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Attorney General Bonta Downplays Increased Crime in California – California Globe

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In a press launch dated August 25, 2022, California Lawyer Normal Rob Bonta introduced the discharge of state crime information for 2021. Noting that violent and property crime charges “stay considerably under their historic highs,” he admitted that homicides elevated 7% final yr. This follows a 31% improve in homicides from 2019 to 2021. The biggest single-year improve in state historical past.

Taking the Lawyer Normal at his phrase that “Good information is a cornerstone of fine public coverage,” the newest Crime in California report strongly means that present insurance policies are taking the state within the mistaken route.

The report reveals that the variety of homicides is the very best it has been since 2007. There have been 1,000 extra reported rapes than final yr and aggravated assaults are the very best since 2004. Eleven thousand extra automobiles have been stolen final yr than in 2020, and car thefts have elevated yearly since 2008. These are usually not good numbers.

In his press launch Bonta inadvertently gives a cause for these will increase. “The whole arrest price decreased 7.3% from 2,812.3 in 2020 to 2,606.3 in 2021, persevering with an ongoing year-to-year downward pattern that started in 2004 when the full arrest price was 5,385.5. In 2021, the full variety of adults on energetic probation reached its lowest stage since 1980 at 151,414.”

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So throughout a interval of years with rising violent crime and auto thefts, the variety of offenders arrested or serving time on probation has been steadily declining. How can this be?

California Governors, legislators and Attorneys Normal have been aggressively working to scale back the results for crime since 2011 when Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 109, the Public Security Realignment Act into legislation. Handed on a straight party-line vote with no committee hearings, that 425-page legislation transferred accountability for all however essentially the most violent criminals from state prisons to county jails, successfully lowering their sentences. In 2013 Brown signed AB 4, the Belief Act, to ban native police departments from contacting federal immigration authorities to take custody of unlawful alien criminals. Because of this, they have been launched again onto the streets.

In 2014, the ACLU and teams funded by billionaire George Soros pooled roughly $10 million to idiot state voters into passing an initiative referred to as “The Protected Neighborhoods and Colleges Act.” Proposition 47 transformed many drug felonies and all property crimes valued at $950 or much less to misdemeanors, with few if any penalties. The expansion of California’s drug-addicted homeless inhabitants, the epidemic of deadly fentanyl overdoses and smash and seize robberies are instantly tied to Prop. 47. The explanation state information reveals that the majority property crimes are down, is as a result of the general public now not reviews them to police, and with no penalties for offenders, police are usually not arresting them. That initiative and selections by native politicians to defund police departments in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, explains why arrests are taking place.

In 2016 Governor Brown certified Proposition 57, The Public Security and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, for the November poll. With thousands and thousands of {dollars} from Brown and Soros, the initiative was marketed as offering nonviolent offenders an opportunity for early launch and rehabilitation.



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California’s commercial Dungeness crab season delayed again to protect humpback whales

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The beginning of the industrial Dungeness crab season in California has been delayed additional to guard humpback whales from changing into entangled in entice and buoy strains.

The state Division of Fish and Wildlife mentioned Wednesday that industrial crabbing can be delayed till at the least Dec. 30. The state of affairs can be reassessed on or earlier than Dec. 22.

It’s the third delay for the beginning of the industrial season, which historically begins Nov. 15 for waters between the Mendocino County line and the border with Mexico.

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The crab business is considered one of California’s main fisheries and the shellfish is very well-liked across the holidays.

Geoff Shester of the nonprofit conservation group Oceana recommended officers for extending the delay.

“Elevated whale entanglement danger is changing into the brand new norm within the fall and spring months, so the crab fishing season with typical vertical line gear is more likely to get shorter and shorter,” Shester mentioned in a press release.

Humpback whales can get caught within the vertical ropes related to heavy industrial traps, which they’ll drag round for months, leaving them injured, starved or so exhausted that they’ll drown.

The fish and sport division mentioned final month that there have been at the least 15 confirmed entanglements of humpback whales by fishing gear off California this 12 months, together with three involving Dungeness crab gear.

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Humpback whales migrate north yearly from Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula the place they beginning calves. In spring, summer time and fall the humpbacks feed on anchovies, sardines and krill off the California coast earlier than heading again south.



