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Phoenix Calida With An Hour Of Wine Cellar News For 6/20/19

Oregon Officials Deter Portland Homeless Campers With a Million Dollars’ Worth of Boulders

The latest spot? A thicket of rose bushes in the Goose Hollow neighborhood. 

Boulders placed by ODOT near the ramp to Highway 26 in Southwest Portland. (WW staff)

Last week, a public agency dropped boulders onto a former rose garden. Neighbors rejoiced.

As part of a campaign to keep homeless campers off Oregon Department of Transportation property, the state agency has spent more than $1 million since 2013 on “rockscape landscaping”—in the common parlance, boulders—in at least six locations across Portland since 2013.

The latest spot? A thicket of rose bushes in the Goose Hollow neighborhood, at the intersection of Southwest Montgomery Street and 14th Avenue, where hostilities have escalated between homeowners and the houseless.

Neighbors attribute ODOT’s decision to safety concerns in the area—and a potential liability risk to the department if it did nothing.

Boulders placed by ODOT at Southwest Montgomery Street and 14th Avenue. (WW staff)
Boulders placed by ODOT at Southwest Montgomery Street and 14th Avenue. (WW staff)

“ODOT, in our opinion, came in at the right time to deeming this area as a safety risk to all (campers and volunteers) and chose to boulder the area,” says Tiffany Hammer, an area property owner who also sought the city and county’s assistance.

Hammer and her neighbors planted 90 rose bushes to discourage people who were camping on ODOT property, as first reported by KGW-TV. She says she’ll move 60 of those bushes back to the property in September to beautify the boulders.

ODOT records show the agency spent $4 million in the past two years alone on homeless camp cleanups, so deterring campers with rocks may save the agency money. But the key reason for the boulders is highway safety, says ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton.

“Boulders are our most effective method for keeping illegal campers out of areas marked no trespassing,” Hamilton tells WW. “These areas, especially areas adjacent to major highways, are dangerous. Illegal campers have been struck and, in a few cases, killed while trying to cross an interstate highway. And in about 2010, a car spun off the road and killed a sleeping camper along I-405.”

The agency is not the only one trying to deter homeless campers. In two notable cases, concrete flower planters were erected, seemingly to deter sleeping under both ends of the Morrison Bridge. Those planters received some scornful media attention, but the Portland Bureau of Transportation says it’s never received a complaint about the planters and they can be placed on the sidewalk legally by owners. It’s not clear who did so.

Hammer also has a new location in mind to plant rose bushes: Collins Circle, a roundabout in Goose Hollow on PBOT property.

No DUI For Woman Arrested For Driving Toy Truck While Drunk

The South Carolina woman avoided a DUI charge, but was cited for public intoxication..

WALHALLA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina woman who police say was driving drunk will not be cited with a DUI because her vehicle of choice was a toy truck.

News outlets quote police as saying that instead they charged 25-year-old Megan Holman with public intoxication.

They say they spotted her cruising down the road in a Power Wheels electric toy truck after a caller reported a suspicious person on the street.

Officers say she was driving about a mile (1.5 kilometers) from her home in Walhalla when they stopped her.

US-backed Venezuela opposition caught embezzling ‘humanitarian aid’ cash

People attend the "Venezuela Aid Live" concert in Cucuta, Colombia, February 22, 2019.
Millions of dollars raised for “freedom and democracy” in Venezuela ended up spent in Colombia by the aides of US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, and were exposed by Colombian spies in yet another blow to his cause.

Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January and was recognized by the US and many of its Latin American allies, but has repeatedly failed to seize power from President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.

Now he seems farther from that goal than ever, as several of his aides have been named by Colombian intelligence in a leak revealing the embezzlement of US funds intended for paying Venezuelan army defectors. The funds were raised by a Live Aid-style concert, organized by billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson in February, and intended to coincide with Guaido’s followers forcing open the border with Colombia to US “humanitarian aid.”

The leaked documents – published by PanAm Post, an outlet sympathetic to Guaido – now reveal why that never happened. Regional coordinator for Guaido’s Popular Will Party, Kevin Rojas, and the “interim president’s” chief of staff Rossana Barrera were accused of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash on fancy hotels, expensive clothes, booze, car and other high-life items.

In one example, Rojas and Barrera claimed to have spent money on seven hotels to house over 1,400 defectors, but Colombian authorities counted only half that number crossing the border, and only two hotels were actually paid for. Instead, receipts reveal the duo blew over $125,000 on luxuries for themselves, including $40,000 in April alone. The following month, one of the hotels evicted 65 defectors and their families, over more than $20,000 in unpaid bills.

The publication forced Guaido into full damage control mode. On Monday, he finally acknowledged the existence of the allegations and vowed to “clarify the case of officials appointed to serve our military in Cúcuta,” appointing aid coordinator Lester Toledo to join the investigation in Colombia.

