John Francis Foran, a fixture in San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento politics for more than 40 years, died Thursday night.
Foran, his family said, succumbed to bladder cancer in a Bay Area hospital. He was 84.
Foran was first elected to the state Assembly in 1962 after a stint as a deputy attorney general, and he later helped his high school friend Leo McCarthy also get elected to the Assembly. McCarthy later become speaker of the Assembly and lieutenant governor.
As young men in 1953, McCarthy and Foran, his leg in a cast, were kidnapped at gunpoint by Harold Miller, who had just shot a policeman near Foran’s San Francisco home.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters before leaving an event in San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.
Less than 24 hours after Nevada lawmakers approved a package of tax incentives to persuade Tesla Motors Inc. to build a battery factory in that state, California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been criticized for failing to get the factory, said Friday that “Nevada’s tax breaks are California’s benefit” if they put electric cars on California roads.
“I just hope they can make the batteries come down 30 percent, because the only way we can really meet our electric car goals (is) if the batteries are made cheaper,” Brown told reporters after speaking in San Francisco. “So whether they’re made in Reno or wherever, the real challenge is the investment capital and the technological prowess to get our batteries cheaper so ordinary people can buy electric cars.”
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a package of incentives Thursday night estimated at more than $1.2 billion to bring a $5 billion Tesla “gigafactory” and about 6,500 employees to Nevada.
Brown’s Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race, Neel Kashkari, has criticized Brown for failing to land the deal.
Tim Draper, left, turned in more than 1 million signatures to get his plan on the 2016 ballot, but not enough were valid.
A proposed ballot measure to carve California into six states failed to qualify for the November 2016 ballot Friday after election officials determined that backers did not collect enough valid signatures.
The outcome is a blow to billionaire Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who spent $5.2 million to put his “Six Californias” idea before voters. He had said the measure would bring government closer to the people and make it more responsive, but critics said the proposal hurt the state’s image and would be unworkable if approved.
The measure needed 807,615 valid voter signatures to qualify, and the Six Californias campaign turned in nearly 1.14 million in mid-July. But several weeks of random signature checks that ended Friday determined that only 752,685 signatures were valid – almost 15,000 signatures below the threshold needed to launch a full count of every signature.
In a statement, Draper said he is convinced that the campaign turned in enough valid voter signatures to qualify his measure. He said the campaign will review signatures deemed invalid in several counties, noting that the campaign’s signature-gathering firm had projected that many more signatures would be valid than did election officials.
State Sen. Rod Wright, seen last month, was sentenced Friday in Los Angeles to three months in jail for lying about his home.
A state Senate roiling from turmoil this year was dealt another blow Friday when a Los Angeles judge sentenced Democratic Sen. Rod Wright to three months in jail for lying about where he lived when he ran for office in 2008.
Judge Kathleen Kennedy upheld a jury’s verdicts from January that found Wright guilty of eight felonies, including perjury and voting fraud. She sentenced him to 1,500 hours of community service and three years’ probation in addition to the jail time, which she ordered him to begin on Oct. 31.
From the bench, Kennedy admonished Wright for disrespecting the electoral process when he ran for office claiming a home he owns in Inglewood as his official address, while really living outside the Senate district in the tonier neighborhood of Baldwin Hills.
“I think jurors really have a nose for when someone is lying,” she said, according to an Associated Press report from the courtroom. “It didn’t smell right then, and it doesn’t smell right now. … I think the jury complied with the law and came to the right conclusions.”
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks before signing a bill in Los Angeles Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.
Gov. Jerry Brown, addressing a crowd of eager, young AmeriCorps members on a sun-soaked lawn in San Francisco on Friday, said the world was “really screwed up” when the Civilian Conservation Corps came into being during the Great Depression – and that it still is, just in a “very different way.”
“Things don’t work in Washington, Europe is having its problems of stagnation. We’ve got issues with Russia. In Asia they’ve got problems. I mean, there’s a lot of things you could be worried about,” Brown said. “But the point is not to worry about stuff, but to do things, and to get engaged, as you are.”
Brown, who started the California Conservation Corps when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, was in San Francisco to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps service program.
He said “big picture” problems are “not really subject to your individual control, but where you can have an impact is right where you are and where you’re working – in a neighborhood, on a block, in a service center, in a community.”
Linda Avalos holds a sign as she protests the death penalty outside San Quentin Prison before the execution of Clarence Ray Allen on Jan. 16, 2006.
