Sen. Dianne Feinstein's outspoken criticism of "CIA interference" in a congressional investigation is in sharp contrast to her defense of an intelligence-gathering community that some say trample on civil liberties.
Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has fretted that the public was losing confidence "in the dedicated men and women of our intelligence community" because of a string of disclosures that she said often lacked important context. In particular, she has defended the National Security Agency's collection of massive amounts of phone records, revealed in detail by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden
Now the California Democrat has turned critical, claiming that Congress was the target of intelligence-gathering. In a Senate floor speech Tuesday she accused the CIA of criminal activity in searching a computer network set up so that lawmakers could review top secret documents provided for an investigation into the use of harsh interrogation techniques.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which often has been a critic of Feinstein, called her speech a "forceful, necessary and historic defense of the constitutional principle of separation of powers."
"After so many years of Congress being unable or unwilling to assert its authority over the CIA, Sen. Feinstein today began to reclaim the authority of Congress as a check on the executive branch," Christopher Alders, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU, said.
Over the past year Feinstein has credited the intelligence community's collection of phone call "metadata" with stopping about a dozen terrorist attacks in the United States. She said lawmakers were briefed on the data collection, and the overwhelming majority of records are never looked at, and are regularly destroyed.
Feinstein also has also been highly critical of Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, two people that some view as whistle-blowers and defenders of the public's civil liberties.
She said last summer that Snowden's actions were "an act of treason" and that he should be prosecuted. Some two years earlier, she wrote a letter with then-Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., asking Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Assange for espionage for releasing classified U.S. documents.
"The unauthorized release of this information, including the recent release of approximately 250,000 State Department documents, is a serious breach of national security and could be used to severely harm the United States and its worldwide interests," the senators wrote.
As Intelligence Committee chairwoman, Feinstein pushed for a review of the CIA's policy of detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists. It is that review that was at the center of Feinstein's speech Tuesday.
She said she went public after learning that the CIA had barred access to more than 900 documents, or parts of documents, that it originally had provided to the committee as part of the review.
"In short, this was the exact sort of CIA interference in our investigation that we sought to avoid at the outset," she said.
Feinstein, who at 80 is the oldest member of the Senate, is serving her fourth full term after easily winning re-election in 2012. Heading the Senate Intelligence Committee has allowed her to sharpen her credentials as an independent, though she is a reliable Democratic vote on most domestic issues.
"I feel I have an obligation to do everything I can to keep this country safe," Feinstein told The New York Times last year in an interview. "So put that in your pipe and smoke it."
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:46:37 -0700
President Barack Obama is fulfilling a State of the Union pledge to preserve more federal lands by adding more California coastline to a national monument.
Obama on Tuesday signed a proclamation permanently protecting some 1,665 acres in Northern California's Mendocino County, just north of Point Arena. He says he wants to make sure the land is cherished and preserved for future generations.
The action expands the California Coastal National Monument that President Bill Clinton created in 2000. The protected area includes coastal bluffs and shelves, onshore sand dunes, tide pools, coastal prairies, riverbanks and the mouth and estuary of the Garcia River. Obama noted that it provides an economic boost to the region through tourism.
Obama's proclamation bypasses Congress, where many public lands bills have been stalled.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:41:40 -0700
Oakland police have released surveillance video images of two armed bandits who robbed a Metro PCS Store in January.
According to investigators, the pair entered the Metro PCS Store at 1811 Park Boulevard on January 24, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.
Both suspects held employees at gunpoint and demanded money and phones. After committing the robbery, the suspects fled on foot.
The first suspect was described as an African American male, 20-26 years old, 5’10”, 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black beanie, a black hooded jacket and black pants.
The second suspect was described as an African American male, in his 30’s, 5’9”, 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black beanie, a green hooded jacket and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Oakland Police Department Robbery and Assault Unit at 510-238-3326.
Oakland Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest in this case.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 13:26:07 -0700
Federal officials are investigating CVS over tens of thousands of prescription pain killers that they say have gone missing from four of the company's California pharmacies, a newspaper reported.
