California adopts ‘yes means yes’ sex-assault rule

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when “yes means yes” and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

State lawmakers last month approved SB967 by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations. Campus sexual assault victims and women’s advocacy groups delivered petitions to Brown‘s office on Sept. 16 urging him to sign the bill.

http://news.msn.com/us/california-adopts-yes-means-yes-sex-assault-rule

California Calls for Constitutional Convention to Get Money Out of Politics

Progressive Graffiti

California Passes Historic Measure To Change The Constitution

California became the second state to call for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics. After a determined effort by regular Americans fed up with a corrupt system of government organized by Wolf Pac volunteers and with Assemblyman Mike Gatto who introduced the legislation, resolution AJR1 passed by a vote of 23 – 11.

The Young Turks 

34 states are required to call a Constitutional Convention. Only 32 more to go.

California passes historic measure to change the Constitution

View original post

Why a Small California City Could Be Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare | Mother Jones

Why a Small California City Could Be Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare | Mother Jones.

The outcome of the foreclosure crisis—and the fate of many investors who bet on it—may hinge upon a city council vote tonight in a little-known working-class suburb. The Northern California town of Richmond (population: 105,000) will decide whether it wants to become first city in the country to use eminent domain to rid itself of underwater mortgages. The securities industry has threatened to make life miserable for Richmond and its residents if they move ahead with the plan.

In late July, Richmond sent letters to 32 banks and other mortgage holders, offering to buy 624 underwater mortgages at discounts to the homes’ value. None of the offers were accepted. Richmond must now decide whether it will use eminent domain—a power more often used to build roads or shopping malls—to seize the homes, paying a court-determined fair market value.

Richmond would carry out the purchases with the help of Mortgage Resolution Partners, an advisory firm run by a politically connected group of investors. (Read my original story on MRP’s eminent-domain plans here.) After Richmond seizes the loans, new lenders arranged by MRP would step in and essentially refinance them. The borrowers would stay in their homes, and the new loans would reflect the current value of the properties. In this scenario, a family in Richmond that bought a $300,000 house that’s now worth $200,000 would see its monthly payments decrease by $300 to $800.

For more than a year now, MRP’s chairman, Steven Gluckstern, has been trying and failing to convince some of the cities worst hit by the foreclosure crisis to adopt his eminent domain plan. Politicians in San Bernadino, Salinas, and about a dozen other towns flirted with the idea to varying degrees before getting cold feet. But Richmond is supposed to be different: “We’re not willing to back down on this,” Richmond’s Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a former schoolteacher,told the New York Times in July. “They can put forward as much pressure as they would like, but I am very committed to this program and I’ve very committed to the well-being of our neighborhoods.”

An anti-MRP mailer from the Contra Costa Association of Realtors

That, however, was before the Contra Costa County Association of Realtors began blanketing the town with misleading mailers. “Don’t let Wall Street take another bite out of Richmond homes,” one flyer admonishes. There’s a grain of truth to the claim—Gluckstern himself is a former Lehman Brothers investment banker. But the fact that Wall Street trade groups actually oppose MRP’s plan may be lost on average voters.

The securities industry recently sued Richmond in federal court seeking a preemptive injunction against its eminent-domain strategy. A judge will hear that case on Thursday.

Tonight, assuming it doesn’t delay the decision, the Richmond City Council will vote to either proceed with the plan, terminate it, or to move it forward only if MRP can indemnify the town against all unintended side effects—something Gluckstern says is impossible. “In life, there is no such thing as a free lunch,” he says. “You’ve got to weigh whatever small likelihood of a potential loss against the upside.”

California Prison Chief Meets With Inmate Advocates

Photo courtesy of doslives.com

Photo courtesy of doslives.com

From NewsOne.com:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Advocates for inmates on a hunger strike to protest California’s solitary confinement program met with the state prisons chief on Friday as they pushed for an end to practices they say are inhumane.

Mediators who support the protesting inmates issued a statement after the hour-long meeting with Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard, saying they offered ideas for ending the hunger strike and improving prison conditions that include indeterminate sentences in isolation units.

“He received us well and listened to our concerns and those of the prisoners and their families,” the statement said.

Ron Ahnen, president of California Prison Focus, who was among those who met with Beard, declined to elaborate on the secretary’s response to their suggestions.

More than 300 inmates have refused all meals since the strike began on July 8. About 30,000 inmates initially participated.

For the full story, go to NewsOne.com.