Posts Tagged ‘c’

Senator Leland Yee Wants a Clean Needle Program to Prevent Spread of HIV, Hep C

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Our Senator Leland Yee, Ph.D. is today calling for support for his Clean Needle Bill, SB 1029. It would permit all California pharmacists to sell up to 30 sterile syringes to drug users aged 18 and over. Why? To prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases that live in used syringes.

All the deets of today’s presser with Mark Cloutier, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Barry Zevin, MD, a San Francisco primary care and HIV clinician, below.

Senator Yee, PhD:

Yee Introduces Clean Needle Bill. Legislation would allow pharmacies to sell sterile syringes to prevent spread of HIV & Hepatitis C
 
Today, State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) was joined by doctors, pharmacists, and AIDS prevention advocates to introduce legislation that would allow pharmacies throughout California the discretion to sell up to 30 sterile syringes to an adult without a prescription
 
California is one of only three states that still prohibit pharmacists from selling a syringe without a prescription.  Most states amended their laws in light of evidence that criminalized access to sterile syringes led drug users to share used ones, and that sharing syringes spread HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases that can live in a used syringe.
 
This is an effective public health measure which is proven to reduce health care costs to taxpayers,” said Yee.  “It’s a moral, as well as fiscal imperative.”
 
“Access to sterile syringes is a vital component of a comprehensive strategy to combat HIV and hepatitis,” said Yee.  “This approach has been evaluated extensively throughout the world and has been found to significantly reduce rates of HIV and hepatitis without contributing to any increase in drug use, drug injection, crime or unsafe discard of syringes.”
 
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) signed legislation in 2004 to create a five-year pilot to evaluate the safety and efficacy of allowing adults to purchase and possess a limited number of syringes for personal use.  Under the pilot program pharmacies in Los Angeles County, the Bay Area and some other parts of the state have been allowed to sell syringes.
 
Yee’s SB 1029 would remove the sunset and allow all pharmacists throughout the state with the discretion to sell sterile syringes without a prescription.
 
Sharing of used syringes is the most common cause of new hepatitis C infections in California and the second most common cause of HIV infections.  The state Department of Public Health estimates that approximately 3,000 California residents contract hepatitis C through syringe sharing every year and another 750 cases of HIV are caused by syringe sharing.
 
These diseases are costly and potentially deadly. Hospitalizations for hepatitis B and hepatitis C cost the state $2 billion in 2007, according to a report by the California Research Bureau.  The lifetime cost of treating hepatitis C is approximately $100,000, unless a liver transplant is required, and then the cost exceeds $300,000 per surgery.  The lifetime cost of treating HIV/AIDS is now estimated to exceed $600,000 per patient.
 
By comparison, a syringe costs about ten to fifteen cents retail.  The bill requires no appropriation of state funds, because it allows adults to buy syringes at their own expense.
 
Among health policy researchers speaking in favor of SB 1029, Alex Kral, an epidemiologist who has supervised several studies of HIV prevention said, “In light of over 200 studies worldwide that establish improved syringe access means less disease with no downside, to continue a policy of making syringe sales illegal would amount to health policy malpractice.”
 
The 200 studies Kral referred to were reviewed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008.  WHO concluded that the overwhelming scientific consensus showed improved syringe access reduced rates of HIV and hepatitis without contributing to drug use, crime or unsafe discard of syringes. 
 
“There is not one credible study from anywhere in the world that refutes these findings,” Kral said.
 
Among the numerous studies cited was one published in the American Journal of Public Health from 2001 that compared US cities that allowed pharmacists to sell syringes to adults without a prescription and those that did not.  The study found that the rate of HIV among drug injectors was twice as high in cities that forbid sale without a prescription than those cities that allowed pharmacists greater flexibility to provide syringes.
 
“This approach has been overwhelmingly supported by the health professions,” said Yee. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature, the Governor and the California Department of Public Health to craft the most efficient and cost-effective means of saving lives and public dollars by preventing HIV and hepatitis C.”
 
SB 1029 will be considered in committee in March.

