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One Candidate’s Views

| News | 25 mins ago

By Joshua Heath

Our 25th Congressional district, Republican, but tipping ever more towards the political center as years go by, should provide a fascinating case study this year for those looking to diagnose the effectiveness of California’s top-two primary.

Passed in 2010, the system eliminates each political party’s primary election in favor of one big election open to all voters. The top two vote-getters from that ballot move on to the general contest in November. The benefits of this, according to the law’s backers, are significant.

For instance, in races where two candidates from the same party face off against each other, voters without a candidate on the ballot would allegedly supply the margin of victory, logically voting for the candidate closer to the ideological center.

In the 25th this year, voters face the aforementioned situation, with an intra-party battle between former Republican State Senator Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) and current Republican State Senator Steve Knight (R-Palmdale). In a test of the logic behind the top two, we’ve asked for their support or approval on several different ideas that polls have shown a majority of Americans support.

If the new system is as forward thinking as it was promoted, the candidate who supports more of these concepts and moderate ideas like them should take Buck McKeon’s old seat in November. See you at the polls.

The Strickland campaign, citing the candidate’s busy schedule, decided not to participate in this story, but said they would be happy to participate in an interview after the race.

1. Buffett Rule
To halt a trend of a large segment of millionaires paying a smaller tax bill than middle class families, as documented by the Congressional Research Service, President Obama put forth this proposal to place a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on individuals making more than a million dollars a year.

Percentage of Americans who support it: 72% (2012 CNN survey)

Sen. Knight’s View:
We should rehaul the tax system and make sure that people are paying a fair share of taxes and make sure that we can fund the federal budget. But, we are overspending, so it’s not a matter of raising taxes.

2.Employment- Non Discrimination Act:
The legislation would make workplace discrimination of employees due to their sexual orientation or gender identity illegal.

Percentage of Americans who support it: 68% (Target Point Consulting, a Republican Consulting Firm)

Sen. Knight’s View:
I don’t believe you should be able to discriminate because of someone’s sexual orientation at the workplace.

3. Congressional Action to Move Forward On Urgent Infrastructure Repairs, as quoted from an article on the website, www.economyincrisis.org:
‘’A report by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimated that roughly 1 in 10 U.S. bridges, more than 63,000, are in urgent need of repair. Last year, in its annual report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D+ grade. The study also estimated the U.S. would need $3.6 trillion in investment by 2020 to deal with its infrastructure problems.’’

Percentage of Americans in support of such a plan: 68% (2014 AAA Study)

Sen. Knight’s View:
The country is going through problems with its infrastructure and if we do not keep this country strong with our infrastructure, and not just militarily or economically, then we will falter. You’ve got to have a strong infrastructure system.

4. Stronger Campaign Finance Laws
Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen United ruling, which gave unions and corporations the legal okay to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, there has been a growing public clamor to re-tighten our campaign finance rules. That sentiment increased with the McCutcheon vs. FEC decision this year, which undid some restrictions on donations by individuals.

Percentage of Americans in Support: 69%, (2012 Washington Post-ABC News Poll)

Sen. Knight’s View:
If we’re going to have campaign finance reform, then we’re going to have to have it across the board. If we’re going to have campaign finance reform on what corporations can give and on what people can give, we better have it on what unions can do also.

5. Reduction in sentencing for nonviolent criminals
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the United States incarcerates 25 percent of the world’s entire prison population. The total cost of such mass incarceration is expected to take up 30 percent of the Justice Department’s budget by the year 2020.

Percentage of Americans in support: over 80% (2012 Pew Charitable Trust Poll)

Sen. Knight’s View:
My record is pretty clear. I am pretty hardnosed on breaking the rules of society. If you do the crime, you’ve got to do the time. If we are going to reduce penalties, like we have in California, with AB109, you are going to see an increase in crime.

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Band of the Week – Motley 2

| Scene in SCV | 51 mins ago

motley 2 groupMotley 2

A premiere tribute band covering early Motley Crue hits, Motley 2 consists of local Santa Clarita residents Darryl Strucke, David Lee, Mark Hagen and Tony Noyes. The group has been together for over three years now, delivering the sound, look and stage attitude that true Motley Crew fans love about the rock band. They have played at numerous venues across Southern California and guarantee a “rocking show” that will “Take You to the Top!”

The Gazette had the pleasure of asking the band members a few questions about their history, how they achieve their glam rock look, their dream to play at Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park and much more!

