Useless Information: Private Prisons House More Latinos Than Do Public Ones, Study Finds—Important: How Many Are Illegal Aliens?

Seriously, someone paid for a study to determine how many Hispanics are in private prisons or government prisons. In both cases, these are criminals, convicted of a crime. In fact, it is significantly cheaper to keep a criminal in a private prison. Why the higher costs for government prisons? Look for the union label.

An important study would be, how many convicts are illegal aliens—of ANY race. How many of the convicts are immediately deported upon finishing their sentences, in ANY prison, public or private? Does it make better criminals or worse, being sent to a private prison? How cares.

Do not forget that earlier this year Barack the First used his pen to give 36,000 illegal aliens that finished their prison terms AMNESTY! That is important information-not the type of prison criminals are sent.

California Prisons

 

Private Prisons House More Latinos Than Do Public Ones, Study Finds

By editor, KCBX,   8/10/14   .

In March, Rina Palta reported for Code Switch on a study that found private prisons were disproportionately filled with inmates of color. A broader recent study of federal data from 2005 has revealed something similar: The proportion of white inmates was significantly smaller in private prisons than in public ones, and the proportion of Latino inmates was larger.

Brett Burkhardt, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, authored the study. It lands amidst an ongoing debate over how private prisons compare to their public counterparts, in everything from cost-effectiveness to quality of service. If inmates in private prisons were found to have received worse treatment, the study points out, a racial disparity between private and public prison populations could have legal implications.

Burkhardt told me in a phone interview that while there’s now a robust and growing body of scholarly literature looking at racial disparities across the U.S. prison system, his study is among the first empirically rigorous analyses of who is being placed into private prisons. It includes data from prisons across the country compiled by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Burkhardt considered several factors that might have contributed to the disparity:

  • security levels (private facilities tend to be used for lower-security offenders)
  • immigrant detention facilities skewing the data (the majority of immigrant detainees are Latino)
  • the racial demographics of the states where private facilities are located (they’re most prominent in the Southwest)
  • variations in how data about prison populations were collected or reported

But even after accounting for all of these factors, the percentage of white inmates in private prisons was more than eight points lower than in public facilities, and the percentage of Latino inmates was nearly two points higher. Blacks were slightly more likely to be in private prisons than in public ones, although the difference was statistically marginal. But when blacks and Latinos were considered together, their percentage of the private inmate population was more than four points higher than the corresponding public prison population.

In Rina Palta’s story from March, UC-Berkeley Ph.D student Christopher Petrella pointed to age and medical condition as some of the factors explaining the racial disparities he found between private and public prison populations in nine states:

“Younger, healthier inmates, he found — who’ve come into the system since the war on drugs went into effect — are disproportionately people of color. Older inmates, who generally come with a slew of health problems, skew more white.

“Steve Owens, senior director of public affairs for Corrections Corp. of America, one of the largest private prison companies in the nation, calls the study ‘deeply flawed.’ ”

“In an email, Owens says, ‘CCA’s government partners determine which inmates are sent to our facilities; our company has no role in their selection.’

“Furthermore, he says, ‘the contracts we have with our government partners are mutually agreed upon, and as the customer, our government partners have significant leverage regarding provisions.’ It’s up to the contracting agency, he says, to decide how it wants to distribute inmates and manage health care costs.

“Owens does not, however, dispute Petrella’s numbers.”

Burkhardt said his research can’t explain the disparities, and his paper points to several areas where follow-up research is merited, including more analysis of the causes and of the potential legal implications of the findings.

 

Citizens Protect Themselves From Criminals When Cops Not Around

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away, maybe. An 80 year old man did not have a cop around when his home was invaded by a man and woman. Instead of becoming just another homicide victim—because the ACLU prefers to protect criminals and care not a whit about victims—he used his Second Amendment rights and killed one of the two intruders. Now we have another home invaded in the middle of the night—and not a cop in sight. The homeowner used his Second Amendment rights and protected himself and his property.

Should these citizens have become victims? Yup, if you believe Obama, Feinstein, San Fran Nan SF Mayor Lee and LA Mayor Garcetti. Glad to see citizens using their Constitutional rights—instead of their death benefits.

handguns

 

Suspected burglar shot and killed by Long Beach resident

BY KENDRA ABLAZA, LA Register, 8/10/14

LONG BEACH – A Long Beach resident shot and killed a suspected burglar Sunday morning in the city’s Bluff Park neighborhood, a police official said.

