Uber Wins Big In Quintana Roo Upsetting Local Taxi Operators

Uber, the ride-hailing app, has had a long and tumultuous history in Mexico. After years of legal battles, the company has finally been granted permission to operate in the country’s tourist-friendly state of Quintana Roo.

Taxi protests and lobbies can sway decisions of this type. Throughout the nation, taxi drivers are also known to brutalize both Uber drivers and passengers.

Social media users warning Uber riders to be wary.
Taxi Driver protest in Cancun!

The decision to allow Uber to operate in Quintana Roo was made by a federal court, the Third Tribunal, which argued that the state’s laws are unconstitutionally being applied to private enterprise. Quintana Roo’s laws can only be applied to public entities, it argued.

Uber has faced legal challenges in Mexico since it first launched in the country in 2013. Globally, the company has been accused of operating without proper permits and has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. When drivers have their vehicle impounded by local authorities, Uber will pay for the legal fees and resulting lot fees suggesting that it will pay to flaunt a jurisdictions laws. Additionally, the taxi protests has created massive amounts of traffic in Cancun earlier today:

Many locals in Quintana Roo argue against Taxi protests, labeling these as tantrums.

Mexicans Have A Right To Protect Themselves From Oil Shocks

As US President Joe Biden makes his way to Mexico Sunday, we would be remiss to not point out the US favoring asymmetries in the US-Mexico relationship that have been recently put on the backfoot thanks to the election of Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Despite robust US support for the far right wing candidate, Ricardo Anaya, Mexico’s current president was elected in what amounted to a landslide in 2018. While his term is up in 2024, the promise of continued Mexican control over Mexican energy appears certain with Claudia Sheinbaum. The current Mexico City mayor, Sheinbaum, is looking to establish a Mexico centric energy policy in the midst of global uncertainty. Historically, oil shocks, price surges due to macroeconomic events, have led to rises in gasoline prices in Mexico.

However, the latest fiascos connected to US foreign policy, like China tariffs, surge in consumer spending and the Ukraine-Russia war, have done little to alter the price of Mexican gasoline. Many American individuals residing in border towns have made their way south for said gasoline.

This has not gone unnoticed by US policy planners who look to Mexico as an experimental workshop in which neoliberal policies can be buttressed by its natural resources. Were the Mexican administration managed by the PRI or PAN, then the likely result would be Mexican exports of precious gasoline. Instead, Mexico has found a way to maintain its limited supply of gasoline in house. The state owned oil company, PEMEX, has purchased refineries and invested in new ones to maintain gas prices low, and by extension inflation stable.

As migration continues to be a subject of discussion, it’s necessary to point out that much of Mexico’s movement northward to the US is driven by economic factors the current Mexican government has sought to address. Limited opportunities, high inflation and security have all to varying degrees of success, at least, been addressed if not improved. While there is much to be desired of any government, my first impression is that all US policy is skewed towards making the lives of every day Mexicans worse if there is no counter to their position. AMLO, Sheinbaum represent the best institutional buffer to US dominance in Mexico, and in the region.

California CARE Court bill heads to Newsom

Madison Hirneisein, The Center Square

31 de agosto de 2022

A man stands next to tents on a sidewalk in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 21, 2020.Jeff Chiu / AP

(The Center Square) – California lawmakers gave the final stamp of approval Wednesday to a bill backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that provides court-ordered treatment plans and supportive services for people on the schizophrenia spectrum or with psychotic disorders.

The bill, which establishes the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, received broad bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature, passing in a 62-2 vote in the Assembly and unanimously in the Senate. The bill now heads to Newsom’s desk.

“Today’s passage of the CARE Act means hope for thousands of Californians suffering from severe forms of mental illness who too often languish on our streets without the treatment they desperately need and deserve,” Newsom said in a statement Wednesday.

Backed by cities across the state and strongly opposed by disability rights advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union, the bill would let a person petition for a court-ordered plan that could include behavioral health care, medication, and housing. The petition triggers hearings to develop a treatment plan.

