The decision by the Supreme Court on Friday to hear arguments on two cases relevant to gay rights (Defense of Marriage Act & Calif. Proposition 8) continues to reverberate around the United States. Although no decision is likely until early next summer, talking heads around the nation used the weekend press to contemplate the likely outcomes and their potential impact.
The San Francisco Chronicle highlighted the nervousness many have about any potential decision:
Regardless of which way the court decides on Prop. 8, Douglas NeJaime, a professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, believes that it will be narrowly tailored to California.
If the court overturns same-sex marriage, “I don’t think it’s going to see a sweeping decision that says ‘Same-sex couples have no rights under the Constitution,’ ” said NeJaime, who is an expert on areas involving the law and sexuality.
Restoring Prop. 8 would “be a big loss for same-sex marriage proponents,” NeJaime said. “But it would return things to the states and as we’ve seen on election day, the states are starting to move in the direction” of supporting same-sex marriage.
Should Prop. 8’s ban be codified, some advocates like [Courage Campaign Chair Rick] Jacobs feel that the Legislature – two-thirds of which is controlled by Democrats – would put it on the ballot in the fall of 2014.
The New York Times marveled at the speed that same sex marriage issues were moving through the courts, noting that other major issues had often taken decades to get a hearing:
…the court went big on Friday, also taking the case from California filed by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies. Their case seeks to establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in the remaining states, almost all of which have laws or constitutional provisions prohibiting it.
“We are now literally within months,” Mr. Boies said Friday, “of getting a final resolution of this case that began three and a half years ago.”
The speed with which the court is moving has some gay rights advocates bracing for a split decision. The court could strike down the federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide. At the same time, it could reject the idea that the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriage, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide.
Many newspapers around the country featured articles about couples in Washington State flocking to get married now that a voter approved law is in effect. From the Los Angeles Times:
A festive marathon marriage session at Seattle City Hall ended Sunday with 138 same-sex couples getting new beginnings as legally wedded spouses.
An additional 25 couples were married in a group ceremony at the Seattle First Baptist Church, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
The mass ceremonies marked the first day of legal same-sex marriage in Washington state, which approved the practice at the polls in November. King County, which includes Seattle, had accounted for roughly half of the 841 same-sex marriage licenses issued throughout the state Thursday, and city officials rose to meet the occasion with enthusiasm.
Sixteen judges volunteered to administer vows to couples every 15 minutes or so, and newlyweds then descended a long staircase out of City Hall in front of well-wishers and musicians. A reception with volunteer photographers and business-donated food ran throughout the day
International Human Rights Day Vigil in San Diego
Today, December 10th, is International Human Rights Day. Events are being held around the globe to commemorate the 1948 adoption by the United Nations General of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.
Here in San Diego organized labor and community groups are staging a candle light event outside the offices of Senator Diane Feinstein’s office (750 B Street, 5:30 pm) to highlight the dangers posed by the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security benefits. They’re seeking to call attention to the fact that these benefits are earned, not so-called ‘entitlements’, and that reductions would negatively impact the lives of millions of working Americans. They’re also demanding that Congress end tax cuts to the richest 2%.
LA Teachers Prevail on Evaluation Standards
A pending agreement between teachers and LA Unified schools that fundamentally alters the methods used for instructor evaluation is sure to be closely watched around the country. The new system will use an intricate mathematical procedure to estimate student progress based on state standardized test scores with outside factors that can affect learning like income, race, and English language ability thrown into the mix. From the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who wrote legislation in 1999 requiring the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations while a California assemblyman, said the district’s agreement to drop the use of individual growth ratings was “a major concession, no doubt about it.”
“But I ultimately supported it because overall it was a step forward from what we had before,” he said. “This was an opportunity to get a better tool to measure success in the classroom.”
The tentative accord, which will be voted on in January by teachers, was hailed as a creative breakthrough by the chief of a leading national teachers union. Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers, praised L.A. Supt. John Deasy and union President Warren Fletcher for agreeing to use a rich mix of data to evaluate teacher effectiveness rather than what she called the “junk science” of value-added methods.
Things at the UT-SD that make you go hmmm….
Today’s UT-SD has a news feature profiling Todd Gloria, newly ensconced as the President of the San Diego City Council. Those that look askance at every move made by the local daily may be wondering just what’s going on here. It’s almost too nice…and it quotes Michael Zucchet, the subject of frequent derision on the pages of that publication in the past. Money quote:
That Gloria, 34, has risen so fast in the Democratic political ranks and plans to use his new bully pulpit to take action isn’t a surprise to those who have worked closely with him over the years.
He’s often lauded for his oratory skills, but also for a sharp mind and a self-effacing personality that make him popular inside and outside of City Hall. For example, he ran unopposed for re-election this year and won unanimous support to be president from his council colleagues — four Democrats and four Republicans — who couldn’t stop gushing about him before the vote.
“A lot of people acknowledge that he’s really smart and personable, but I don’t think he gets enough credit for that,” said labor leader Michael Zucchet, a former councilman. “He is just one of the best, most competent communicators in city government and that is a huge asset. Because of that, he has the skills and the leadership ability that make a perfect council president and it’s a role I would expect him to flourish in. Plus, I think he just represents the city well.”