Officers responded at 2:24 a.m. to the 2800 block of East Third Street in regards to a burglary in progress, said Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Megan Zabel. She said the resident had shot the suspect.

“Officers arrived along with paramedics who pronounced the burglary suspect deceased at the scene,” Zabel said.

Zabel said the suspected burglar is a male. No other identifying information was available on the resident or suspect Sunday.

There are no reports of the residents being injured, she said. Homicide investigators were still on scene Sunday morning.

Zabel said it is too early to speculate on whether the resident would face charges.

“The case will be presented to the (district attorney’s) office upon conclusion of the investigation, who will determine if charges will be filed if any.” Zabel said.

The shooting comes less than three weeks after an 80-year-old man caught a man and woman ransacking his house in the city’s upscale Bixby Knolls neighborhood. The homeowner shot at both of them and fatally wounded the woman in the alley outside the home, authorities said.

The man and woman, who police said had criminal histories consistent with the crime, “body slammed” homeowner 80-year-old Tom Greer onto the floor when he confronted them, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said. Greer suffered a broken collarbone in the scuffle.

Greer got up and was able to retrieve a gun and fired at the intruders inside the home. He then pursued them as they fled out of the garage and into the alley, where Greer shot the woman, police said.

 

 

West Hollywood Mayor: Stop ‘Institutionalized Fetishization of Kids,’ Make Room For Dogs

This is as sick as it gets. The Mayor of West Hollywood is upset that local parks are developed for the enjoyment of children. Horrors. Instead he wants to make the city parks dog friendly as the first priority. In fact, West Hollywood has as many children as it does dogs—so dogs must get more (as if they were people). Why do people in 49 States laugh at California? Because the Mayor of West Hollywood is upset that people has a “fetish” about children—and not dogs. Where is Jay Leno when we need him?

“The new park, which includes two rooftop swimming pools, a $3-million “grand staircase,” and a landscaped rooftop “respite deck,” is set to entertain the adults in the city. Based on the residents high regard for dogs, the park makeover will have to revaluate the facility to make it more man’s-best-friend friendly. The city has 1,000 licensed dogs, which leads one to believe the overall amount of dogs would exceed the population of children.”

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West Hollywood Mayor: Stop ‘Institutionalized Fetishization of Kids,’ Make Room For Dogs

by Robert Wilde, Breitbart CA,   8/9/14

The mayor of West Hollywood is objecting to new plans to renovate its central park, claiming that the new design pays too much attention to children and not enough to dogs.

Mayor John D’Amico says that having a wonderful park with three play areas for children but no area for the dogs to run free is “sort of institutionalized fetishization of kids.” West Hollywood is known as the “Creative City,” and boasts that more than one-third of its population identifies as LGBT. The Los Angeles Times reports that the city has only 1100 children age 14 or under out of a population of over 34,000.

The new park, which includes two rooftop swimming pools, a $3-million “grand staircase,” and a landscaped rooftop “respite deck,” is set to entertain the adults in the city. Based on the residents high regard for dogs, the park makeover will have to revaluate the facility to make it more man’s-best-friend friendly. The city has 1,000 licensed dogs, which leads one to believe the overall amount of dogs would exceed the population of children.

The Times reported that West Hollywood loves its dogs so much that it officially designates the humans who live with them as “guardians,” not owners. Mayor John D’Amico is the proud guardian to two dogs, Cody and Decker.

 

Obama has Already Lost Contact with 38,000 Of His Imported Illegal Aliens

Barack Obama has allowed 38,000 known criminals to be caught by ICE—then thinking an illegal alien was bass, he caught and released them. In fact, ICE caught, 57,000 illegal aliens—but now can only tell where 20,000 of these criminals are—the rest are with gangs, perverts, cartel druggies and some about to infect government schools with untreated communicable diseases. VISA keeps track of 50,000,000 people—and Obama decided NOT to keep control of 57,000 criminal he imported into this nation.

“EOIR has recorded 20,814 receipts marked as juvenile in fiscal year 2014 as of June 30, but Border Patrol recorded 57,525 apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during the same time frame. This means immigration courts only have receipts for fewer than four out of every ten unaccompanied alien children apprehended by Border Patrol this fiscal.”

Yet Barack the First is spending $4 trillion of your money—bet he couldn’t pass an audit.

obama rhetoric guns

Government Has No Receipts for Thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children
Government records show discrepancy in apprehensions and court receipts.

