CDFA and DPR will convene a new working group to identify, evaluate and recommend alternative pest management solutions. Environmental Working Group praises action.
SACRAMENTO – In a move to protect workers, public health and the environment, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced on Wednesday that the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is acting to ban the use of the pesticide and toxic air contaminant chlorpyrifos in California by initiating cancellation of the pesticide.
CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also announced that the Governor will propose $5.7 million in new funding in the May Revision budget proposal to support the transition to safer, more sustainable alternatives, and plans to convene a working group to identify, evaluate and recommend alternative pest management solutions.
“California’s action to cancel the registration of chlorpyrifos is needed to prevent the significant harm this pesticide causes children, farm workers and vulnerable communities,” said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “This action also represents a historic opportunity for California to develop a new framework for alternative pest management practices.”
The decision to ban chlorpyrifos follows mounting evidence, including recent findings by the state’s independent Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants, that the pesticide causes serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood. These effects include impaired brain and neurological development.
In April, chlorpyrifos was formally listed as a “toxic air contaminant”, which California law defines as “an air pollutant which may cause or contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious illness, or which may pose a present or potential hazard to human health.” The listing requires DPR to develop control measures to protect the health of farm workers and others living and working near where the pesticide is used.
DPR has determined, in consultation with CDFA, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), that sufficient additional control measures are not feasible.
As a result, DPR intends to move forward in a responsible manner by beginning the process of canceling the registrations for products containing chlorpyrifos, and at the same time, convening a cross-sector working group to identify safer alternatives to avoid replacing chlorpyrifos with an equally harmful pesticide.
DPR also will consult with county agricultural commissioners and local air pollution control districts before filing for cancellation. The cancellation process could take up to two years.
During the cancellation process, DPR’s recommendations to county agricultural commissioners for tighter permit restrictions on the use of chlorpyrifos will remain in place. These include a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives. DPR will support aggressive enforcement of these restrictions.
DPR and CDFA will convene a cross-sector working group to identify and develop safer and more practical and sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos, including the use of biological controls and other integrated pest management practices. They will also partner with growers as they transition from using chlorpyrifos to implement safer alternatives.
In addition, the Governor’s May Revision budget proposal includes $5.7 million in funding for additional research and technical assistance to support this effort. In combination, the working group and funding for alternatives will produce short-term solutions and prioritize the development of long-term solutions to support healthy communities and a thriving agricultural sector.
“We look forward to working with the Legislature through the budget process on the Governor’s proposal to support growers in the transition to alternative pest management,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.
In 2015, DPR designated chlorpyrifos as a “restricted material” that requires a permit from the county agricultural commissioner for its application. In addition, application of chlorpyrifos must be recommended by a licensed pest control advisor and supervised by a licensed certified applicator.
The proposed cancellation would apply to dozens of agricultural products containing the pesticide. The pesticide has been prohibited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential uses since 2001.
Chlorpyrifos is used to control pests on a variety of crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts. It has declined in use over the past decade as California growers have shifted to safer alternatives. Use of the pesticide dropped more than 50 percent from two million pounds in 2005 to just over 900,000 pounds in 2016.
Environmental Working Group praises action
In contrast to the decision by President Trump and his administration, Newsom’s decision to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos by agriculture operations in the state demonstrates the kind of leadership where public health takes priority over the narrow interests of chemical agriculture, said EWG President Ken Cook.
“Gov. Newsom has done what the Trump administration has refused to do: protect children, farm workers and millions of others from being exposed to this neurotoxic pesticide,” said Cook. “Just because chemical agriculture wants to use a pesticide on our food that can harm kids’ brains doesn’t mean they should. With the governor’s action, California is once again showing leadership in protecting public health.”
Two years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, sided with the pesticide lobby over the agency’s scientists in an 11th-hour decision to abort a proposal to ban chlorpyrifos from use on food crops.
In August the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Pruitt’s decision violated federal law and ordered the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days. But new EPA chief Andrew Wheeler refused to obey the court’s order. In September, the Trump Justice Department filed a petition on behalf of the agency, calling on the court to overturn its earlier ruling and leave chlorpyrifos legal. An order last month by the Ninth Circuit gives Wheeler and the Trump administration until mid-July to make its decision.
Earlier this year, State Sen. Maria Durazo (D-Los Angeles) introduced legislation to ban chlorpyrifos. The bill is currently moving through the legislature.