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Activision Blizzard Sues California State Agency in Connection with Sexual Harassment Probes

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Hours earlier than Activision Blizzard discovered that the Federal Commerce Fee goals to dam its $69 billion sale to Microsoft, the online game big filed a lawsuit Thursday in opposition to two California state companies which have probed allegations of sexual harassment and pay discrimination on the firm.

Activision’s criticism, filed in Sacramento Superior Courtroom, accuses the California Division of Honest Employment and Housing of interfering with a separate settlement that the corporate was pursuing with the federal Equal Employment Alternative Fee.

Furthermore, the lawsuit accuses the DFEH of waging struggle within the courtroom of public opinion in opposition to the company. The criticism belongings that state regulators have “orchestrated a complete media marketing campaign in an try to bullrush the Firm into settling its lawsuit utilizing allegations that the company knew have been unsustainable at trial.”

The 29-page criticism options copies of e-mail correspondence between DFEH officers and journalists from distinguished publications together with the Wall Avenue Journal, New York Instances and Washington Publish. The criticism asserts that “company Director Kevin Kish and its then-Chief Counsel Janette Wipper who, revealed reviews stated was subsequently fired by CRD throughout the pendency of this case — engaged in a systemic marketing campaign of off-the-record media briefing and leaking to the media, all in violation of its personal said company coverage to not communicate to the media about ongoing issues.”

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The bureaucratic battle between state and federal regulators round Activision investigations has been properly documented and has added to the bags across the firm that produces the wildly standard “Name of Obligation” and different high video games. Activision maintains that the DFEH broke the phrases of an settlement between the state and EEOC officers that the federal company would examine the sexual harassment claims with the state company would give attention to pay discrimination claims. The DFEH filed a lawsuit in opposition to Activision in 2021 that concerned each points.

Activision asserts that the DFEH has sought to intrude with the $18 million settlement that the comapny reached in March 2022 with the EEOC.

One other key element of the brand new lawsuit swimsuit is Activision’s claims that the DFEH and California Civil Rights Division (CRD) have dragged their heels in violation of courtroom orders on producing paperwork and different discovery sought by Activision attorneys.

“When Activision Blizzard sought, pursuant to California’s Public Information Act. (“PRA”), to unearth extra particulars about this concerted effort to unfairly tarnish Activision Blizzard’s fame, CRD unlawfully refused to offer communications that it is aware of will verify its malicious actions,” the criticism states. “In some cases, CRD slow-walked responses, insisting that easy
info requests, that ought to have been supplied promptly, as required by legislation, would take many
months, and even years to finish. In different cases, CRD produced paperwork, however unlawfully
redacted key parts in an try to cover info that may be embarrassing to the company.
In some cases—together with communications relating to its collusion with labor unions—CRD has
fully refused to supply any paperwork, despite the fact that they’re required to take action by the legislation,” the criticism states.

Representatives for the CRD and DFEH didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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Activision has confronted public scrutiny of its enterprise practices for the previous few years, even for the reason that state and federal probes have been initiated by complaints from workers and former workers with reviews of stunning allegations of frat-house habits being tolerated on the firm.

In March 2022, as a part of the $18 million settlement, Activision signed a three-year consent decree that entails an out of doors auditor inspecting how the corporate handles harassment and discrimination claims and the appointment of a third-party arbiter for equal employment alternatives.

On the time, EEOC officers offered Activision as an organization commited to alter in an business that’s notoriously insular and dominated by white males.

“We acknowledge Activision Blizzard for agreeing to a considerable injunctive aid that displays its dedication to being a change agent in an business that struggles with harassment within the office,” Anna Park, regional legal professional for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Workplace, stated in March. “We encourage others within the business to look at their practices to make sure a office freed from harassment and retaliation.”

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Is California’s beleaguered jobless benefits agency ready for a recession?

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By Grace Gedye | CalMatters

A cascade of tech layoffs, the pressure of inflation and information of doubtless recession-inducing choices from federal bankers may spell powerful financial instances forward.

If extra persons are laid off, extra Californians will flip to unemployment advantages to assist them afford the fundamentals whereas they search for a brand new job.