Save the Cars!
On the other side of that coin, we see that interim San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce president Mark Leslie got ink in both the North County Times and the UT-SD with the same letter (edited slightly differently) decrying the need for ‘reforms’ to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The Chamber and their friends are crying the blues because the regional governmental (SANDAG) plan for future transportation is under fire for not doing enough to comply with State standards for pollution reduction.
Yes, CEQA can be a pain in the ass. But if the people of California had left it up to the Chamber types, we’d have horrible air pollution like we did 40 years ago.
Lynchester Lip Service
Sunday’s UT-San Diego featured a full page ‘Letter to Readers’ from Publisher Doug Manchester and CEO John Lynch ballyhooing the technical changes that have been made to the newspaper in the year since it was sold by Platinum Equities.
In addition to plugging (it’s on both Cox cable and AT&T U-verse!) their foray into broadcast journalism, they’re promising a complete redesign of their online site come January.
And then there’s the closing, which pledges to ‘lead the applause for the people who make a difference…’ which has kind of a strange list of names attached to it: Mayor Bob Filner makes the list, but the entire Congressional delegation except Darrel Issa is left out.
There was no pledge for ending editorials that cite right wing delusions as facts (Obama 2016, for instance). Just thought you’d like to know.
The Non-Contest for Person of the Year
UT-SD editorial board member William Osborne penned an appeal in Sunday’s paper soliciting nominations for “person of the year’. They’re looking for some person or category of persons (last year’s winner was ‘the U.S. Marine) with strong ties to the region, defined in the article as San Diego County and the Tijuana metropolitan area.
We’ve thought about this long and hard, especially in light of the fact that ‘The top honoree will be chosen by U-T San Diego ownership’. And the best idea so far is to nominate recently elected Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep, a birther-type who’ll be dispensing justice locally real soon. We’re attracted to this idea because of the possibilities for headlines. You can submit your entries to the UT ‘contest ‘ at: email@example.com or simply leave your suggestions in the comments section at the end of this story.
San Diego Schools Gearing Up for Another Round of Cuts?
If you though Proposition 30 would end the plaintive cries for school funding, think again. At least that’s what the Breakfast Club caucus, a dissenting group from the teacher’s union, is telling its members.
According to the preliminary 2013-2014 budget reviewed at last Tuesday’s School Board meeting, even with the passage of Prop. 30 that so many of us fought so hard for, the School Board is set to adopt a budget for next year that includes:
- NONE of our 7.16% raise being reinstated this year OR next year.
- That includes NO raise effective this January (because zero is technically “up to 2%”).
- NO furlough days being reinstated this year or next year.
- An $80 million dollar budget HOLE for next year, that may be filled by Prop. 30.
- Filling the “hole” with up to $55 MILLION IN LAYOFFS if revenues fall short.
- The only piece of good news is that the 1% raise this July for Step 17 is included (although they’ll probably say they can avoid layoffs entirely only if we agree to “defer” that one too).
- During the discussion of the budget, several School Board members acknowledged that this budget reflects a worst-case scenario, and that Prop. 30 funds should offset most of the projected budget gap. But even with extra money coming in, they’re stating all it will do is offset the need for layoffs
Members of the group are urging teachers to show up at tomorrow’s (Dec. 11th) meeting of the San Diego Unified Board of Trustees wearing red to protest the current proposed budget. They want promises of no layoffs, a promised 2% raise in January and back raises previously negotiated with the union starting next year.
Meanwhile, SDUSD will swear in its new and re-elected trustees at a special meeting today. Former community college teacher and administrator Marne Foster will be replacing trustee Shelia Jackson. Current Board President John Lee Evans and member Richard Barrera were returned to office for second terms in the November 6th election.
After the swearing in ceremony, the trustees are scheduled to choose a new president and vice president. And then the fun begins on Tuesday.
Handcuffs of the Future
Techie blog Gizmundo.com came up with a story last week about some new- patent pending- futuristic handcuffs.
Dug up by Patent Bolt, the recent patent application from Scottsdale Inventions LLC shows what seems to be a pretty well developed prototype of handcuffs that will shock the wearer into submission. The patent also allows for a blinking light or auditory warning that triggers as the shock is prepared, presumably to warn the wearer to CALM DOWN. The shocks could come for any number of reasons—too much movement, movement outside a radius, or under order of the cuff’s owner—and the cuffs would also contain EKG/ECG sensors to keep from shocking detainees a little too silly (i.e. to death).
That’s not even where it ends though, because there’s additional language describing how the cuffs could actually administer a substance “to achieve any desired result” via needles or gas. It could be anything from medication to sedatives to irritants, to who knows what else. One thing’s for sure, you won’t want to find yourself in a pair of these suckers if they hit the streets. [Patent Bolt]
We’re sure that purchase of these items will be funded for local law enforcement agencies by Homeland Security. Look for approval right after we see lots of stories about how this advance will keep America safe. Because, you know, terrorists.
On This Day: 1964 – In Oslo, Norway, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the youngest person to receive the award. 1965 – The Grateful Dead played their first concert. The show took place at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco 1998 – Six astronauts opened the doors to the new international space station 250 miles above the Earth’s surface.
On This Day: Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Escondido (Welk Resort 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive)1pm –Sunset
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