Waymo Can Finally Bring Truly Driverless Cars to California

WaymoTHE DRIVERLESS CARS cometh. Waymo just became the first company allowed to test fully self-driving cars — the kind with no carbon-based beings behind the wheel — in the state of California.

The outfit that started life as Google’s self-driving car project has been running driver-free cars in Arizona for almost a year, where the state testing rules are far more lax than in California, and where it plans to launch a commercial robo-taxi service by the end of the year. But securing the right to do the same in its home state is still a milestone, and evidence it can win over even comparatively wary regulators to the way of the robot.

To begin, the truly driverless cars will test only at up to 65 mph in the southern Bay Area, in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto. (Waymo and its parent company Alphabet are headquartered in Mountain View.) The company said it will inform local governments before expanding its tests any further. And though Waymo has clearly stated its intention to run its own driverless taxi service, the company’s first driver-free passengers will only be employees. Waymo did not say when it will open its cars to the wider California public. …

Click here to read the full article from Wired

San Francisco leaders hate Trump enough they voted to limit the city’s water rather than do this

Delta TunnelsFor months, San Francisco, a hotbed of anti-Donald Trump sentiment, has found itself in the awkward position of being aligned with his administration over California water policy.

On Tuesday, the city’s leaders said the alliance was unbearable.

In an 11-0 vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors agreed in a resolution to support the State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to leave more water in the San Joaquin River and its tributaries to benefit struggling fish populations. The supervisors’ vote is subject to veto by Mayor London Breed, although the board could override the veto.

The vote splits the city from the Trump administration and instead moves its support to a state plan that its utilities commission warns could lead to severe drinking water shortages for its nearly 884,000 residents. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

CA Spent $4 billion on Medi-Cal for People Not Eligible

MedizinCalifornia spent $4 billion on Medi-Cal coverage between 2014 and 2017 for people who may not have been eligible for the government-funded health plan, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Medi-Cal provides health coverage to 13.1 million Californians, approximately one-third of the state’s population. To qualify, a single adult must make less than $16,754 annually.

County workers typically determine whether someone is eligible for health coverage under Medi-Cal, then send that information to the state. But the records don’t always match up.

The audit found 453,000 beneficiaries who were marked as eligible in the state’s system, but not in the counties’ — indicating that they may not have actually been eligible for Medi-Cal. These beneficiaries may have died, moved or begun making more money and no longer qualified for Medi-Cal. …

Click here to read the full article from the Los Angeles Times

Riverside County Sheriff Sued Over Concealed Weapon Policies

Gun Open CarrySheriff Stan Sniff’s policy on who gets to carry concealed weapons in Riverside County is unconstitutional because it excludes legal U.S. residents, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 19 in federal court. Sniff denounced the lawsuit, filed by a county resident and five gun rights groups, as politically motivated and designed to help his opponent in the Nov. 6 election.

In his lawsuit, Arie van Nieuwenhuyzen, a legal U.S. resident who was born in The Netherlands, argues his rights were violated last year when the Sheriff’s Department told him he could not apply for a permit because he is not a U.S. citizen. The Riverside resident and business owner said he bought a handgun for self-defense purposes, a need that extends beyond his home.

“Courts across the country have long held that legal United States residents are entitled to the same constitutional protections as everyone else,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, George M. Lee, said in a statement. “Sheriff Sniff’s discriminatory and unconstitutional policies and practices are denying people access to the right to keep and bear arms and violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s command that all people shall enjoy equal protection of our laws.” The other plaintiffs are the Calguns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation. …

Click here to read the full article from the Riverside Press-Telegram

Oakland’s pot equity program withering on the vine

Marijuana smokingOakland’s long-touted program to help black and brown pot entrepreneurs succeed alongside bigger marijuana businesses is dead.

Officially, it’s around still. But it may as well not be.

The program was crafted so Oakland natives and longtime residents, especially those arrested and jailed for marijuana-related offenses during the failed war on drugs, could get a stake in the legitimized cannabis industry.

For two years, the city sold a dream to hundreds of hopeful people: 616 applicants sought assistance under the equity program as of last month, city records show. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco’s Smallest House on Market for $650,000

Photo courtesy of Zillow

Photo courtesy of Zillow

The smallest house in San Francisco currently on the market is priced at $650,000 for a “shabby” 480 square feet abode.