By Ryan Lovelace, NRO, 8/8/

The Department of Justice does not have receipts for more than half of the unaccompanied alien children apprehended at the southwest border by Border Patrol since the start of Fiscal Year 2013, government records show.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data show more than 85,000 total apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014 through June. Information from the same time period provided to National Review Online by the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review shows 41,592 total receipts marked as juvenile in immigration courts. Kathryn Mattingly, spokesperson for EOIR, tells NRO the receipts refer to new Notices to Appear (NTA)—the document the Department of Homeland Security uses to charge an illegal immigrant with being removable from the United States.

EOIR has recorded 20,814 receipts marked as juvenile in fiscal year 2014 as of June 30, but Border Patrol recorded 57,525 apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during the same time frame. This means immigration courts only have receipts for fewer than four out of every ten unaccompanied alien children apprehended by Border Patrol this fiscal year. Mattingly said EOIR stands behind the numbers of receipts it has recorded, but would not speak about the difference between the number of juvenile receipts and CBP’s apprehension data.

Within DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have the authority to charge unaccompanied alien children. An ICE spokesperson declined to comment on this story and a USCIS spokesperson referred questions to DHS, which did not respond to requests for comment. A CBP spokesperson responded to NRO’s requests in an email with a link to apprehension data publicly available on CBP’s website, but did not provide comment about the number of NTAs issued to illegal immigrant children.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, tells NRO it is difficult to determine how much of the discrepancy in apprehensions and receipts appears deliberate and the how much resulted because federal officials were overwhelmed with work. “But I think it’s really willful negligence on the part of DHS leadership to allow this already dysfunctional system to become even more overwhelmed,” she says. “It’s just like deliberate chaos.”

Immigration courts have completed only 9,630 cases marked as juvenile in fiscal year 2014, government data shows, despite more than 20,000 juvenile receipts recorded and more than 57,000 UAC apprehensions made in fiscal year 2014 as of June 30, 2014. Mattingly tells NRO it’s important to remember that some of the juvenile cases completed this year may have been first brought in previous years. Not all of the cases completed in fiscal year 2014 were brought in fiscal year 2014.

Part of the discrepancy between the numbers of apprehensions and receipts in the month of June 2014 may be attributable to a new policy implemented by ICE in that same month. The policy makes ICE attorneys wait to file immigration court proceedings until after the Department of Health and Human Services notifies ICE that the unaccompanied juvenile has been placed with a sponsor, or 60 days elapse, ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice has previously told NRO. She said the policy is intended to free up immigration courts’ dockets by eliminating the need for change of venue hearings. While the new policy could explain some of the discrepancy for the month of June 2014, it does not apply to the discrepancy for the previous months of fiscal year 2014 and for the entirety of fiscal year 2013.

No federal official NRO contacted or spoke with provided an explanation as to why the discrepancy exists among apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children and receipts for juveniles.

 

Supreme Court Ruling Costs SEIU $250 MILLION in Dues

Thanks to the Supreme Court, the SEIU can no longer steal the paychecks of home assistance workers in Illinois. Because of this, several others States, controlled by the unions, laws passed to allow the SEIU to rip off poor workers can no longer be enforced—in some States the SEIU is giving back the money they stole. The better news would be if they gave back the money of all workers they stole from, workers that do not want to pay a bribe in order to work.

““In light of the uncertainty created by the United States Supreme Court’s June 30, 2014, decision in Harris v. Quinn, the union has asked the State to cease deduction of your fair-share fees. No such fees will be deducted from your future paychecks,” the July 8 letter said.

In the wake of the Quinn Harris ruling, the NRTW Foundation began filing similar suits in other states with similar practices. The SEIU in Massachusetts and Minnesota ended the dues schemes before those cases could proceed to trial, an acknowledgement that they could not survive the precedent established in Quinn v. Harris.”

SEIUObama

Public Sector Unions Being Hit in the Pocket Book – HARD!

The Right Curmudgeon, 8/7/14

Thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling public sector unions like SEIU are being hammered in the pocket book.  The good news is that means the Democratic Party will get hammered in the pocket book.

The ruling, Quinn v Harris, put a stop to the practice of forcing people like home health care providers, who are often caring for relatives, into joining a union and paying mandatory dues.  The nation, and workers like Ms. Harris who brought the suit against the state of Illinois, is better for this victory.

