Two court orders and the most expensive wrongful death settlement in California history should be enough. But not for Corizon, a corrections health care company owned by a private equity firm.
For seven months earlier this year, Mario Martinez, a prisoner in Corizon’s care at the Dublin, California Santa Rita Jail, suffered from asthma that kept getting worse. A judge issued two court orders requiring the company to provide Mario urgently needed surgery, but they didn’t operate. While Mario suffered, Corizon even settled a lawsuit for $8.3 million with the family of a prisoner who, five years earlier at the same jail, had died in the company’s care.
In July, Mario suffered an asthma attack, collapsed in his cell and died.
Mario’s mother, Tanti Martinez, had hoped to bring her son’s story to Pope Francis, who on Sunday visited a Philadelphia jail that also contracts with Corizon.
He’s been a pope of many firsts already. The first to invite Catholics to forgive women who have had abortions, and the first to refrain from judging gay people to cite just two that have made headlines. But he’s also arguably the first pope to press hard against not just the reality of poverty, but the culpability of the economic system that is in large part driving it. He’s vocal about immigration. It’s as if Pope Francis is the first pope who is actually listening, and that makes him relevant in a way his predecessors simply were not.
He’s also about to be the first pope to ever speak before Congress. We can only hope they’ll listen. Since nearly a third of them are Catholics, I think many of them will. In fact, there are more Catholics in Washington these days than ever. Six of the 9 Supreme Court Justices are Catholics,
I hope the oil lobbyists in Sacramento broke out some high-priced Champagne this weekend. They deserve it. They just scuttled the biggest and most likely-to-succeed effort in the history of California to save the planet.
Oil industry ad decrying what it called the “California Gas Restriction Act of 2015”
Senate Bills 350 and 32 had already passed in the upper house. As my Capital & Main colleague Bill Raden summarized, SB 32, authored by state Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), would “extend the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions” achieved a few years back through Assembly Bill 32. Senate bill 350, introduced by Senate president Pro tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) – named after the threshold of carbon particles per million that our planetary life cannot surpass – aimed to set standards for California that would “double the energy efficiency of its older buildings,
Next spring, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case that could threaten the economy and American democracy. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association asks the justices to consider overturning a 1977 Supreme Court unanimous ruling (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education) that protected the right of teachers, nurses, librarians, firefighters and other public workers to form unions. The Abood case emphasized that these workers act as the middle class’ backbone by providing quality public services and ensuring healthy communities.
In Abood, the Court ruled that every public worker who benefits from collective bargaining could be required to pay their fair share for those efforts. It’s a basic democratic principle.
For a preview of what will happen if the Court sides with the plaintiffs in Friedrichs, we should look at Wisconsin. In 2011,
Like a charismatic politician whose flaws have yet to be exposed, the so-called sharing economy enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and success. Uber, Lyft, Airbnb — these companies emerged seemingly from nowhere to become economic and cultural powerhouses, and to challenge the prevailing structure of their respective industries.
But 2015 has not been as kind to Uber and its brethren, as the fascination with a new business model has given way to serious concerns over everything from public safety to worker exploitation to unfair market monopolization. In some ways this is not surprising — the honeymoon for startups can be notoriously brief.
But something larger is at play here. In the age of rampant income inequality, the overhyped promises of the sharing economy are running headlong into a growing desire by Americans for a caring economy.
There’s a reason why even Republican presidential candidates,