It’s a course of that buckled below the pressures of the pandemic. Residents typically waited months for advantages from the state’s Employment Improvement Division, dialing the division lots of of instances. On high of that was a string of fraud scandals: Claims got here from  ‘unemployed’ infants and youngsters and based on prosecutors, advantages have been paid to tens of hundreds of inmates in jail and jail, who’re ineligible. The overwhelming majority of the fraud was in short-term, federally-funded pandemic support packages.

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The state of affairs has since improved. However how will the system maintain up if there’s a recession?

Due to the extent of testing that the pandemic put us via, we’re in such a robust place to climate a typical financial contraction,” mentioned Gareth Lacy, communications advisor on the division.

Not everyone seems to be satisfied.

“There have been some main enhancements,” mentioned Daniela City, government director of the Heart for Employees’ Rights. “However I believe we’re not on the level the place if a significant disaster hit the unemployment system once more, the system would be capable to perform because it ought to.”

A recession would in all probability look completely different than the stunning early months of the pandemic, when claims for brand new advantages jumped tenfold from February to March of 2020, based on division information.

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One level of comparability: There have been 20 million claims for unemployment advantages through the pandemic and three.8 simply million through the Nice Recession, based on Lacy. And through the pandemic, the problem for the division wasn’t simply coping with the surge of claims; it additionally needed to implement new federal support packages.

The unimaginable wave of individuals making use of in a matter of weeks was “excessive,” says Until von Wachter, an economics professor at UCLA. Regular recessions are extra gradual, he mentioned, so the variety of claims the division has to course of per week would seemingly be decrease.

“They only went via trial by hearth,” von Wachter mentioned. He’s optimistic that the division would be capable to higher take care of a recession.

However, if the company struggles to maintain up with the calls for of a recession, it wouldn’t be the primary time. Within the wake of the recession that started in 2008, stories emerged that checks have been delayed as a result of outdated computer systems, and exasperated employees have been met with busy telephone traces.

Contained in the division’s recession plan

In 2021, state lawmakers required the division to give you a recession plan; the result’s an almost 90-page report.

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One change, the report explains, is that the division created a brand new staff tasked with forecasting unemployment benefit-related workloads and figuring what number of employees can be wanted. The report additionally particulars how the division will adapt if the unemployment fee reaches particular ranges.

California’s unemployment fee is at present round 4%, but when, for instance, it ticks as much as 6%, the plan consists of authorizing additional time, lowering trip slots throughout peak intervals, and limiting the approval of part-time requests. If it reaches 8%, the division would rent extra employees and “deploy retired annuitants.” If it reaches 12%, it’s time to name within the contractors.

The report says pulling all this off is difficult as a result of federal funding for unemployment profit administration is tied to an precise — not anticipated — workload.

The company has made another adjustments that might easy the method of getting advantages.

For Californians whose main language just isn’t English, expanded multilingual companies ought to make it simpler to navigate the system. “People who should not fluent in English face insurmountable obstacles to receiving help,” discovered a September 2020 ‘strike staff’ report.   In a February settlement with a number of advocacy teams, the division agreed to:

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—Present real-time spoken and signed language companies for employees in any language they want

—Add devoted telephone traces for Korean, Tagalog and Armenian audio system along with present traces serving Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese audio system

—Translate unemployment advantages paperwork within the high 15 non-English languages used within the state by the top of 2022.

A brand new part of the unemployment advantages web site now supplies kinds and different info translated into eight languages, plus simplified Chinese language. The growth got here after a legislative push so as to add multilingual companies for unemployment advantages.

One other current change addresses what occurs if you happen to begin getting advantages, after which your eligibility is named into query.

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Previously if, in the midst of filling out kinds to show your ongoing eligibility, you point out that you simply labored at some point, or have been sick at some point – two issues that might disqualify you from receiving advantages – the division would cease sending funds till it decided whether or not you have been nonetheless eligible, which may require an interview, mentioned City.

“On the top of the pandemic, (the division) was so behind the determinations (that) folks have been ready 15, 16, or extra weeks for these determinations,” and within the meantime, they weren’t receiving any advantages, City mentioned. Now, if the company can’t decide whether or not you’re eligible inside 14 days, it can hold paying advantages whereas they kind out the difficulty, City mentioned.