Adults experiencing a severe mental illness like schizophrenia and are either “unlikely to survive safely” without supervision or have a condition that requires support to prevent deterioration could qualify for the program. The CARE plan could last for up to two years, providing services like medication and treatment.

Newsom and others have touted the measure as a way to break the cycle of homelessness and incarceration among people with severe mental problems.

The measure has faced strong opposition from groups within California and across the nation who fear it will result in coerced treatment that would take away a person’s right to make their own care decisions.

Eric Harris, the director of Public Policy with Disability Rights California, told The Center Square Wednesday that the organization still has major concerns about the bill and is “disappointed” in its passage on Wednesday. 

“Forced treatment and not providing guaranteed housing is not going to be beneficial to a lot of these people,” Harris said. “We believe that voluntary treatment options that are robust and guarantee accessible, affordable housing is going to bring out the best results and have people who want to engage in this type of process.”

Harris said the bill was constructed without input from a “large number of disability leaders,” noting that leaders at Disability Rights California “weren’t consulted at all.”

The bill received several amendments in its final days in the Legislature, including one that phases in implementation. The counties of Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and the city and county of San Francisco must implement the program by Oct. 1, 2023. The rest of the state has until Dec. 1, 2024.

Other amendments require funding from the Department of Health Care Services and substitute the director of county behavioral health as the petitioner if someone other than the director petitions the court.

As the bill wound its way through the Legislature, lawmakers raised concerns about how the program would be funded and whether counties would have the staffing to handle the program. In the end, the bill won praise from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for its potential to curb addiction and homelessness.

“This measure, I believe, is the first truly bipartisan attempt to compassionately clear homeless encampments off our streets, sidewalks and highways, to assess the health behavior and needs of homeless individuals and to put together an actual plan to stop the downward spiral that many homeless individuals have so long been on,” Senator Brian Jones, R-Santee, said Wednesday. 

Two lawmakers voted against the measure – Assemblymember Ash Kalra and Mark Stone. In a statement sent to The Center Square, Kalra said he could not support the bill because the program has “missing pieces needed for an effective, sustainable solution.”

“While I echo the urgency to find a solution, if we do not couple permanent housing and wraparound services for our unhoused with severe mental illness, we are setting them up for failure,” Kalra said. 

Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign the legislation.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de The Center Square

Hirneisen, M. (2022). California CARE Court bill heads to Newsom. The Center Square. Recuperado el 01 de septiembre de 2022, de https://www.thecentersquare.com/california/california-care-court-bill-heads-to-newsom/article_f6f2586e-298c-11ed-bacd-338ce7bcf81f.html

CA governor’s mental health care plan for homeless advances

JANIE HAR and ADAM BEAM, AP NEWS

31 de agosto de 2022

FILE – Tents line the streets of the Skid Row area of Los Angeles Friday, July 22, 2022. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to steer homeless people with severe mental disorders into treatment was approved by the state Assembly on Tuesday, Aug. 30. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s controversial proposal to steer homeless people with severe mental disorders into treatment cleared the state Assembly on Tuesday and is on its way to becoming law despite objections from civil liberties advocates who fear it will be used to force unhoused residents into care they don’t want.

Homeless people with severe mental health disorders often cycle among the streets, jail and hospitals, with no one entity responsible for their well-being. They can be held against their will at a psychiatric hospital for up to 72 hours. But once stabilized, a person who agrees to continue taking medication and follow up on services must be released.

The bill the state Assembly approved on Tuesday by a 60-2 vote would require counties to set up a special civil court to process petitions brought by family, first responders and others on behalf of an individual diagnosed with specified disorders, such as schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

The court could order a plan lasting up to 12 months, and renewable for another 12 months. An individual facing a criminal charge could avoid punishment by completing a mental health treatment plan. A person who does not agree to a treatment plan could be compelled into it. Newsom has said he hopes these courts catch people before they fall into the criminal court system.

The bill represents a new approach for California to address homelessness, a crisis the state has struggled with for decades. The state government spends billions of dollars on the issue each year, only for the public to perceive little progress on the streets.

