Archive for the ‘California’ Category

UPDATE: NOON PDT 5/9-  Sen. Correa submitted SB 251 to wait presentation shortly after opening remarks to the California Senate Appropriations Committee.  A very brief comment was allowed later on SB 251 from an American Friends Committee member towards the matter of selective service information used from drivers license applicants.  The Committee Chair later called for the suspension of the bill towards a vote based on the issue of costs.

During the hearing, Cindy Sheehan’s, Peace of the Action advocate Gregory Vickrey, issued remarks to press concerning Sacramento’s “occupation” by active anti-draft constituencies. Members of CODE PINK and respective members of anti-draft coalitions, World Can’t Wait for We Are Not Your Soldiers were also accounted for in support of the actions.

In a related highlight, Sen. Joe Simitian, Palo Alto, presented a fiscally conservative bill SB 29 during the hearing which advances privacy protections for driver identity and the ability to challenge red light cameras.  The affirmative bill was moved for a vote.

###

BTC – The California Senate Appropriations committee will be holding a hearing Monday morning to discuss federal and state appropriations and funding for SB 251, a bill mandating drivers sign up for wartime drafts or selective service in the US military.

Several advocates, including the Identity Project, American Friends Committee and local ACLU, have already submitted letters opposed to this identity mandate. Organizers will be attending the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee Conference, in the Bay Area on May 6th & 7th.

Anyone of concern should note the following call to action:

TELL CA SENATE APPROPRIATIONS, NO ON SB 251

WHO: Anti-war, Anti-draft mandateAnti-recruitment, or Anti-identity mandate constituencies

WHAT: Call to direct action opposing the passage or funding of SB 251 at the California Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing

WHEN: Monday, May 9th 11 AM, 2011

WHERE: John L. Burton Hearing Room (4203), State Capitol Sacramento, CA
 *If you can’t attend, but you wish to watch or listen the hearing click here.*

WHY: Opposing mandatory or coercive selective service sign-ons in order to attain a California State drivers license

HOW: Write, call or contact appropriations committee members urging them to Vote NO on 251.

CA SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

“The Transportation Security Administration will honor expired driver’s licenses at the airport but travelers may have to go through some extra screening..”

c/o San Mateo Daily Journal

The Department of Motor Vehicles is suffering a massive backlog in issuing driver’s licenses due to new security features that protect against fraud and counterfeiting.

“We are still looking at six weeks to renew,” DMV spokeswoman Jan Mendoza told the Daily Journal yesterday.

The manufacturer may be having some “growing pains” or “startup issues” related to the high-tech licenses, Mendoza said.

Those who have recently renewed their licenses and have yet to receive them do not have to worry about making alternative travel plans or getting in trouble with law enforcement, for instance.

The Transportation Security Administration will honor expired driver’s licenses at the airport but travelers may have to go through some extra screening, Mendoza said.

Staff in the office of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, are helping residents in both San Francisco and San Mateo counties to secure a 120-day temporary license until the backlog is processed at DMV.

:::MORE HERE:::

BTC – You may have noticed.  California’s paparazzi have become detrimental to the health of their communities.  I speak for myself.

Paris Hilton saved myself and others from being trampled.  I was one of a few bystanders on Santa Monica’s promenade when an extremely fast moving whorde of paparazzi shooting pictures took over the sidewalk.  She was leaving a store, waving.  The paparazzi had their backs turned to myself and other bystanders and couldn’t see us.  Within a matter of seconds we were boxed in and the photographers were going to trample us.   Hilton saw the few of us with no way to get out and made a fast decision to move into the center of the street.  The paparazzi followed her quickly and we escaped unharmed.   After being trapped for only a few moments by paparazzi, I realized Los Angeles’ celebrity culture had a real problem.

While I was impressed with Hilton’s quick thinking, I was more astonished by the piranha like nature of these swift stalking celebrity photographers.   I did live to see Paris Hilton, human being, walking on the Promenade without a swarm of paparazzi.   Britney Spears’ was not so lucky.  Her deteriorating mental health episodes in 2008 were relentlessly documented by paparazzi without any limit or respect for her basic human right to privacy.  Sandra Bullock, guilty of no malice, couldn’t leave a friend’s driveway. She was boxed in by flashcam surveillance.

These experiences made me want to carry a tac hammer in my purse.  Had I been in their shoes, vandalizing expensive lens equipment would be a refreshing way for me to establish proper boundaries.  