Revenge of the Subtenant – Rent Board Requires Master Tenant to Refund $10,800

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Here’s the thing – if you’re renting a place in San Francisco and you’re paying your monthly rent to your roommate, chances are that you could be considered a subtenant and your roomy the “Master Tenant.”* Particularly when the rent for your unit is way undermarket, due to rent control let’s say, you might end up spending more for your space than the Master pays for the Master’s part of the apartment.

So if you’re paying $900 a month for your half of  a two-bedroom and your Master Tenant in the other room is only kicking in $100 (to pay $1000 total to the landlord for the whole place), then you can take steps to get some of that money back and lower your rent to boot.

“A subtenant who believes he or she is paying more than a proportional share of the total rent may file a Tenant Petition against the master tenant on that basis. If the subtenant prevails, the Administrative Law Judge will adjust the rent to the proportional share and order the master tenant to refund any rent overpayments.”

Is this a perfect system? No, but it’s what you end up with when your city has rent control.

Your San Francisco Rent Board just dealt with a subtenant/Master Tenant proportionality case. The names of the people involved aren’t important, but the situation is noteworthy, IMO. Let’s check it out.

Now, if you don’t like how the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) dealt with your case with your roomie, you can appeal to the board. As here, from the meeting of August 4, 2009:

The subtenant’s petition alleging that he paid a disproportional share of the rent pursuant to Rules ß6.15C(3) was granted and the Master Tenant was found liable to the subtenant in the amount of $10,800.00. On appeal, the Master Tenant alleges that he was unaware of the requirement that the amount of rent paid must be proportional; that the decision will present him with a financial hardship; and that the subtenant is going to be evicted due to his uncooperative behavior. 

MSC: To deny the appeal on substantive grounds but remand the case for a hearing on the Master Tenant’s claim of financial hardship. (Gruber/Crow: 5-0)”

See? The sub won big-time, to the tune of five figures because the rent split determined by the Master Tenant wasn’t proportional according to a judge and the full board.

But the master came back to say the ruling would be a hardship for him. From the meeting of November 17, 2009:

The subtenant’s petition alleging that he paid a disproportionate share of the rent was granted and the Master Tenant was found liable to the subtenant in the amount of $10,800.00.  The Master Tenant’s hardship appeal was granted and remanded for hearing.  In the remand decision, the ALJ finds sufficient hardship to order a repayment plan in the amount of $150.00 per month.  The Master Tenant again appeals, claiming that even the reduced amount will cause him severe hardship and possibly result in both tenants’ eviction from the premises.

MSC: To deny the appeal.  (Mosbrucker/Gruber:  5-0)”

Is this what you might call a Phyric victory? Maybe. It’s probably too early to tell. Oh well.  

Check the San Francisco Rent Board website for deets on the rules, or see you after the jump.

*The County of Los Angeles doesn’t want to buy equipment that has the term “master” written anywhere on it, like on a hard drive, a DVD burner or a brake cylinder. But in San Francisco, we freely label people “Master Tenants.” It’s our thing. 

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SFPD to Question Questionable Deborah Perez, Purported “Daughter” of Zodiac Killer

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Of course it doesn’t matter if not-ready-for-primetime Deborah Perez is “crazy” or not – if she has all this evidence proving the identity of the Zodiac Killer then it will be useful for her to turn it over to the San Francisco Police Department. So here’s the news, the SFPD is amenable to spending a little time hearing her story. Is that surprising? Not really, but read on to see the latest Press Release.

Artist’s conception of Lil Debby Perez at the scene of the Berryessa slaying:

zdskch-copy 

If I may so bold, enjoy my comments as well:

Daughter of the Zodiac Killer to Be Questioned by the SFPD

How about “purported daughter”?

Investigative Reporter/Journalist Larry Garrison Comes Forward to Support the Evidence that Guy Hendrickson is the Zodiac Killer

“Support the Evidence.” What?

For the first time in twenty-five years, the San Francisco Police Department will call in a key potential witness for questioning to identify the Zodiac Killer officially.