“EWG applauds Gov. Newsom and Sen. Durazo for advancing policies that take a stand on behalf of the health and well-being of California’s children,” said Bill Allayaud, EWG’s director of government affairs for California. “The health and safety of the people of this state should always come before the demands of the pesticide and chemical industries, and today they did.”Read More
Contra Costa County Public Works will begin construction on the Kirker Pass Road Northbound Truck Climbing Lane Project. The project will improve safety and reduce congestion along Kirker Pass Road from the Concord Pavilion to the northern Hess Road intersection by constructing a truck climbing lane in the northbound direction. Pavement widening will occur on the east side of the roadway to provide a 12-foot truck lane and eight-foot paved shoulder. Widening will require construction of six retaining walls adjacent to the roadway. The project also includes paving both the north and southbound lanes between the City of Concord/County limits to approximately 4,200 feet north of North Hess Road.
Construction will begin on Monday, May 13, 2019, with completion in the Spring of 2020, barring unforeseen circumstances. Construction operations will be scheduled to minimize impacts to commute traffic.
Funding for this project is provided by Measure J, State Transportation Improvement Program, State Match, Local Streets and Road Program, and gas tax revenues provided by the SB1 Road Repair and Accountability Act. More information for this project can be found at http://www.cccounty.us/pwdmap.Read More
By Richmond PD
Recently, Richmond PD’s SIS Gang Unit arrested a known drug dealer with controlled substances and a large amount of money on his person. Once in the jail, officers discovered the suspect concealing more narcotics in his shoe and in other body locations. The SIS Gang Unit then performed a search warrant on the suspect’s home, locating more narcotics, money and an illegal firearm. This is the fourth time this year a gun has been recovered from this suspect. Great work RPD Gang Unit!Read More
On Monday, May 6, 2019, just prior to midnight, Pittsburg Officers responded to an address on Shoreline Drive for the report of shots fired. While officers were responding to the scene, the victim’s mother informed dispatch that her son ran inside the house stating he had been shot by an unknown man. When officers arrived at the house, they located the victim suffering from multiple gunshots wounds to the upper torso. Officers began life saving measures until Contra Costa County Fire and medical personnel arrived and took over. The victim, a 47-year-old Pittsburg man, informed officers he was outside at his vehicle when an unknown man approached him, fired multiple shots at him, then fled on foot. The victim was transported to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek where died.
The Pittsburg Police Department’s Investigations Division responded to the scene and took over the investigation. Detectives are currently contacting witnesses and obtaining statements from those involved. Based on initial information, it is unknown if victim and the man knew each other. Additional information is not available at this time and the name of the victim is being withheld pending notifications. This is the city of Pittsburg’s fifth homicide of the year.
The Pittsburg Police Department is requesting the public’s assistance and asks anyone with additional information to please contact the Pittsburg Police Department Tip-Line at 925-252-4040.Read More
Drugs, guns, ammo, and a lot of cash.
Everything you see in the photo was seized today by our Vice/Gang unit as a result of a search warrant in Pittsburg.
Vice Detectives recovered six firearms, including a fully automatic assault rifle, eight high capacity magazines, a cache of illegally possessed ammunition, illegal narcotics for sales and currency proceeds. Two convicted felons were arrested in conjunction with this investigation.Read More
Heritage High denies him opportunity to graduate with class due to on-line schooling during training
C.J. Nickolas, a senior in high school, is headed to Taekwondo Senior World Championships in Manchester, England in May 2019. He had to withdrawal from Heritage High School two days into his Senior year because he was one of eight athletes in the United States picked up by the United States Taekwondo (USAT) to train full time abroad and enter the European Taekwondo Open circuit. The intention was to get these athletes ready for 2024 or 2028 Olympics.
However, Nickolas has defied the odds, outperformed the initial expectation, and is headed to the World Championships this year setting him on a track for the 2020 Olympics. A few other things have to fall into place for him to make it, as well, but he’s definitely on track.
Nickolas is the son of Edward Givans, owner of Givans Taekwondo in Antioch, where Nickolas trains, and Denise Nickolas of Brentwood.
“His mom and I are very proud of C.J.,” the elder Givans said. “It’s been exciting to see him advance in his skills and the competitions.”
Arriving at this place in his life was not happenstance or luck for Nickolas. He has put long hours, and extensive time into training over the years. Nickolas has made many sacrifices to get where he is and says that even in the setbacks and losses and injuries, he knows he has to continue the grind. He says he digs deep when it’s tough and keeps pressing his way.
