said. The change was a response to lawsuits or to orders from their county boards of education.

The district’s attorney, Harold Freiman of the Lozano Smith firm, warned that if voters reject electing board members who represent smaller areas of the district, a court could overturn their decision, saying the vote further confirms that majority white voters don’t want to give minority Latino and black voters — who are concentrated in Richmond, San Pablo and other areas of the district — a chance to elect someone who represents them. That is what happened when voters in the city of Highland, near San Bernardino, voted against creating smaller voting districts within the city, he said.

“If you go to the election and the electorate approves, that’s a fine and good thing,” he told the board. “But if it votes it down, there may be ensuing litigation that the vote is evidence of racially polarized voting.”

Driving this point home, board President Valerie Cuevas, a Richmond resident who is the first Latina president in the district’s history, spoke passionately about past statewide elections on Propositions 8 and 187, in which the majority voted to deny gays the right to marry and to deny undocumented immigrants the right to attend public schools. The courts eventually overturned voters’ decisions.

“It went to the voters,” Cuevas said, “but that vote infringed on the right of minorities.”

 

Theresa Harrington/EdSource Today

West Contra Costa Unified School Board President Valerie Cuevas, left, listens to district resident Linda Ruiz-Lozito express her support for converting from at-large to trustee area elections.

Trustee Mister Phillips, who is a black Richmond resident, said West Contra Costa voters are more liberal and won’t necessarily vote like those statewide. Cuevas agreed with this, but said she still believes there is racially polarized voting in the district. She and Trustee Tom Panas, who is a white El Cerrito resident, voted to seek the state waiver to bypass sending the issue to voters, but were overruled by the board majority who voted down the waiver, 3-2.

Because the board took more than 45 days to act after it received the initial letter challenging its election procedures, Rafferty filed the lawsuit against West Contra Costa Unified in Contra Costa Superior Court on March 21 — the same day the board met. One of the district residents he represents is Latino and one is black.

Bottom of Form

“By electing its trustees at-large, WCCUSD dilutes the votes of Latino and African-American citizens and neighborhoods, depriving them of influence in the outcome of board elections that equals the influence of other citizens and neighborhoods,” alleges the lawsuit. “At-large voting also impairs the ability of Latinos as a class (or in coalition with black voters), to elect candidates of their choice. Large geographic areas with minority communities are chronically underrepresented.”

The lawsuit also suggests that the five-member board be expanded to seven members to allow for a greater variety of geographic representation. It asks the court to declare that the district’s current election system violates state or federal law and to order the district to seek a state waiver instead of asking voters to decide.

In addition, the suit asks the court to require West Contra Costa to submit a map of the district divided into trustee areas to the county registrar of voters by July 3 so the new election process could be implemented for the November election, when three trustee terms end. If those seats end up being voted on in an at-large election, the lawsuit asks the court to prohibit those election results from being certified. Instead, the plaintiffs want the court to mandate that the president of the County Board of Education sit on the district board to help the remaining two board members appoint provisional board members to two-year terms to the three vacant at-large seats or call for a special election using smaller by-trustee voting areas. According to this scenario, all subsequent elections in 2020 and beyond would elect board members who represent specific areas of the district.

District spokesman Marcus Walton said Tuesday that the district will move forward with public hearings to decide on a voter district map.

“We look forward to working with members of our community to draw maps that are representative of the voters and residents in West Contra Costa County,” he said.

Rafferty is asking the court to award attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, other litigation expenses, “prejudgment interest” and “further relief as the court may deem proper.”

California Judge Wants Coffee to Carry Cancer Warnings

Why is the Confederate State of California considered a joke?  A judge, a single judge decided to waste the money of the consumer, demanding that EVERY cup of coffee sold by Starbucks, every can of coffee you buy at the store, include a Prop. 65 warning, that use of this product “could” cause cancer.  How big is this decision?

“Acrylamide is a carcinogen found in cooked starchy foods like potato chips, French fries and some forms of bread, according to CERT’s lawsuit.”

Have you noticed EVERY commercial building in California has a warning sign—very small, usually where it can not be found, claiming going into this build could cause cancer.  Do you stop going into the building?  The Prop. 65 signs are a joke—it is a means for sleazy attorneys to file a lawsuit and win the lawyers lottery.  This is why attorneys look bad, no common sense, just know how to manipulate the system to make their Mercedes payments this month.

“Proposition 65 allows an express exemption from liability for naturally occurring chemicals found in food, but those exemptions do not apply to carcinogens that form during the cooking process. The fact that defendants did not add the carcinogen was not enough of a defense, according to the court.