Roughly 37,000 hydrocodone tablets at CVS pharmacies in Turlock, Fairfield, Modesto and Dixon are unaccounted for, according to search-warrant affidavits reported by the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
Hydrocodone — found in such drugs as Vicodin — is one of most widely-abused prescription drugs in the U.S.
Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento, told the Times CVS is facing more than 2,900 possible violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The violations would carry a maximum fine of $29 million, she said.
CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis said the company regularly tells its pharmacists to maintain certain records and paperwork and recently sent them reminders.
The investigations are aimed at "assuring compliance with state and federal requirements for administrative record keeping related to invoices and inventory for controlled substances," DeAngelis said.
The investigation stems from a case involving a CVS store in Rocklin, northeast of Sacramento, where a pharmacy worker was accused in 2012 of hiding a bottle of hydrocodone in her pants, Brian Glaudel, an investigator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in an affidavit.
DEA investigators discovered the other missing drugs after going over records for other CVS stores in the area, Glaudel said.
Warrants were served at each of the four CVS stores last May, Casey Rettig, a special agent in the DEA's San Francisco office, told the Times. She declined further comment, the newspaper said.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:57:05 -0700
An injury rollover crash on Highway 880 in San Leandro late Tuesday morning, triggering a massive backup on the key East Bay transit artery, officials said.
The crash took place around 11:19 a.m. in the northbound lanes near Davis and 880 .
Three lanes were shut down by the crash, backing traffic up through San Leandro.
There was no ETA on when the lanes would reopen.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:07:56 -0700
Just in case you needed another reason to hate the drunk-driving, drag-racing, 50 million followers-having Justin Bieber — enjoy.
"I don't have to listen to anything you have to say."
"I didn't finish, I didn't finish. Oh really? You didn't want to interrupt?"
"Guess what? I don't recall."
"Don't ask me about her again. Don't ask me about her again. Don't ask me about her again."
Justin Bieber gave a deposition Thursday in relation to a case involving one of his bodyguards allegedly roughing up a photographer, and like everything in Bieber's life, the video was published on TMZ, leading to a barrage of headlines and commentary about the Biebs that is actually worse than usual.
"Don't ask me again"
"Depositions are 'yes' and 'no' and brief answers, ugh it's so awful." (Via WNYW)
In all capital letters, Fox News says "SPOILED BRAT!" and also writes, "TMZ couldn’t contain its disgust. And when you watch it, you probably won’t be able to either."
E! News gives its best Buzzfeed impression with, "The 21 Brattiest Moments From Justin Bieber's Very Bratty Video Deposition"
In an piece entitled "Watch Justin Bieber Devolve Into A Child," a Huffington Post writer wants to defend the Biebs but ultimately fails, writing "We wonder about the pressures of childhood fame. Despite our furrowed brows ... Bieber continues to be, generally, the worst."
As for outlets defending Justin Bieber's actions, you'd be hard pressed to find the headline, "Justin Bieber misunderstood!" but that's OK because Justin knows we're all taking this the wrong way.
Bieber tweeted Monday, "Love how some people love to twist and justify the horrible action of others. We all have a right to defend ourselves and feel harassed." (Via Twitter / @justinbieber)
There you go, Justin, a little more of that overwhelming confidence is just what your image needs.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:05:51 -0700
Elephants are fascinating animals, and according to British researchers, they can also distinguish whether people are friends or foes by the way they sound.
According to the study, the largest animal walking the earth can determine a predator from an ally by distinguishing the language, age and gender of a speaker. (Via Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
The researchers played voice recordings of men, women and children of two different ethnic groups to hundreds of wild elephants in Africa to see how they would react to them. (Via BBC)
The Verge reports the elephants acted more fearful and defensive toward the male voices of the Maasai people — an African ethnic group that hunts wild elephants. But they did not act the same way toward women, children and anyone from the nonhunting Kamba group.
That's because Maasai men are the hunters of their group, so the elephants sense women and children pose no threats to them.
But Discovery reports although the elephants reacted cautiously, they did not outright run away because they were able to understand the Maasai men talking meant they were likely not hunting and therefore not a direct threat.