Nickolas is finishing out his high school through an on-line school (CAVA) while he continues to train full time. His travels in the past six months have taken him to compete in Greece, Poland, France, Croatia, Africa and Spain among other places. He has one stop in Bulgaria before he heads back to England to train for Worlds. CJ has been in Brentwood schools (Ron Nunn, Adams and Heritage) and has many ties to the community.
Sadly, he says, “I will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony with my peers and I will be at Worlds during the Prom.”
Heritage High Principal Carrie Wells provided the reason Nickolas is not being allowed to graduate with this year’s class.
“He actually is not enrolled in our district, currently. In order to be enrolled in our district, he would have had to re-enroll in January, before the current semester,” she said. “His only option would be to enroll in Independence High School in our district. There would be seat time each week and check-in with the teacher.”
“It’s not that we don’t want him to graduate with us. But, board policy is pretty specific about that,” Wells added.
Nickolas puts that in the column of sacrifices and will continue his grind to get to the coming Olympics.
Allen Payton contributed to this story.Read More
In response to yesterday’s announcement by SEIU United Healthcare Workers, regarding launching a protest at Kaiser headquarters in Oakland, today at 5:00 p.m., John Nelson, Vice President Communications, Kaiser Permanente offered the following response.
Regarding the question about gardeners:
As we do with our other medical center campuses, Kaiser Permanente is engaging a professional commercial landscaping vendor at our remaining facilities in Northern California, giving all of our campuses the benefit of the most expert, efficient, and ecologically sound practices.
The decision about landscaping affects 63 employees, some of whom have already found other positions at Kaiser Permanente. We value these employees, and any affected employee who wishes to remain employed with Kaiser Permanente in a new role will be able to do so.
SEIU-UHW is making statements about Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to its employees that are misleading and incorrect. The truth is that Kaiser Permanente is growing and adding jobs overall. With more than 149,000 employees and 16,000 physicians, we have added more than 13,000 jobs in the state since 2016. In fact, the number of our employees represented by SEIU-UHW has grown by more than 8,000 statewide since 2016.
On the planned labor activity:
Kaiser Permanente has been notified by SEIU-UHW leadership that the union plans to conduct informational picketing at several of our California offices and medical centers during May 2019. It’s important for our members and patients to know that informational picketing is not a strike and it does not impact our care delivery or operations. While this union is staging picketing, the physicians and employees of Kaiser Permanente will remain focused on the important work of delivering high-quality, affordable care to our members and improving the health of the communities we serve.
Kaiser Permanente started bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions in mid-April. We believe that by working together in partnership with the unions that represent our employees, we will continue to achieve the best results for our members, patients, and the communities who depend on Kaiser Permanente to provide high-quality, affordable health care — and help to keep Kaiser Permanente a great place to work for all. We reiterate our pledge to bargain in good faith and our commitment to reach fair and equitable agreements that provide our employees with excellent, market-competitive benefits and wages.
We are disappointed that some union leaders are choosing to make false allegations and pursue an adversarial, destructive approach as part of their bargaining strategy.Read More
By CHP-Contra Costa
This afternoon, at about 4:34pm, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a head on collision involving two vehicles on HWY-4 eastbound, east of Balfour Road. Upon emergency personnel and CHP arrival, it was determined that a 2018 Honda SUV was driven across the solid double yellow lines, into oncoming traffic, and collided head on into a 2013 Toyota Corolla. The solo male driver of the Toyota (51-year-old man from Ripon) was pronounced deceased at the scene. The Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office will be handling the release of his identity. The solo male driver of the Honda was ultimately arrested for suspicion of felony DUI.
In the initial investigation, it appears that the solo male driver of the Honda was traveling on HWY-4 westbound (in that area HWY-4 is a two lane undivided highway) and then veered to the left and across the solid double yellow lines and directly head on into the Toyota traveling in the eastbound lane. Upon emergency personnel arrival, the driver of the Toyota was pronounced deceased. The driver of the Honda, a 46-year-old man from Concord, was not injured and investigated for driving under the influence of alcohol and was subsequently arrested for suspicion of felony DUI.
If anyone witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it (that did not remain at the scene to speak with CHP) please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980. HWY-4 was completely reopened at 6:25 pm.
