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tv   This Week in Northern California  PBS  September 15, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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captioning by vitac, underwritten by fireman's fund a last-minute scramble for hundreds of bills in sacramento. what passed, what didn't and what happens next. silicon valley companies fight back against the nsa surveillance program in an attempt to salvage their reputatio reputations. suspicious deaths and misconduct in nursing homes. the agency in charge of investigating now facing questions of neglect. plus, from cutting-edge exhibitions to world premiere performances, sy reveals his top entertainment picks. coming up next.
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good evening. welcome to "this week in northern california." joining me for insight and analysis of the news are mina kim, kqed news reporter. michelle quinn, politico silicon valley reporter. and scott detrow, kqed's sacramento bureau chief. in sacramento, the legislative session wrapped up this week after a flurry of bills and some 11th hour wrangling. lawmakers reached a deal that broke an impasse over a federal court order on prison overcrowding. some other measures debates, increasing the minimum wage, regulating fracking, tightening
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restrictions on guns. scott, you spent some late nights there this week. what were some of the biggest winners. >> one of the biggest surprise was allowing undocumented immigrants to have driver's licenses. they thought that would stall but leaders got on board with that and it passed. a bill got passed regulating hydraulic fracturing that can cause a big oil boom here in california. another bill increased the minimum wage to ten bucks, it could be the highest in the country. and a compromise solving the problem, for now, on the prison overcrowding system. california is under court order to move 9,500 prisoners out of its prisons by the end of the year. >> and what does that measure do to resolve the issue of the court order and how california is going to handle it? >> there's a plan a and a plan b. and instead of figuring out one
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of them, lawmakers passed both plans and are leaving it up to the judge to decide. plan a is governor brown's proposal to extend capacity, basically renting out private prison space, out-of-state prison space and moving those inmates to those places. plan b spends a lot of money on programs designed to keep people out of prison to begin with. but that's not something that will get the population down by the end of the year. that involves asking the federal judges to give an extension. but they have given no indication they will give an extension. they have been very firm with california over the last year saying, no, we set this deadline and we meant it and we really meant it. >> does it mean if plan a and plan b don't work, then plan c is let 9,000 people free? >> the courts warn if california doesn't figure something out, they might step in and release prisoners based on time served and things like that.
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however, one of these plans probably will work. if the courts say, no, we're sticking to the deadline we've set, california does have a system in place to move them out of the system. of course, it will cost more than $1 billion over three years. nobody wants to do that. >> what makes governor brown think they're going to give an extension after multiple attempts to get extensions on this and them denying the state -- >> he's been very stubborn about this. the supreme court ruled on this a couple of years ago and he's insisted he's going to bring it to them again. and typically the supreme court rehear cases in such a short period of time. but other officials have kind of winked and hinted that -- the phrase they used was smoke signals. there have been messages passed between the federal judges and them about this solution. the truth of the matter is, if california can figure out a long-term solution to keep the population down over several years, that's a win for everybody involved. and that's probably more important than an arbitrary
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deadline that's been set. >> it's definitely an issue we've heard a lot about. but there are also other winners. suspension of star testing in schools, that passed as well. >> that's right. by moving to a different system of testing, california is going away from the system that it's used to publish results of how schools are doing. so the state got a very stern e-mail or letter from the secretary of education saying, you should really rethink this plan. and they went ahead with it anyway. >> is there money involved with that? do the feds say, and by the way, we're not giving you this amount. >> that's the shtick the federal government uses. >> but they haven't been specific about how much they could withhold? >> that's correct. it was a very terse statement from arne duncan. >> and gun control was a big issue. what passed on that? >> about a dozen actually. the most high-profile bill didn't pass. that would have put a background check system in place for bullet
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purchases. just like when you buy a gun. anyone buying bullets have to be prescreened and put basically on a list of people who are allowed to buy bullets in california. very controversial for gun rights advocates. that's put on hold right now. but bills eliminating detachable magazines for assault weapons, that passed. more restrictions on who can and can't have a gun. >> what other high-profile bills did not pass? >> sequa reform, it means the california environmental quality act. it's been around for decades. it's the system on how new projects are approved or not approved on environmental grounds. they've been pushing to reform this for years. it allows people to slow down projects they don't like. this is something governor brown wanted to do but it's something
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environmental groups and laboral groups put on hold. it was part of a deal pushing through a new arena for the sacramento kings. but the changes aren't happening this year. >> given what passed and what did not pass, what does that reveal to you about how this democratic super majority is going to handle legislation from this point on? there was a slew of immigration bills, for example, that passed. >> sure. the super majority matters because you need that two-thirds vote to raise taxes. no major tax increases happened this year. that surprised some people. but a lot of issues that liberals care about did pass. the minimum wage is going up. a lot of bills dealing with undocumented immigrants. there are measures allowing undocumented immigrants to serve on juries, to be lawyers. so that's something that will certainly energize latino voters vout california who are about to become the majority of people in the state. >> i know you're going to keep on watching this and the
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governor said he's signed most of the bills that passed. they're on break till when? >> early january. >> nice long break. >> yep. >> scott detrow, thank you. silicon valley companies are challenging the national security agency. this week, yahoo! and facebook filed lawsuits are that the foreign intelligence surveillance court detailing they be allowed to reveal more data that they receive from the nsa. both google and microsoft have filed similar suits. what prompted yahoo! and facebook to file these suits and do you expect others to follow in their footsteps? >> a lot of the companies that were named in these leaked documents from edward snowden had been working behind the scenes negotiating with the government to see what they could get in terms of getting permission to have documents released. they can't release them or really speak about them because they're classified. so google and microsoft sued in june.
