Capital & Main’s Latest News Section.
By Richard Holober
Californians are exposed to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in our homes, thanks to a 37 year old state furniture regulation. While the regulation never served its intended goal of reducing fires in our homes, its legacy of toxic harm lives on.
In May 2012, a remarkable investigative series in the Chicago Tribune exposed decades of lies, coercion and influence peddling by flame retardant manufacturers. The report describes how a chemical industry front group paid a medical school professor to travel to Sacramento to testify on two separate occasions before the state legislature.
Solid waste company American Reclamation, Inc. which for months has come under heavy fire over alleged safety violations and poor treatment of its employees, was cited by Cal/OSHA this week following an investigation by the agency into conditions at its Atwater recycling facility.
Cal/OSHA issued 36 citations to the company, its recycling subsidiary, South Coast Fibers, Inc. and their staffing agency totaling nearly $40,000 in penalties.
The investigation stemmed from complaints filed by Karla Campos, a 25-year-old Glendale resident and former American Reclamation worker. “American Reclamation treats us worse than the trash we sort,” said Campos, who has charged that she was fired by the company after falling on trash and breaking her tailbone.
The citations come as the L.A. City Council considers adopting a new exclusive franchise system for commercial and multifamily waste. The system would mitigate many of the problems found in the current system —
It’s hard to know where to begin. A co-worker walked onto the restaurant floor after her break. She was shaking her head. She’d been on the computer downstairs.
“It’s official,” she said. “Obama was born in Kenya. He wasn’t born in America.”
I took a deep breath. The kind normally reserved for hearing alien abduction stories. The kind of deep breath I have to take before telling my nephews that there is no monster living in their closet. The kind of deep breath I take before watching Fox News.
What I find fascinating, appalling and comical about “Birther” conspiracy theories is that it doesn’t matter how many times Obama himself shows his birth certificate. They all derive from the notion that President Obama is not being honest with us. That he is lying.
A recent post by the right-leaning Breitbart.com might even explain the origin of the Obama birthplace rumors.
We all know the wealthy and well-connected are accustomed to playing by their own set of rules. Their high-powered lawyers and lobbyists write special exemptions for them the rest of us would never be able to get.
For instance, G.E. made $14.2 billion in profits yet paid no taxes to the federal government – in fact, they got a refund. Despite crashing our economy and getting a massive bailout from taxpayers, the big banks somehow evade meaningful financial industry regulations. Corporate CEOs are slashing the jobs, wages and retirement of rank-and-file workers, but still giving themselves record bonuses and golden parachutes.
It’s not that there aren’t rules that we should all live by to make this a more fair and equitable society. It’s just that the very wealthy know how to get around those rules by creating a maze of exemptions that allow them to gain even more power at our expense.