But it doesn't stop there. The researchers then digitally altered the voices of the recordings to make the pitches sound like the opposite gender. The elephants weren't fooled — they still sensed the actual genders of the voices regardless of the way they sounded to the human ear.
Regarding the phenomenon, one of the study's lead researchers tells BBC, "That suggests they're using completely different cues in order to attribute gender."
Whatever those cues, they could provide a lot of insight on how to protect wild elephants. According to The World Wildlife Fund, African elephants are currently classified as vulnerable to extinction because of illegal poaching practices.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:04:29 -0700
Wildlife officials said they will consider a plan to move millions of hatchery-raised salmon by tanker trucks to the ocean if the Sacramento River and its tributaries prove inhospitable due to the drought.
Officials fear the rivers could become too shallow and warm, affecting food supply and making salmon easier to catch by predators, the Sacramento Bee reported.
State and federal officials said Monday they were watching conditions and would be ready to implement the plan next month, barring heavy rains.
Salmon are usually released in April and May from the Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Battle Creek, a tributary of the river.
The hatchery is the largest in the state, producing about 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon.
Such fish are key to West Coast salmon populations, producing most of the wild-caught salmon found in California markets and restaurants. The fish are also key to California's robust salmon sport fishing industry.
"What this means is we'll likely have a much better salmon fishing season in 2016, when these fish reach adulthood, than we would have otherwise gotten," John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, told the Bee.
Unless the state sees lots of rain in March, wildlife officials worry the rivers will slow to a trickle in April and May when young salmon migrate to the sea.
The problem is heightened by water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farms and cities.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is also putting together similar trucking plans for the Feather, American and Mokelumne rivers, which also produce millions of young salmon annually.
Some concerns over trucking the fish have been raised after evidence that the transported fish sometimes swim into the wrong river when they return to spawn as adults, harming the unique genetic traits of the species.
A long-term study is underway to help scientists determine the least disruptive way to transport the salmon.
The trucking plan would be a one-time program meant to protect the fish during the drought. It's similar to one used during the drought of 1991-92.
The state would scrap the plan if heavy rains hit the region.
"We don't want to truck them down if conditions aren't going to be as bad as we think they're going to be," said Bob Clarke, fisheries program supervisor at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 11:39:32 -0700
A study on drug trends from the year 2000 to 2010 found dramatic shifts in the consumption of illicit drugs.
The study by the RAND Corporation found cocaine use fell by half from 2006 to 2010, while marijuana use increased by 30 percent over the same period. (Via Flickr / Torben Bjørn Hansen)
The same study found the U.S. spent an estimated $109 billion on cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine consumption in 2010. That's more than was spent at either furniture or electronics and appliance stores.
HealthDay notes while the yearly amount spent on drugs stayed pretty consistent over the decade-long study, "spending patterns for certain drugs shifted. Much more was spent on cocaine than on marijuana in 2000, but that had reversed by 2010."
While those are some pretty staggering numbers, Businessweek notes there is a "great deal of uncertainty" in the study, and the figures could be off by huge amounts.
It points out while the best estimate for spending on cocaine in 2010 is $28 billion, the possible range is anywhere from $18 billion to $44 billion.
"No one's scanning a bar code when they hand over a bag of coke, and criminal enterprises don't fill out economic data surveys."
â€‹Still, the study's lead author said in a press release the research is "critical for evaluating policies, making decisions about treatment funding and understanding the drug revenues going to criminal organizations."
â€‹That press release acknowledges the study doesn't take into account the recent reported spike in heroin use or the effect of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. The full report was published on the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy website.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 11:34:09 -0700
The Malaysian military has radar data showing the missing Boeing 777 jetliner changed course and made it to the Malacca Strait, hundreds of kilometers (miles) from the last position recorded by civilian authorities, according to a senior military official.
The development injects more mystery into the investigation of the disappearance of Saturday's flight, and raises questions about why the aircraft was not transmitting signals detectable by civilian radar.
Local newspaper Berita Harian quoted Malaysian air force chief Gen. Rodzali Daud as saying radar at a military base had detected the airliner at 2:40 a.m. near Pulau Perak at the northern approach to the strait, a busy waterway that separates the western coast of Malaysia and Indonesia's Sumatra island.