According to SFGate, the house is 480 square feet, has one bedroom and one bathroom, and despite the $650,000 price tag, it is “among the cheapest homes in the city.”

“The shabby, pale pink abode at 66 Bishop St. is a bonafide fixer-upper, but the 2,500 square-foot-lot and the opportunity to remodel and rebuild could be of enormous value,” SFGate claimed. “This is the sort of property contractors and developers scoop up, but it might also be a project for a first-time buyer looking to squeeze into S.F.’s sky-high market, where the median price paid for a home is around $1.3 million.”

Real estate agent Linda Ngo declared, “There aren’t many homes in San Francisco listed at this price… You just have to be willing to put in some elbow grease.”

According to AreaVibes, the San Francisco crime rate is 105 percent higher than the average crime rate in California, and 117 percent higher than the national U.S. crime rate, despite also topping the list of most expensive places to live in the world. …

Click here to read the full article from Breitbart.com

Middle class is disappearing in California as wealth gap grows

PovertyCalifornia made major news this month, surpassing Britain and reclaiming a valuable economic marker as the fifth largest economy in the world. Its post-recession growth is accelerating under President Trump’s administration and the state even turned in a modest surplus.

However, the state remains one of the most unequal in the nation — one that has both billions of dollars in Silicon Valley and rampant homelessness. The Golden State’s efforts to eliminate poverty instead accentuates it, and its tax system inadvertently aids those who are already wealthy. With the middle class leaving in droves, California’s society represents a neo-feudal mix of robber barons and poor. It’s an unsustainable mixture.

California has a gross domestic product of more than $2.7 trillion. This represents about 13.9 percent of the national U.S. economy. The topline numbers are a bit misleading, as the state represents a similar 12.1 percent of the national population.

California represented the world’s fifth largest economy before the recession, falling to 10th largest in 2012 while growing at an anemic 0.1 percent per year. The state has been fortunate to be the center of the tech and internet sectors, which represent almost 10 percent of the total. Part of the growth was due to a rapidly expanding real estate sector, which heavily benefits wealthy residents. …

Click here to read the full article from The Hill

San Francisco to allow noncitizens to vote for school board

San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco will become the largest city in the United States and one of only a handful nationwide to allow noncitizens, including people in the country illegally, to vote in a local election in November.

They are only allowed to vote in the city school board race, and the fear that their information may reach U.S. officials appears to be stronger than the desire to have a say in their children’s education. Only 35 noncitizens have signed up to vote as of Monday, the registration deadline in California, according to San Francisco’s Department of Elections. The state allows people to register and vote on Election Day.

Voters in 2016 approved a measure allowing parents or guardians of a child in San Francisco schools to help elect representatives to the school board regardless of their immigration status. In the same election, Donald Trump won the presidency and has since cracked down on illegal immigration and ramped up rhetoric against those living in the U.S. illegally. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press

California Adds Extra Review to Prevent Voter Registration Errors at DMV

vote-buttonsWith the midterm elections quickly approaching, California officials are taking extra steps to prevent people from being improperly registered to vote.

The Department of Motor Vehicles, which has been automatically registering customers since the spring, will now complete a manual review of a sample of those registrations each day before sharing them with the Secretary of State’s Office to be added to the voter rolls.

California’s Motor Voter program came under fire in recent months after thousands of registration errors occurred when customers came to DMV field offices. Non-citizens are among those believed to have been wrongfully added to the voter rolls, and it remains unclear whether any of them voted in the June primary. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

California unemployment rate at record low 4.1%

JobsCalifornia’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in September, a record low since it started tracking the number this way in 1976, the Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The Bay Area boasted the state’s lowest unemployment rates, falling below 3 percent in eight of the nine counties, all but Solano, where it was still under the statewide average.

The San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose metro areas all posted unemployment rates that were the lowest for the month of September since 1990. They fell below the lows set in September 1999, the peak of the dot-com boom.

Economists cheered the numbers, coming 10 years after the financial crisis that sent the country into a tailspin, but said they may be overstating the health of the labor market. Wage growth is still subpar, with benefits and bonuses making up a growing percentage of total compensation. And the labor force participation rate, which measures the percent of the adult population with a job, is markedly below where it was 10 year ago. This suggests that there are still discouraged workers sitting on the sidelines who could be pulled back into the labor force if wages were more enticing and employers more willing to hire them. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle