of California Employment Law
Stem Cell Research
CEO, Jewish Vocational Services
Elliott Turner, Mark Rogo and Lee Dunayer
"Avoiding the Pitfalls of California Employment Law"
Marcia and Rick Brous
Dr. Owen Witte
Stem Cell Research Chief at UCLA
IRIS KAPHAN, League of Women Voters, at WVRC on October 9th
After some discussion about who was to do what, LEAH VRIESMAN led the Pledge. Since LENNY wasn’t with us, there weren’t no song. However, JOHN WOODALL came forward with the Invocation: “We thank you for fellowship around the table and the ways it can encourage us and nurture us as we seek to be good citizens in this world. And so we pray for your blessings on our friends who are not here today as they celebrate important religious holidays, and we pray for each of us, that we might continue to be attuned to how to be peacemakers and the people who provide justice and the people who provide hope for the world that sorely needs this. So be with us today, and in your holy name we pray. Amen” Nicely done, JOHN thanks.
We had, depending upon how you count, at least two Visiting Rotarians. JOE MULRYAN, husband of our beloved LENORE, may still be affiliated with LA Five, but we hope he’ll return here often. Our other visitor was Anil Chandarana, a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Nairobi, Kenya. We had a surprise visit from ALY SHOKI, accompanied by her new five-week old daughter, London. and she received a standing ovation, of course. BILL EDWARDS and PP MIKE NEWMAN were seated at the Head Table, but neither one had anything world-shaking to say.
We were poised for the expected rebuttal to last week’s minor diatribe that some thought favored the men. However, with so many absent plus the non-attendance of whoever was supposed to provide the material that tidbit was foregone (is that the right word?) until a later time, maybe even next week. The same fate befell the Birthday Toll next week looks more likely. We were reminded that the Paul Harris Celebration is this Sunday, at Medieval Times in O.C. And, apropos of nothing else, I hasten to inform you all of the workings of the new Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Having toured the facility a few weeks ago, I decided to give it an actual tryout a weekend ago. This was caused by a bout with a gallstone, and if you’ll pardon a pun, that’s all behind me now…Anyway, I spent one night in Emergency, and the next in a regular bed. I was very impressed by their care and the food was fantastic.
President SEAN provided a list of why airplanes are easier to live with than women. Somewhat abridged, here it is: Airplanes come with manuals to explain their operation. Airplanes don’t come with in-laws. Airplanes don’t mind if you buy airplane magazines. Airplanes don’t comment on your piloting skills. Airplanes expect to be tied down. Airplanes don’t whine unless something is really wrong. however, when airplanes go quiet, just like women. It’s usually not good.
We have two bits of Irish history, both occurring on October 9th, first in 1651, and then in 1779. In 1651, The Navigation Act provides that goods imported to any Commonwealth lands shall be carried in English ships only. And in 1979, members of Dillon’s and Walsh’s Regiments of the Irish Brigade of France took part in the Franco-American assault on Savannah, GA. Because of one muck-up after another, the attacks were not successful. Dillon’s regiment was the only one of the Brigade units to remain in command of one family for its entire service. Count Arthur Dillon was the grandson of Colonel Arthur Dillon, who brought the regiment into French service in 1690. For reason’s unannounced, the Count would later become a victim of the French Resolution: he was guillotined in 1794
But back to today. PP HOMER NEWMAN spoke about the Paul Harris Society. Membership costs $1,000 per year, but our Westwood Village Rotary Foundation will pay half of that from our Endowment. It is another way to continue to give support to Rotary International.
PEGGY BLOOMFIELD introduced our Speaker, Iris Kaphan. Dr Kaphan received both her Masters and PhD from UCLA and she is with the League of Women Voters. Their policy is to educate voters on the meaning of various propositions, not to suggest how we should vote on them. They take this responsibility seriously.
This ballot contains twelve Propositions. A simple majority is required to pass any of them. Their cost will come from the General Fund, in some cases supplemented by Bond Issues. Remember that with State Bonds, you should double the amount of the Bond to determine how much repayment will be required.
Proposition #4 Waiting Period and Parental Notification before termination of a Minor’s pregnancy. This would be a Constitutional Amendment. It requires a physician to notify the parent of a pregnant minor in writing at least 48 hours before terminating the pregnancy. The fiscal effect on the state budget is relatively minor. Those in favor point out that this will keep teenagers safe by ensuring that a family member would know about the teen’s medical situation. More than 30 states already have such laws, which seem to work. The teenager can seek a waiver from the court. Opponents point out that government cannot force good family communications. Not all teens live in homes where they can safely turn to their parents for help. Desperate, scared teenagers may seek illegal abortions or delay or avoid care, rather than telling their parents.
Proposition #5 Nonviolent Drug Offenses, sentencing, parole and rehabilitation. Presently California has three major drug treatment diversion programs, which send some criminal offenders charged or convicted of nonviolent drug possession to treatment instead of jail or prison. Prop. 5 could cost $460 million annually. This cost would be partially offset by the savings from reduced prison terms. One-time savings on prison construction could exceed $2.5 billion. Supporters point out that treatment and rehab for minor drug offenses will reduce recidivism, reducing incarceration and prison construction costs. Treating violent and nonviolent offenders differently makes sense.
Rehab for the 85 to 90% of inmates who are returned to society will help them to become law-abiding productive citizens. Opponents say dumping 45,000criminals into our communities will not save money, but increase crime. The measure reduces court authority over probation, parole or drug treatment rules. Today, first-time minor offenders are not sent to prison, but to rehab.
