Bay Area

U.S. Supreme Court blocks judge’s order that California jail must take better care of inmates exposed to coronavirus

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, Aug. 5, blocked a lower court order that the Orange County jail system practice social distancing, distribute hand sanitizer and keep the facilities clean to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Justices voted 5-4 to stay the earlier order issued by U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal against Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. The sheriff asked for an emergency appeal after Bernal ruled in May that Barnes had been inconsistent in following federal guidelines to protect jail inmates from the spread of coronavirus. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg offered a dissenting opinion Wednesday. “This Court normally does not reward bad behavior, and certainly not with extraordinary equitable relief,” they wrote. “The injunction’s requirements are not remarkable. In fact, the Jail initially claimed that it had already implemented each and every one of them.” The dissenting opinion noted that the 3,000-inmate jail system had recently reported 15 new cases in a single week. Said Sotomayor and Ginsberg: “The District Court found that, despite knowing the severe threat posed by COVID–19 and contrary to its own apparent policies, the Jail…

Horrific crash at finish line: One cyclist in coma, another condemned as dangerous

(CNN) — A cyclist is in a “comatose condition” following a horrific crash at the end of the first stage of the Tour of Poland, according to his team. Fabio Jakobsen was fighting for victory with Dylan Groenewegen when the latter deviated from his line in the final yards and sent Jakobsen crashing through roadside barriers. Groenewegen crossed the line in first place, then hit the tarmac in a mass crash. Both men are Dutch; they ride for different teams. “Fabio Jakobsen’s situation is serious but at the moment he is stable,” said a statement from his Deceuninck-QuickStep team. “Diagnostic tests didn’t reveal brain or spinal injury, but because of the gravity of his multiple injuries he is still kept in a comatose condition.” On Thursday, the team released a further update saying Jakobsen had undergone facial surgery overnight and that doctors would try to wake him up later in the day. Groenewegen was disqualified from the race and victory was handed to Jakobsen. “The Union Cycliste Internationale strongly condemns the dangerous behavior of rider Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), who sent Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) into the…

Larry Magid: Microsoft-owned TikTok would appear safer

As you may have heard, Microsoft is in talks to acquire the short-video app TikTok from its Chinese owner. I think that’s a win for Microsoft and consumer confidence in TikTok’s future privacy and security, but more on that later. It’s not known how much Microsoft would pay ByteDance to acquire TikTok but there is speculation that it could be as much as $50 billion.  Microsoft stock soared by 6% the day the proposed deal was announced, adding $95 billion to the company’s “worth,” measured by the total value of its stock. A fee to the treasury? Wall Street isn’t the only entity pleased by the possible deal. Although he initially opposed a Microsoft takeover of TikTok, President Trump said that he will approve the deal as long as Microsoft makes a big payment to the U.S. treasury. “But if you buy [TikTok], the United States, which is making it possible to buy, because without us they can’t do anything, should be compensated,” he told Fox News on Wednesday. He further said Microsoft and other possible suitors “all agreed to that.” Though his economic advisor,…

Sponsored: Sellers want to know if they should hit the market without making fixes or wait for building inspectors to return to work

Q: In preparation to sell our home, we learned that the roof needs to be removed and replaced. We bought our house right before the Great Recession in a hot real estate market, devoid of inspections or contingencies. Now that we are becoming sellers, our seller’s agent insisted we obtain pre-listing reports from local inspectors. We had no idea what was going on in the crawl space or in the attic. In other words, there are three roofs on our house designed for the weight of one. So we hired one firm to tear off the old roofing shingles, another to reroof, and a third to replace the downspouts and gutters. These firms acquired the proper building permits online. However, a week later, one of the contractors learned that the building inspectors had a backlog of inspections at least “30 days out.” A day later, our county’s shelter-in-place (SIP) order was in force. Now with building inspectors sheltering in place, who knows when they will start to address their backlogs. Should we wait to clean up any potential permit shortcomings that building inspectors are reputed…