Hundreds of people packed into Foley Square to mourn the death of Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old transgender woman who died while being held in solitary confinement on Rikers Island, May 10, 2019.
Hundreds of people packed into Foley Square to mourn the death of Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old transgender woman who died while being held in solitary confinement on Rikers Island, May 10, 2019. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

The solitary confinement unit in the women’s jail on Rikers Island has been shut since Layleen Polanco died there earlier this month, THE CITY has learned.

Detainees in the woman’s punitive segregation ward were moved out amid the investigation into the June 7 death and have remained away since, according to the Correction Department.

Polanco was on her ninth day of a 20-day sentence in punitive segregation when she was pronounced dead in her cell at 3:45 p.m. The cause of her death has not been determined by the city Medical Examiner.

The 27-year-old transgender woman had been held since mid-April on $500 bail linked to misdemeanor sex work and drug possession charges.

Polanco’s death in jail left loved ones grasping for answers — and galvanized politicians who decried the web of low-level arrests, bail and solitary confinement that ensnared her. Her death comes as activists push for statewide limits to solitary confinement, which also would apply to city jails.

“I think solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment and we need to get away from it,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who called Polanco’s death “a wake-up call.”

On May 16, Polanco was sent from Rikers to Elmhurst Hospital for undisclosed reasons and stayed there for eight days, returning to the jail May 24. On May 30, she was sentenced to 20 days of punitive segregation as punishment for her role in a fight that day.

NYC Health + Hospitals has not released the reason for Polanco’s hospitalization, citing patient privacy. People with serious mental or physical disabilities or conditions are not allowed in solitary confinement, under city rules. The agency said Polanco was checked for health reasons that would exclude her from solitary before being placed there.

The de Blasio administration has moved to reduce the number of inmates in solitary, and ended punitive segregation for young adults 21 and youngerin city jails in 2016. Medical experts say the practice causes serious health harms, especially for younger detainees.

But the city has not ended solitary for women and men 22 and older. As of Monday, 119 men were being held in such units. Some 30 of them were in a so-called “Restrictive Housing Unit,” like the one where Polanco died, according to the city’s Board of Correction, which oversees the jails.

Concord Massacre Plot Foiled

Concord police arrested a 23-year-old man Monday and charged him with threatening to kill indiscriminately people of the Jewish faith.

Police, along with the FBI, found out about Ross Anthony Farca’s plot through a tip from someone who saw him post threats on a popular gaming website.

According to the charging documents, Farca had a fascination with Hitler and a hatred for people of the Jewish faith. He’s been on the Concord police and FBI’s radar as a possible terrorist.

Neighbors said that they’ve been concerned with Farca’s behavior for many years and that they believe he had a propensity for violence and they’re glad he’s behind bars.

Police: Vt. driver sideswipes cruiser while searching for sitcom

THETFORD, Vt. (WCAX) Police are warning drivers to get off their cellphones after they say a Wells River man sideswiped a police cruiser while trying to multitask on his device.
Kevin Bacon

It happened Thursday afternoon in Thetford. Police say Kevin Bacon, 55, was searching on his phone for an episode of the ’90s television sitcom “Saved by the Bell” while he was driving down Interstate 91. They say he sideswiped a police cruiser parked in the breakdown lane with flashing blue lights.

Bacon then continued north, fleeing the scene, according to police. The trooper was able to catch Bacon and he was arrested for gross negligent operation, leaving the scene of a crash, texting while driving, and operation on approach of emergency vehicles.

He’ll be in court later next month.

Biden Tells Elite Donors He Doesn’t Want to ‘Demonize’ the Rich

Joe Biden
Joe Biden Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Former Vice President Joe Biden told affluent donors Tuesday that he wanted their support and — perhaps unlike some other Democratic presidential candidates — wouldn’t be making them political targets because of their wealth.

“Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people. Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money,” Biden told about 100 well-dressed donors at the Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side, where the hors d’oeuvres included lobster, chicken satay and crudites.

Former Vice President Joe Biden Holds Iowa Campaign Event

Joe Biden

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

“Truth of the matter is, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done,” Biden said. “We can disagree in the margins. But the truth of the matter is, it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change,” he said.

Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, both of whom spent decades on Wall Street, were among the attendees at the event.

Earlier: Biden’s New York Fundraisers Draw Finance and Fashion Stars

Invoking Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s goal of political “revolution,” Biden suggested that he would be the antidote by making marginal changes that would improve the lives of working and middle class Americans without slapping onerous taxes on the rich.

“When you have income inequality as large as we have in the United States today, it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolution,” he said. Also perhaps hinting at President Donald Trump he continued: “It allows demagogues to step in” and blame what’s wrong in voters’ lives on “the other.”

“You’re not the other,” Biden told the assembled group, most of whom were wearing suits. “I need you very badly.”