1: What is your favorite local venue to play?
We’ve played just about every local venue in and around the Santa Clarita area, with our ultimate goal of being part of the 2015 Santa Clarita Concerts in the Park. We encourage everyone to call the organizer of the event, Mike Fleming, at (661) 250-3777 and request Motley 2 to play at next summer’s concert series. We also have an upcoming local show at Paladino’s Club in Tarzana on Friday, Dec. 19 at 10 p.m.

2: What was it about Motley Crue that inspired you all to start the band?
Motley Crue is a high energy band with a unique look that is a lot of fun to imitate, with the outfits, make-up and wigs. Plus, Motley Crue has numerous hits that everyone knows and loves, so our entire set list has no let down in energy or filler songs.

3: The whole band seems to really embrace the MC look – does it take long to achieve?
It was quite a process to achieve our look, and we are constantly working to maintain the integrity of the costumes and look of early Motley Crue. We pieced together our outfits from numerous sources, and the biggest help was all the hard work done by our vocalist, Tony Noyes, to actually make replica pieces of the early outfits by hand.

4: What can we expect from a Motley 2 show?
You can expect a high energy show that transforms you back in time to make it seem like you are really seeing the real band back at the height of their career. We like to stress that we put on a family-friendly show suitable for all ages, and we have played numerous festivals with families in attendance, where we have brought kids onstage to dance with the band. We also have played numerous club shows, casinos and private and corporate events nationwide and abroad, and just this year alone we have played shows in Northern and Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada … and (one) thing that sets us apart from other tribute bands, besides our look, is that we are very crowd-friendly and have extensive crowd interaction and audience participation. Everything from bringing people up onstage to dance with the band to our vocalist going down into the crowd and having audience members sing along into the mic. We also always meet with the audience after shows and pose for pictures, which is always a big hit with the crowd as well.

For more information on Motley 2, visit the band’s website at: http://motley2.jimdo.com/

brought to you by:buscardlowesmusic

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SCV Music Festival

| News, Scene in SCV | 2 hours ago

MusicFest1The Santa Clarita Valley will play host to one of this fall’s most anticipated musical events—the SCV Music Festival. Founded in 2009 by John Heys and Don Hubbard, the festival has deep roots in jazz and blues, but has since evolved into an eclectic offering of music from various genres. Taking place over two eventful nights—Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27—at the Valencia Country Club, the SCV Music Festival promises a rocking good time for people of all ages.

Heys and Hubbard are thrilled with the line-up this year, following a very successful show last season headlined by the country duo The Swon Brothers. Country music superstar Aaron Tippin will lead the show on Friday, and with several hit singles on the Billboard chart, festival goers are surely in for a treat. And to keep the country atmosphere going strong, Garth Guy will also hit the stage that night, bringing a classic Garth Brooks tribute experience to the masses.

MusicFest2Saturday evening’s show will see the tempo change from country to classic rock with popular ‘70s band Blue Oyster Cult. Best known for hits like “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” and “This Ain’t the Summer of Love,” together they have sold over 20 million albums worldwide. Two other bands will be on stage that night as well. Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps and The Alan Wright Band will warm the crowd up for an evening full of guitar riffs, classic hits and overall, just really good music.

Sticking to true festival fashion, all general seating will be picnic style, so make sure you bring your blankets and folding chairs. There will be plenty of food vendors to get you through the night and numerous merchandisers to peruse during intermissions. VIP tickets are also available, which will gain you access to a special shaded VIP lounge.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.SCVMusicFest.com or call 661-388-6765.

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Business of the Week – Hallway Plumbing

| Scene in SCV | 3 hours ago

Owner Todd Hall comes from a family with its roots in the Santa Clarita Valley for five generations. It’s no wonder his business, Hallway Plumbing, prides itself on a history of honesty and exceptional customer service. “We go to your homes and treat them like they are our homes. The people we are servicing are our friends and neighbors, so we make sure to offer the best possible service. It’s a full start-to-finish job, helping you understand what the job entails. We make sure the experience is a good one,” explains Hall.

This full-service plumbing company serving the SCV and surrounding areas offers drain cleaning, water heater service, slab leaks, toilet repairs, hydro-jetting and any other general plumbing repairs. Technicians are highly trained and courteous and will install only the finest quality materials. They understand how important it is to get it fixed right the first time, and there is no fear of gimmicks or needless up-selling. Hall says, “My grandfather always told me that if you have integrity and you give people fair prices, the money and business will come.”