A number of states with liberal Democratic governors and legislatures – California being the most prominent – had passed rules requiring labor union membership and dues.  That’s all over now.

A Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local in Washington State informed one such member that he or she would no longer be forced to pay dues. The union also indicated that it would explore refunding the dues payments already withdrawn from the member’s stipends.

“In light of the uncertainty created by the United States Supreme Court’s June 30, 2014, decision in Harris v. Quinn, the union has asked the State to cease deduction of your fair-share fees. No such fees will be deducted from your future paychecks,” the July 8 letter said.

In the wake of the Quinn Harris ruling, the NRTW Foundation began filing similar suits in other states with similar practices. The SEIU in Massachusetts and Minnesota ended the dues schemes before those cases could proceed to trial, an acknowledgement that they could not survive the precedent established in Quinn v. Harris.

This decision will cost unions like SEIU and AFSCME up to 500,000 members at about $500 per year each.  That adds up to about $250 million in lost dues and lost donations to the Democratic Party.

 

Greenhut: Is it time for California pension reformers to close shop?

    The people of San Jose passed a ballot measure to save itself from bankruptcy due to a corrupt pension system. 70% voted for it and a few judges stopped the implementation. In San Diego 69% of the voters supported a similar measure to save the city from billions in payments it cannot afford—again, judges preferred San Diego to go bankrupt.

Now the people of Ventura County signed petitions to save the County from financial disaster—but a few judges have decided this County must pay the penalty of being controlled by unions—watch our taxes go up, quality of service go down.

“They halt statewide initiatives. They kill even modest reforms in the Legislature. State administrative agencies file lawsuits against municipalities where voters pass reform (San Diego). The unions file and win lawsuits. The latest came in Ventura County, where a court ruled this week a pension reform measure that mainly affected new hires wasn’t legal. That measure was designed to be a template for 20 “37 Act” counties that have their own pension systems as authorized by a 1937 law.”

pension debt

Is it time for California pension reformers to close shop?

By Steven Greenhut, for Watchdog.org, 8/7/14

The pension numbers are clear. Despite some good recent returns, California’s pension systems are in a deep hole, the result of a decade of expanding pension promises and underfunding the payment of them.

Essentially, any California public-sector worker on the job in the last decade — especially police officers, firefighters, prison guards and the rapidly expanding category of “public safety” worker — have been made millionaires by fiat. One would need millions of dollars in the bank to match the guaranteed pensions provided to this group.

Meanwhile, services are declining, taxes are going up and the most depressed cities are going bankrupt. Something has to give.

Nevertheless, the pension-reform movement is dead in the water. The vast array of California officialdom, which sees itself as part of the union workforce more than as representatives of the taxpayers, has stymied reform at every turn.

They halt statewide initiatives. They kill even modest reforms in the Legislature. State administrative agencies file lawsuits against municipalities where voters pass reform (San Diego). The unions file and win lawsuits. The latest came in Ventura County, where a court ruled this week a pension reform measure that mainly affected new hires wasn’t legal. That measure was designed to be a template for 20 “37 Act” counties that have their own pension systems as authorized by a 1937 law.

No on that too. The judge told reformers to go the Legislature. Of course, the union-controlled Legislature tells reformers to go to the voters.

But when the voters approve reforms — and they almost always do by huge margins, even in overwhelmingly Democratic cities — reformers then must go to the courts, which then find for the unions. Even in bankruptcy, lowly cities (lowly, because they are financially strapped) cannot take on the political muscle of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — a scandal-plagued system that promised massive pension spiking won’t cost taxpayers a dime (oops).

No one cares that such self-interested promises (CalPERS employees enjoy the increased pensions, too) not only don’t come true, but are so far off the mark they threaten the health of the state budget. Sorry, taxpayers can be made to pay more. So that in depressed cities such as Stockton, Vallejo and San Bernardino, where most residents get by on $50,000 incomes or less, these same residents are being forced to pay higher taxes to sustain the $150,000 pensions and salaries enjoyed by cops and firefighters. But most efforts to modestly rein in this giveaway are stopped, crushed and rebuked.

As I explain in my U-T San Diego column, pension reformers have an indomitable spirit, pension reformers are so used to losing that they roll with the punches, regroup and undertake new efforts to promote a modicum of fiscal responsibility. They raise money for the effort. They use up volunteers’ time. They are the ultimate good-government actors rebuffed at every turn by some of the nation’s greediest interest groups who always want the same thing: “more.”

