State would force cities to approve more cannabis licenses under new bill
California cities would have to dramatically increase retail cannabis business licenses throughout the state under newly amended legislation by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that attempts to force reluctant local governments into accepting marijuana shops.
CA AB1356 (19R), dubbed by its supporters as the “ratio bill,” would mandate that in cities and unincorporated county areas where more than 50 percent of residents voted in favor of Proposition 64's legalization of recreational marijuana, local jurisdictions have to issue a minimum number of cannabis retail licenses equal to 25 percent of active “on-sale” alcohol licenses — and at minimum, one for every 10,000 residents.
Marijuana delivery would be banned in areas with prohibitions under new bill (POLITICO)
A moderate Democratic lawmaker is trying to block recent rules that opened the door for recreational cannabis delivery almost anywhere in California and angered cities and police chiefs who believe the change undermines local control.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) has introduced legislation specifying that cities and counties can ban marijuana delivery, which would reverse policies written by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control that took effect in January.
Vacant, Neglected, Destructive: How Richmond’s abandoned homes became fire hazards (Richmond Confidential)
Elora Henderson and Jesus Galindo sat in the living room of her small Iron Triangle home, unwinding after a long day of work. The two Lincoln Elementary School teachers settled into their after-school routine, sinking into the couch and watching TV with Henderson’s dog, Lorca, at their feet. But something wasn’t quite right that September evening.
The two were eating. Lorca should’ve been begging for scraps, but he was uninterested. Instead, he paced between the living room and the kitchen. Galindo grew concerned and headed to investigate.
Agriculture hopes hemp legislation will finally go through (POLITICO)
After years of trying to get laws changed, hemp advocates and would-be farmers are on the cusp of gaining new legal standing via the 2018 farm bill. The question now will be: How do they ramp up production of a formerly illegal crop to the point where they’re competitive on a world scale?
The Senate version of the farm bill passed on June 28, S. 3042 (115), includes a provision that would put hemp — marijuana’s non-psychoactive relative — on the same standing as any other commodity crop. With regulation handled by state agriculture departments, hemp researchers will be able to apply for USDA grants and hemp growers can be covered by crop insurance programs.
Trump's tariffs threaten billions in losses for U.S. pork (POLITICO)
The pork industry was one of the first U.S. agricultural sectors to suffer blowback as President Donald Trump embarked on his aggressive program to reshape America’s trade relationships — and the hits keep coming.
Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first full day in office last year, sending pork producers scrambling to shore up relationships with their top buyer by value, Japan, which remained in the 11-nation deal that was struck after Trump's exit.
The Reluctant Politician: Ada Recinos' journey to becoming the youngest city councilmember in Richmond's history (Richmond Confidential)
Ada Recinos steps up to the podium to restrained cheers from a small contingent of friends and supporters. She stretches, leans into the microphone, then addresses the Richmond City Council. “Tonight, I am here to share the reasons why I am the best appointment for this seat,” she begins.
Recinos is one of 13 people on this night to present their case for appointment to the council’s only vacant seat. Standing just over 5 feet tall, Recinos is hard to spot from the opposite side of the chamber. But she speaks with a confidence that immediately draws the capacity crowd’s attention.
Conaway full of farm bill optimism amid unsettled immigration question (POLITICO)
The outlook for the House farm bill remains murky as high-stakes immigration talks continue on Capitol Hill, but House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway's optimism has not waned.
The fate of the House bill has been tied to the contentious issue of immigration ever since the conservative House Freedom Caucus withheld votes for the measure in a bid to force a vote on a hard-line immigration bill. The farm bill ended up going down in a 198 to 213 vote nearly three weeks ago, with 30 Republicans voting against it, including conservatives and some moderates.
USDA releases SNAP error rate data after 2-year halt (POLITICO)
USDA on Thursday released a report on error rates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for the 2017 fiscal year after not releasing the information for the prior two fiscal years amid an examination into the reliability of the data and DOJ investigations into how several states have administered the program.
The study found a 6.3 percent national SNAP benefit payment error rate, which reflects the percentage of SNAP dollars that are issued either to ineligible households or to eligible households in excessive or insufficient amounts. Roughly 80 percent of the total error rate was attributable to overpayments.
Judge rules on Point Molate development; housing to be built, but no casino (Richmond Confidential)
After almost eight years of grinding litigation that has brought proposals to develop Richmond’s controversial Point Molate area to a halt, the city and the developer who sued it over a plan to build a casino have finally reached a settlement.
This means 13 years of political fighting since Richmond officially acquired the 270-acre parcel of land and former fuel depot from the Navy in 2003 may finally give way to a unified plan to make economic use of the property.
