Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Prison officials hope a new medical facility will appease federal judges

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The state Department of Corrections is about to open a 200-acre, $839 million prison medical facility in Stockton.

California prison officials on Tuesday dedicated a new 200-acre facility in Stockton designed to improve treatment for 1,700 of the state’s inmates who require ongoing medical care. 

Warden Ron Rackley asked hundreds of prison officials,  politicians and press at the opening ceremony to stand for the inaugural raising of the flags at the California Health  Care Facility while a bugler played "To the Colors."

It was a moment of celebration for prison officials in an otherwise grim month when a succession of legal decisions haven't gone their way. Just last week a three-judge court ordered the state to release 9,600 inmates by the end of the year to relieve overcrowding. Those judges say that’s the only way to ensure inmates get adequate healthcare.

But Secretary of Corrections Jeff Beard says California is already providing good care and should be allowed to regain full control of the prison system.


City gives historic monument status to former WWII detention center

Tuna Canyon Internment Camp

David Scott/The Scott Family and Little Landers Historical Society

Guard towers watch over detainees at the Tuna Canyon Detention Center in Tujunga. The site of the camp is now the Verdugo Hills Golf Course.

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday designated one acre of the former Tuna Canyon Detention Station — now the site of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course — as a historic-cultural monument.  

During World War II, the detention center held more than 2,000 people, mostly Japanese-Americans. The golf course is now owned by Snowball West Investments, which wants to build a housing subdivision on the property. Designating something a historic-cultural monument means there are additional reviews if changes are made to the site.

“The Tuna Canyon Detention Station is an important piece of our history in the Northeast San Fernando Valley and a reminder of some of our darkest times as a community, nation and world,” said councilmember Richard Alarcon, whose district includes the site.  “Declaring the Tuna Canyon Detention Station as a Historic-Cultural Monument allows us to protect this important piece of our history, and give us the opportunity to continue to learn from our past mistakes and preserve this lesson for generations to come."


Payback on election day for GOP lawmakers who vote for immigration reform?

Voting booth

Sharon McNary/KPCC

A new poll concludes that nearly half of Republican voters would be less likely to re-elect a politician who votes for immigration reform.

There has been a careful dance on the Senate side of Congress. A bipartisan group of lawmakers crafted a bill, then crafted a compromise with Republican colleagues to include tougher border security measures. That "border surge" measure guaranteed enough GOP votes to get past the 60 vote filibuster line.

But will there be payback on election day for Senators who vote for immigration?

According to a new United Technologies/National Journal poll, the answer is "yes."

The poll asked registered voters whether in the next election they'd be more or  less likely to support a Senator or Representative who votes for an immigration reform bill that included a path to citizenship.

Among Democrats, just one in five said it would make them less likely to vote to re-elect that lawmaker. Nearly half said it made no difference one way or the other.


UPDATE: US Senate vote on amendment moves immigration reform bill closer to passage

Advocates rally for immigration reform outside the US Capitol this spring

UPDATE 4:11 p.m.: Historic immigration legislation cleared a key Senate hurdle Monday afternoon with a 67-to-27 procedural vote in favor of the "border amendment" seen as key to gaining Republican support for the bill.

The final tally was seven more than the 60 needed, with 15 Republicans voting to advance the legislation.

PREVIOUSLY: The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on a tough border security amendment to the immigration bill Monday evening. The measure is designed to entice Republicans to vote in favor of the larger immigration reform proposal. Business and labor groups are also putting pressure on Senators ahead of that vote, which is expected on Thursday.

Momentum is growing for passage of the comprehensive bill.

Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – one of the "Gang of Eight" who negotiated immigration reform – says the measure is "on the verge" of getting 70 votes, thanks to the enhanced security amendment.


Poll: Half of Americans want publicly financed elections

Activists Protest Supreme Court Decision On Corporate Political Spending

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Laird Monahan walks up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial past a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the United States Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in 2010 in Washington, DC.

How do you feel about publicly funded elections? You know, that box you can check on your income tax forms to dedicate a few bucks to presidential campaigns.

A new poll shows that half of Americans prefer government funded to individual and political action committee funded campaigns.

Gallup asked people:

"Suppose that on Election Day you could vote on key issues as well as candidates. Would you vote for or against a law that would establish a new campaign finance system where federal campaigns are funded by the government and all contributions from individuals and private groups are banned?"

One in two said they'd vote for that. Just 44 percent said they'd vote against it. Women were split: 46 percent say they favor it; 46 percent don't like it. The rest were undecided.