But instead of regrouping, pension reformers should hoist the white flag. Enough already. The governor has spoken. The Legislature has spoken. The courts have spoken. The state administrative agencies have spoken. No reform, they say. No way, no how. Not even for new workers. Not even to halt crazy abuses. At some point, California reformers need to spend their time doing something more constructive, such as figuring out which city in Texas to relocate.

 

Elias: NO GETTING AWAY FROM CORRUPTION IN STATE GOVERNMENT?

Government by definition is corrupt. It takes money at the point of a gun from those that earn it. Then they give your money to those who earn nothing, demand welfare, the special interests, payoffs to unions and donors get contracts (who do you think finances the school bonds, road and transportation bonds—construction firms and other vendors expecting to get a contract.)

Is it a surprise that a State Senator used $100 million of “tax incentives” for Hollywood as bait for bribes? Agencies decide to punish their critics and look the other way for their supporters. Unions are allowed to harass business owners—take over legislative offices—and never a charge—government knows who the Master is.

“A month earlier, this column caught the state Energy Commission earmarking more than $28

million in “hydrogen highway” grants for a new company co-founded by a consultant who only months earlier drew the map determining where hydrogen refueling stations will go and then trained commission staff on how to evaluate grants.”

Government is corrupt. NEVER vote to give it money for bonds, tax increases or parcel taxes—they will abuse you and the money.

Photo Courtesy of DB's travels, Flickr.

Photo Courtesy of DB’s travels, Flickr.

 

NO GETTING AWAY FROM CORRUPTION IN STATE GOVERNMENT?

BY THOMAS D. ELIAS, California Focus, 8/8/14

To some, it seems almost as if California has lately become New Jersey West. Incidents of possible corruption and conflict of interest are seemingly exposed at least once a month these days, with almost no consequences for anyone involved.

Some examples:

—  Last month, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the president of the state’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Alan Trounson, took a job with a private company shortly after the institute gave the firm a $19 million grant. Whether or not that was payback for Trounson, it didn’t look good.

—  A month earlier, this column caught the state Energy Commission earmarking more than $28

million in “hydrogen highway” grants for a new company co-founded by a consultant who only months earlier drew the map determining where hydrogen refueling stations will go and then trained commission staff on how to evaluate grants.

No conflict of interest there, the commission insisted. Right.

— More recently, the San Francisco Chronicle uncovered emails in which the chief of staff to Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey advised officials of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on how to fend off lawsuits over the deadly 2010 explosion of a PG&E natural gas pipeline in San Bruno.

Never mind that the fact Peevey is the former president of a large utility by itself should have raised sufficient conflict of interest questions to prevent his getting that job in the first place.

These revelations – probably just the tip of a conflict of interest and corruption iceberg, because each exposure most likely required a tip from an insider – suggest that corruption may be rampant in state government.

The incidents are magnified because they arose while the state Senate steadfastly refuses to expel three members who have been either convicted or indicted for crimes ranging from lying about place of residence to accepting bribes for votes and assisting supposed gun-runners. Instead, all three are under suspension, but with full pay, most likely until their terms end.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown – who could have stopped the Energy Commission grants had he wished, but might not have been able to influence the other recent episodes – took off on a Mexico trade mission accompanied by a full retinue of lobbyists and corporate executives whose contributions for the trip gained them better access than usual to Brown. Nothing is more important to special interest lobbyists and executives than access to power.

Nasty as all this appears, it isn’t very different from what’s gone on before. One of the key causes of the 2003 recall of ex-Gov. Gray Davis was the fact that he at least gave the appearance of trading favors for campaign contributions. The classic example came when an Oracle Corp. representative turned over $25,000 in putative campaign funds to a Davis aide within days of the company getting a $95 million state software contract without competitive bidding.

Of course, the recall and subsequent election of muscleman actor Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t improve matters. He began by promising never to take special interest campaign contributions, but accepted more than $5 million during the recall election alone. He promised to set up a special panel to investigate his own well-documented womanizing, but never did.

He ended his seven years in office by sharply reducing a murder sentence for the son of his buddy Fabian Nunez, the former speaker of the state Assembly, leading to speculation about  items for which this might have been payback.

