CVIndependent

Wed08162017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Local Issues

25 Jul 2017
On June 27, the California Department of Public Health issued its first data report on residents’ participation in the new End of Life Option Act. The law was signed by the governor in 2015 and took effect on June 9, 2016. The report reveals that 258 terminally ill California patients—diagnosed as having less than 6 months to live—started the process as called for under the law, as of Dec. 31, 2016. Of those 258 patients, 191 were prescribed the life-ending medications, by 173 unique physicians. The report states: “111 patients, or 58.1 percent, were reported by their physician to have died following ingestion of aid-in-dying drugs prescribed under EOLA, while 21 individuals, or 11 percent, died without ingestion of the prescribed aid-in-dying drug(s). The outcome of the remaining 59 individuals, or 30.9 percent, who have been prescribed aid-in-dying drugs, is currently undetermined, as there has been no outcome reported for…
21 Jul 2017
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East Vista Chino has claimed another pedestrian’s life—the third since last October. This time, according to the police report, the deceased was 62-year-old Palm Springs resident John Palladino, who was hit by a car on the night of Sunday, June 18. He was hospitalized and fought for his life until June 23, when he succumbed to the injuries he sustained in what police call a vehicle-versus-pedestrian collision. “The preliminary investigation revealed a white 2011 Mercedes E-350, driven by a 76-year-old male from Palm Springs, was traveling westbound on East Vista Chino toward the intersection of North Sunrise Way,” said Lt. Mike Kovaleff. According to Kovaleff, Palladino was walking northbound across Vista Chino, at Sunrise Way, on the east side of the intersection, outside of the crosswalk, against a red light. “The Mercedes entered the intersection with a green light and struck the pedestrian as he walked in the intersection,” Kovaleff…
23 Jun 2017
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The closing of Roy’s Resource Center in North Palm Springs—what was the western Coachella Valley’s only shelter for the homeless—has thrown many people onto the streets, and Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) is trying to act. However, on June 20, the Desert Hot Springs City Council voted against a proposed program that would offer 12 rental properties across the west valley for up to 90 days to those who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. The council decided to revisit the issue in September. The proposed program is a collaboration between CVAG and Path of Life Ministries. Desert Hot Springs City Councilmember Russell Betts said that he doesn’t feel the program is a good idea. “They keep deflecting to, ‘Oh, this is just trading a home for anyone who you’d love to have as a neighbor,” Betts said. “That’s the rapid rehousing portion of it. The part that…
08 Jun 2017
California’s Democratic legislators want to extend health benefits to undocumented young adults, the continuation of an effort that ushered children without legal status into the state’s publicly funded health care system last year. It is unclear when the program would start or how much the state would spend if the proposal, which could cost up to $85 million a year, is approved by Gov. Jerry Brown. Lawmakers are working out details ahead of their June 15 deadline for passing a new budget. The plan would provide full-scope coverage for 19-to-26-year-olds who qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s name for Medicaid. Currently, the federally funded program covers only emergency visits and prenatal care for undocumented residents. Under the proposal, revenue from taxes on tobacco products would absorb expenses for all other coverage. Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens has been one of the strongest voices for expanded care. In 2015, he…
01 Jun 2017
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Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards during the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters. More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts.The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups. The data provide a unique glimpse of how gender interacts with race and class in mastery of basic reading, writing and listening skills tested on state exams. While California publishes separate figures on the performance of various ethnic and economic groups, it does not make public a more detailed breakdown of how boys and girls are performing within those groups. State officials say they do not sort the data that way because of complexity, cost…
19 May 2017
After months of rain—and increased revenue from last year’s rate increases—both the western Coachella Valley’s Desert Water Agency and the eastern valley’s Coachella Valley Water District find themselves wading in more riches than they could have imagined just one short year ago. However, that does not mean that all of the water-conservation mandates are a thing of the past. “The drought is over, but conservation isn’t,” said Ashley Metzger, the DWA’s outreach and conservation manager. “That’s the big message.” While Gov. Jerry Brown declared on April 7that the drought was officially over in most of the state—including Riverside County—many of the water-usage restrictions imposed during the drought may be with us for some time. “We live in the desert, and we’re always in a drought,” said Heather Engel, the CVWD’s director of conservation and communication. “Even though there were many areas of the state that were facing unprecedented circumstances, for…
08 May 2017
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters)—California legislators have raised fines for traffic infractions to some of the highest in the United States to generate revenue—and the poor are bearing an unfair burden, losing cars and jobs because they cannot pay them, civil rights activists said last week. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area said in a new report that the $490 fine for a red-light ticket in California is three times the national average. The cost is even higher if motorists want to attend traffic school in lieu of a conviction or are late paying. “Our state is raising money off the backs of California families to balance the budget for special projects, and it’s using traffic tickets as a revenue generator instead of to protect safety, instead of to do justice,” said Elisa Della-Piana, the group’s legal director. The report comes as lawmakers in some states…
26 Apr 2017
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Despite a growing economy and decreasing unemployment, the homeless population in the Coachella Valley is expanding—at an alarming rate. The annual Riverside County “point in time” count in January showed the homeless population had increased from 1,351 unsheltered and 814 sheltered individuals in 2016, to 1,638 unsheltered and 775 sheltered in 2017. The Coachella Valley cities had 297 homeless individuals in 2016—and 425 individuals in 2017. Another alarming fact: The number of homeless individuals locally without shelter is about to rise, because Roy’s Resource Center, the only shelter for the homeless on the west end of the Coachella Valley, is slated to close at the end of June. The beleaguered facility in North Palm Springs is shutting its doors largely because some local city governments have not been paying their share to keep Roy’s financially solvent. Before the center opened in 2009, all nine Coachella Valley cities agreed to give…
24 Mar 2017
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John Wessman was a mighty developer, known for his lucrative deals across the Coachella Valley—and his significant influence at Palm Springs City Hall. The high point of his career was supposed to be the Palm Springs downtown revitalization project, currently estimated by experts at $350 million in value. Today, however, Wessman is better known for being indicted on numerous counts of alleged bribery involving former Mayor Steve Pougnet—and involving that downtown development project. Wessman effectively retired upon the indictment and is not talking to the media. So, in an attempt to find out the latest news regarding the downtown development project—which has benefitted from millions of dollars from Palm Springs taxpayers via Measure J—we reached out to city officials, all of whom still publically support the downtown project. We started by trying to talk to Mayor Robert Moon. We received this response from Amy Blaisdell, the city’s communications director: “Mayor…
04 Mar 2017
The quiet bustle outside of Eisenhower Medical Center’s medical campus in Rancho Mirage was disturbed by the old-school call and response of an organizer’s bullhorn and a crowd of protesters on the morning of Thursday, March 2. “What do we want?” shouted Joe Barnes, the California outreach manager for Compassion and Choices, a national advocacy group for terminally ill patients. The crowd of 100 or so enthusiastic supporters of the California End of Life Option Act responded: “Access!” Barnes continued: “When do we want it?” “Now!” hollered the crowd. The protest on the sidewalks alongside the Bob Hope Drive entrance to EMC was organized by, and for, Coachella Valley residents frustrated by the refusal of EMC administrators to allow any of their doctors, other professional staff members and facilities to participate in the new state law, which lays out the strict guidelines under which patients can obtain life-ending prescriptions, should…

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