Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Rory Appleton, Chowchilla News

CHOWCHILLA — For 40 years, strangers from around the world have asked Jennifer Brown Hyde about her kidnapping.

“People find out and are fascinated,” Hyde said. “And that’s fine. I don’t mind sharing it because the world stopped and was on its knees praying for us. And I feel, 40 years later, that I owe it to those people to share where I am at in life.”

Hyde was one of 26 children abducted July 15, 1976, during a summer school bus ride in Chowchilla. The students and their bus driver were taken at gunpoint and eventually were piled into a moving van and buried in a Bay Area quarry. They escaped without any physical injuries after less than a day in captivity.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Hillel Aron, LA Weekly

Erika Rocha spent her 35th birthday— her last birthday — at California Institution for Women (CIW), the smaller of the state's two female-only prisons. In the yard of the Chino Valley facility, about an hour east of downtown L.A., her friends threw her a Tinker Bell party.

"For two weeks Erika was asking what kind of party she was having," one of her friends, nicknamed Grumpy, would later write in a booklet distributed at Rocha's memorial service. "Everyone kept telling her, 'You're just having a private little dinner with your honey.' She came up to [another friend] Dreamer and was all, 'I know you can't hold water, so what are you guys doing for my B-Day?' [Dreamer] can't keep those kinds of secrets so [she] just smiled and was like, 'You're having a little dinner like you wanted.'"

DEATH PENALTY

Alison Vekshin, Bloomberg

Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names are pouring money into an effort to overturn California’s death penalty as support for capital punishment has declined to the lowest in decades.

Reed Hastings, the billionaire chief executive officer of Netflix Inc., donated $1 million, and Salesforce.com Inc. CEO Marc Benioff gave $50,000 to support a measure on the November ballot that would replace death with a life sentence without parole. Seven wealthy donors from technology companies have contributed the bulk of the $4 million raised so far.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Rachel Cohrs, The Sacramento Bee

Between June 1 and July 2, 15 state employee bargaining units’ contracts expired. So far, only one of them has come to an agreement with the governor.

This round of negotiations is particularly sticky because California Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to chip away at nearly $72 billion in retiree health benefit obligations over the next 30 years by getting state employees to contribute from their paychecks. With certain units, that strategy hasn’t gone over smoothly.

International Union of Operating Engineers representative Steve Crouch said while the union agrees with the concept of pre-funding retiree benefits, it disagrees with the amount of money that should be taken out of workers’ paychecks.

Kathryn Skelton, Lewiston Sun Journal

AUBURN — After a rough start and years in federal prison, Titan Gilroy took an entry-level job at a machine shop and learned the trade — then built his own company.

With a few smart moves, it took off like a shot.

"I went from $1 million (the first year) to $1 million a month for the next 24 months — 55 employees, 20 Haas (high-tech) machines," Gilroy said.

Correctional News

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — Now that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors awarded construction contracts in early July for the Northern Branch jail in Santa Maria, final state approval is required before continuing with plans to build the facility. That includes review by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), State Public Works Board and Pooled Money Investment Board.

The $77.7 million construction bid package was awarded to Costa Mesa, Calif.-based SJ Amoroso Construction Inc., and locally based Spiess Construction Co. Inc. was awarded the $2.9 million bid package for off-site utility and road improvement work, according to Noozhawk.

OPINION

The Turlock Journal

Forty-five years ago in a bone-chilling, blood-curdling cover story for The Los Angeles Free Press about California’s gas chamber (“How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?,” December 4, 1970), author, musician, and beatnik activist Ed Sanders, decried state-sponsored, tax-payer funded executions as a “ritual of filth.” Sanders exhorted: “Isn’t it time to crush that cruel nose-cone at San Quentin in the jaws of the nearest auto compactor or in the nearest junk yard?”

Close to half a century later – but, better late than never – when Californians head to the polls on November 8, 2016, we can do just what Ed Sanders suggested: We can toss out what former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun called our broken and vile “machinery of death,” relegating it to the dust-heap of our shared, dark, wayward humanity.