Schwarzenegger also gave special treatment to oil companies that contributed to his campaigns, suddenly began backing liquefied natural gas imports after one of his top political consultants became a lobbyist for the Australian energy firm BHP Billiton and paid three of his top staffers from both his campaign committee and state funds. These items all came within his first two years in office.

There was also the fact that Schwarzenegger’s magazine contract partner, American Media – also publisher of the National Enquirer – paid one of his alleged former mistresses $20,000 for exclusive rights to her story and then deep-sixed it.

None of this stuff has been unique. It’s all the product of California’s very lax conflict of interest laws. Because governors and legislators have shown little interest for decades in tightening them, such corruption is to be expected and will likely continue, whoever may be in power.

Monthly Medi-Cal Complaint Investigations Up 82% This Year

Doctors are dropping out of serving Medi-Cal patients. Many doctors that did serve these patients are accepting NO more Medi-Cal patients. The lines are long, waiting periods are extended and the quality of care is quickly headed to Third World status. People thought they were going to get quality care—instead they are receiving government care—as if they were going to a VA facility.

People are complaining, almost double from a year ago—expect this to grow.

“As a result of the increase in communications, the number of cases of serious or complicated issues also increased.  About 44% of calls and emails in the first six months of this year resulted in cases, compared with 32% in all of 2013.

Between January and June, the Ombudsman Office investigated about 9,466 cases per month — an 82% increase over the monthly average in 2013. So far this year, the office has received 56,793 cases, compared with 54,813 in all of 2013.”

medicare obamacare healthcare

 

 

Monthly Medi-Cal Complaint Investigations Up 82% This Year

California Healthline, 8/8/14

Click on topic to receive periodic emails.

California Department of Health Care Services investigations involving consumers with serious or complicated issues related to Medi-Cal increased by more than 80% this year, HealthyCal reports. Medi-Cal is the state’s Medicaid program.

DHCS’ Managed Care Ombudsman Office is in charge of responding to Medi-Cal concerns (Guzik, HealthyCal, 8/7).

Background on Medi-Cal Expansion

Under the ACA, a state expansion of Medi-Cal allows individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $15,415 annually, to gain coverage (California Healthline, 9/18/13).

However, a spokesman for the state on Aug. 1 said that 490,000 Medi-Cal applications still are awaiting verification (California Healthline, 8/4).

Details of Caseload

In the first six months of this year, the Ombudsman Office received an average of 21,689 calls and emails per month, compared with 14,381 calls and emails per month in 2013 — a 51% increase.

Williams said that a review this month found that calls and emails to the office included:

  • Complaints, accounting for 4% of calls;
  • Requests for expedited enrollment or unenrollment, accounting for 60% of calls; and
  • Questions about other issues, such as eligibility and continuity of care.

DHCS spokesperson Norman Williams said that “a high volume of contacts to the Ombudsman” since the expansion of Medi-Cal have been “related to health care plan issues, including how to access services or who to contact at the plan level with specific questions.”

As a result of the increase in communications, the number of cases of serious or complicated issues also increased.  About 44% of calls and emails in the first six months of this year resulted in cases, compared with 32% in all of 2013.

Between January and June, the Ombudsman Office investigated about 9,466 cases per month — an 82% increase over the monthly average in 2013. So far this year, the office has received 56,793 cases, compared with 54,813 in all of 2013.

However, Williams noted that the office does not track the number of missed calls and emails, such as when individuals hang up after being placed on hold. The office also does not record the length of time it takes to resolve cases.

DHCS Response

Williams said the Ombudsman Office has hired 12 additional workers — for a total of 21 employees — to address consumers’ concerns and questions.

In addition, he said that DHCS is upgrading its software to track the number of consumers who called or emailed the Ombudsman Office multiple times (HealthyCal, 8/7).

California Department of Health Care Services investigations involving consumers with serious or complicated issues related to Medi-Cal increased by more than 80% this year, HealthyCal reports. Medi-Cal is the state’s Medicaid program.

DHCS’ Managed Care Ombudsman Office is in charge of responding to Medi-Cal concerns (Guzik, HealthyCal, 8/7).

Background on Medi-Cal Expansion

Under the ACA, a state expansion of Medi-Cal allows individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $15,415 annually, to gain coverage (California Healthline, 9/18/13).

However, a spokesman for the state on Aug. 1 said that 490,000 Medi-Cal applications still are awaiting verification (California Healthline, 8/4).