Defendants’ experts provided risk assessments of the carcinogen, but they did not consider what effect it has when found in coffee.

And a report from a laboratory on acrylamide provided evidence that was “unreliable and inadmissible because the analytical chemistry method” was novel and used techniques that were not accepted in the scientific community, according to the court.”

Who needs facts when you have a State law and lawyers that demand the money?

judge-alex

California Judge Wants Coffee to Carry Cancer Warnings

NATHAN SOLIS, Courthousenews,  3/29/18

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Coffee giant Starbucks and other coffee retailers received an eye opener on Wednesday after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge told them to post cancer warnings for coffee sold in California.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle released a decision finding that several coffee companies did not sufficiently argue that their products had insignificant levels of a carcinogen found in coffee.

The nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) filed the lawsuit in 2010 against several coffee companies and retailers, claiming they violated state law by failing to provide warnings to consumers that their coffee contained high levels of acrylamide, a byproduct that is released when coffee beans are roasted.

Acrylamide is a carcinogen found in cooked starchy foods like potato chips, French fries and some forms of bread, according to CERT’s lawsuit.

Defendants in the case claimed the amounts found in ready-to-serve coffee posed “no significant risk,” according to court documents.

But Berle did not buy their arguments.

“Defendants did not offer substantial evidence to quantify any minimum amount of acrylamide in coffee that might be necessary to reduce microbiological contamination or render coffee palatable,” Berle wrote in his 22-page ruling. “Rather, Defendants argued that acrylamide levels in coffee cannot be reduced at all without negatively affecting safety and palatability.”

The Washington-state based Starbucks was not alone in defending its cup of joe.

In 2011, CERT filed a second lawsuit naming 46 defendants for similar violations of state law.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the J.M. Smucker Company, Kraft Food Global, and Starbucks participated in the first phase of the trial.

Long Beach, California-based law firm Metzer Law Group represented CERT, which argued the coffee retailers were in violation of California’s Proposition 65 under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which allows lawsuits on behalf of the state against offenders.

Acrylamide has been recognized in California as a carcinogen since 1990.

According to court documents, defendants did not dispute that acrylamide was a byproduct of the roasting process, but Judge Berle concluded they failed to meet their burden of proof that acrylamide was at “no significant risk level.”

The court also found defendants’ argument on First Amendment and federal preemption grounds to avoid posting cancer hazard warning labels was lacking.

Proposition 65 allows an express exemption from liability for naturally occurring chemicals found in food, but those exemptions do not apply to carcinogens that form during the cooking process. The fact that defendants did not add the carcinogen was not enough of a defense, according to the court.

Defendants’ experts provided risk assessments of the carcinogen, but they did not consider what effect it has when found in coffee.

And a report from a laboratory on acrylamide provided evidence that was “unreliable and inadmissible because the analytical chemistry method” was novel and used techniques that were not accepted in the scientific community, according to the court.

Starbucks did not immediately reply to an email for comment on Berle’s decision.

UC-Davis lists ‘yo’ and ‘xie’ as gender-neutral pronouns

Did you really believe the University of California system was serious about education?  This is a system that raises tuition and student fees, than spend the money protecting criminals, enrolling illegal aliens and taking seats from honest American, allows bullies to end free speech on campus, and if that does not work, stands back to watch riots and violence.  Now UC Davis has become a late night TV comedians joke.

“The University of California-Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center has a new pronoun guide that adds “yo,” “xie,” “ey,” “en,” and “ve” to the list of gender-neutral pronouns.

The “What are Pronouns?” guide invites students to choose personal pronouns other than he or she, positing that all students should be given “the opportunity to state the pronoun that is correct to use when referring to them” during class.

“Did ‘yo’ enjoy ‘yoself’?”

Obviously if you have a degree from Davis, you are at least partially illiterate.  Years ago a college promoted “Ebonics” an illiterate language for black people—to assure they could never get a job above filling taco shells.  Now UC Davis is promoting language to assure that technology will take your job at a fast food joint.

Photo courtesy The National Guard, flickr.

UC-Davis lists ‘yo’ and ‘xie’ as gender-neutral pronouns

 

Toni Airaksinen, Campus Reform,  3/28/18

 

  • The University of California-Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center has an online resource instructing students on the proper use of 8 different gender-neutral pronouns, including “yo,” “xie,” “ey,” “en,” and “ve.”
  • The guide cautions that it is “not an exhaustive list,” informing students that “any combination [of pronouns] is possible,” and that some people might eschew pronouns altogether.