All right.

Deborah Perez has been called in by Lt. Michael Staskos (badge No. 724) of the SFPD Homicide Unit.

All right.

Date to appear is June 17, 2009.

All right.

She will be questioned about her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson.

All right.

The nation’s top forensic experts have endorsed her handwriting, psychological, and DNA evidence showing participation in the Zodiac Killings.

Oh no they didn’t!

Her evidence was recently turned over to Lt. Staskos SFPD.

All right.

Deborah Perez was seven years old at the time she became his innocent sidekick.

Oh no she wasn’t!

Deborah became aware of her father’s involvement in the Zodiac murders years later after viewing a segment of “America’s Most Wanted” composite that resembled her father.

But what if Guy Ward Hendrickson isn’t the Zodiac?

On April 29th, she came forward with a press conference at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Really? At the Chronicle? Ha ha ha ha ha! How about on the sidewalk near the Chronicle?

The glasses which she handed over to Lt. Michael Staskos on May 5th, currently held in evidence by SFPD, will be part of the DNA proof needed.

How do you know that?

Deborah Perez feels she “…owes it to the families of the victims to put this case to rest.”

All right.

Though others have come forward, no one has been able to substantiate a claim as Deborah has achieved with eye witness testimony, forensic and DNA evidence.

DNA evidence? Really? Deborah is so unique and special, a bunch of old white guys should make a movie about her, or something.

She is also the only witness ever endorsed by members of famed attorney Melvin M. Belli, who the Zodiac contacted.

“Members of famed attorney Melvin M. Belli” Really? “Endorsed.” What? Wasn’t Melvin Belli kind of a hack? I know an attorney – he used to work for/with Melvin Belli back in the 1990′s, had to sue to get paid the salary he was owed. Does this experience qualify him to divine the Zodiac?

The Belli group has requested the Zodiac Killer/Melvin Belli Files which SFPD has in possession for 40 years.

The “Belli Group”? Is that a law firm?

Larry Garrison, President of SilverCreek Entertainment, and Investigative Reporter/Journalist, has just come on board to support Deborah Perez.

Well, Katie bar the door! Mr. Garrison? Really?

After his own investigations, Garrison verified the evidence including handwriting analysis reports of Perez with professionals.

No he didn’t!

Garrison has been shown that “Deborah, in fact, wrote those Zodiac letters and her DNA will be on at least one of the envelopes.”

Nice passive voice there!

Attorneys from the Belli office have also confirmed that Deborah was in fact the child who accompanied her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, to Mr. Melvin Belli’s office.

Attorneys? Former attorneys? Disbarred attorneys? Well, gee, if an attorney believes something, it MUST be true!

Larry Garrison states, “The proof will be in the forensic evidence and DNA once Deborah has her chance to have it analyzed.”

Oh, poor Little Debby! Was she too busy signing movie deals to actually turn over her “evidence” in 2007?

And On it Goes.

To Be Continued…

Zodiac Update – Proof that Deborah Perez was at Scene of Berryessa Slaying

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

What do you do when somebody comes to you with their version of the Zodiac Killer story. You say, “You’ve got the looks, I’ve got the brains, let’s make lots of money,” or something similar, of course! But isn’t that a little patronizing, though? To say, yes, I believe everything you have to say about your father, yes, I validate your beliefs, and hey, maybe let’s get a movie deal working?    

In the words of the late Dr. Marvin Monroe, “This is not the way to get healthy!”

Guy Ward Hendrickson with daughter Deborah Perez (known as “Little Debbie” at the time) at Lake Berryessa. Can you see her having snacks at the picnic table?

Do you think the above is valid evidence? Is it time to call Hollywood with this key to the puzzle?

Hey, how about a documentary about the making of the documentary? That would be far more interesting, non?

Circuslike “Zodiac Killer” News Conference Reveals No Real Evidence

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

[UPDATE: Here’s the gritty nitty from Deborah herself. Uh oh, turns out the eyeglasses don’t match, see below. Also, did she change her story from last year? Today’s presser must rank as the biggest fail whale on the West Coast since 1970. Or was it just some performance art? Hard to say.]