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negotiations went back and forth with the government and they failed. and so yahoo! and facebook joined this week. so that's what kind of prompted yahoo! and facebook to join. >> how are they framing their arguments? is this a first amendment issue for them? >> that's exactly right. they argue that they already have the right under the first amendment to speak about things that happened to the company. and companies have first amendment rights. to speak about things that they do with their users. and they make that argument very clearly in their filings. >> there have been months and months of revelations on this. people are upset. these companies are especially upset. is there any indication that any of these policies are ever going to change in terms of the nsa activity that fuels all this? >> i don't think that anything will change in terms of spying surveillance. i was joking with a colleague, wouldn't it be terrible to have a headline that says, nsa doesn't know cryptography. what we've learned is they get it and they may have many back
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doors and other ways of doing things. the companies are trying to figure out how to respond. they're saying their business is getting hurt, especially overseas. >> there's an erosion in public trust. >> that, and particularly overseas where they do a lot of business. and the rules are affecting foreigners, primarily. to scott's question, there is progress. the government has come a long way from where it was three months ago in terms of disclosure, creating a process, making promises in terms of annual disclosure. the lawmakers are -- many lawmakers are defending the government but many are going crazy saying, we have to pass some bills. but is there some bigger policy debate? that's kind of what you expect the obama administration to do, to sort of convene a whole bunch of people to say, really, what do we want to do here? so far, at least in the courts, they've taken a very -- we're not going to do anything differently here. they're waiting. >> in fact, the white house has
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convened a commission to address these issues. but i also wanted to ask you about the foreign intelligence surveillance court. so little is known about how they function, what they do. >> right. >> yahoo! and facebook have now filed these suits. what happens next in fisc. is there a normal court trajectory where it goes through the lower court rs and could go to the supreme court? >> a bunch of things could happen. what happens is that the government -- there's a fisc review court. say yahoo! google, facebook and microsoft get a response they don't like. the fisca court says, you don't have any special permission. they can take it to the supreme court. and they can sue the government in district court. there are other methods. they could also just speak. they could just exercise their first amendment right or ask their users to complain.
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and they've done that before. >> but if they speak, they could land in jail? >> they could, they could. that would be a pretty big deal. and not where a lot of executives of public companies want to be. >> they don't want to be blamed for treason. >> that's the term that marissa mayer of yahoo! used this week. she said if i told you what i know, i could be thrown in jail. >> is there any thought in the government community about what percentage of the leaks we've seen at this point in terms of the raw documents that fueled this story to begin with from edward snowden or is it something that -- >> i would like to know the answer to that. are we halfway done? are we almost done? are they just milking more? who knows what that guy got before he left. but he planned it. a lot more keeps coming out. >> do you have any sense of just the extent to which it really has hurt these companies' bottom lines, in terms of their inability to disclose the information they have about
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their involvement with nsa? >> that is a great question. there have been studies of how it's hurt the cloud business in europe and asia, there are some estimations. but companies keep repeating that they are being hurt and have been hurt. but in terms of actual dollar amounts, i don't know the answer. >> all right. we'll keep watching because the revelation seems to keep coming. michelle, thank you. the center for investigative reporting and kqed have uncovered troubling revelations about how state regulators handled suspected abuse by nursing assistants and in-home health aides. california's department of public health routinely failed to adequately investigate allegations of nursing home abuse. >> her face looked like muhammad ali did a dance on it. you could see knuckles. her eyes were so badly swollen and just hanging. she was miserable. it was very sad to see.