Porn, rap interrupt Zoom hearing for teen accused of hacking Twitter

TAMPA, Fla. — The online bond hearing for a Florida teen accused of hacking prominent Twitter accounts was interrupted Wednesday by rap music and pornographic videos from users who apparently disguised their names. The interruptions — including one by a user who shared a screen and took over the hearing with a porn video — forced Hillsborough County Judge Christopher C. Nash to temporarily halt the session for Graham Ivan Clark, 17. Nash reopened the hearing, but the users continued their disruptions. He ultimately declined to lower Clark’s bail, which was set at $725,000 when he was arrested on Friday. Prosecutors allege that Clark was the mastermind of the scheme that hacked accounts of celebrities and politicians, and sent tweets from their accounts seeking payments of Bitcoin, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Clark’s attorney, David Weisbrok, argued it wasn’t reasonable to set bail at six times the amount his client is accused of stealing. Lawyers have said he has $3 million in Bitcoin under his control, the newspaper reported. Prosecutors had sought to have Clark held on $30 million, which is $1 million for each…

Letters: Trump loyalists | Police chiefs responsible | Hiroshima anniversary | Currency mismanagment

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor. How far will Trump loyalists back him? Trump’s pre-election claims of vote-by-mail fraud are troubling enough, as are his threats to disband the postal system. But they’re not nearly as alarming as his placement of Louis DeJoy, former RNC financial chairman, as Postmaster General, and what impact that might have on the election. If Trump loses on Nov. 3, he will no doubt claim that vote-by-mail fraud outweighed the foreign interference he encouraged, postal service shenanigans, and the usual voter suppression tactics of the Republican Party. What is most concerning is not that Trump will refuse to leave, but what positions will the Trump troops take around the White House on Jan. 20? They have been practicing in Portland. And what of the 40%-plus supporters who have overlooked every administration transgression for four years? To what extent will they defend him till the end? To what extent will he encourage their defense? Barry Brynjulson San Ramon Chiefs responsible for offending officers Re: “Tough application for police not a fix-all” (East…

Letters: Change COVID-19 focus | Climate change | Destroying landmarks | Forfeit ball games | For shame, S.J.

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.   Focus on vulnerable, young on virus risks The COVID-19 vaccine is coming. Will it be effective, long lasting, or widely used? Nobody knows. It’s insanity to simply wait. It is also insanity to keep doing the same thing despite repeated failures. Lockdowns only delay exposures. Once you open, the vulnerable will begin to die again. Statistics show that 83% of the deaths are for people over the age of 60, yet they are only 17% of the California population. We must change our focus. Younger people not following the mask-wearing rules are not our focus, it is those over 60 and those with health issues. Educate the youth to wear their masks when with the vulnerable. Educate the vulnerable to increase their guard. If and when the vaccine comes, hopefully, everyone will take it. Meanwhile, get those who are less vulnerable back to their livelihoods while doubling our efforts to increase the resources and attention toward protecting the vulnerable. Neil Kennedy Los Gatos Congress, act now on climate change It’s…

Now in vending machines at LAX: Masks, gloves, thermometers

In yet another nod to the battle against COVID-19, travelers passing through Los Angeles International Airport can now buy masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and digital thermometers at vending machines in most terminals. The airport collaborated with travel retailer Hudson Group and PepsiCo Beverages North America to install the machines in pre-security areas on the departures level inside Terminals 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The eight vending units offer a touch-free payment option that accommodates tap-to-pay credit card or mobile-payment platforms, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Each machine has an anti-microbial shield installed on hard surfaces. Justin Erbacci, the airport’s chief executive officer, said the machines are part of the airport’s protocols to keep passengers safe though “rigorous cleanings, new technology and an increasingly touch-free experience from curb to gate.” It also helps travelers comply with LAX’s mandatory facial-covering policy. Some of the prices include: Two pack of disposable face masks – $4.50 Ten pack of nitrile gloves – $7.99 Single N95 mask – $6.99 Three-pack of N95 masks – $19.99 Two-ounce container of hand sanitizer…

