Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shootout for Los Angeles County board may be most interesting race

In an otherwise lackluster campaign season, California’s most interesting political duel may be one for a rare vacancy on the five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It’s interesting because a supervisor’s seat in a county that’s more populous (10 million-plus) than all but eight states is a powerful political prize. And it’s interesting because […]

July 25, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | Leave a reply

Is parenting being criminalized in America?

Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised […]

July 25, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | Leave a reply

Will history repeat in child immigrant crisis?

For some people familiar with the history of the runup to World War II, there’s a sense of déjà vu in today’s humanitarian crisis along the Mexican border these days, as resistance rises against the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children attempting to enter and stay in the United States. Eyewitness reports in The New […]

Pérez gives up on vote recount, but system’s flaws are shown

One can categorize politicians by many indices – honesty, intelligence, effectiveness and ideology, for instance. One of the more reliable, however, is what one might call self-identification. Does the politician, regardless of other qualities, see politics primarily as a civic duty – something separate from family and/or professional career – or as the essence of […]

Question of the week: Should cities oppose Valero’s crude-by-rail plan?

Valero is planning to ship crude oil by rail through Solano County to its refinery in Benicia, bringing the possibility – although remote – of an accident. Should local officials resist the plan? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results Should the state enforce mandatory water restrictions with fines? Yes: 43 percent No: 57 percent […]

US funds political groups in Venezuela despite ban

CARACAS, Venezuela — Almost four years after Venezuela enacted a law to bar the U.S. from funding groups frequently critical of the socialist government, millions of the American dollars the administration tried to ban still flow to these organizations, an analysis by The Associated Press shows. Much more U.S. support is under consideration. The State […]

Israel pushes in Gaza, expanding ground operation

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday in a ground offensive that officials said could last up to two weeks as the prime minister ordered the military to prepare for a “significantly” wider campaign. The assault raised risks of a bloodier conflict amid escalating Palestinian civilian casualties and the […]

Walmart donation benefits Meals on Wheels

On behalf of Meals on Wheels of Solano County and its board of directors, I would like to thank the Wal-Mart Corporate State Giving Program for a recent grant award of $25,000, which supports our organization’s mission to provide meals to seniors in our community. Meals on Wheels’ motto is “So no senior goes hungry […]

Batson’s column on Mideast peace is wrong

Serious conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are best served by facts, not inflammatory rhetoric. Sadly, Jack Batson’s column (“Time to divest to spur Mideast peace,” July 14) misrepresents recent history and demonizes the Jewish state, thereby coming to biased conclusions. He correctly points out that the Palestinians do not have a state. This is not only due […]

Ukraine disaster evokes personal memories

I’m not sure whether or not I should apologize for making this week’s column personal, but Ukraine has a special place in my history. As I write this, we don’t know whether the airliner crash was caused by hostile fire or an accident. However, there is no question that Ukraine has witnessed – and caused – terror for hundreds […]

California gains in economic rankings, but it’s a mixed bag

Were California a nation, we learned last week, its $2.2 trillion economy could claim eighth place in international economic standings, having bypassed Italy and Russia in the past year. The news symbolizes to many, particularly those in politics, that California has completely weathered the worst recession since the Great Depression and is once again leading […]

What should the US do about illegal immigrant children?

The crisis along the southern United States border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all. President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion to cover the growing […]

Stockton bankruptcy judge seeks final answer on pension status

Since Stockton filed for bankruptcy two years ago, Judge Christopher Klein has strongly hinted that he’s willing – perhaps even eager – to declare that city employee pension obligations are debts that could be trimmed along with those of more conventional creditors. “We have a festering sore here,” Klein said earlier this year. “We got […]

Better to live without fear

Do you have concerns about dying in a terrorist attack? Are you afraid of flying? How about sharks or grizzlies? Every year there are grizzly attacks – and a swimmer off California was recently bitten by a large shark. Are you afraid that Bruce the Great White or a Yellowstone grizzly bear is going to […]

Fix our problems first

I would like to reply to a column written by Ruben Navarrette (July 6). First off, he called the kids coming across the United States border refugees instead of illegal aliens. Well gee, all those years the people entering this country illegally committing a fourth class felony must be refugees carrying marijuana on some of their backs, […]

Help in fight against cancer

I had a hysterectomy in May 2013 due to fibroid tumors that the doctors said were noncancerous. During my follow-up appointment with the surgeon, he told my husband and me that one of the tumors had a “high mitotic rate.” My brain went back to college when I studied biology. Mitosis means cell division. High […]

Question of the week: Should state enforce water restrictions?