We are all aware that water heater season is upon us, and Hall wants to remind SCV residents the importance of checking their water pressure often (it should not exceed code of 80 lbs), as it will prevent leaky faucets and failing plumbing systems. He adds, “We have super hard water in Santa Clarita, we need to consistently check our water pressure. Think of it like your heart, if you have high blood pressure the rest of your body will not work right. That is the ultimate goal, to keep everyone’s plumbing service healthy, and it starts with the regulator.”

Hallway300-X-250Hallway Plumbing prides itself on providing the best plumbing service SCV residents can find. They know the Santa Clarita Valley homes like no other plumbers. For a free estimate or more info call 661-702-9988 or visit www.hallwayplumbing.com.

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25th Anniversary for Ventura Harvest Festival

| News | 3 hours ago

The Ventura County Fairgrounds will be teeming with crowds for the Harvest Festival® Original Art & Craft Show on the first weekend in October.

DSC_2138It includes both shopping and entertainment combined with hundreds of artisans showcasing more than 24,000 handcrafted originals, stage entertainment, a Kidzone, strolling performers, contests, a pumpkin patch, specialty foods and more.

Held October 3-5, 2014, it is the 25th anniversary of the event, which is revered as the west coast’s largest and finest indoor craft show. Exhibitors hail from throughout North America, specializing in “made in the USA” handcrafted items at affordable prices.

The fall-themed atmosphere makes exploring the array of exhibits an exciting discovery of beautiful jewelry, blown glass, ceramics, hand woven clothing, photography, candles, wood carvings, garden designs, homemade sauces and soups, antique treasures, children’s accessories, sculptures, holiday ornaments, and more. Patrons appreciate the opportunity to interact with the artists, get items personalized, or even learn some helpful tips through crafting demonstrations.

There are a number of free activities for guests, including health screenings, courtesy of Clinicas del Camino Real, and DSC_2332child ID photos from New York Life. The Kidzone features free “make & take” crafts from Macaroni Kid and outdoor fun with MyGym, while Lowe’s Hardware hosts a “built it” center for free take home masterpieces.

“Your world is transformed the moment you walk through the gate – with fall decorations and a pumpkin patch, interactive activities, entertainment, and a wide variety of artistry on display,” says Nancy Glenn, Harvest Festival Show Manager. “It’s a juried showcase, so the quality of the exhibitors is top notch.”

Bring non-perishables for donation to FOOD Share for $2 off your ticket price. The hours are Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors (62+), and youth admission (13-17) costs $4. Kids 12 and under are free.

Information and tickets are available at www.harvestfestival.com or call 800-346-1212.

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Santa Clarita Improves in Retail Market Ranking

| News | 4 hours ago

In the 2014 California Retail Survey’s “Top 100 Retail Markets of California Cities” the 21st spot went to the City of Santa Clarita, up one spot from last year. This year, Santa Clarita was one of only 29 cities with a retail market above $2 billion, ranking higher than Beverly Hills, Burbank, and Glendale.

Santa Clarita, now Los Angeles County’s third largest city, continues to attract top retailers, like H & M, BevMo!, Lorna Jane, Free People, specialty restaurants, and is home to Southern California’s largest auto center – the Valencia Auto Center. In the last year, the City of Santa Clarita has seen a steady increase in retail sales as new businesses open. Sales tax numbers for the first quarter 2014 were up by 3.6 percent when compared to first quarter 2013.

“Santa Clarita is home to a diverse retail market that reflects the interests of our community,” said Mayor Laurene Weste. “Our City attracts some of the best retailers out there, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure Santa Clarita is a great place to do business.”

The 2014 California Retail Survey ranks the largest cities in California based on dollar volume, growth rates, and sales per outlet. The publication is a respected source of market intelligence for corporate and government executives, with analysis and rankings based on actual sales results from retailers in the state. 

For more information on the 2014 California Retail Survey, visit CaliforniaRetailSurvey.NetFirms.com. For more information on Santa Clarita’s growing business climate and retail market, visit Santa-Clarita.com.

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Sports Highlights

| Sports | 4 hours ago

High School Football
The third week of high school football in the Santa Clarita Valley was much better than the first two.

Hart finally won its first game of the season. So did Saugus, Canyon and Trinity Classical Academy.

West Ranch might have an emerging star at quarterback.

