This law should reveal who’s paying for California legislators’ travel. It’s only been used twice

After years of controversy over state legislators taking trips paid by interest groups, California in 2015 adopted a law intended to bring more transparency to sponsored travel. Senate Bill 21 requires trip organizers to annually disclose any major donors who travel alongside elected officials, taking aim at the secrecy that often surrounds these policy conferences and international study tours. Yet in the seven years since the law took effect, disclosure forms have been filed for only two events — despite legislators reporting millions of dollars in sponsored travel and dozens of trips during that period. One form was filed last year and the second only after CalMatters made inquiries. It’s unclear exactly why the disclosure has been such a failure. Former state Sen. Jerry Hill, the San Mateo Democrat who pushed for the law, said he was surprised by its infrequent use. He said he crafted qualifications that he believed major travel sponsors would easily meet, requiring them to share more information with the public about who is paying for legislators’ travel — but, in hindsight, the language about when they have to file may

Can 49ers make historic breakthrough with multiple 1,000-yard receivers?

SANTA CLARA — Has it really been 25 years since the 49ers produced a pair of 1,000-yard receivers? Yes. An even crazier question: Could they actually have a trio hit 1K this season, for the first time in 49ers’ history? It’s possible, even if it initially sounds preposterous for a run-driven offense, and even more so for a franchise unsure which quarterback will be throwing those yards. Could be Brock Purdy after his career-saving elbow repair, or the unamortized Trey Lance with 102 passes through two seasons, or third-team’s-a-charm Sam Darnold with a 78.2 career passer rating. San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brock Purdy (13) and San Francisco 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk (11) shake hands before a game against the Washington Commanders at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) Alas, consider the 49ers’ Fab Four targets, each with a 1,000-yard season already to their credit: * Brandon Aiyuk, who crested the 1,000-yard mark last season, tallying a team-high 1,015 in 17 starts with career highs of 78 catches and eight touchdowns in Year 3 for him.

Families of men shot by California cops lose faith in new accountability law as reviews drag on

TEHACHAPI – Three men in dark suits knocked on Pam Holland’s door one night last June. They told her that her son was dead, shot to death in a neighboring county by a sheriff’s deputy. The shooting, they said, was being investigated under a new California law that requires the state Justice Department step in when a police officer kills an unarmed person. Pam Holland hoped the investigation would be quick and fair. Her father had been a Kern County Sheriff’s reserve deputy. She grew up around cops. She thought she could trust them — but she also believed that police agencies protect their own. “I was like, wow, that’s awesome, this is great, they’re going to take it out of the hands of the local cops, who would instantly feel anger toward my son without even knowing anything,” she said. But an investigation that the Justice Department officers told Holland would take eight months is quickly approaching 12. Now, she is among several Californians whose family members were killed by the police in the past two years and just want the state investigations to

Why the Bay Area doesn’t have a WNBA team, and probably won’t for several years

It seems like everybody wants the WNBA to expand. Everybody, that is, except the WNBA itself. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert has continued to pour cold water on the rising heat to grow the league beyond its current 12-team size, where the league has been for 15 years and counting. Engelbert has turned the expansion process into some strange form of a running joke. In the last year alone, statements from the commissioner have moved the timeline from 2024 to 2025 to 2025-ish to declining to update the timeline for fear of being wrong. She has also made a moving target out of the number of cities under consideration, saying the league was considering up to 100, then 20, then 10, only to go back to 20 this month. Engelbert reasons that the change to slow-playing expansion, instead of focusing on stabilizing the league fiscally, was the right decision. “I have a philosophy that we needed to have more transformation of the league economics because the last thing we want to do is bring new owners in who are going to fail,” Engelbert said last month. “I

Creating a colorful border with shrubs | Gardening

Most folks don’t realize that they can have a broad spectrum of color in their gardens by just planting shrubs. No flowers needed! The shrubs seen in this photo are not only colorful but mostly evergreen. This means that they hold onto most of their leaves throughout all four seasons. Imagine having yearlong interest with changing colors as new leaves continue to emerge in the spring, some even with blossoms. They are not only hardy but provide privacy as well. To the west of this border is a hidden garden and to the east is an open field where once a fruit orchard stood. Before snapping this picture, my husband and I had just finished pruning the first two shrubs, a viburnum and loropetalum to expose the third shrub behind them which is a lime-colored smoke tree. All this was done to further enhance the tri-color combination. You can see how nicely the dark green, the maroon and the lime leaves create a lovely color palette. We topped approximately three feet off the viburnum and about two feet off the loropetalum. Sometimes Mother Nature needs

Leave it to farmers to make the right decision

Our fuzzy green almonds are happily dangling from their branches and at first glance, they look like apricots. These giants are ready to harvest sometime around the second week of August so I’m hopeful they don’t become the size of cantelope by then. In my 29 years on this ranch, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. When my horse friends get bored in the arena, I can usually spot a wide enough row of trees to ride down and access the back of the property. This year, I’m still searching for a row with a high enough canopy to squeak beneath. All these low lying limbs make for a moist orchard floor which isn’t ideal for riding either. Deep hoof prints are not a nut farmer’s best friend so I’m going to hook up the trailer and find more suitable trails this season. The farm husband, farm girl and myself traveled to Vann Brother’s grower luncheon last week in Arbuckle and listened to the 2023 almond forecast, projected at 2.5 billion pounds by USDA’s NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service). Some estimates are hopefully more

Red Bluff council considers reprimanding Cody Strock

RED BLUFF — The City Council Tuesday moved to possibly reprimand Cody Strock for his comments on social media and actions. In a 3-1 vote, the council directed staff to prepare two options for consideration: issuing a censure or sending a written reprimand. The city received two complaints regarding possible violations of the code of conduct included in the city council policy manual. Councilman Cody Strock. In her complaint to the city, Jody Bartley says Strock’s public accusation of corruption, bribery and fraud within the council is embarrassing. “His slanderous statements on Facebook towards fellow councilman JR Gonzales about a completely legal real estate transaction was extremely unprofessional and completely unjust,” she added. Cassie Pope alleged Strock was not operating in the city’s interests and said he argues, slanders, and attempts to belittle and berate just about anyone who takes the time to communicate with him on his city-represented Facebook page. “Any council member who advises a community of non-voters and taxpayers to seek legal counsel against the city with which he was elected to represent is not clearly operating in the interest of that

From phone mazes to a relaxing margarita

I got really excited this morning about this idea. To say that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been in the news lately is an understatement. A use occurred to me this morning that might actually be worth endangering the entire human race to our new AI masters. My wife was on hold this morning, trying to reach Yelp. She was on speaker, so I could hear every painful request to press this or that number, as well as the endless apologies for making her wait, the annoying music, and repeated messages suggesting she contact their website. It’s enough to drive you crazy. Everyone complains about having to make these calls. Cell phone issues, credit card questions, you name it – you’re going to be dealing with some primitive AI program and/or call center located on the far side of the globe. Gone are the days when one could call American Express, not be placed on hold, and immediately begin speaking with a cheerful, intelligent, well-trained representative who could fix any problem almost immediately. “Your new card will arrive by Fed-Ex tomorrow – anything else?” It was