Details of Caseload

In the first six months of this year, the Ombudsman Office received an average of 21,689 calls and emails per month, compared with 14,381 calls and emails per month in 2013 — a 51% increase.

Williams said that a review this month found that calls and emails to the office included:

  • Complaints, accounting for 4% of calls;
  • Requests for expedited enrollment or unenrollment, accounting for 60% of calls; and
  • Questions about other issues, such as eligibility and continuity of care.

DHCS spokesperson Norman Williams said that “a high volume of contacts to the Ombudsman” since the expansion of Medi-Cal have been “related to health care plan issues, including how to access services or who to contact at the plan level with specific questions.”

As a result of the increase in communications, the number of cases of serious or complicated issues also increased.  About 44% of calls and emails in the first six months of this year resulted in cases, compared with 32% in all of 2013.

Between January and June, the Ombudsman Office investigated about 9,466 cases per month — an 82% increase over the monthly average in 2013. So far this year, the office has received 56,793 cases, compared with 54,813 in all of 2013.

However, Williams noted that the office does not track the number of missed calls and emails, such as when individuals hang up after being placed on hold. The office also does not record the length of time it takes to resolve cases.

DHCS Response

Williams said the Ombudsman Office has hired 12 additional workers — for a total of 21 employees — to address consumers’ concerns and questions.

In addition, he said that DHCS is upgrading its software to track the number of consumers who called or emailed the Ombudsman Office multiple times (HealthyCal, 8/7).

 

Medical Marijuana Patients Want Cleaner Air on California Coast

This is chutzpah!!! Those using marijuana—for “medical” reasons” are being used by Hollywood slickie attorneys and the radical environmentalists to complain that the “dirty” air is killing them! Easy to make a legal claim, force taxpayers to spend millions to defend a frivolous lawsuit—then lazy government attorneys will “settle” with expensive job killing measures. The world has gone crazy when pot users sue because they do not like the “air”.

Why are they suing? This is really crazy. The city of San Diego has limited the number of pot shops in town, hence pot users need to travel further—therefore, the air is bad. My guess every pot user will be given a free TESLA, instead of told to pay for the court costs and grow up and stop harming taxpayers.

“This “extremely restrictive approach” will require “thousands of patients to drive across the City of San Diego to obtain their medicine because cooperatives are only allowed in certain limited places in the city, which will create traffic and air pollution,” the lawsuit states.”

Cannabis marijuana weed pot

 

Medical Marijuana Patients Want Cleaner Air on California Coast

By ROBERT KAHN, Court House News, 8/7/14

 