This afternoon’s “completely unorganized and totally shadynews conference on the Streets of San Francisco turned out to be a bit of a fiasco. “Deborah Perez” claims to have been on the scene when her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, committed some of the Zodiac killings. And her dad didn’t kill just a handful of people, he killed “at least 37.”

The problem is that Guy Ward Hendrickson died in 1983, but not before he conveniently passed along a deathbed confession. Oddly, daughter Deborah, a “mother and a professional,” said she didn’t realize her dad was the Zodiac until watching America’s Most Wanted in 2007.

Was Guy Ward Hendrickson in the military, maybe based in the East Bay close to the scene of killing? Maybe, but nobody knows for sure. Was Guy Ward Hendrickson a peace officer? Maybe, but nobody knows for sure.

This was the headline from this morning’s ‘Xam. They’ve come back to Earth this afternoon.

William Clifton Degarmo is acting as Deborah’s attorney. He says he hasn’t made a cent so far, but he could cash in later on. Interestingly, Mr Degarmo settled a matter with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating something akin to insider trading back in the 1990′s.

Interestingly, the San Francisco Chronicle identifies Kevin McLean as one of Deborah’s attorneys, but wasn’t he just disbarred by the State Bar of California earlier this month? (I didn’t read the whole article from SFGate / The Chronicle, but it seemed to do a much better job presenting la théorie du jour than those at the press conference.)

The crew today continues work on their documentary. They’d like help from the FBI and other police agencies. This news conference was a way to get more attention for the new theory. Apparently, some guy not too far from Sacramento, Denis Kaufman, is alleging things having to do with handwriting analysis and that causes consternation to the people organizing the news conference today. All this adds up to… ?

Attention Zodiac theorists! Don’t worry about what other people are doing. If you have physical evidence, turn it over to the authoritahs. It’s not really necessary to make a documentary, however therapeutic it may be, right? (Lot’s of luck to anyone from Edward Lozzi & Associates public relations trying to gather a crowd in the 415 anytime soon. You’ll need it.)

Was Guy Hendrickson the Zodiac? Maybe yes and maybe no. That was true yesterday and that’s still true today.

Now about those glasses. Here are the ones Deborah claims to be from taxi driver Paul Stine…

…and here are the ones from poor Paul Stine in 1969, shortly before he was killed. Maybe he had another pair? Maybe Deborah also has the original Killian documents as well? (Wouldn’t Dan Rather be pleased to hear that!)

All this fuss today to promote a movie?

Jerry Brown Throws Down – Massive Medi-Cal Fraud Case Against Medical Labs

Friday, March 20th, 2009

The phrase of the day is “qui tam.” It’s Latin for “million dollar payday,” assuming of course you are a False Claims Act whistleblower and you win, the way this federal case worked out.

California State Attorney General Jerry Brownannounced this morning news of a case in San Mateo concerning fraud and kickbacks and hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s a doozy. Read all about it in his words, below.

Brown Sues to Recover Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Illegally Diverted from Medi-Cal

LOS ANGELES – Responding to a whistleblower’s allegation of “massive Medi-Cal fraud and kickbacks,” Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. joined legal action against seven private laboratories to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal overcharges to the state’s medical program for the poor.

“In the face of declining state revenues, these medical laboratories have siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars from programs intended for the most vulnerable California families.” Attorney General Brown said. “Such a pattern of massive Medi-Cal fraud and kickbacks cannot be tolerated, and I will take every action the law allows to recover what is owed,” Brown added.

According to whistleblower Chris Riedel, the CEO of Hunter Laboratories, “I confirmed with the California Department of Health Care Services that these practices were illegal. We then had a choice–either join the other labs in violating the law or be unable to compete for business. We choose to suffer the financial consequence, and follow the law.”

The lawsuit, which is pending in San Mateo Superior Court, contends that the 7 medical labs systematically overcharged the Medi-Cal program over the past 15 years.

Read more, after the jump:

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