Impaired DUI driving is 100% preventable 100% of the time. There is never an excuse for it, and it cannot ever be tolerated. In this situation it tragically cost the life of an innocent person. When will we all learn… #neverdriveimpaired?Read More
OAKLAND, Calif. – Hundreds of healthcare workers, elected officials, faith leaders and community members concerned about healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente’s increasingly profit-driven behavior will rally at 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 7 at national company headquarters, 1 Kaiser Plaza in Oakland, to urge the company to reverse its plan to eliminate jobs at several facilities across Northern California. It is part of a protest at the headquarters and will include an encampment of laid-off workers and their families, a candlelight vigil, visits from politicians and clergy, and the building of a live garden.
“It really tells you something that Kaiser is sitting on tens of billions of dollars in reserves and paying its CEO $16 million a year but then cuts good jobs that support families – it tells you Kaiser is a corporation that has stopped caring about the community,” said Phil Osmond, a Kaiser gardener for 23 years in Oakland. “Kaiser is a non-profit company, and for many years it acted that way and was part of the community. But over the past 10 years it more and more acted like a typical for-profit corporation worried only about the bottom line.”
Under the plan, 63 gardeners will lose their jobs June 7 and an outside company would oversee an entirely new workforce that is paid less and receives fewer benefits than current Kaiser employees. Nearly 100 federal, state and local elected officials in California have sent letters to Kaiser opposing the corporation’s outsourcing plans.
Although the gardeners may be eligible for other jobs within the company, many are concerned they will not find suitable positions because they pay less, are part-time or do not match their skills and experience. Supporters of the workers also have expressed concern that a majority of the affected staff are women and people of color.
The gardeners work at facilities in the following 16 cities: Antioch; Fremont; Manteca; Modesto; Oakland; Richmond; San Francisco; San Jose; San Leandro; San Rafael; Santa Clara; Santa Rosa; Stockton; Vacaville; Vallejo; and Walnut Creek.
Despite being a non-profit organization and self-described community-oriented health provider, Kaiser appears to be behaving just like any other large, for-profit corporation. It reported reserves of $31.5 billion and profits of $6.3 billion the last two years. In 2017, its CEO received a 60 percent raise to more than $16 million in annual compensation, and 35 other executives received more than $1 million annually.
All the while, because it’s a non-profit organization, Kaiser does not have to pay income taxes or property taxes—thus saving itself an estimated $1.1 billion on California and federal income taxes alone in 2017. In contrast, the savings from outsourcing the gardeners is about $1 million, meaning those jobs could easily be protected without putting even a perceptible ripple in the company’s bottom line.
More than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-UHW.
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the western United States with 95,000 members. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.orgRead More
In their 2019 rankings of lawyers around the world, Chambers and Partners identified Ben Riley as one of the 12 top litigators in California in the category of Intellectual Property Litigation: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets. Riley is a resident of Orinda and a principal of the firm Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller, PLC in San Francisco.
For 30 years, the London-based firm of 200 researchers has conducted thousands of interviews to identify the top lawyers and law firms in the world. Chambers requires that any applicant submit a detailed questionnaire about their practice and cases, and list 20 client and colleague references. Then they conducted telephone and email interviews with each of the references.
From those interviews, Chambers published the following comments about him: “Benjamin Riley is ‘very organized, writes beautifully and is great in front of judges,’ report sources, further noting: ‘He’s very bright, quick to grasp technical and legal issues, and he’s very efficient.’ He is an experienced practitioner skilled in handling a broad range of contentious IP matters. He is particularly highlighted for his expertise in trade secret disputes.”
The full ranking may be found here.
Riley serves on the firm’s executive committee and has tried nearly 30 cases to verdict including jury trials, court trials, and complex arbitrations. His practice focuses on Intellectual Property Litigation, including patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks and license disputes. He also has an active practice in Business Litigation, including class action defense, defense of “consumer claims” under the Lanham Act and unfair competition statutes, accounting issues, and real property litigation.
Riley also represents companies in connection with director and officer, securities, fiduciary duty, and internal investigation issues, and obtained a defense verdict in a six-week securities class action jury trial. Finally, Mr. Riley represents private clients and charities in Trust and Estate Litigation.
Riley has lectured and published extensively as to Intellectual Property, Business Litigation, Trust & Estate Litigation, and trial practice skills. He is an expert in commercial arbitration law and procedure and regularly handles important cases before the world’s leading arbitration forums. He also has an active practice as a Mediator for the Northern District of California and for private litigants.
Riley has been honored as a California Lawyer of the Year and as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2004. He earned a degree in history from Dartmouth in 1979 and his J.D. from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1983.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More