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]
Melody Jo Samuelson, a staff psychologist at California's Napa State Hospital (Previously), recently won a million-dollar judgement against the state and her supervisors. She had been told to declare mentally ill patients competent to stand trial. [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.
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]
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.
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)