All good signs. But Chaminade showed it owns the Foothill League, knocking off the top two teams in consecutive weeks.

Let’s start with Hart.

The Indians’ defense finally showed up in a 49-17 win over Paraclete. Quarterback Brady White had his usual big game with six touchdown passes and 344 yards.

Blake Fall had a surprising big game catching three touchdown passes. Fall normally plays safety on defense, but was called into offensive duty because he injured his shoulder.

The West Ranch football team won its first game of the season too, 43-12, over Knight from Lancaster.

West Ranch’s starting quarterback Chase Killingsworth did not start leaving an opportunity for back-up Jackson Clark to shine. He was lights out, throwing for 428 yards and four touchdowns.

The Saugus football team found its offensive rhythm to the tune of 63 points against Buena. Saugus won the game, 63-35. Running back Troy Williams led the way with 223 yards and five touchdowns.

The Canyon football team finally found the win column, 28-7, over Eastside. The Cowboys are 1-2.

Valencia lost to Chaminade, 38-20. No real shame there. Chaminade is ranked No. 7 in the state and beat Hart soundly last week.

Golden Valley returned to its losing form, 48-25, to Crescenta Valley. After beating Granada Hills to open the season, Golden Valley has lost two games in a row.

That still put the Foothill League at 4-2 for the weekend. The Foothill League teams were a combined 3-8 in the first two weeks of the season.
The Santa Clarita Christian football team won a thriller, 49-48, against Mary Star of the Sea.

Mary Star of the Sea scored what looked like the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. But Santa Clarita Christian blocked the extra point attempt and won the game.

Cameron Lewis set a school record with five touchdown receptions.

The Trinity Classical Academy football team won its first game of the season, 35-12, over Desert Christian. Trinity is the reigning CIF Southern Section Division 2 8-man champion.

College Football

The College of the Canyons football team is still searching for its first win of the season. The Cougars lost to Citrus College, 27-24, and dropped to 0-2.

Three weeks into the college football season and UCLA looks much better than USC.

Sure, USC has an impressive win over Stanford, at Stanford.

But UCLA is 3-0 and still in the mix for the college football playoffs.
Sure, UCLA’s wins have been nailbiters. Sure, wins over Memphis and Texas are not nearly as impressive as beating a ranked Stanford team. Sure, UCLA has an injured Heisman hopeful candidate in Brett Hundley.

But, the Bruins are still undefeated and ranked higher than USC.
The Trojans are coming off a very disappointing loss to Boston College. That loss is going to haunt USC for the entire season.

In case you were wondering, if the playoffs began today, Florida State, Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma would be in. Florida State vs. Oklahoma. Oregon vs. Alabama.

The groans are clear from Texas A&M and Auburn.

Major League Baseball
The Major League Baseball pennant races are pointing toward a Dodgers-Angels World Series.

The Angels have the best record in the majors as of Monday at 93-56. They are the hottest team in baseball, with a 10-game winning streak that ended on Monday. They have a 10-game lead over the A’s in the American League West standings.

The Dodgers are battling the Nationals for the best record in the National League. The Dodgers at 85-64 were a game behind the Nationals on Monday. The Dodgers had a three-game lead in the National League West standings.

Some final notes from around the high schools in the Santa Clarita Valley:

The Saugus boys and girls cross country teams are ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 polls. Both teams started the season at No. 1 and have not budged for three weeks.

The West Ranch boys and girls teams are ranked in the top 10 of the Southern Section Division 2 poll. The boys are ranked No. 9. The girls are ranked No. 8.

The Valencia girls volleyball team is No. 4 in the Southern Section Division 1A poll.

Tim Haddock is the sports director at KHTS AM 1220. He writes for the Ventura County Star and the Team USA website. He can be reached by e-mail at tim@hometownstation.com. Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.

Local Football Scores:

Hart over Paraclete – 49-17
West Ranch over Knight from Lancaster – 43-12
Saugus over Buena – 63-35
Canyon over Eastside (Palmdale) – 28-7
Valencia Lost to Chaminade – 38-20
Golden Valley Lost to Crescenta Valley – 48-25
Santa Clarita Christian over Mary Star of the Sea – 49-48
Trinity Classical Academy over Desert Christian – 35-12
COC Lost to Citrus College – 27-24

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Grammy Award-Winner Kenny Loggins To Perform Benefit Concert

| Gazette, News | 5 hours ago

Kenny Loggins

The Golden Valley High School Marching Band Booster Club welcomes Santa Clarita residents to a benefit concert starring Grammy award-winner Kenny Loggins on Oct. 21.

