Predominantly Black Neighborhoods Feel The Pain Of Expensive City Parking Tickets

CHICAGO (CBS)–An Englewood driver booted five times this week alone has racked up nearly $8,000 in parking ticket debt with the City of Chicago, and he says he can’t pay the tab.

Some might believe that if you follow the law and adhere to the penalties if you break it, you won’t get into hot water with the city, but that’s not the case for everyone.

Joe Nathaniel says he can’t pay his parking ticket debt, which totals $7,921.

Records show he’s racked up 38 violations since 2006, forcing him to file for bankruptcy.

His five booted vehicles include two Mercedes, all booted on the same street on the same day.

five vehicles booted in englewood Predominantly Black Neighborhoods Feel The Pain Of Expensive City Parking Tickets

“It’s crippling financially, it’s crippling mentally,” he said. “They’re going to take my cars tomorrow.”

The parade of boots caught the eye of driver Keith Harris, who started recording the booted vehicles as he drove down the block. The video he posted on Facebook has garnered nearly 1,000 views.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” Harris said. “It’s a spiral and it seems like nobody downtown is taking things into consideration.”

Columbia University Professor Edward Morrison said the city’s stringent laws enforcing ticket recipients to pay up  have left some financially-strapped people unable to dig themselves out of debt.

Morrison studies the connections between bankruptcy filings and ticket citation debt in Chicago.

“You see a spike in bankruptcy fillings, primarily by African Americans,” Morrison said.

His research shows debt skyrocketed in 2011 when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office and the city went after outstanding debts while ramping up ticket enforcement efforts.

“The policy did not single out African Americans , but it was a policy that impacted them more because they had accumulated high levels of debt,” Morrison said.

Nathaniel says he’s stuck without a way out of his parking ticket debt.

“How can I get out–if I don’t have the money,” he said.

A spokesperson for the City of Chicago Finance Department said it’s unique to see five cars in a row booted, but she also pointed out it is equally unique to see a person with five cars–some of them luxury brands–booted.

 

 

 

 

‘Breaking Barriers’: Jena Griswold Makes History In Secretary Of State’s Race

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – It’s a historic win not seen in decades.

“It’s something that a lot of people didn’t expect,” Jena Griswold said.

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Jena Griswold (credit: CBS)

In her first-ever run for office, 34-year-old Jena Griswold unseated her opponent, Republican Wayne Williams, becoming the first-ever Democratic woman to serve as Colorado’s Secretary of State. Griswold is also the first Democrat elected to the position since the 1950s.

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Wayne Williams (credit: CBS)

“I am so honored,” she told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “You get a surge of excitement of, ‘Wow! We did this!’ And it’s not a, ‘Wow! I did this,’ because I didn’t do it alone.”

Griswold is certainly not alone in her historic victory. She is among dozens of women across the country breaking barriers.

“I wished we weren’t breaking barriers, right? It’s 2018,” she said.

Voters elected candidates with backgrounds never seen before in Congress. The record-breaking number of women on ballots included Marsha Blackburn, the first women to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate. In New York, voters decided Washington could benefit from a new generation: Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress at just 29 years old.

Other historic victories included candidates of color and the first two Muslim women elected to Congress – Democrat Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Democrate Ilhan Omar in Minnesota. Omar came to the United States as a refugee, and will be the first Somali-American in the House of Representatives.

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Ilhan Omar (credit: CBS)

“In Minnesota, it’s a cold state, but the people have warm hearts,” Omar said during an interview on CBS This Morning. “We don’t just welcome immigrants, we send them to Washington.”

Griswold said she is encouraged by the many women elected yesterday. She said gender and shattering a glass ceiling aren’t motivators for running for office, it’s a desire to be a leader.

“You don’t wake up and say, ‘I’m going to do a brutal two years to try to win this seat because I want to be the first this, that or the other,’” she said. “I think most people are motivated by, ‘What do I think I could add? What do I think that’s not getting done that we can get done if we get the right leadership in these offices?’”

Griswold believes the historical wins add much needed diversity to American leadership.

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Jena Griswold (credit: CBS)

“It’s important in a democracy that all our voices be heard,” she said.

While she’s ready to get to work in Colorado, Griswold is hopeful women everywhere will keep fighting for change.

“We have to remember that although we did have those wins, the marches, the organizing, it can’t stop,” she said. “There are equality issues that still need to be worked on in this country.”

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

Women Win Big In Nevada Elections

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A female political movement driven by backlash to President Donald Trump kicked off the year with a women’s march in Nevada. Eleven months later, that activism helped women win key races across the state, including ousting an incumbent U.S. senator, electing a female-majority federal delegation and leaving the state poised for a potential female-majority Assembly.

Nevada Democratic women running in statewide and federal races emphasized diversity and the need to protect health care, abortion rights and a social safety net. They were also helped in the battleground state by a network of female-driven political activism.

