Tuesday night, the Santa Monica (CA) City Council unanimously passed one of the most restrictive laws in the nation on short-term rentals. The ordinance (which strengthens and enforces laws already on the books) explicitly bans vacation rentals – rentals of 30 days or less where the primary occupant of the home or apartment is not present – while legalizing and taxing “home-sharing” – i.e. renting a couch, spare room or backyard cottage - providing at least one of the primary residents lives on-site throughout the stay. Santa Monica (pop. 92K) receives over 7 million visitors annually; Salvador Valles, the city's acting chief administrative officer for Planning and Community Development, estimates the number of available listings on home-share sites would go from 1700 to 300. The ordinance goes into effect June 15. [more inside]
For years in Malibu, CA, homeowners have tried to hide public access points to local beaches in order to prevent people from using them. A recently released app has tipped off the public as to exactly where these access points are, causing an outcry from the homeowners.
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
US Supreme Court finds Cali. law restricting sales of violent videogames to adults violates First Amendment. [more inside]
Want to fire a teacher in the LA Unified School District? Be prepared to spend several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. [more inside]
1) “But there are other lives to be saved, of people who haven’t done horrible things, who haven’t actually hurt anyone.” 2) "Fix it or lose it."
Arguing Three Strikes. A defense lawyer (and co-founder of Stanford's unique Criminal Defense Clinic), and a tough-on-crime Republican D.A. make for unusual allies in the move to reform California's Three Strikes law. [more inside]
In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
"My answer is, I don't know. I don't know." US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker asked Prop 8 supporters to define the nature and extent of damage done by same-sex couples to the institution of marriage, and being unable to get any definitive answer, denied the request from supporters of Prop 8 to throw out Perry v. Schwarzenegger and ordered the case to trial in January 2010.
NewsFilter: The California Supreme Court has just overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Read the decision.
New Hampshire approves same-sex unions with bipartisan, if contentious support, recognizing both in- and out-of-state unions and marriages. While New York's Eliot Spitzer follows up on a campaign promise, higher courts in California and Connecticut may make decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage later this year, deciding if a civil union is an adequate legal substitution for marriage.
Thanks for the new living room, neighbor! In case you needed any further news about the earth moving, residents in Berkeley, CA have found themselves embroiled in a property-line quagmire as the result of the shifting earth. Small quakes and unstable ground have caused real property to slide as much as 20 feet in the last century, though property lines remain firmly fixed, in some cases causing bitter disputes between neighbors who find themselves with new and sometimes unwanted "improvements" relocated across into their survey area. Even in California where the earth moves all the time, the law still hasn't quite caught up to these trickle events.
California bill to ease "move aways" by custodial parents pulled. Until a recent CA Supreme Court decision, it was easy for custodial parents to move themselves and their children far from their ex-spouse. The Court reversed the old rule and held that the move could be blocked if the non-custodial parent could show that it would interfere with his/her relationship with the kids. Legislation to reimpose the old permissive standard passed through the State Senate, but has now been pulled off the legislative calendar after an outcry by father's rights groups.
California Supreme Court voids all San Francisco same-sex marriages. Said the mayor overstepped his authority and that the city violated the state law.
Anthony Argyriou uncovers what seems to be a serious problem either with California voting machines or the vote tallying system: The Secretary of State's summary of votes on the Davis recall shows three counties--Alameda, Kern, and Plumas--that apparently had zero voters who didn't vote on the recall. Not one. All three counties used Diebold machines. Other counties ranged from 0.5% to 10.3% of voters not voting on the recall. More from Rick Hasen, a top election law scholar. [Via Volokh.]
The Supreme Court begins its term this coming Monday. There are lots of exciting cases on the calendar (99k PDF). For example, Ewing v. California, which will test California's 3 strikes rule. Scheidler v. NOW, which has to do with anti-abortion activists blocking access to clinics. And of course, Eldred v. Ashcroft, where the issue is whether or not the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (PDF) is Constitutional. The last has been mentioned in a couple threads and has gotten loads of web attention, including this new piece from WIRED. A lot to look forward to, whether you're interested in one of the specific issues or you're just an avid armchair justice.
In California, it's now legal for criminals to profit from the sale of stories related to their crimes.
In California, it's now legal for criminals to profit from the sale of stories related to their crimes. Yesterday the CA Supreme Court unanimously struck down the 16 year-old Son of Sam law. The test case involved the movie rights to the story of the man who kidnapped Frank Sinatra, Jr. Victims are angry, but others say that the law represented a direct conflict with free speech, and could have been used to suppress anti-government voices. (more inside)
The crimes they are a'changing. This comes from the daily police log of The Union newspaper Grass Valley/Nevada City, CA. Surveillance cameras (and apparently not very effective ones) were stolen while mystery powders kept the cops hopping.
San Francisco couple has been charged with murder and manslaughter from the January 26 fatal mauling of a neighbor by two dogs they were caring for.