Community celebrates life of anti-gun violence activist during month with four deadly shootings (Richmond Confidential)
Inside a small cul-de-sac in the Crescent Park neighborhood, dozens of community members linked arms and encircled a solitary tree adorned with photos of Mark Henderson II, 29, who was shot and killed just yards away from this spot on April 9. Most of the guests looked down at the base of the tree, the concrete still covered in candle wax from vigils held the days after his death. But, as they picked their heads up, smiles spread through the crowd. This day was about celebrating life, not mourning death.
Richmond residents had filed in throughout the day on Saturday to offer their support to the Henderson family and listen to gospel music and sermons organized by Pastor Kellis Love of Greater Love Ministries, which hosts “Save Our Sons” anti-violence events throughout the city. There was also free food and a clothing giveaway arranged by Crescent Park resident Elana Bolds, organizer of the annual “Put The Guns Down” gathering and Henderson’s godmother.
Annual outreach effort accounts for Contra Costa’s unsheltered homeless population (Richmond Confidential)
Just yards away from the loading bay of a high-end mall in Walnut Creek, a team of county employees wearing yellow jackets with the word “outreach” emblazoned on the back made the steep climb down a creek shoreline and ducked under a bridge. After a brief moment, the team scurried back up, followed a few minutes later by the person they came to check on, Michael Anthony Ramirez.
Wearing a black fleece jacket and jeans, his hair cut short and goatee trimmed, Ramirez looked like he could’ve been heading to shop at the expensive stores in Broadway Plaza. Most people likely wouldn’t guess that he’s been calling the small space under this bridge home for the last year and a half. After a quick chat, one of the team members handed Ramirez two duffle bags full of toiletries before giving him a hug and letting him go on his way.
Adaptive skaters: Back flips and broken prosthetics from Southern California’s best (Los Angeles Daily News)
As Katherine Beattie straps herself into her custom-made wheelchair, and Oscar Loreto slips his left leg into the carbon fiber shell that connects to his prosthetic foot, the challenges that the two have faced throughout their lives are apparent.
Living with a disability can be a struggle, and neither Beattie nor Loreto are afraid to admit their own challenges growing up. But, as Beattie puts on her helmet and pushes her chair down into a bowl, and Loreto launches his skateboard off a flight of stairs, slamming to a stop at the bottom, their disabilities are an afterthought.
Cricket catches on: Pittsburgh players are making the game a magnet (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The sun had just started to peek out over the treetops on a cool July morning, illuminating a small field in South Park hidden from the nearby road by a thick forest. The chirping of birds filled the air, and a small creek bubbled in the background.
Then those natural sounds were struck by a familiar sound, the crack of a leather ball against a wooden bat. Players in green uniforms yelled directions at each other as the white ball sailed through the morning air. As the ball smashed through the trees and landed on the forest floor, the batter’s yellow-clad teammates let out a collective whoop of excitement.
Drew League, even with major Nike presence, is sticking to its roots (Los Angeles Daily News)
On any given weekend during the summer, the parking lot adjacent to the gymnasium at King Drew Medical Magnet High School is filled to capacity. The odd occupant of one of those cars may be a student working on a summer school project, but the overwhelming majority are there to catch a glimpse of a NBA star.
The 900-person gymnasium on the corner of East 120th Street and Compton Avenue in South Los Angeles plays host to the Drew League, a longtime summer basketball league that has gained a national reach as it has attracted top players from around the country.
Richmond officials see perfect timing, little downside in suing fossil fuel companies (Richmond Confidential)
When Richmond’s city council members voted unanimously to pursue a lawsuit accusing over two dozen fossil fuel companies of knowingly contributing to global warming, they knew it would put their already-strained relationship with Chevron, the city’s biggest employer, back in the public crosshairs. However, according to city officials, the timing and price tag of the suit made the decision simple.
On January 22, Richmond announced in a press release that it would be taking on Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell and 24 other petroleum and coal companies in Contra Costa Superior Court. The lawsuit makes Richmond the ninth city to take legal action against the fossil fuel industry, following on the heels of Oakland, San Francisco and New York City.
Contra Costa affordable-housing advocates hope to build off ‘great energy’ of new state laws (Richmond Confidential)
After years of ballooning home prices and plummeting consumer confidence, Gov. Jerry Brown signed 15 housing bills late last month. These new laws aim to address California’s affordable housing shortage. In Contra Costa County, the laws have been met with cautious optimism — and also a feeling that more needs to be done.
The bills come amid a push by county supervisors and community organizations to create a dialogue about the housing crisis. They are currently hosting a series of town halls, with the most recent taking place in Richmond.