"After that, the signal from the plane was lost," he was quoted as saying.
A high-ranking military official involved in the investigation confirmed the report and also said the plane was believed to be flying low. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
Authorities had earlier said the plane, which took off from Kuala Lumpur on the western coast of Malaysia at 12:40 a.m. Saturday en route to Beijing, may have attempted to turn back, but they expressed surprise that it would do so without informing ground control.
The search for the plane was initially focused on waters between the eastern coast of Malaysia and Vietnam, the position where aviation authorities last tracked it. No trace of the plane, which was carrying 239 people, has been found by than 40 planes and ships from at least 10 nations searching the area.
Earlier Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that search and rescue teams had expanded their scope to the Malacca Strait. An earlier statement said the western coast of Malaysia was "now the focus," but the airline subsequently said that phrase was an oversight. It didn't elaborate. Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the search remained "on both sides" of the country.
Also Tuesday, authorities said two people who boarded the flight using stolen passports were Iranians who had purchased tickets to Europe. Their use of stolen documents had raised speculation of a possible terrorist link.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said investigators had determined one was a 19-year-old Iranian, Pouria Nourmohammadi Mehrdad, and that it seemed likely he was planning to migrate to Germany.
"We believe he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group," Khalid said.
Interpol identified the second man as Seyed Mohammed Reza Delavar, a 29-year-old Iranian, and released an image of the two boarding a plane at the same time. Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the two men traveled to Malaysia on their Iranian passports, then apparently switched to their stolen Austrian and Italian documents.
He said speculation of terrorism appeared to be dying down "as the belief becomes more certain that these two individuals were probably not terrorists." He appealed to the public for more information about them.
Noble said neither of the men had a criminal record.
Malaysia Airlines, meanwhile, said it is investigating an Australian television report that the co-pilot on the missing plane had invited two women into the cockpit during a flight two years ago.
Jonti Roos described the encounter on Australia's "A Current Affair." The airline said it wouldn't comment until its investigation is complete.
Roos said she and her friend were allowed to stay in the cockpit during the entire one-hour flight on Dec. 14, 2011, from Phuket, Thailand, to Kuala Lumpur. She said the arrangement did not seem unusual to the plane's crew.
"Throughout the entire flight, they were talking to us and they were actually smoking throughout the flight," Roos said.
Roos didn't immediately reply to a message sent to her via Facebook.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:50:12 -0700
A police pursuit with speeds topping 100 mph and beginning near the State Capitol covered nearly 90 miles before it ended early Tuesday morning with the suspect’s arrest in Richmond, according to the California Highway Patrol.
CHP Officer John Koven said the chase began near the Capitol on late Monday night after the vehicle fled a traffic stop.
Over the ensuing hours, the suspect took CHP officers on a chase that covered more than 90 miles, four counties and at speeds that topped 100 mph.
As the suspect sped down Highway 80 toward San Francisco, officers spread a spike strip in Vallejo. One of the rear tires blew out and the suspect continued to drive at a high rate of speed on at least one wheel rim.
Koven said officers called off the high-speed pursuit a short time later because “of the danger to the officers and the public.”
The pursuing officers exited the freeway at Carlson Blvd. in Richmond and watched the suspect crash into a utility pole.
The suspect tried to get out of the car and run, but officers quickly caught up with him and arrested him at 1:04 a.m.
The driver, identified as Kyle Buege, 27, was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on suspicion of felony evading police, resisting police, driving under the influence and hit-and-run.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:19:57 -0700
A veteran San Jose police officer has been arrested for a sexual assault in a local hotel room in September, authorities announced Tuesday.
Officer Geoff Graves, 38, surrendered to authorities on Monday after the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of forcible rape against him in an incident on September 22, 2013.
The 6-year veteran was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail and placed on administrative leave. He has posted $100,000 bail and was released Tuesday and was to be arraigned on March 24th.
Authorities said it began as a domestic dispute on September 22, 2013.
Graves was one of the officers who responded to the call. Upon arrival, the officers determined that both spouses were drinking but no crime had occurred.
