Ajit Pai: California net neutrality law is "illegal"

California's best-in-America Net Neutrality law goes a long way to restoring the protections that Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai destroyed when he unilaterally and illegally repealed the FCC's national Net Neutrality rules. Read the rest

Oakland to expand managed homeless shantytowns of prefab sheds

Oakland, like San Francisco, has an out-of-control homeless crisis fueled by out-of-control housing prices; like San Francisco (where aid for homelessness can include tents to make outdoor sleeping more comfortable and safe), Oakland is supplying "temporary housing" for homeless people that institutionalizes a kind of living that has heretofore been viewed as a problem in and of itself. Read the rest

Thanks to a Chinese and Korean fad, California's wild succulents are being poached and smuggled to Asia

Succulents are key to stabilizing the fragile coastal ecosystems of California; they're also extremely popular in China and South Korea, thanks to a fad that's sweeping Asia. Read the rest

Good news: California ends cash bail! Bad news: It's been replaced with a black-box algorithm.

Cash bail has turned American jails into debtors' prisons, where the wealthy can go about their business while awaiting trial, and the poor can languish for months or even years in jail because they can't make bail (in practice, they generally plead guilty, regardless of their innocence). Read the rest

A public bank for LA: instead of sending hundreds of millions to predatory finance, Angelenos' taxes can fund community development

The City of Los Angeles sends the nation-wrecking finance industry more than $100MM/year in the form of fees and penalties for its banking business, supporting the institutions whose racist lending practices, financial engineering and mortgage fraud have wreaked untold harm on the city's residents. Read the rest

California's Delta Fire: 15,294+ acres scorched in 24 hours, 'human involvement' blamed

The area burning from the massive Delta fire in Shasta County, California tripled in size overnight, scorching 15,294 acres and counting as of Thursday afternoon, per California fire authorities. Human involvement is blamed. Read the rest

LA libraries replace fines for young readers with in-library "read-offs"

Stan Rehm writes, "An uncommonly sensible new policy in Los Angeles libraries now allows children with overdue book fees to 'read off' their fines in the library." Read the rest

It just got easier to change your gender in California, thanks to 2 new laws

Two new laws that allow California residents to officially change their gender identification went into effect this past Labor Day weekend. Read the rest

California lawmakers vote to make electricity emissions-free by 2045

“This is a pivotal moment for California, for the country, and the world.”

On Tuesday, California state lawmakers passed SB100, a major bill that would commit to making the state’s electricity supply completely emissions-free by the year 2045. SB100 passed 43-32. Read the rest

LA County will switch to all open source vote-counting machines

California voting officials have certified an open source vote-counting package for use in the upcoming LA elections, in the first of a series of planned improvements to the County's voting system (other plans include improved absentee voting ballots). Read the rest

Verizon to fire department: you're exceeding your bandwidth while you fight wildfires, so we're throttling you

The Santa Clara County Fire Department had its Verizon wireless access throttled to 0.5% of normal, in the midst of its fight against the California wildfires; Verizon said that the firefighters had been using too much bandwidth while they risked their lives racing to save the county from being engulfed in flames. Read the rest

History of the California tiki scene covered in new book

Jason Henderson and Adam Foshko have authored California Tiki: A History of Polynesian Idols, Pineapple Cocktails and Coconut Palm Trees, a new paperback which "explore the state's midcentury fascination with all things Tiki":

After World War II, suburbs proliferated around California cities as returning soldiers traded in their uniforms for business suits. After-hours leisure activities took on an island-themed sensuality that bloomed from a new fascination with Polynesia and Hawaii. Movies and television shows filmed in Malibu and Burbank urged viewers to escape everyday life with the likes of Gidget and Hawaiian Eye. Restaurants like Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic's sprang up to answer the demand for wild cocktails and even wilder décor. The culture--a strange hodgepodge of idols, torches, lush greenery and colorful drinks--beckoned men and women to lose themselves in exotic music and surf tunes.

Available in paperback for $23.99. Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

Wealthy investors are buying Long Beach's old low-rent buildings and evicting everyone, making them homeless

Unlike neighboring LA, the city of Long Beach has no restrictions on evicting tenants from old buildings by doubling or tripling the rent and then booting them out. Read the rest

Court orders carriers to remotely brick phones that have been smuggled into prisons

Back in 2015, California enacted legislation requiring cellphone makers to equip their products with over-the-air kill-switches that could be used to brick stolen phones; the idea was to reduce the incentive to steal phones (a crime that often involved a surprising amount of violence) because as soon as the phone was stolen, it would stop working forever. Read the rest

Dianne Feinstein has lost the California Democrats' Senate-race endorsement to a left-wing insurgent long-shot

Kevin De León has done the impossible: he flipped nearly every undecided vote on the California Democratic Party executive board to win the party's endorsement in the upcoming Senate race with 65% of the vote, defeating the incumbent, far-right Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who has a long track record of backing the finance industry, war, and mass surveillance -- who scored a mere 7% of the vote. Read the rest

John Waters introduces DEVO at Burger Boogaloo: "Trump is a feckless prick"

DEVO headlined Burger Boogaloo this past weekend in Oakland. John Waters introduced them to the stage in an epic nearly four-minute-long speech that attacked Trump and celebrated the band:

...Originally from Ohio, why-oh-why-oh-Ohio, they started their careers like I did: pissed off. And they had a real reason to be nuts, their fellow friends were killed at Kent State University by the police. So they started a De-Evolution that we're still feeling. They challenged illegitimate authority, they said, and so should YOU. It's worse now than it ever was. Trump is a feckless prick. A shithole of a president. An orange anus, as Rosie McDonnell called him. Who kidnaps children. Tosses paper towels to hurricane victims. It's so dumb he stares at the eclipse with that stupid wife who's a clueless dresser who no drag queen would ever imitate. What better band to protest his stupidity and first-degree asshole-ism than our boys tonight from outer space. But our political situation is not science fiction, it's real. Before New Wave, ahead of Industrial, "alternative" way before the word was coined, this band was no media invention, it was a grassroots movement that everyone here has embraced. David Bowie loved them, Iggy loved them. I loved them. One of the bandmates even told me once that I was in a titty bar with them doing coke. I thought, "What was *I* doing in a titty bar?" I was under DEVO's spell, that's it. And tonight even more so, with my friend Freddy Armisen playing the drums.

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