“I believe that this bill is an opportunity for us to write a new narrative,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson, a Democrat who voted for the bill.

The bill has now passed both houses of the state Legislature and needs one more vote in the state Senate before it will go to Newsom’s desk. Newsom has until the end of September to sign it into law.

The proposal had broad support from lawmakers who said it was clear California had to do something about the mental health crisis visible along highways and in city streets. Supporters relayed harrowing tales of watching loved ones cycle in and out of temporary psychiatric holds, without a mechanism to stabilize them in a long-term treatment plan.

Republican Assemblymember Suzette Martinez Valladares said her cousin, a Vietnam War veteran, had been living on the streets in a homeless camp before his death.

“I wish that my family had the tools that this bill is going to bring forward so that he might still be alive and with us,” she said. “This is going to save lives. It’s about time.”

Critics of the legislation have maintained that the state lacks enough homes, treatment beds, outreach workers and therapists to care for those who want help, never mind people compelled to take it. They say that people who choose to accept treatment are much more likely to succeed than those coerced into it.

“At what point does compassion end and our desire to just get people off the streets and out of our public sight begins?” said Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, a Democrat who said he reluctantly supported the bill on Tuesday. “I don’t think this is a great bill. But it seems to be the best idea that we have at this point to try to improve a godawful situation.”

The bill says Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties must establish courts by Oct. 1, 2023, with the remainder by Dec. 1, 2024.

Courts could fine counties up to $1,000 a day for non-compliance, which counties believe is unfair if they don’t have enough support from the state in the way of housing and behavioral health workers.

“There will be no perfect solution to this problem. But this is better than doing nothing and it is too easy in a democracy to kick a problem down the road and do nothing,” said Assemblymember Steve Bennett, a Democrat who voted for the bill.

___

Har reported from San Francisco.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de AP NEWS

Har, J. & Beam, A. (2022). CA governor’s mental health care plan for homeless advances. AP NEWS. Recuperado el 31 de agosto de 2022, de https://apnews.com/article/health-california-gavin-newsom-mental-government-and-politics-c52069d7e48de92adf09b783b36bbaee

Personal de Google exige la privacidad de las búsquedas de información sobre aborto y quiere que se dejen de publicar anuncios de “clínicas” antiaborto

Democracy Now

22 de agosto de 2022

Image Credit: Twitter: @AlphabetWorkers

Conversamos con una de los casi 650 trabajadores que le piden a la casa matriz de Google, Alphabet, que proteja la ubicación y el historial de navegación de las personas que buscan información sobre el aborto. Una petición encabezada por el Sindicato de Trabajadores del Alphabet exige, además, que la empresa impida la publicación de anuncios que, de manera engañosa, dirigen a las usuarias a los llamados centros de embarazo en crisis. Esta es una táctica empleada por activistas antiaborto para atraer a las pacientes y luego desalentarlas a que se hagan un aborto. “Sistemas como Google, que saben todo de ti, ahora pueden usarse en tu contra”, dice Alejandra Beatty, gerente de programas técnicos de Verily, subsidiaria de servicios médicos de Alphabet, y referente sindical de la sede suroeste del Sindicato de Trabajadores de Alphabet. Beatty sostiene que algunas organizaciones también le están pidiendo a Google que extienda los beneficios para los casos de aborto —tales como el apoyo para el traslado del personal que desee mudarse a estados donde el aborto no está criminalizado, los gastos de viaje y la atención médica para cualquier procedimiento vinculado al aborto fuera del estado— a las personas contratistas que conforman aproximadamente la mitad de la fuerza laboral de la empresa.
Para ampliar esta información, vea (en inglés) la conversación que mantuvimos con Alejandra Beatty.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de Democracy Now!

Democracy Now. (2022). Personal de Google exige la privacidad de las búsquedas de información sobre aborto y quiere que se dejen de publicar anuncios de “clínicas” antiaborto. Democracy Now. Recuperado el 22 de agosto de 2022, de https://www.democracynow.org/es/2022/8/22/google_workers_demand_protection_abortion_data