Archives for April 2016

Deep-Dive Story Outlines Lawsuits, Pesticide Issues For Marijuana

Why don’t we have much data on how much pesticide weed smokers are being exposed to and what effects that exposure might be having on them? Photo Credit, Slate report, 4/20/16

Why don’t we have much data on how much pesticide weed smokers are being exposed to and what effects that exposure might be having on them? Photo Credit, Slate report, 4/20/16

It turns out that marijuana consumer seek the same “organic” and pesticide-free products that consumers seek in other agricultural products. The Slate magazine website has published a deep-dive into some of the legal and consumer issues facing the fast-growing legal marijuana business, including how the gap between federal and state laws can create an odd lack of health studies and other efforts. In particular, the piece looks at how pesticides impact pot products.

Says the Slate story of pesticides: “… this is an issue that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of, thanks to a series of recalls, lawsuits, and front-page exposes that have highlighted the gravity of a growing pesticide problem in the pot world. In the past year, Colorado has made 19 recalls of pot products after quarantining more than 100,000 plants that regulators feared had been treated with unapproved pesticides. In June, the Oregonian found abnormally high levels of pesticides on nearly half of the pot products sold in state dispensaries. Those pesticides included a common roach killer, half a dozen human carcinogens, and a fungicide that allegedly turned into hydrogen cyanide when heated. This March, the Emerald Cup (an outdoor cannabis competition) announced that it would tighten its contamination rules after a large percentage of entrants failed pesticide tests.”

Read the piece here: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2016/04/there_s_a_clean_natural_weed_movement_but_it_can_t_call_itself_organic_here.html

Public School Must Pay $3 Million For Denying Space To Charter

Los Angeles Unified School District students Alexandria Marek, 8, right, and Kerala Seth, 4, left, protested the district's cuts to the high-profile Mandarin Immersion Program at Venice's Broadway Elementary school in March. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Unified School District students Alexandria Marek, 8, right, and Kerala Seth, 4, left, protested the district’s cuts to the high-profile Mandarin Immersion Program at Venice’s Broadway Elementary school in March. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles public schools have been ordered to pay $7.1 million to a San Fernando Valley charter school because the system failed to provide free classroom space, a violation of California law. As part of what amounts to one of the nation’s biggest charter school experiments, the Golden State requires public schools to help with charters, which are paid for with public funds but are managed independently. Litigation has been a byproduct.

The Los Angles Times reported that “… arbitrator John Zebrowski said that the district’s failure to comply with the law harmed children attending the charter during those [three] years because it forced the school to use some money intended for educational programs to lease a building. Zebrowski said students were further harmed because the building leased by the charter was inferior to what it would have received from L.A. Unified.”

Ivy Academia, with about 1,100 students, reportedly spent $3 million on rent and other costs from 2007-10, but the arbitrator said L.A. Unified should be on the hook for more money because he believed the property denied to the charter had a higher value. The LAT also noted that “the district must also pay the charter $650,000 in attorneys’ fees.”

Read the Times’ story here: Charter school awarded $7.1 million in case against LAUSD

Magazine Explains Why All Those Educations Cases Happen

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

U.S. News and World Report has a new opinion piece from Andrew Rotherham, a cofounder and partner at the non-profit Bellwether Education Partners, about why so much of education reform ends up in the courtroom. After outlining several high-profile cases, he explains that “… on the courthouse steps you can say pretty much whatever you want. Inside the courtroom, there are rules and process. Clever and fiery sound bites from a press conference will get you in trouble in front of a judge. If the evidence is on your side, the courtroom is often more fertile ground than the political arena.”

He also notes that “… it’s remarkable how many issues that are generally settled in terms of the research evidence remain incredibly live political debates. Courtrooms mitigate the problem.”

It’s a really solid good “think piece” and you can find it here

Florida Court District Says Divorce Hearing Can Take A Year

Courts nationwide are facing serious rationing, but a Tampa-area regional justice system is offering some details of its crisis. The info came as county commissioners are debating new facilities. But the area’s chief judge says that won’t help much because “… we can build additional courtrooms but nothing’s going to happen unless we have more judges to oversee them… we haven’t had a new judge in 10 years. Get the (state) Legislature to give us more judges.”

At issue is Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit, which serves fast-goring Pasco and Pinellas counties The Tampa Bay Tribune explained that the district is “Florida’s third-largest court system. It has 69 judges to oversee all criminal, civil, appellate, family, traffic and small claims court cases. There are seven county court judges and 13 circuit judges assigned to handle cases at the New Port Richey and Dade City courthouses. In 2013 — the most recent figures available — those 20 Pasco County judges handled 24,069 circuit court cases and 41,733 county court cases. And the caseload keeps growing.”

One judge told county officials that it takes a year just to get a hearing on a divorce case

See more at the Tampa Tribune.

Supreme Court’s Immigration Case Sparking Nationwide Protests

 Protesters opposed to President Obama's executive actions on DACA and DAPA rally in front of San Bernardino City Hall.  (Herald News photo by Alejandro Cano)


Protesters opposed to President Obama’s executive actions on DACA and DAPA rally in front of San Bernardino City Hall. (Herald News photo by Alejandro Cano)

It’s a long way from Washington, D.C., to the Inland Empire section of California near Los Angeles. But immigration activists there are taking to streets, along with other demonstrations across the United States, to encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to side with President Obama over his sweeping immigration reforms.

The Fontana Herald-News backgrounded that “… the Supreme Court on April 18 began hearing oral arguments on President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration that would shield more than 4 million undocumented residents from deportation. Five out of eight votes are needed for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) to go forward; however, the Court seemed divided 4-4 along conservative and liberal lines.”

Five out of eight votes are needed for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) to go forward; however, the Court seemed divided 4-4 along conservative and liberal lines. Transcripts from oral arguments indicated that while Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito worried about the language of Obama’s decrees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted the humanitarian side of the actions.

The Herald-News says that “… the division could be seen in the streets of the nation, including the Inland Empire, where two opposing groups rallied in Riverside and San Bernardino that day.”

Read the solidly reported story here: http://www.fontanaheraldnews.com/news/supreme-court-hears-oral-arguments-on-immigration-case-protesters-rally/article_e51d93c6-073b-11e6-8f1d-377d69ce8da9.html