There have been different customer support tweaks over the previous couple of years, together with including a call-back function on name middle telephone traces so that folks don’t have to attend on maintain, enhancing the cell phone model of the web site, and enabling claimants to add paperwork, reasonably than bodily mail them in, based on the division.

The division has additionally begun a multi-year modernization effort, dubbed EDDNext, aimed toward enhancing customer support for unemployment advantages, paid household go away, and incapacity insurance coverage, for which the division acquired $136 million this yr.

Thus far, the division has begun designing a brand new on-line login that may work for unemployment advantages in addition to paid household go away and incapacity insurance coverage, and designing kinds which are simpler to learn and perceive.

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If there’s a recession, some employees can’t flip to unemployment advantages. That features the self-employed, who usually aren’t coated by unemployment advantages, mentioned Jenna Gerry, a senior employees legal professional on the Nationwide Employment Regulation Undertaking.

The federal authorities created short-term advantages for self-employed employees and contractors through the pandemic, however that led to 2021.

One other giant group that may discover itself with out unemployment advantages if a recession hits is undocumented employees – regardless of a significant push from advocates and a invoice handed by the Legislature. Below federal regulation, undocumented employees can’t get conventional unemployment advantages, mentioned Gerry.

This yr, employee and immigrant advocates pushed for a brand new pilot program that might have offered unemployment-like advantages to non-citizen employees – an thought Colorado lawmakers embraced this yr.

However California legislators didn’t present funding for this system within the state finances, mentioned Sasha Feldstein, financial justice coverage director for the California Immigrant Coverage Heart. Curiously, they then handed a invoice that laid out how this system would work, however which didn’t embody funding, and Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the invoice, citing, partially, the absence of “a devoted funding supply.”

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An $18 billion greenback drawback

One other consequence of a recession might be rising California’s already large unemployment debt.

The state’s unemployment insurance coverage belief fund ran out of cash through the pandemic, after so many laid-off Californians relied on the advantages. The federal authorities loaned California billions to maintain advantages flowing, and the state nonetheless is on the hook to pay again about $18 billion.

California’s debt is uniquely giant. Whereas many states needed to flip to the feds to pay out advantages through the pandemic, at this level simply California, New York, Connecticut, Illinois and the Virgin Islands nonetheless have debt. California’s debt is roughly double the scale of the opposite 4 mixed.

This isn’t the primary time the system has gone into debt. Within the wake of the Nice Recession, the debt grew to about $10 billion. California didn’t end paying it off till the spring of 2018, based on H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for the Finance Division, and the state spent about $1.4 billion on curiosity on the Nice Recession period unemployment debt, based on Palmer.

Unemployment advantages are funded by employers, and with a purpose to repay the present debt, a federal tax on employers will mechanically improve by $21 per worker in 2023, and ratchet up by an extra $21 per worker per yr till the mortgage is repaid. This yr state lawmakers additionally determined to kick in $250 million in state funds towards the mortgage principal and $342.4 million to cowl the curiosity accrued thus far.

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But when the state goes right into a recession, that debt may develop even bigger.

“If there’s a slowdown within the economic system, we’re completely and fully unprepared to have the ability to present for California employees due to the deficit,” mentioned Rob Lapsley, president of the California Enterprise Roundtable, which represents main employers and has advocated for the state to contribute $10 billion to pay down the mortgage principal. “There might not be an curiosity in Congress to bail out California and New York,” Lapsley mentioned.

However it could be unprecedented for the federal authorities to let a state’s unemployment system run out of cash and cease offering advantages, mentioned Gerry, with the Nationwide Employment Regulation Undertaking. “That has by no means occurred within the historical past of the unemployment insurance coverage program because it was enacted in 1935.”

“I don’t suppose that there’s an actual risk that no advantages can be accessible,” Gerry mentioned. However having a system that repeatedly goes into debt implies that taxpayers get caught with an avoidable invoice. And, Gerry mentioned, “if we had extra money in our belief fund, it could be simpler to make the case that we may improve advantages.”

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