The University of California-Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center has a new pronoun guide that adds “yo,” “xie,” “ey,” “en,” and “ve” to the list of gender-neutral pronouns.

The “What are Pronouns?” guide invites students to choose personal pronouns other than he or she, positing that all students should be given “the opportunity to state the pronoun that is correct to use when referring to them” during class.

“Did ‘yo’ enjoy ‘yoself’?”

The guide lists “co,” “en,” “ey,” “he,” “she,” “they,” “xie,” yo,” “ze,” and “ve” as potential pronoun options, providing a conjugation chart illustrating how they may be used a subject, object, possessive, possessive pronoun, and reflexive.

To refer to a student who identifies as “yo,” for example, one would say “Did yo enjoy yoself?” or “that pen’s yos.” For a student who identifies as “ey,” the guide calls for using “eirs” or “eirself.”

Though the guide lists 10 pronoun combinations, it notes that “This is not an exhaustive list!” and that “Any combination [of pronouns] is possible!”

Students may also choose more than one preferred pronoun, the guide adds, explaining that a hypothetical student may say “I’m Jade and my pronouns are zie and hir,” or perhaps “I prefer they and them, but he is fine.”

While most students have a pronoun preference, some may eschew pronouns entirely. When asked, these students may say “No pronouns for me!” or “It’s better if you mix ‘em up,” the guide states.

The guide also encourages students to incorporate “inclusive” language in group settings, suggesting that they say “Hey everyone!” instead of “Hey guys!” or “Hey Ladies!”

“Always use the pronouns & name people want you to use,” instructs a separate list of “LGBTQIA Ally Tips,” adding that “If you’re unsure, ASK!”

UC-Davis also offers a glossary listing various identities and sexualities that students might have, including “allosexual,” “BlaQueer,” “Furry,” “Neutrois,” “Womxn” and “Ursula,” all of which are defined on the taxpayer-funded school’s website.

The UC-Davis “What are pronouns?” guide is one of many pronoun guides American colleges have released this year.

As Campus Reform recently reported, for instance, Bryn Mawr College encourages students to use pronouns such as “co,” “kit,” “sie,” “zie,” and “it,” and even refers them to a page with “royal” pronouns, including “que/quen/queens/queenself” and “pri/prin/prins/princeself.”

Toxic Java? California Law Carries Big Fines, Little Evidence

The Confederate State of California is a national joke.  We use law enforcement to protect foreign criminals and make citizens victims.  We keep knife stabbing students in classrooms and promote walk outs of school for political purposes.  We claim to have a housing shortage, but use policy, fees. Permits and reports to hold up and stop the building of homes.  Our schools get lots of money and the more a school fails, the more money it gets.

California has a Proposition, 65, the revenge of Tom Hayden, author of the measure that is his effort to kill capitalism.  The latest is a Judge ruling that every cup of coffee needs a warning note that it “could” cause cancer.  In fact, the same chemical is in bread and other every day food product—in fact Hayden believes all foods, all breathing, all buildings are cancer causing.  His view is that life is going to end and folks need to know how to end it sooner—by drinking coffee and going into an office building.  A sick man, he died—but not of cancer.

“No scientific study says consuming java in moderation is bad for your health — and some even show it’s good for you. But winning a reprieve from the state’s toxics disclosure requirement isn’t easy. Coffee merchants have been fighting in a Los Angeles court for six years, so far without success, to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the 600-year-old beverage isn’t harmful.

And failing to comply with California’s Proposition 65, the 1986 voter-approved initiative, may be costly: Fines can run up to $2,500 for each cup sold without a proper warning. That could easily add up to billions of dollars.”

coffee latte

Toxic Java? California Law Carries Big Fines, Little Evidence

By Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg, 10/25/18

  • Coffee retailers continue fight to prove drink isn’t harmful
  • Judge said existence of chemical triggers need to inform

If you happen to buy a cup of coffee in California and it comes with a cancer warning, don’t panic — it’s just the law.

No scientific study says consuming java in moderation is bad for your health — and some even show it’s good for you. But winning a reprieve from the state’s toxics disclosure requirement isn’t easy. Coffee merchants have been fighting in a Los Angeles court for six years, so far without success, to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the 600-year-old beverage isn’t harmful.

And failing to comply with California’s Proposition 65, the 1986 voter-approved initiative, may be costly: Fines can run up to $2,500 for each cup sold without a proper warning. That could easily add up to billions of dollars.