Coronavirus: Los Angeles will shut off water, power at sites of large ‘super-spreader’ parties

Amid reports of large parties that flout coronavirus-spurred public safety orders, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday, Aug. 5, that he will begin authorizing shutting off water and power services at the properties of repeat offenders. “The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond just those parties,” Garcetti said in a series of stern statements delivered during an online video briefing. Starting Friday evening, the Los Angeles Police Department will begin logging and responding to large gatherings, and if there are “egregious cases,” the process will begin to notify the parties responsible and to shut off Department of Water and Power service within 48 hours, he said. Garcetti described such parties as “super-spreader” events that can have a disproportionate impact on how many people get infected with the virus. They have the potential to “ripple throughout our entire community, because the virus can quickly and easily spread,” he said. “While we have already closed all nightclubs and bars, these large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the hills,” he said. “Many times the homes are vacant or used for short term rentals.”…

Coronavirus: Fewer unemployed California workers expect to regain their old jobs

California workers who are unemployed amid coronavirus-linked business shutdowns have grown sharply more pessimistic that they will regain the jobs they had lost due to government mandates, a new study determined. About 61 percent of the California workers who filed new unemployment claims during the week that ended on July 25 reported that they expected to be recalled by the employers who had laid them off or furloughed them, according to a report prepared by the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley and UCLA. While a large chunk of California’s unemployed workers are expressing, the figures nevertheless are greatly below the 80 percent who expected to be recalled to their jobs during the week that ended on March 15. Most of the initial claims for unemployment benefits filed during the week that ended July 25 were from workers who were re-opening a jobless claim that they had previously filed, according to the study prepared through a partnership of the California Policy Lab and a unit of the state’s Employment Development Department. The researchers believe these were people who had been furloughed, might have gone back…

Miss Manners: I scold pedestrians in the bike lane. Am I doing it right?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am fortunate to live near numerous public parks. These parks have two parallel lanes: one for bikes/rollerblades and another for foot traffic. The rules for which lane to use are well-known and well-posted. Judith Martin  Sometimes I encounter foot traffic in the bike lane. This is both an annoyance and a safety concern, as I may need to go over a barrier or onto the grass to avoid a collision. It doesn’t really bother me if people walk along the edge or briefly drift onto the bike lane to avoid obstacles, but those that walk down the middle of the bike lane drive me nuts. I have taken to saying “You’re in the bike lane” as I zip past. This alerts them and allows them to correct their position if it was inadvertently chosen. But honestly, my comment is intended — and received — as a scold, and sometimes embarrasses them, as others hear it. It’s also strictly true, so there’s that. I never look back after passing, as I don’t want to further escalate nor encourage them to shout a…

Dear Abby: My husband’s family says I should just ‘get over it’

DEAR ABBY: I married “Darius” two years ago. I have had problems with my brother-in-law ever since Darius and I first began dating five years ago. Jeanne Phillips  From my husband’s perspective, his parents have always favored his younger brother, “Adonis.” “Anything goes” is their attitude where he is concerned. Adonis takes things without asking, lies and constantly makes disrespectful comments toward us. He was never reprimanded as a child, and now that he’s an adult (24) the sniping continues. Related Articles Dear Abby: Our teen was pretty and popular, and she threw it away to become ‘they’ Dear Abby: She didn’t invite me dress shopping, and now I want to skip the wedding Dear Abby: I wish she weren’t so rude to overweight people Dear Abby: Should we tell our neighbor what her caretaker does when she’s gone? Dear Abby: I’m losing sleep over my customer’s rant A few months ago, he showed up unannounced at my home and insulted a guest who was visiting at the time. (She also doesn’t care for him.) I asked him to leave to avoid making waves with…