A new legislation is up for consideration in the California State Assembly, AB 2479.  It would protect people from open stalking and intrusions on their privacy and from aggressive surveillance.

The legislation is important because future public profiles and cases based on a persons public personae might extend to simple yet significant venues like social networks.  If this bill passes celebrity plaintiffs would have the right to sue or press charges against businesses and individuals responsible for commercial surveillance (or surveillance for profit) of their private lives.   In cases where bullying or obsessive stalking occurs due to MySpace or Facebook profiles, depending on the number of “fans”, the law could be helpful in prosecutions.

Nevertheless, the cult following of any celebrity, be it A-List or otherwise, should not interfere with their basic rights to privacy as US citizens.

News Updates c/o San Mateo Daily Journal & The Union Leader (NH)


New Hampshire public servants are accused of abusing driver privacy clauses to cover up misdeeds has stirred outrage in a State known for it’s committment to the “Live Free or Die” motto.   The concern lies over Department of Public Safety officers and New Hampshire State police refusing to reveal on-the-job records of their reports and findings about routine traffic accidents based on the drivers privacy.

A new bill, AB1942, on the way to the California State Senate would allow employers to place video monitors in vehicles to surveill transport drivers to increase and ensure safety.  The cameras not only videotape drivers but records their speed, seatbelt and break usage, and pinpoints exact location.


Written by Steve Taylor and Joey Gomez , Rio Grande Guardian

McALLEN, July 24 – Forty three members of Congress have sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano voicing concern over the “mounting” environmental and societal impact of the border wall and other security barriers.

The lawmakers have asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cooperate with other applicable agencies to create and fund a “robust border-wide environmental monitoring program” and to provide “sufficient mitigation funding” for damage caused by border security infrastructure and enforcement activities along the Southwest border region.

“It is the Secretary’s responsibility to protect the homeland, not selectively destroy our environment,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., one of the 43 members of Congress to sign the letter.

Grijalva, who convened a congressional hearing about the border wall at the University of Texas at Brownsville last year, said a review is necessary to “quantify, compensate for and avoid the negative consequences of border security infrastructure and operations.” He said border communities are “open to working on behalf of security – not a selective security, but rather one that includes habitat, national, border, and regional security.”

Grijalva described the hundreds of miles of border fencing constructed by DHS as a “massive federal project.” He said the project has had “serious consequences upon natural and cultural public resources, and has caused hardship for private land owners, whose lands have been condemned and livelihoods have been disrupted.”

Scott Nicol, a co-founder of the No Border Wall group, pointed out that U.S. Fish and Wildlife estimates that 60 percent of their National Wildlife Refuge tracts in south Texas will be impacted by the border wall. The South Texas tracts were established, in part, for the protection of endangered species such as the ocelot and jaguarondi.

“We are pleased to hear that 43 members of Congress are stepping up to the plate and attempting to correct some of the environmental damage that the border wall has done. If former Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff had not been given the power to waive all laws, this would have been addressed before wall construction began. Chertoff used the Real ID Act to waive the National Environmental Policy Act, along with 35 other federal laws, stopping the usual Environmental Impact Statement process in its tracks,” Nicol told the Guardian.

“Before the first bulldozer dug into the earth to clear a path for the wall, many of its impacts had been predicted. The Environmental Protection Agency warned that blasting in California’s Otay Mountain Wilderness Area would dump thousands of tons of rock and sediment into the Tijuana River. Defenders of Wildlife issued a report on the Arizona wall’s impacts on the ability of endangered Sonoran pronghorn to migrate. U.S. Fish and Wildlife told DHS that Hidalgo County’s levee-border wall would be incompatible with the mission of the wildlife refuges that it would slice through.”

The letter from the members of Congress has this to say about the environmental impact of the border wall in south Texas:

“In south Texas, private land owners and agricultural interests have significant tracts of land that have been or will be isolated to the south of border fencing. Yet, DHS has only offered compensation for the exact footprint of the infrastructure – failure to recognize or compensate for fiscal losses of property value and accessibility caused by the construction of border fencing.”

Nicol said the monitoring and mitigation program that the members of Congress are calling for would be a “good first step towards bringing scientific rigor to an understanding of the wall’s impacts.” However, he said the No Border Wall group is concerned that DHS will ignore its findings, “just as they ignored the Environmental Protection Agency, Defenders of Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.” :::MORE HERE:::