The victim, a hotel maid, advised the officers of a nearby hotel where she previously worked that she wished to stay at for the night. At approximately 2:32 a.m., Graves, working a single-man patrol car, transported the victim to the hotel.
Investigators said the victim, after getting the hotel key, went to the assigned room alone and fell asleep. Approximately 15 minutes later, the victim heard knocking and opened the door.
Graves allegedly entered the room, grabbed the victim and pushed her onto the bed. He took off parts of his uniform and removed the victim’s pants and undergarment.
Investigators said Graves climbed on top of the victim while she resisted with verbal and physical communication. He allegedly forcibly engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim before leaving the hotel approximately 10 minutes later.
The crime was reported on October 13, 2014 and an investigation was performed by the San Jose Police Department. Physical evidence corroborates the victim’s allegations. The victim positively identified the defendant during the investigation of this incident.
“We take enormous pride in the quality of our law enforcement officers in this County," said District Attorney Jeff Rosen in a prepared statement. "Although rare, on-duty misdeeds bestow an unjustified blight on the stellar reputation of our hard-working peace officers. The defendant will be held accountable for his unlawful actions.”
San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel said the arrest "by no means a reflection of our officers who perform their duties with honor and professionalism on a daily basis."
"Please know that once I became aware of this incident, we quickly and proactively initiated a criminal investigation in cooperation with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office,” the chief said in a prepared statement.
“This is an extremely serious allegation, and if proven true, the officer will be held accountable,” he continued. “While this incident is very troubling and tugs at our integrity, it is an isolated incident and by no means a reflection of our officers who perform their duties with honor and professionalism on a daily basis."
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 08:17:48 -0700
Teresa Barker said it would be funny if it didn’t happen to her family.
The family’s 22-pound black and white Himalayan cat ‘Lux’ went wild at the family home, forcing them to barricade themselves in a bedroom and call 911 for help.
"It's only funny when it's not happening to you.(laugh) when this happens to you,” she said. “I assure you, you will do the same thing."
When the cat clawed their 8-month-old baby in the face. They quickly swatted the cat away from the infant and it went wild – hissing, screeching and chasing the family around the house.
The parents barricaded themselves with the child and the family dog in a bedroom and tried to call animal control. When no one answered they called 911.
The police arrived and were able to contain the cat.
‘Lux’ has been acting normal ever since and the baby wasn’t seriously harmed.
In an interview Tuesday, Barker's boyfriend Lee Palmer says he's taking the feline to a veterinarian. A pet psychologist also is due at the house to see the cat.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 08:11:13 -0700
A female suspect brazenly walked up to the porch in Petaluma and walked off with a stone Buddha statue – a crime that was captured on a video surveillance camera, authorities said.
According to the Petaluma Police Department, the incident took place in the 500 Block of Almanor Street at about 8:22 p.m. on Jan. 17th.
They released screen captures of the video on Tuesday in the hopes someone would recognize the female suspect.
The female suspect is believed to have been associated with another subject driving a white SUV with a sun roof.
Anyone with information about this theft is encouraged to contact the Petaluma Police Department at 707-778-4372.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 07:41:33 -0700
In what could be bad news for bike trail riders, a Supreme Court decision Monday put hundreds of miles of trails across the country at risk.
In an 8-1 vote, the court ruled that land once used by the government for railroad lines should revert back to the original owners once the lines are abandoned. A federal program had been converting many of the lines into bike trails. (Via Bloomberg)
The court found that the government didn't own the land, but just had easements on it — that's permission to use someone else's land — and those easements had expired decades ago.