Support for the death penalty in California is the lowest it has been in almost 50 years, though a majority of voters still favor it.
A new Field Poll found 56 percent of California voters support keeping the death penalty as a punishment for serious crimes, compared to 34 percent who oppose it. That’s down from 68 percent in 2011 and consistent support above 80 percent in the 1980s and early ‘90s. The last time support was lower was 1965, when a poll found 51 percent of Californians favored the death penalty.
The future of capital punishment in California is up in the air following a July ruling by a federal judge that the state’s administration of the death penalty is so dysfunctional it is unconstitutional.
When asked by Field how the state should respond to the decision, 52 percent of poll respondents said California should work to speed up the execution process, while 40 percent said the state should do away with the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Pete Peterson, left, and Sen. Alex Padilla, the two candidates for secretary of state, discuss their ideas for the office Thursday at a Sacramento forum. “There are a lot of comparable ideas and priorities,” Padilla said later.
Paul Kitagaki Jr./email@example.com
Padilla, center, is a Democrat, and Peterson, right, is a Republican. Both candidates said the secretary of state should remain a partisan position.
Republican Pete Peterson and Democrat Alex Padilla, the two candidates for California secretary of state, promised Thursday at a Sacramento forum to shake up a post that has been criticized for falling behind the times.
Padilla, a state senator from Los Angeles, and Peterson, the executive director of the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University, topped an eight-candidate primary field to succeed Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat who is being forced out by term limits after two terms as the state’s chief elections officer.
Policy differences between Peterson and Padilla were in short supply during the amicable lunchtime candidate “conversation” hosted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, but each contended they possessed the better résumé to turn around the office.
The next secretary of state needs to do more to reverse a trend of sagging voter participation and registration rates, particularly among Latinos, Asians and the young, they said. Both called for speeding up the processing of business paperwork filings.
Ernesto Cortes, left, and another welder work on a light-rail vehicle at Siemens Rail Systems in Sacramento. Two decades ago, Siemens of West Germany chose Sacramento as its base of operations in America – home for what it expected would be a burgeoning industry in light-rail car manufacturing.
The Siemens plant in south Sacramento will build the locomotives and passenger cars for All Aboard Florida, a high-speed rail system that could begin operation well ahead of California’s.
The Florida project will mostly use an existing railroad right-of-way to connect Miami and Orlando with trains running at speeds of 125 mph. With a targeted completion date of 2016, the trains could begin running more than a decade ahead of California’s.
California’s trains will be faster, but the overall cost of the Florida project is expected to be about $2.5 billion, well below the California system’s $68 billion projected cost.
Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rail Systems Division in the U.S., said in a statement Thursday that All Aboard Florida would be an example of what high-speed rail can do to boost local economies and development.
Gov. Jerry Brown, speaking in July, said at a signing ceremony Wednesday in Los Angeles that the bill mandating most employers to provide paid sick leave is “modest.”
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday entitling most California workers to three paid sick days a year, a sweeping measure that Democrats and labor advocates have been seeking for years.
The legislation affects about 40 percent of California’s workforce, about 6.5 million people who currently are not paid if they stay home when sick.
Brown said at a signing ceremony that the bill is “modest.” For millions of low-wage workers, he said, “This is the least we can do, and there’s more in the coming years.”
“This is a real step forward,” the governor said. “It helps people, whether it’s a person working at a car wash or McDonald’s or 7-Eleven. These are real people. We all take advantage of their labor, and they ought to have basic decency, basic wages, basic benefits.”
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has been pushing heavily for Proposition 45, which would give him greater regulatory control over health insurance rates.
Support for two health-related ballot initiatives has dramatically eroded since the beginning of the summer, when large majorities of likely voters were inclined to vote yes on Propositions 45 and 46.
In a new Field Poll, 41 percent of respondents expressed support for Proposition 45, which would give the state insurance commissioner greater regulatory authority over health insurance rates, compared to 26 percent who opposed it. That’s a huge drop from the last poll conducted in late June and early July, when the measure had overwhelming support of 69 percent.
Proposition 46, which would raise the cap on damages in medical malpractices lawsuits and require drug testing for doctors, took an even more significant hit. More voters now oppose than support it, 37 percent to 34 percent, a major turnaround from the previous poll, when 58 percent of voters were inclined to vote yes.
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