Marijuana patients claim in court that San Diego and the California Coastal Commission will foul the air, snarl traffic and force people to grow marijuana indoors, wasting energy and increasing global warming, because of their wrongheaded decision to allow no more than 36 marijuana co-ops in the city.
The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients sued the Coastal Commission and San Diego on Aug. 1, in San Diego County Court.
The rather bizarre and quite technical complaint challenges the Coastal Commission’s June 11 approval of a San Diego city ordinance of March 25, which authorized medical marijuana co-ops in the city.
The zoning-oriented ordinance allows medical marijuana co-ops only in certain industrial and commercial zones, and requires buffer zones between co-ops and residential areas.
“The ordinance caps the total number of cooperatives at 36 and places a limit of four per Council District,” the Los Angeles-based Union of Medical Marijuana Patients says in the lawsuit. But because of the zoning restrictions, the union says, only 30 pot stores are “even possible” under the law.
This “extremely restrictive approach” will require “thousands of patients to drive across the City of San Diego to obtain their medicine because cooperatives are only allowed in certain limited places in the city, which will create traffic and air pollution,” the lawsuit states.
It claims that the Coastal Commission, which had to approve the City Council ordinance under the California Environmental Quality Act, “failed to analyze the reasonably foreseeable consequences of increased indoor cultivation of medical marijuana” because of the restrictive zoning.
“Petitioner informed the Commission that patients might cultivate their own medicine in their homes if a cooperative failed to obtain its CUP [Conditional Use Permit] or relocated far from where its patients resided,” the complaint states.
The 14-page lawsuit is replete with interesting numbers about medical marijuana in San Diego.
It states, inter alia:
that when the City Council approved the ordinance “there were an estimated 26,451 medical marijuana patients in the city and 30 storefront cooperatives operating in the city (not to mention groups of people that cultivate and share medical marijuana outside of a storefront setting who would nevertheless be defined as a ‘cooperative’ under the Ordinance);”
that “Based on the existing patient base, existing patients may establish up to 26,451 home cultivation sites in the city to meet their personal needs if the cooperatives are significantly reduced in number or fail to obtain a CUP from the city;”
that “Assuming each patient uses 1 ounce of marijuana per month, then 19,838 pounds of cannabis per year would need to be cultivated to meet patient needs in the city;”
that “On average, approximately one third of cannabis production takes place under indoor conditions. Approximately two-thirds of all cannabis is produced outdoors. In California, 400,000 individuals are authorized to cultivate cannabis for personal medical use, or sale for the same purpose to 2,100 dispensaries;”
that “One average kilogram of cannabis is associated with 4,600 kg of carbon dioxide emissions (greenhouse-gas pollution) to the atmosphere, a very significant carbon footprint, or that of 3 million average U.S. cars when aggregated across all national production;”
that “Indoor cannabis production results in electricity use equivalent to that of 2 million average U.S. homes. This corresponds to 1 percent of national electricity consumption;”
that “In California, the top-producing state, indoor cultivation is responsible for about 3 percent of all electricity use or 9 percent of household use. This corresponds to greenhouse-gas emissions equal to those from 1 million cars;”
and that “Accelerated electricity demand growth has been observed in areas reputed to have extensive indoor cannabis cultivation. For example, after the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996, Humboldt County experienced a 50 percent rise in per-capita residential electricity use compared to other parts of the state.”
The union claims that it is “reasonably foreseeable” that indoor pot gardens will increase due to the restrictive ordinance. This will increase wastewater, biowaste (stems, presumably), and electrical consumption, environmental impacts “which the Commission failed to appreciate.”
The union claims the defendants failed to conduct an adequate environmental assessment of their plan, which is required by CEQA, and it wants the approval of the plan set aside until it complies with CEQA, and costs.
Learned counsel for the plaintiffs is Jamie T. Hall, with the Channel Law Group, of Long Beach, assisted by Julian K. Quattlebaum.

 

Enviro coalition offers its own water plan–in reality NO $$ for Dams

The environmentalists want to spend $6 billion on water—but, when you read their measure carefully, not a DIME for dams or water storage. Note that $2.4 billion is to be spent for groundwater cleanup and storage. So, if Brown spend $2.4 billion for groundwater cleanup, he is keeping faith with the bond measure. This is how government uses weasel words to claim in ads “$2.4 billion for water storage” and then if passed spend $2.4 billion for groundwater cleanup instead. Corruption, government style.

“According to statement released by the coalition, their $6 billion plan would contain $1 billion clean drinking water, $1.5 billion for conservation and recycling, $1.1 billion for watershed protection and restoration and about $2.4 billion for groundwater cleanup and storage.”

RB Drought

Enviro coalition offers its own water plan

by JOHN HOWARD, Capitol Weekly,   8/6/14

 

A day after Gov. Brown proposed a $6 billion water bond for the November ballot, an environmental coalition offered their own plan with a similar price-tag and with $1.5 billion for recycling and conservation, and $800 million to treat waste water and develop drinking water projects.

The group includes Friends of the River, the Planning and Conservation League, the Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters of California. The coalition said its proposal stiffens legislative oversight over the bond spending and cuts out special interest projects that it said was contained in the $11.14 billion bond scheduled to go before voters in November.

With three weeks left in the 2013-14 legislative session, lawmakers and water interests are seeking to reach a compromise on a water bond. The bond now facing voters, Proposition 43, was approved five years ago for the statewide ballot but delayed twice because of concerns that such a large bond would be approved by voters. Brown, in the alternative bond he offered this week, said the debt service on the $11.14 billion bond would reach $750 million annually over the next 30 years.

The environmental coalition said its plan “ensures that residents in all parts of the state would benefit proportionally from the bond. It addresses water quality and water availability in both urban and agricultural communities.”

According to statement released by the coalition, their $6 billion plan would contain $1 billion clean drinking water, $1.5 billion for conservation and recycling, $1.1 billion for watershed protection and restoration and about $2.4 billion for groundwater cleanup and storage. The measure is neutral on the Brown administration’s plan to build a pair of 35-mile-long tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to move northern water south.

Replacing the current bond on the ballot requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature and the governor’s signature. Lawmakers adjourn on Aug. 31.