San Jose: Union-backed groups call for limiting special interests in elections

A coalition of union-backed groups in San Jose are calling for a November ballot measure to “limit campaign contributions by special interests” and shift mayoral elections to presidential election years.

On Wednesday, Silicon Valley Rising — a campaign led in part by the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council to ensure all families and not just the wealthy benefit from the economic prosperity of Silicon Valley — and other community organizations filed a proposed measure with the city clerk’s office.

“It’s time to get money out of politics so our government works for us,” Ruth Silver Taube, an attorney with the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition and other worker advocacy groups, said at a press conference outside City Hall.

The proposal would prohibit residents running for City Council or mayor from accepting contributions from some residential and commercial developers, landlords, lobbyists for such people and others. It would also tie mayoral races from gubernatorial to presidential election years starting in 2024 — meaning the mayor elected in 2022 would serve just a two-year term.

Proponents, including Salvador Bustamante of Latinos United for a New America and Richard Konda of the Asian Law Alliance, say the switch will increase voter turnout.

“An identifiable factor in low voter participation for the mayor and council member elections is a widespread perception that one’s vote ‘doesn’t count’ and that the campaign contributions by special interests, not the needs and desires of residents, influences the votes of local lawmakers as they award large contracts, approve unpopular projects, and set housing and development policies,” reads a statement of reasons for the initiative filed with the clerk’s office.

“This initiative is common sense,” said union friendly Councilman Sergio Jimenez.

But business advocacy groups and others say the idea puts restrictions on some special interests, while allowing others — like unions — to flourish.

“It is …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Trade Deadline winners and losers: one final twist in Stroman-Sanchez saga

You have to admire the gusto. The Houston Astros saw what was shaping up to be a quiet 2019 MLB Trade Deadline day and said, ‘Nah, hold my World Series ring.’

Then general manager Jeff Luhnow went out and put his organization in prime position to capture its second title in three years.

Wow… that escalated quickly! @astros

— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) July 31, 2019

The club added ace Zack Greinke on Wednesday in a deal that filtered out on Twitter just after the 4 p.m. ET deadline. That came right on the heels of the club acquiring Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez and reliever Joe Biagini.

That calculus makes the Astros clear winners of the deadline. Here’s a closer look at some other teams in the ‘W’ and ‘L’ columns.

Winner: Astros

Greinke is a legit ace enjoying his best season in years. Yet, he’s likely earmarked for a Game 3 start in an Astros playoff series behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. That’s a scary troika that could very well haul the Astros through the end of October.

There are added bonuses to the move. First, some evaluators believe none of the prospects Houston sent to Arizona for Greinke are impact players. Second, the 35-year-old Greinke is signed through 2021, meaning the team’s rotation is protected should Cole leave as a free agent at the end of this season.

We haven’t even discussed the Astros’ acquisition of Sanchez, who could also factor into next year’s staff. More on that soon.

Loser: Yankees

The Yankees lost out to the Astros in the Cole sweepstakes prior to the 2018 season. This has got to hurt just as much, if not more.

While the Bronx was on Greinke’s no-trade list, the AL East-leaders were …read more



Lyft is halting its e-bike program in San Francisco after two bikes mysteriously erupted in flames


Two of Lyft’s electric-assist bikes mysteriously erupted into flames on July 27 and 31 in San Francisco.
No injuries were reported, and Lyft is investigating the batteries and bikes for the cause of the fire.
Until then, Lyft is suspending its e-bike program, which only became a reality two weeks ago.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Two of Lyft’s electric-assist bikes have mysteriously erupted into flames in San Francisco. No one was injured.

For that reason, Lyft says it’s temporarily suspending its e-bike program in the tech capital as it investigates why these e-bikes caught fire.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily making the ebike fleet unavailable to riders while we investigate and update our battery technology,” a Lyft spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “Thanks to our riders for their patience and we look forward to making ebikes available again soon.”

Lyft has been seeing increased rates of vandalism on its bikes in the Bay Area, the company said.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees ride-sharing in the city, did not respond to a Business Insider inquiry about the fires.

Lyft only recently scored the legal rights to operate the e-bike program in San Francisco. On July 19, some 1,900 Lyft e-bikes flooded San Francisco, with docked or dockless capabilities.

Read more: UPS drivers are ditching commercial navigation apps for an in-house tool. The chief engineering and information officer explains how it’s already saving the company millions.

As the San Francisco Chronicle first reported, San Francisco resident Zach Rutta spotted an e-bike that had caught fire on July 27.

“Don’t think I’ll be going on a @lyft @baywheels any time soon,” he said on Twitter. “Yikes.”

Another e-bike caught fire on Wednesday, as the Chronicle reported.

BREAKING: @LYFT …read more

Source:: Business Insider


A$AP Rocky to testify Thursday in Sweden trial

By Jonah Ahlander | Reuters

STOCKHOLM – U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky is expected to give testimony in a Swedish court on Thursday on the second day of his assault trial after he and two of his entourage were accused of punching and kicking a teenager.

The 30-year-old performer, producer and model, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm on the first day of the trial on Tuesday. His lawyer told the court he acted in self-defense.

Rocky was detained on July 3 in connection with a brawl outside a hamburger restaurant in Stockholm on June 30 and later charged with assault.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Daniel Suneson showed video from security cameras and witnesses’ mobile phones and said following an altercation Rocky threw 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari to the ground, after which he and two of his entourage kicked and punched him.

The prosecutor said a bottle was used to hit Jafari, who suffered cuts and bruises.

Jafari told the court he was pushed and grabbed by the neck by Rocky’s bodyguard outside the restaurant and followed the rapper’s group to get back his headphones. He said he was then hit on the head with a bottle and kicked and punched while on the ground.

If convicted, the accused could face up to two years in jail.

The case has drawn huge media attention, forcing the trial to be moved to a secure courtroom.

Celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Rod Stewart, have leaped to Rocky’s defense and President Donald Trump asked Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to help free Rocky.

Sweden’s judiciary is independent of the political system and Lofven has said he will not influence the rapper’s case.

Rocky, best known for his song “Praise the Lord,” was in Stockholm for a concert. He has canceled several shows across Europe due …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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