November 30, 2009
The below oped appeared in the S.F. Chronicle today, November 30, 2009
NFL stadium bills cut to the front of the line
by Mike Terrizzi and John Corcoran
Football fans in both Southern and Northern California were given something to cheer about when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills to make it easier for developers to build a pair of NFL stadiums. Fans of the game who are also concerned about preventing potential abuse of environmental and competitive bidding law should be careful what they wish for.
The first bill, ABX381 by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, exempts developers of an NFL stadium project in the City of Industry (Los Angeles County) from the legal requirements of a thorough environmental impact report.
Click here to read more at SFgate.com…
November 17, 2009
It seems like it’s a lot easier to buy a house today than it was just a few years ago. Home prices have plummeted, more homes are on the market, and fewer people are looking to buy a home due to the sluggish economy. Washington D.C. has made buying a home easier by extending through 2010 the maximum dollar amount for “conforming loans,” which should increase availability of loans for buyers in expensive real estate markets such as New York, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Pres. Obama also just signed an extension and expansion of the first time homebuyer tax credit, which now applies to anyone who hasn’t owned a primary residence in the past three years and includes a new $6,500 tax credit for buyers who have lived in their home for five years or more.
Forrest Thomas, son Tyson, 14 months, and wife Samantha, potential buyers of a home in a short sale (Photo credit: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Unfortunately, for each barrier that comes down, it seems another is quickly erected. Read the rest of this entry »
November 6, 2009
A friend of mine used to get upset whenever she heard the word “Nazi” used as a punchline. She had a good reason: joking about Nazis in a lighthearted way, she argued, subtly belittled the pure evil committed by Nazis in and around Germany during WWII.
Perhaps the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal would agree. Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit ruled that the use of a “Nazi salute” during a city council meeting justified the ejection of the offending audience member and did not violate constitutional protections of freedom of speech.
The case, Norse v. City of Santa Cruz, arose out of two incidents in 2002 and 2004 in which Robert Norse gave a Nazi salute in protest. In the 2004 incident, Robert Norse was clearly disruptive, parading around the council chambers. The 2002 incident was a closer call: Norse briefly used the salute to protest the Mayor’s decision to cut off another speaker from speaking at the podium.
The 9th Circuit’s written opinion unfortunately did not include a video of either incident embedded in the opinion. But I was able to find the clip from the 2002 incident on Youtube:
The clip makes one wonder: Norse has had not one, but two trips to the Ninth Circuit for incidents in which he used a Nazi salute at a Santa Cruz City Council meeting. How frequently did this guy go around giving Nazi salutes?
It turns out pretty frequently.
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November 5, 2009
Forty-six years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Gideon v. Wainwright, a case which first provided the right to counsel for indigent defendants in criminal cases. In the spirit of that landmark case, Gov. Schwarzenegger recently signed AB 590, the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act, which for the first time will provide a lawyer to people who cannot afford one in civil cases related to basic human needs.
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