“Plenty of people had their doubts that this victory would be ours tonight, but this is the story of this election cycle: Women stepping up to lead, to take back our country and take back the agenda in Washington,” Democrat Jacky Rosen declared in her victory speech Tuesday after winning the U.S. Senate race in Nevada.

Rosen, a first-term congresswoman who ousted incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller, becomes the state’s second-ever female U.S. senator and will serve alongside Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who was elected the nation’s first Latina senator in 2016.

Rosen, a former computer programmer and synagogue president from the Las Vegas area, included female-focused messages on the campaign trail and highlighted Heller’s alliance with the president and his eventual support for GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

She also condemned Heller’s support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his characterization of the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh as “smears” and a “hiccup” in the confirmation process.

Heller held a modest lead among Nevada’s male voters, but Rosen was preferred decisively among women – 57 percent to 38 percent, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the American electorate.

California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, high-profile Democratic women and potential 2020 presidential candidates, campaigned on Rosen’s behalf, as did abortion-rights groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List.

Across the country, a record number of women were elected to the U.S. House, including its first two female Muslim members. A record number of 237 women ran for the House as major-party candidates, and 16 women ran for governor.

The surge in female candidates this cycle comes almost two years after an outpouring of women marched in the nation’s capital and around the country in opposition to Trump’s inauguration.

Activists behind the Women’s March decided to move their January 2018 march to Las Vegas, saying Nevada’s role as a strategic swing state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 made it prime proving ground for turning the activism into political change.

They pledged to register 1 million voters and elect more progressive candidates across the country. In Nevada, activists and groups involved in the march worked to build momentum for Rosen and other female candidates.

Voters in Nevada picked another female Democrat, education philanthropist Susie Lee, to replace Rosen, and incumbent Democratic Rep. Dina Titus cruised to an easy re-election, putting women in four of the state’s six seats in the U.S. House and Senate.

“Women were motivated to get the polls,” Lee told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “Whether it was seeing that this Congress is so dysfunctional and broken, but more importantly, stripping away protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

She also said protecting Medicare and Social Security, finding a path for young “Dreamer” migrants to stay in the U.S. permanently and finding solutions to gun violence “are all incredibly important to women, especially mothers.”

Jerry Lamb, an independent voter in Henderson, said he voted for Lee over Republican Danny Tarkanian in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District partly because he thinks it’s good to have more women in elected office.

“I think we just need more women in politics, to balance it,” the 72-year-old manager said. “They’re more reasonable, and I think they can work across party lines a little bit better. I think their egos aren’t as bad as ours.”

Nevada voters on Tuesday picked Democrat Kate Marshall for state lieutenant governor.

Women were on the path to potentially make history in the Nevada Legislature by outnumbering their male counterparts.

Two female Assembly candidates and another woman seeking a state Senate seat were competing in races that were so tight, the AP has not been able to declare a winner. Should all three win and a woman be appointed to at least one of several House and Senate seats being vacated by men, Nevada would become the first state with a female-majority legislature.

Women picked up two seats on the Nevada Supreme Court on Tuesday, marking the first time in state history that women made up a majority of the state’s high court, Nevada Supreme Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer confirmed.

 

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

PG&E: 70,000 Customers May Lose Power Thursday Amid Red Flag Warning

( CBS SF) — Pacific Gas and Electric Company is alerting some 70,000 customers in nine Northern California counties about possible early Thursday morning power outages on amid a red flag warning for the region.

PG&E said Wednesday it could initiate a Public Safety Power Shutoff because of strong winds, low humidity levels, critically dry vegetation and on-the-ground observations.

“We are trying to send our customers as much notification as possible,” said PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Santana. “We’re sending out emails, automated calls and texts last night, giving 24 hours notice of the extreme weather that’s coming through the area.”

The utility said the following communities may lose power:

Butte County (including Berry Creek, Chico, Forest Ranch, Magalia, Oroville, Paradise)
Lake County (including Clearlake Oaks, Cobb, Hidden Valley Lake, Kelseyville, Middletown)
Napa County (including Angwin, Pope Valley, St. Helena)
Nevada County (including Grass Valley, Nevada City, North San Juan)
Placer County (including Colfax, Foresthill, Alta)
Plumas County (including La Porte)
Sierra County (including Downieville, Sierra City)
Sonoma County (only portions of unincorporated northeast Sonoma County)
Yuba County (including Brownsville, Dobbins, Camptonville)

Last month, PG&E shut off power in parts of six counties during similar high fire danger conditions, affecting nearly 42,000 customers.

Once the power is cut to some 3,100 miles of lines, it all has to be checked out before it can be turned back on – which takes time. The utility was criticized last month after some areas experienced nearly 20 hours of outage, but PG&E says it’s a lot easier to turn things off then to turn them back on.