Under the law, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics needed only to allege that coffee contains trace amounts of one of almost 1,000 Proposition 65 chemicals to pursue its lawsuit against the biggest U.S. coffee brewers and retailers including Starbucks Corp., Target Corp., 7-Eleven Inc. and Whole Foods Market. The burden of showing there’s no significant risk falls to the companies. 7-Eleven agreed this month to a settlement in which it will pay $900,000 and post warnings.

The chemical in question is acrylamide, which forms when certain plant-based foods are baked, fried or roasted. It’s probably best known as a hazard of eating potato chips and French fries — which is how companies including PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay and McDonald’s were drawn into Proposition 65 settlements almost a decade ago.

Safer Products

Lauren Willis, a consumer law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, gives the law credit for prodding manufacturers to cut back on harmful substances in many products, including chips, cookies and candy.

“These disclosures at the point of sale have created an incentive in the market place to figure out ways to get rid of things like lead in candy,” says Willis. “When shoppers are informed and can make better choices, it will get producers to make safer products.”

But among critics, the state’s uniquely stringent right-to-know law is ridiculed for the proliferation of warnings everywhere from gas stations to grocery stores — and for lining the pockets of attorneys who sue and settle.

“Unfortunately, it is very easy for ‘bounty hunters’ to file Prop. 65 lawsuits against even small businesses and the cost of settlement and defense often exceeds other types of abusive litigation,” says Greg Sperla, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig’s Sacramento office.

Last year, 760 Proposition 65 suits settled for a total of $30.2 million, according to data from the California attorney general. Of that total, $21.6 million, or 72 percent, went to lawyer’s fees and costs.

Penny Per Cup

While state prosecutors have been involved in some Proposition 65 enforcement, including in the case against McDonald’s, the vast majority of the lawsuits are brought by private attorneys “acting in the public interest.” The state attorney general hasn’t intervened in the lawsuit against the coffee industry.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics doesn’t have its own website, but it shares the same phone number (1-877-TOX-TORT) as Raphael Metzger, the attorney spearheading the coffee litigation.

If he prevails in the case, Metzger doesn’t expect the judge to award maximum damages against the coffee sellers. But even if it’s a penny per cup, the penalties could still add up to millions of dollars, Metzger says.

In his initial complaint in 2010, Metzger alleged that a 12-ounce cup of coffee contains about 10 times more acrylamide than the state’s “no significant risk level.” The case grew to include about 90 coffee producers, distributors and retailers, from mom-and-pop roasters to multinationals such as Nestle. Most of the companies are working together in their defense.

Calculating Risk

The retailers that have refused to settle because they firmly believe there’s no cancer risk from the acrylamide in coffee, said Joe DeRupo, a spokesman for the National Coffee Association. A representative of Starbucks referred to the association for comment on the case.

“We don’t want to have to put a label that would be false speech and that isn’t scientifically accurate,” DeRupo says.

The few coffee sellers that have settled rather than keep fighting, including BP Plc, the franchisor of “ampm” convenience stores in the state, were weary of the case and figured that people in California are so accustomed to seeing the signage that they will tune it out, according to DeRupo.

Two years ago, when the case went to a non-jury trial, California Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle rejected the coffee companies’ argument that the drink’s health benefits aren’t undermined by the presence of acrylamide. The judge ruled that the very presence of the chemical triggers the requirement to warn consumers.

In the second phase of trial now under way, lawyers for the companies contend that Proposition 65 created an exemption for chemicals produced in the process of cooking foods to make them palatable or safe. The judge is expected to rule on the coffee makers’ defense in the coming months, and if he rejects them, the next phase of the trial will focus on remedies.

Experts are hesitant about linking coffee to cancer.

Peter Infante, an epidemiologist who testified for Metzger, said there were studies that showed a statistically significant correlation between coffee consumption and certain types of cancer. But he declined to assert there was a causal connection in the absence of further research.

“You would need a clinical trial to resolve the issue,” he said.

The judge is expected to issue a decision on the coffee sellers’ defense in coming months. If they lose, there will be more sparring over what warnings they have to put up and how much in penalties they’ll have to pay.

Starbucks and some other retailers already put warnings signs in stores — which may serve as a hedge against fines for millions of cups of coffee sold over several years.

But Metzger says in a court filing that the signs don’t meet California’s precise requirements and tend to “contradict, negate, obfuscate, mollify and otherwise detract from the cancer hazard warning.”

The case is Council for Education and Research on Toxics v. Starbucks Corp., BC435759, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.