Christian prophet Cindy Jacobs on The Jim Bakker Show (Video: Right Wing Watch)

Christian prophet Cindy Jacobs on The Jim Bakker Show (Video: Right Wing Watch)

A Christian ‘prophet’ has claimed her fellow Christians will “rise up” and declare “civil war” if the Equality Act is passed in the US.

Cindy Jacobs, a Christian author and speaker with a self-proclaimed “heart for prophetic gifts,” appeared on The Jim Bakker Show, a weekday talk show specialising in “prophecy and end time news,” on Tuesday (June 17).

Appearing alongside a panel of Christian guest speakers in a segment titled, “What the rest of 2019 will bring,” Jacobs warned the audience that conservative Christians would start a civil war if the Equality Act becomes law.

“There is gonna be a shaking and Christians will rise up.”

— Cindy Jacobs, Christian ‘prophet’

She said: “We are the voice preparing the way, and there does come a time when things turn. When suddenly the Lord says, ‘OK, no more, I’m not going to put up with this anymore.’

“We would even come to a civil war if this continues.”

It Looks Like Germany’s Worst Fear Just Happened: a Far-right Political Assassination

By Tim Hume Jun 17, 2019

For years, experts have warned that Germany’s increasingly radicalized far right would one day lash out with deadly violence against a politician. Now it appears this nightmare scenario has finally happened, underlining the arrival of a dangerous new political reality for the country.

German authorities announced Monday that the country’s federal prosecutor had taken over the investigation into the June 2 murder of Walter Lübcke, a prominent pro-refugee local politician, who investigators suspect was killed in a politically motivated assassination by a right-wing extremist. A 45-year-old man, arrested on Saturday on suspicion of having shot Lübcke, has a long track record of right-wing extremist associations, and a history of violent and xenophobic crimes, German media outlets reported.

a photo of Denver city council member Candi CdeBaca

In a progressive shake-up, 32-year-old community organizer Candi CdeBaca will take her advocacy work to the city council. 

In Denver’s recent city council election, Albus Brooks, a well-funded, two-term incumbent councilman, was defeated in a June 4 runoff by a 32-year-old policy wonk and community organizer named Candi CdeBaca. A fifth-generation Denver native with a no-bullshit political style, CdeBaca has drawn comparisons from right-wing media and leftist groups alike to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman from New York City.

“Bet you never saw that coming,” she told me on the phone earlier this week.

The comparison makes sense: Like AOC, CdeBaca is a Democratic Socialist and Latina, two identity labels that made both of their victories historic. (A third for CdeBaca: She’s queer.) But her political aptitude and potential were never lost on me—they’re hard to miss.

Bella Thorne tearfully called out Whoopi Goldberg for criticizing her leaked nude photos: ‘Blaming girls for taking the photo in the first place is sick and honestly disgusting’
Whoopi Bella
Whoopi Goldberg and Bella Thorne.
 ABC / Bella Thorne
  • Bella Thorne decided to leak her own nude photos when a hacker threatened her with them.
  • Whoopi Goldberg criticized the 21-year-old actress and model on “The View” for taking them in the first place.
  • “Listen, if you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude pictures of yourself,” she said.
  • On her Instagram story, Thorne likened this to victim-blaming and said Goldberg’s comments were “sick and honestly disgusting.”
  • “Shame on you, Whoopi, shame on you,” she said. “And shame on you for putting that public opinion just out there like that for every young girl to think that they’re disgusting for even taking a photo like that.”
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Bella Thorne decided to take matters into her own hands when a hacker threatened to release her nude photos. But when Whoopi Goldberg tried to make her feel bad about it, she went onto Instagram to criticize her right back.

On June 15, rather than let the hacker win, she posted very not safe for work screenshots of their conversation on Twitter.

“I feel gross, I feel watched, I feel someone has taken something from me that I only wanted one special person to see,” the 21-year-old actress and model wrote. “He has sent me multiple nude photos of other celebs, he won’t stop with me or them he will just keep going.”

Read moreBella Thorne posted nude photos of herself on Twitter after a hacker allegedly threatened to leak them

But one person who didn’t appear to have any sympathy was fellow actress Goldberg.

On ABC’s “The View,” Goldberg’s cohost Sunny Hostin said it saddens her that young people have to go through things like this.

“I guess it’s the age of social media” she said. “For someone to extort her and threaten her with posting these pictures, it’s terrible.”

Goldberg, however, wasn’t convinced.

“Listen, if you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude pictures of yourself,” she said. “When they’re hacking you, they’re hacking all of your stuff. So whether it’s one picture or a million pictures, once you take that picture, it goes into the cloud and it’s available to any hacker who wants it.

“And if you don’t know that in 2019 that this is an issue, I’m sorry. You don’t get to do that.”

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