The State Water Resources Control Board will consider this week whether to enforce mandatory restrictions on urban water use, including fines, for nine months. Do you think it’s a good idea? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results: Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision allowing businesses to deny insurance coverage for contraceptives? Yes: […]

UN warns Iraq of ‘chaos’ if no political progress

BAGHDAD — The U.N. urged Iraq’s leaders Saturday to overcome their deep divisions and move quickly to form a new government that can unite the country and confront a surging militant threat, warning that failure to do so “risks plunging the country into chaos.” The Sunni insurgent blitz over the past month has driven Iraq into […]

Migrant boy buried in Guatemala hometown

SAN JOSE LAS FLORES, Guatemala — A 15-year-old Guatemalan boy whose death became a symbol of the perils facing children attempting to illegally cross into the United States was buried in his hometown Saturday, amid prayers and tears from his family. Neighbors in this mountain village filled the small home where Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez […]

4 civilians killed in artillery fire in Ukraine

MARYINKA, Ukraine — Artillery fire killed at least four people in an overnight attack on a residential area in eastern Ukraine, spurring more people to flee the besieged city of Donetsk and its suburbs on Saturday to take their chances elsewhere. Pro-Russian insurgents last week retreated from the strategic city of Slovyansk and holed up […]

Nicaraguan sentenced for killing US missionary

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — A Nicaraguan man who confessed to killing a Wyoming woman on a missionary trip has been sentenced to 39 years in prison. A judge on Saturday issued the order against Fernando Aburto Reyes, who was found guilty of killing, raping and robbing Karen Colclough. Under Nicaraguan law, he can remain imprisoned for […]

Wildfire threatens town near Athens

ATHENS, Greece — Authorities say a raging wildfire southeast of Greece’s capital has burned down at least one house and threatened several others. The fire broke out early Saturday afternoon in a forested area in the hills west of Keratea, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Athens, and has spread quickly, despite the efforts of […]

Court cuts: Is Sacramento listening?

It is with great frustration and outrage that I read that Gov. Jerry Brown is giving himself a raise, along with all of the state legislators and all of the state workers (their second consecutive raise). I wrote last year, complaining about the huge cuts in funding to the state trial courts and how those cuts […]

India village council accused of ordering rape

NEW DELHI — A 14-year-old girl was dragged into a forest and raped on the orders of a village council in remote eastern India in retaliation for a sex assault blamed on her brother, her family and police said Friday. Jitendra Singh, a top local police official, said two men have been arrested in the […]

US struggles to resolve Afghan election crisis

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States struggled Friday to find a path out of a presidential election crisis in Afghanistan that has jeopardized chances for a democratic transfer of power, a central plank of President Barack Obama’s strategy to leave behind a stable state after the withdrawal of most U.S. troops at year’s end. Secretary […]

Strong quake hits Japan, triggering small tsunami

TOKYO — A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s northern coast near the nuclear power plant crippled in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The earthquake early Saturday triggered a small tsunami. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake struck 6 miles below the sea surface off the coast of Fukushima, northeast of Tokyo. An 8-inch tsunami reached the […]

Eastern Ukrainians flee as army suffers losses

DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine’s president vowed vengeance in blood after 19 troops were killed in an insurgent rocket attack Friday, and residents of the rebel-held city of Donetsk began fleeing in large numbers for fear of a government siege. The barrage of rocket fire just before sunrise at a base near the Russian border was […]

Iraqi Kurds take over 2 northern oil fields

BAGHDAD — Kurdish security forces took over two major oil fields outside the disputed northern city of Kirkuk before dawn Friday and said they would use some of the production for domestic purposes, further widening a split with the central government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The takeover of the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oil […]