Richmond will put new business license tax structure on the ballot

RICHMOND — City leaders will ask voters to approve changes in the way businesses are taxed, in an effort to boost city revenue. The City Council on Wednesday voted to put a measure on the November ballot asking voters to allow the city to tax businesses based on their gross receipts instead of the number of employees. Currently, businesses pay a flat annual license tax of  $234.10 plus $46.80 per employee up to 25 employees and $40.10 for each additional employee. That would change if voters in November approve the proposed tax structure, under which  businesses would have to pay a percentage of their gross receipts earned in Richmond, with the amount depending on the nature of their business and at a rate assigned per industry. In the proposed model, most businesses would pay between .06% and and .68%. Grocers, for example, would pay .06% if they make up to $1 million in sales for the year, .1% if they make between $1 million and $2.5 million, and tiered up to .2% if they have gross receipts of $50 million or more annually in the…

Vallejo chief recommended officer in Willie McCoy shooting be fired for ‘neglect for basic firearm safety’

VALLEJO — Ryan McMahon, the Vallejo officer who fired once when five of his colleagues peppered a 20-year-old man with gunfire who was sitting unresponsive in a car with a gun in his lap, was recommended to be fired for “neglect for basic firearm safety,” according to public records released Wednesday. Vallejo police Chief Shawny Williams agreed with an internal affairs determination that McMahon violated the department’s policy during the shooting, because another officer was in McMahon’s “cone of fire” when he fired his pistol at Suisun City resident Willie McCoy, who suffered 38 gunshot wounds and died in the Feb. 9, 2019 incident. McMahon told investigators he didn’t notice the officer — his patrol partner — until after firing. Williams wrote McMahon’s actions were “dangerous” to his colleagues and out-of-step with “safety norms” of firearms handling. McMahon violated three department policies and any of them individually would support termination of an officer, Williams wrote. Chief Williams has given Officer Ryan McMahon his Notice of Intent to Discipline with a recommendation of termination. Mr. McMahon is currently on administrative leave. A police spokeswoman on Wednesday…

Capitol negotiators still stuck, still trying on virus aid

By Andrew Taylor | The Associated Press WASHINGTON — After more than a week’s worth of meetings, at least some clarity is emerging in the bipartisan Washington talks on a huge COVID-19 response bill. Negotiators are still stuck, but still trying. A combative meeting Wednesday involving top Capitol Hill Democrats and the postmaster general and a souring tone from both sides indicate that a long slog remains, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows threatened afterward that President Donald Trump is exploring options to use executive authority to extend a partial eviction ban and address unemployment benefits. After some movement Tuesday in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s direction on aid to states and local governments and unemployment insurance benefits, Wednesday’s session offered no breakthroughs or major progress, participants said afterward. “If we can reach a compromise on these big issues, I think everything else will fall into place. If we can’t reach an agreement on these big issues then I don’t see us coming to an overall deal,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said after the two-hour meeting. “And then we’ll have to look at the…

Highway 17, I-280 getting a different kind of asphalt: Roadshow

Q: How about an update on Highway 17 in Santa Clara County? Some work has been done, which looks like the final layer, and in other areas it looks like patchwork. … You mentioned that Highway 12 in the North Bay was going to be paved with rubberized asphalt and a layer of open-graded pavement on top. I thought the whole point of rubberized asphalt is that it is much quieter and a bit more energy efficient. Doesn’t putting a layer of something else on top defeat that? … The new asphalt on Interstate 280 from Magdalena to Highway 84 is great. The road looks mostly finished and perfectly striped, but the unfinished lanes and shoulders are all an inch higher than the new asphalt. Why? I’m assuming there is some fancy top layer still to be done.  Bob M., Jim Bodwin and Steve Rempel Like Mr. Roadshow’s Facebook page for more questions and answers about Bay Area roads, freeways and commuting. A: Your assumption is right. Pavement, brighter lane lines and drains will be installed this year on the Santa Clara County side of…

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