Proposition #6 Police and Law Enforcement Funding, criminal penalties and laws. This measure would increase state spending on new and existing local law enforcement. It would increase penalties for vehicle theft and methamphetamine offenses, and lower the age from 16 to 14 for some gang-related offenses. We presently spend $665 million annually which would increase by $300 million. Supporters say Prop. 6 will prioritize
1 percent of the state’s budget for local law enforcement, without raising taxes. It will help to win the war against gangs. Those in opposition contend these expanded programs
will take money from education, health care, and proven public safety efforts. Gang problems need a coordinated, balanced approach that includes a wide variety of programs.
Proposition #7 Renewable Energy Generation. Our PUC regulates investor-owned utilities and electric service providers, but not publicly owned utilities. This Prop. would extend the existing 20% renewable service requirements to publicly owned utilities and would increase the required percentage of renewably generated electricity for all utilities to 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025. It would require 20 year or longer contracts for renewable fuels. The PUC estimates that increasing renewable fuel requirements would entail a state infrastructure investment in the tens of billions of dollars which would increase fees paid by consumers. Those in favor describe this as a balanced solution, written and reviewed by energy and environmental experts. They claim it will create over 370,000 new high-wage jobs, plus growing a strong market for solar and renewable energy. Rate increases will be limited to 3% annually. Opponents say this would hurt progress in increasing use of renewable power by shutting out small providers what currently provide 60% of our state contracts. It will increase costs to consumers by up to 10%, since no mechanism is provided to enforce the 3% limitation. It does not add new renewable energy sources, but simply raises required percentages of renewable energy.
Proposition #8 Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry. An earlier statute passed in 2002 prohibited same-sex marriages. In June 2008 the California Supreme Count struck this down, and such marriages are now permitted. Prop. 8 would amend the California Constitution to specify that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid this would reestablish the 2002 provision, and place it in the Constitution. There is apparently little direct fiscal effect on the budget. Proponents say this will restore the sanctity of traditional marriage, which was affirmed by 61% of California voters in 2002. It does not eliminate any of the rights and privileges given to same-sex registered domestic partners. This issue should be settled by the people rather than the flawed reasoning of four activist judges in San Francisco. Those who oppose point out that allowing same-sex marriages does not diminish the sanctity of traditional marriage, but extends the rights to more people. Domestic partnerships are not afforded the same dignity and respect as marriage, nor do they have the same rights as spouses in medical emergencies and when life-and-death decisions are made. In a brief Q&A, Dr. Kaphan feels that the status of those who have married since this June, should Prop. 8 passes, would have to be settled in Federal Court.
Proposition #9 Criminal Justice System. Victim’s rights, Parole. This Prop. would change the state Constitution and some statutes to give crime victims the right to be notified, attend, and be heard at all public criminal proceedings including bail hearings, pleas, sentencing and parole. It would require that restitution be ordered from offenders with no exceptions. Early release policies to relieve prison overcrowding would be eliminated. It is difficult to predict the fiscal effect, but it appears to be large.
Those in favor point out that the legal rights of crime victims will be extended and guaranteed. They must be notified when offenders are released. It eliminates unnecessary parole hearings, and ensures that criminals will serve their full sentences. Opponents say the state Constitution is no place for a detailed listing of victim’s rights these should be under state law. Prop. 9 is duplicative, a nod we are already strict on parole. The parole rate for murder and manslaughter is less than 1%.
Proposition #10 Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds. This measure would provide 5 billions dollars in bonds, to be repaid from the General Fund. This breaks down to $3.4 billion in cash rebates to purchasers of high fuel economy and clean alternative fuel vehicles. $1.25 billion incentives for research and development of electricity from wind, solar and renewable technology. $200 million in grants to local governments for alternative energy demonstration projects, and $125 million to public universities for research and development. Those in favor say such expenses will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create thousands of new jobs.
It will give consumers alternatives to high priced gasoline, and will create cleaner air and a healthier future. Opponents say the cost of $10 billion duplicates existing clean air and alternative energy programs. It will primarily benefit trucks and large vehicles using natural gas. And no air quality improvements or reduction in greenhouse gases are specified.
Proposition #11 Redistricting. This would amend the Constitution to transfer responsibility for drawing boundaries to a new Citizens Redistricting Committee, starting with the 2010 census. There would be 14 members, five each from the two major parties, and four not belonging to either party.
Required criteria for drawing district boundaries are listed. The plans must be approved by three votes from each party and three from the others. The Legislature would still draw Congressional districts, using the same criteria as the Commission. Those in favor point out that this Prop. would eliminate the present conflict of interest, since voters will be empowered to select their elected officials and hold them accountable. This reform will help reduce the partisan deadlock that now exists, resulting in fair districts. which can legislate rather than drawing lines in the sand (whoops, my prejudice shows). Opponents contend that bureaucrats will still choose the redistricting commission. It does not ensure that its 14 members will reflect the gender, racial or geographic diversity of the state. The Commission is not answerable to the voters.
SALLY BRANT asked where the money for these various plans is to come from, since California is already on the verge of bankruptcy. Measures passed as initiatives have priority in funding. And here are positions by the League on the Propositions: Yes on 3 4-5, and no on 6-7-8-9-10, with no position on 11 and 12. Iris Kaphan, thank you for a most helpful presentation.
Closing words of wisdom:
If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.