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>> mina, you broke this story along with ryan gabriel. how common is this type of abuse and what happened to elysee? >> in the case of elysee, there were clear concerns about abuse. you heard one of these staff members talk about how she's convinced that elysee was beaten. her case sat on the shelf in the southern california investigations section of the california department of public health for 6 1/2 years. when i say 6 1/2 years, that means the case was closed in february of this year and the decision was to take no action against the caregiver. and when you ask about how many cases there are, one of the things that both ryan and i found when looking at the cases was that the number of revocations of certifications for caregivers dropped dramatically from where it was prior to addressing what the
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department regulators say is a backlog of cases that built up between 2004 and 2008. just to give you an example, prior to that, about a quarter of the cases -- of the complaints against caregivers resulted in revocations of certifications. once they started addressing what had developed as a massive backlog of complaints, sudden those revocations dropped dramatically. and you were only seeing about 7% to 9% of cases where revocations occurred. >> what do you think was happening? were they just telling investigators to dismiss the cases without thoroughly investigating them to clear the backlog? >> that's essentially what one whistle-blower said to us. he said he was being told to close cases from his desk, with little more than phone calls because they needed to address this backlog immediately. staff was prohibited from traveling to the facility. and an investigation is difficult to conduct if you don't go to the site, look at the layout of the room, talk to people who may have been there and potentially talk to the victim or the victim's family
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members. >> how many investigators does the department have and how has that number changed over the years that you're looking at? >> the department says they have increased the number of investigators that they have. and it's more than 20 now. but when i spoke to the head of the california department of public health and asked him specifically how many people were dedicated to the southern california office where this backlog was the worst -- not to say there aren't problems in northern california cases, but where the backlog was the worst, he could not give me an answer in terms of the number. when i actually visited the office with ryan, ryan had been there twice. i went there once. both times, there were hardly anyone there. there was one person there on one visit and no one was there when i went. >> where were they? >> we don't know. we know that a lot of the cases are now being handled out of sacramento. which also causes concern because you need to be able to have investigators respond quickly to the site when there are allegations of abuse. >> is this all a problem, a as a result of california's budget
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problem? is this about the spigot of money that lawmakers or bureaucrats have had to do more with less all the time? >> certainly resources was one of the things that chapman pointed out that led to the backlog that sort of caused this cascade of very cursory reviews of cases. but he also admitted that poor management is to blame as well and that there wasn't good use of the resource that they actually had. so he was actually very willing to say that the dph had several problems and they're trying to address them. >> what happens now? this is troubling on so many planes. what's the reaction then from families of these folks who had their cases often dismissed or closed without any investigation, really? >> well, there is a lot of concern. there's a lot of anger and outrage. that's a desire to demand more and to have the public demand more from the department of public health because they are the agency that has the power to
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take action against caregivers who are accused of abuse or neglect or even murder. they are the agency that has to do that. so there's that. and then they're also asking for what they can do to ensure the safety of their loved ones in the face of a failing department. the only thing -- even the government official who was in charge of protecting people said that the only thing that he can possibly do in the face of a failing department is to be vigilant about the care that their loved one is receiving. >> are there any signs that reforms will happen as a result of this report? >> a couple of lawmakers have started discussions about this. we're hoping that goes further and that this really shakes things up at the department. >> okay. i know you'll stay on this, along with c.i.r. we'll see. maybe something will change. mina, thank you. the bay area fall arts calendar is jam packed with anniversaries, big-name acts and world premieres.