A giant generator off of Highway 29 has been installed in case PG&E once again has to cut power to Calistoga because of the latest high-wind, red-flag warning.

On the eve of the potential power shutdown, a representative from the utility giant offered a mea culpa to residents at a meeting in Calistoga.

“This is a very big deal for us as a company. And it was the first time that this happened and we know based on that experience that we need to get better at this,” said Aaron Johnson with the PG&E Community Wildfire Safety Program. “There was a lot of room for improvement.”

When the utility cut the power last month, it took three days for the lights to come back on, costing the tourist driven town.

“The last time this went down, I’ll be very honest, it was over $150,000 lost in business,” said one man attending the meeting. “What I’m hearing from PG&E basically is, ‘Tough. You just gotta do this until we figure this out.'”

Among those businesses experiencing losses was the Calistoga Roastery. Owner Clive Richardson estimates the shutdown cost him about $3,000.

“I closed my business for a full day,” said Richardson. “I paid staff for turning up and having to send them home. And we didn’t know when it was coming back on, and I threw away all my perishables.”

The company’s meteorologists will continue to monitor the weather conditions starting Wednesday night and all throughout Thursday. As additional weather reports become available, PG&E will make further decisions about which areas will lose power.

Customers can learn whether their home or business is in or near a high fire-threat area by reviewing the California Public Utilities Commission’s High Fire-Threat District map.

They can also visit pge.com/wildfiresafety to determine whether their home or business is served by an electric line that may be turned off for safety.

PG&E said they are also in the process of setting up five emergency centers in Humboldt, the North Bay, Sacramento, Sierra and North Valley that will serve as field operations offices for the utility.

Officials said there are no plans to set up shelters for customers.

 

Attorney: Bank Wants To Close Accounts Over Marijuana-Related Defense Work

CASTRO VALLEY (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area criminal defense attorney on Wednesday claimed he is being blackballed by his bank because of his work with clients facing marijuana-related charges.

Longtime criminal defense attorney Donald Drewry told KPIX 5 he’s being targeted because of the defendants he represents.

Drewry said that the Castro Valley branch of Bank of the West where he has his accounts has told him to find a new home for his money by next week.

“My credit is at stake; paying bills on time, paying bills, having insurance cut off. All kinds of problems. Let alone I can’t take on new clients,” explained Drewry.

He was told that the bank would also cancel his credit lines. All because he represents clients who have had marijuana-related offenses.

“I’m being shut down just for telling people the law,” said Drewry.

Drewry told KPIX 5 he’s doesn’t use marijuana or buy marijuana, but his website notes he defends clients with marijuana charges.

“It’s one out of ten areas I practice in,” said Drewry.

He said Castro Valley’s Bank of the West branch manager called him Monday.

“And she says, ‘Well, the higher ups looked over your website. It says you’ll represent people that utilize marijuana,'” recalled Drewry. “I’m not doing anything illegal. It’s my job to represent people who are charged. And just because you’re charged doesn’t mean you’re guilty.”

The Marijuana Industry Group says bank account closures are rare, but because marijuana is still illegal federally, banks have to abide by federal rules and regulations.

“This is outrageous,” said Fred Remer, a criminal defense attorney who has known Drewry for decades.

“I’ve never ever heard of anything like this with regard to interfering between a client and his lawyer and putting lawyer out of business, economically,” said Remer.

KPIX 5 Drewry if he was sure there wasn’t more to the story and he insisted there wasn’t and that the bank representative told him the banks action was triggered by what his website said.

“If somebody commits a federal crime such as sending pipe bombs to former presidents, it would be my duty [to defend them],” said Drewry.

KPIX 5 reached out to Bank of the West. The bank released a statement late Wednesday that said while their customers were their number one priority, they could not offer any comment on Drewry’s situation.

Fire Crews Keep Watch Over Contained Fire Near UC Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — A fire that erupted Wednesday morning near the UC Santa Cruz campus was still smoldering nearly 12 hours later, according to authorities.

Thankfully, firefighters were able to gain the upper hand on the fire near Golf Club Drive pretty quickly,

but it still made for some scary moments for students.

The fire burned in a wooded area and left a smoky haze clinging to the campus for much of the morning.

One of the reasons firefighters were able to respond so quickly was they were already in the area, mopping up the stubborn remnants of the nearby Rincon fire that shut down Highway 9 for several days.

That quick response kept the new fire contained to an area less than four acres.

But for some students, it was still too close for comfort.

“In the beginning, I was really worried. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s really close. I can see it really visibly. And my eyes are burning,’ said UC Santa Cruz student Shantal Bautista. But later, I felt like they had it handled. And the university kept sending out emails.”

Firefighters still at the scene Wednesday evening were just keeping an eye on hot spots at this point.

However, they will stay at the location overnight to make sure the fire doesn’t flare back up.