Wyoming man Marvin Brandt originally sued after the Forest Service moved to convert an old rail line crossing his 83-acre property into bike trails. Before the Supreme Court's decision, Brandt had lost twice in the lower circuits. (Via Google Earth)
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said the legal question had been settled in 1942, in a similar case that ruled land ownership reverted back to the original owner. (Via SCOTUSblog)
But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the lone dissent, criticized the majority's interpretation of that case, and said the court tarnished "the legality of thousands of miles of former rights of way that the public now enjoys as means of transportation and recreation." (Via Bloomberg)
The ruling could jeopardize almost 1,400 miles of trails facilitated by the Rails to Trails program and will set an anti-trail precedent for 80 other cases pending across the nation. (Via Rails to Trails Conservancy)
But according to The Wall Street Journal, Brandt's lawyer says the trail expansion at the center of the case isn't exactly high traffic, with his client only seeing around 50 bikers on the existing trail since 2006, and adding, "The idea that a bunch of people is going to come out there and start riding that trail is asinine."
The justices did not address the lingering question about exactly how much land is at stake, but during oral arguments back in Janurary, Justice Stephen Breyer noted the government keeps poor track of its easements, saying, "For all I know, there is some right-of-way that goes through people's houses."
See more at newsy.com.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 05:54:07 -0700
A tech savvy 2-year-old in Arizona helped save his mother's life after a dog nearly bit her finger off.
"I begged my daughters to call 911 and they're four so they were quite afraid to touch my phone because it was covered in my own blood." (Via ABC)
Laura Toone was loosing blood fast, and just as she thought she was going to pass out...
"Here comes my son from the kitchen bringing me our dish towel and he came over, wiped off the blood himself and proceeded to call my friend on FaceTime." (Via KGUN)
Now, little Bentley is no stranger to FaceTime prank calls to his mom's friends, and he does it so often his calls often go ignored. (Via Buzzfeed)
But this time Connie Guerrero picked up.
She said at first she could just see Bentley, but then she heard screams in the background and called for help. (Via KGUN)
Little Bentley even unlocked the door when firefighters arrived.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 05:26:48 -0700
For the first time since the sale of marijuana became legal in Colorado, the numbers are in – and they're looking pretty good. ... What? You were expecting a pun?
"Marijuana raised $3.5 million in taxes and fees for Colorado in the first month of legal sales. That's in a report just released by the State Department of Revenue." (Via KUSA)
The total sales for recreational pot hit $14 million. Of that, the state collected $2 million. The other $1.5 million in taxes came from medical marijuana sales. (Via CBS)
According to the Los Angeles Times, the revenue came from three taxes: a 10 percent retail sales tax, a 15 percent excise tax and a 2.9 percent state sales tax.
As good as the numbers sound, a writer for The Atlantic isn't impressed, saying: "Governor John Hickenlooper's 2014-2015 budget predicted about $98 million in sales taxes, with $40 million set aside for school construction. At the current rate Colorado won't even reach that level."
An executive director of the Department of Revenue told Bloomberg something different, though, saying: "The first month of sales for recreational marijuana fell in line with expectations. We expect clear revenue patterns will emerge by April and plan to incorporate this data into future forecasts."
Either way, the numbers were enough to convince Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom of California that there are benefits to legalizing marijuana. He told KCBS:
"Somehow we can demonstrate some real conviction on this. Because I know a lot of Republicans up in Sacramento agree on this. We don't need to go to the voters, we can legislate this."
For Colorado though, it seems like everyone wants a piece of the sales.
While $40 million is already committed to schools, Al Jazeera reports state police chiefs are asking for more money. A member of the Joint Budget Committee said, "The whole world wants to belly up to this trough."
Hickenlooper ballparks recreational cannabis sales will hit $610 million by the 2015 fiscal year.
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 04:15:39 -0700
Saint Patrick's Day is Monday March 17, but police agencies on the Peninsula are getting a jump-start on the party with early DUI enforcement.
"People need to be aware these collisions kill people, " Sgt. Jay Kiely of the Burlingame Police Dept. told KTVU. Kiely coordinated saturation patrols Monday night, putting officers from Burlingame, San Mateo, and Hillsborough on the streets in area of high citations and collisions. They hoped their visibility and enforcement would plant the idea, as people plan for St. Patricks Day, also plan a sober way home.
"It's not worth it," Kiely added, "even after a couple of drinks, if you're not sure, call somebody, take a cab, Uber, whatever."
San Mateo County racked up a startling 12 DUI related deaths last year, counting only the crashes on surface streets, not the freeways. That compares to only one the year before. And behind the statistics, are broken families.