The show is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. in the Golden Valley High School performing arts center.

Tickets are limited to 500 seats and are on sale now for $75 and $100. Visit www.goldenvalleyband.com to order these fast-selling tickets.

The $250 tickets that included a Meet & Greet after the concert are now sold out.

All funds raised will benefit new instruments for the Golden Valley marching band. Golden Valley High School recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and is desperately in need of additional instruments for its growing band program, according to a William S. Hart District news release.

“We are so fortunate to have Kenny Loggins performing live at Golden Valley High School to benefit the successful band program here,” Golden Valley Principal Sal Frias said. “We are thrilled to have such a world-class musician on our stage and appreciate his generosity in supporting this benefit concert.”

Kenny Loggins’ four-decade-plus career has brought him from the top of the charts to the toast of the Grammys.

He’s had many popular hits on Hollywood’s favorite soundtracks, rocked worldwide stages, and found his way into many hearts while bringing his soulful voice to platinum albums of a variety of genres said a Hart District news release.

His gift for crafting deeply emotional music is unparalleled, and it’s been a part of his life as long as he can remember.

“I was very lucky to see Kenny Loggins perform when I was in high school and to have the opportunity to share his great talent with my students and the entire Santa Clarita community thirty years later is… amazing!” said Roger Brooks, Golden Valley High School band director. “As a fundraiser, this concert is ‘huge’ for the Golden Valley Band & Color Guard. This will definitely be the event of the year for Golden Valley.”

Limited corporate sponsorships are still available.

For more information, including for sponsorships, please email: Sue or Dave Alterman at thealtermans@hotmail.com.

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Just Some Things to Do

| Community | 5 hours ago

Boys & Girls Club And City Of Santa Clarita “Day For Kids”

When: Saturday, September 20 from 12noon-5pm
Where: Newhall Park, 24907 Newhall Avenue, Newhall
Details: Presented by the City of Santa Clarita and the Boys & Girls Club, this free event includes rides, games, and kid and family oriented activities. There will be entertainment, contests, raffles, food, and prizes. More information is available by calling 661-254-2582 or arts.santa-clarita.com/events/day-for-kids/

City Of Santa Clarita “River Rally Clean-up & Environmental Expo”

When: Saturday, September 20 from 8am-11am
Where: Wiley Canyon Road, off the Via Princessa Bridge
Details: The City is hosting the 20th annual “River Rally Clean Up & Environmental Expo.” “Be part of the solution for a better environment by helping to preserve the river’s natural beauty and variety of wildlife.” Pre-registration is required. All River Rally participants are asked to wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and appropriate clothing for walking in the riverbed. Gloves, bags and refreshments will be provided. Commemorative giveaway, while supplies last. The Environmental Expo features displays on recycling, air quality, pollution prevention, water quality, open space preservation and wildlife conservation. For more info call -284-1415 or visit greensantaclarita.com/2012/11/16/river-rally/
Agua Dulce Country Fair

When: Saturday, September 20 from 4pm-midnight
Where: Agua Dulce Women’s Club, 33201 Agua Dulce Canyon Road, Agua Dulce
Details: The Fair starts with a parade tractor brigades, aging beauty queen floats, and camels. Win homemade treats at the Cake Walk, test your balance with Giant Jenga, try your skills at Chicken Splat Checkers, take on opponents at the Silly String Wars, Jalapeno Holler, and challenge Lady Luck on the Wheel of Fortune. Check out the Chili Cookoff, Beer Garden and Cigar Booth. The music starts at 4:30pm with five bands performing through the evening. Vendors have a variety of shopping. Admission is $5. All proceeds go back into the community. More information and direction available at www.aguadulce-countryfair.com/

Domestic Violence Center “Clothesline Project”

When: Saturday, September 20 from 11am-2pm
Where: Savia Center, 23780 Newhall Avenue, Newhall
Details: The Domestic Violence Center SCV is holding “Clothesline Project,” a national project to bring a visual display of awareness about violence against women. Bring a shirt to decorate. White represents women who died because of violence; yellow or beige represents battered of assaulted women; red, pink and orange are for survivors of rape and sexually assaulted; blue and green represent survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple or lavender represent women attached because of their sexual orientation; and black if for women attacked for political reasons. More information call 661-259-8175 or visit dvc-scv.com/