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i sat down earlier with kqed's cy musiker to find out his top picks for the best in music, dance, theater and more this season. i know you've been doing some studying and studying. what a tough job you have -- >> we have a lot of fun, we do. >> the big music festival is coming up in the bay area. >> that's right. the one in golden gate park, always a beautiful event. the second year without warren helmand, the founder. a wonderful lineup. some folk and bluegrass music of the dixie chicks. but also a terrific guy named jesse dee, a young why kid out of boston who sort of channels sam cook from the '60s. and then betty lavette, doing terrific r&b. and bonnie raitt coming down out
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of the hills. her first appearance. sounding wonderful. another event that's not a music festival. this is the airfield broadcast at crissy field. a producer who lives out in new york is bringing 800 musicians to crissy field by the bay and she's a little like a john cage. she wants to bring accidental things together and have them collide. in germany she had swiss alpine horns. >> how did it go over in germany? >> i heard it was a lot of fun. people said very intriguing. >> that's october 26th and 27th at crissy field. >> exactly right. >> this is also a year of milestone anniversaries. >> the carlos quartet, a specifically organization created many years ago. a terrific rich diversity of music, everything from people like terry riley and george
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crumb to more contemporary -- to jazz musicians. they're doing a concert december 7th. they're going to be doing a new piece by terry riley and by philip glass. >> oakland east bay symphony, something else happening in the east bay, it's the 25th anniversary for them. >> right. this is an organization that was reborn like a phoenix out of ashes of the oakland symphony orchestra. it's now the open east bay symphony. michael morton has been there 23 years. he's done a terrific job. they will present music by copeland and an east bay resident, a deejay at night, symphony orchestra composer by day. >> so great to see them doing so well after the oakland sympathy went bankrupt. a birthday for sam shepard coming up. >> the actor, screenplay writer.
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in 1978 he was the resident playwriter at a local theater. the artistic director there is directing. she says this play to her is one of the greatest american plays. puts it up there with oedipus and three sisters. it is about the fractured, the broken american dream, about a farm family and how things aren't going very well. >> let's talk about notable stage performances coming up. we have the carole king musical. >> "beautiful." ♪ this is the bio musical about carole king. i was in college when the album
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"tapestry" first came out by carole king. she worked in the real building with so many other great songwriters. she then became a pop star herself. we'll have to see if it works out, whether it's as good a story to tell as the music is. but the producers will have a chance to try this out before they take it to broadway. >> you're excited about joe goode as well. >> doing dance. this is the world premiere for him for a piece called "hush." joe goode does these fabulous pieces that tell a story, that bring in text. he's working with the sound effects artists wand another composer. >> a cool exhibition you were telling me about. the oakland museum, there's going to be a cinematic study of fog, is that right? >> they have a massive show at the oakland museum of california
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above and below. about 6,000 years of history and about san francisco bay. includes these wonderful videos including this fabulous three-hour tour of every inch of san francisco's shoreline. cinematic study of fog, of foghorns. >> what's another exciting visual arts exhibit you've noticed? >> i'm so excited about an african-american woman photographer who's staged these dramas in black and white photos with captions about race in america. it makes the story told in the photograph even more complicated. this is her largest retrospective ever of more than 100 pieces including videos she's done. it's going to be one of the best things in the fall. it's at stanford. that gets us down to the south bay as well. that's going to be there in october through january. >> that should be spectacular. covers three decades of her life's work. >> that's right. >> there are many more recommendations on the fall arts
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page. how do people get to that? >> it's there's a bunch of picks from me and david and a number of other great arts writers covering the arts in the bay area. >> wonderful. i'm sure you're going to all of those events. cy musiker. >> thanks so much. >> that's all for tonight. i want to thank all my guests for being here tonight. and a big thanks to you, our loyal audience all these years. tonight we mark a milestone here at kqed. this is the final broadcast of "this week in northern california." it was hosted by belva davis for much of its 24 seasons and it's been a privilege for me to follow her and sit in this chair. after tonight, we'll be off the air for app month to prepare for a new chapter. on october 18th, we launch a new program, kqed newsroom. i'll be joined by scott schaefer. we'll continue to provide thoughtful analysis of current affairs with additional field
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reporters and newsmaker interviews. and scott and i will be on location throughout the bay area with a series of forums called open newsrooms this month to hear your thoughts about the issues and challenges in your communities. please go to for more information. for now, good-bye. and we plan to see you on friday, october 18th, with the launch of kqed newsroom in our new time slot, 8:00 p.m. thanks so much for watching. good night.
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our goal is to be the go-to place for news analysis, for interviews with key newsmakers. >> we're not just going to be talking at our viewers and our listeners but we're going to be talking with them. >> it's going to be a really exciting collaboration between the different platforms of kqed, radio, television and online. >> join us for kqed newsroom. >> premieres october 18th at
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on this edition for sunday, september 15th, john kerry travels to israel to offer reassure perhaps about the syrian chemical weapons deal. in our signature segment, does this tiny coastal town in maine hold the key to america's renewable energy future? >> we have known for centuries, when the tides were coming and going. so we can tell you on, you know, this day 20 years from now, at this moment, how much electricity will be generated. and five years later, are systems in place to prevent another financial melt down? next on pbs news hour weekend.


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