"Life is what you make of it Katie, and you have everything you need to make it a great one, " Kate Swanson read aloud to KTVU. In her hand, on a yellow pad, a letter her mother wrote to her as she graduated from high school 20 years ago.
"I'm always here for you, Katie, no matter what, " Swanson read, her voice wavering with emotion at some passages.
It's a letter she shares with students and community groups as a volunteer for MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Swanson's mother, 63-year-old Mona Norman was killed by a drunk driver near Turlock, hit head-on by a pick-up truck going the wrong way, headlights off.
"She's missed weddings, she's missed big moves, she's missed career changes," said Swanson sadly, "she's missed all those things in life, that your mom is the first one you call."
When Swanson joined MADD, she was stunned to meet so many other people like her.
And as five years have passed, she's aware that DUI crashes, and heartbreak, haven't ebbed.
"At our meetings, we see how many new victims, how many new offenders," shared Swanson, "so we're doing what we can, but it feels like we're spinning our wheels, it's sad.”
Just this past Saturday night, March 8, an alleged drunk driver wrecked his Acura, and killed his passenger, his cousin, in San Leandro.
"There's some sort of disconnect " said Swanson, "between thousands of dollars it will cost you and prison time, and the wreckage to families, and yet people still do it."
Numbers from the Office of Traffic Safety estimate the economic impact of DUI with a death at 1.4 million dollars.
"If that person was a spouse, a head of a household, all the wages that person would have earned throughout their life, you're on the hook for it", explained Sgt. Kiely.
Lost productivity can be calculated, but the pain is immeasurable. One of the worst 2013 crashes on the Peninsula involved a young driver of a Mustang, who lost control in Colma, and split the car in half. He survived, but his girlfriend and two other passengers were killed.
"People will still take the risk, " observed Swanson, "because they don't understand it will happen to them."
The driver who killed her mother at 63 is serving a seven-year sentence for vehicular manslaughter.
Kate and her younger sister are grown women, but she notes, living without their mother has little to do with age.
As she put it, "when you lose your mom, you're still a kid."
Published: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 00:28:47 -0700
Think you're a news junkie? Test your knowledge of national and international headlines with these five questions. Don't forget to tell us how you did in the comments below!
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 23:51:20 -0700
KTVU has learned that a new bill will be announced in Sacramento Tuesday that would allow certain skateboards on the road where they currently are banned.
Right now, you can ride regular skateboards on some roads and paths, but electric skateboards are banned everywhere. The proposed bill would change that.
Electric skateboards are still a novelty but they are gaining some traction.
Ben Foreman of San Francisco is co-founder of an electric skateboard company Intuitive Motion. He says the Modesto-based company has shipped electric skateboards to 45 countries.
He says these boards are about helping commuters.
The electric motor is powered by a large lithium ion phosphate battery and it can go up to 18 miles-per -hour forward and up to four miles-per-hour in reverse.
The 32-pound skateboard even goes up hills.
"It's not about doing tricks or slides or grinds, it's about replacing a vehicle, so instead of being in a car, you're on an electric skateboard, instead of being on a bike, you're on an electric skateboard," said Foreman.
One woman who is a regular commuter by bus says it might be something she'd consider.
"If I could cut my commute and enjoy some fresh air, why not?" said Tatyana Shtyrkova
There's a big barrier though. California Vehicle Code 21068 bans electric skateboards from all roads, sidewalks, paths and trails.
"We think they should be able to ride this where they can ride a bike," Foreman told KTVU.
Now, a bill is being introduced that would change the law and allow people to ride electric skateboards anywhere that bicycles are allowed. That includes bike lanes on streets as well as bike paths, it would not include sidewalks.
Some longtime skateboarders say it's an interesting idea, but say electric skateboards are very different from traditional boards.
"They need to be regulated or controlled because they can go pretty fast. They can be pretty dangerous I think," said Kent Uyehara, owner of the well-known FTC Skate Boarding company.
Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto plans to announce her bill Tuesday morning in Sacramento.
It will likely go through the transportation committee in the coming weeks.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 23:06:44 -0700