Circle of Hope “Bunco For Hope”

When: Sunday, September 21 from 12:30-5pm
Where: Hyatt Regency Valencia, 24500 Town Center Drive at McBean Parkway, Valencia
Details: The “Bunco For Hope” Tournament to benefits Circle of Hope and is sponsored by MOMS Club of Castaic. Besides games of bunco, the afternoon includes a champagne toast, lunch, dessert, and prizes. Registration and lunch starts at 12:30pm and games start at 2pm. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online at www.eleven12events.com/#!bunco-for-hope-registration/cjnx

SCV Baby Boutique

When: Saturday, September 20 from 10am-4pm
Where: The Hilton Garden Inn, 27710 The Old Road in Valencia
Details: New parents, expectant moms and dads, grandparents and anyone remotely interested in babies are welcome to attend the SCV Baby Boutique. The event includes 30 vendors, raffles, gift bags and more. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the NICU at Henry Mayo. Boutique vendors include a Mary Kay Cosmetics representative, Lasting Impressions, The Painted Shutter & Co., Enchanted Kids and dozens of artists from photographers to crafters who create handmade baby garments. Contact Valerie at scvbabyboutique@yahoo.com or call (661) 312-7007 for information.

SCV Youth Project “Comics For The Cause”

When: Tuesday, September 23, 6pm for the VIP Pre-Party, doors open at 6:30pm, show starts at 7:30pm
Where: Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on the College of the Canyons Valencia Campus, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Details: The SCV Youth Project is holding their 3rd Annual “Comics For The Cause” charity event. Annabell Gurwitch, author of I See You Made An Effort will take on Master of Ceremonies duties. The evening features comedy from Cathy Ladman from HBO, The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and The Tonight Show; Ahmed Ahmed of Sullivan & Son, Weeds, Swingers and Iron Man; and Bryan Callen of MADtv, Chelsea Lately, and Letterman. For more info and tickets call 661-257-9688 or visit www.helpnothassle.org/2014/07/10/3rd-annual-comics-for-the-cause/

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California Prison Overcrowding, Unconstitutional?

| Police Blotter | 7 hours ago

By Robin Sandoval
The overcrowded California Prison System seems to pop up in the news at a pretty constant pace. No matter what officials do, the issue seems to have grown too large to bring under control, and even harder to reduce the increasing rate of prisoner retention.

Currently, California houses over 117,000 inmates in facilities built for a mere 81,600 residents. Approximately 12,200 inmates are incarcerated in private facilities located within California and throughout three other states.

But is California prison overcrowding unconstitutional? The 8th amendment does protect U.S. citizens from any «cruel and unusual punishments.” Unfortunately, the California State prison system is at about 150 percent capacity, with prisoners being placed into prison auditoriums with bunk beds that are sometimes stacked two or three beds high. Because of tight quarters or an inadequate number of toilets and showers, California›s current situation may be running close to violating the 8th amendment, and the State has been forced to do something about it. 

One of the things the State of California has done is to transfer prisoners to out-of-state facilities run by corporations like CCA, or the Corrections Corporation of America. CCA owns and runs prison facilities located in Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri. Because these prisons are run by corporations, not the State, it costs California (and taxpayers, therefore) a pretty penny in order to house these inmates. Corporations may be in it for profit, and prisons run by corporations are more expensive than those run by the State.

Aside from incarcerating prisoners in corporate-run prisons, measures have been passed in order to help reduce the total number of prisoners in the system. Proposition 36, for instance, was passed which reformed the 3 strikes law in order to keep those who committed violent crimes locked up. It›s also paving a way to freedom for those prisoners who were given life sentences for non-violent crimes.

A fairly new ruling by a panel of three federal judges has granted California Gov. Jerry Brown an additional two years to find an answer in reducing prison overcrowding. The ruling gives California until February 2016 to achieve these lofty goals, which have cost California billions of dollars. The judges additionally noted that the state must make parole immediately available for elderly inmates and prisoners with any serious illnesses.

Ultimately, it seems the state of California›s prisons must make improvements. However, in order to fix an obviously broken system, a closer look at the entire criminal justice system in the state and the nation (including crimes committed and standard sentences) may be warranted. Many politicians, however, may be loathe to wade into decades of precedent and law in order to create an overhaul — which may or may not even work.

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