TIME Crime

National Guard Presence to ‘Significantly’ Ramp Up Around Ferguson

Police officers in riot gear stand guard in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014 Barrett Emke for TIME

Gov. Jay Nixon said deployment in and around Ferguson to rise from 700 to more than 2,200

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon pledged Tuesday to “significantly” ramp up the National Guard’s presence in and around Ferguson after a night of violent riots, fires and looting followed the announcement that a white police officer would not be indicted in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teen.

“No one should have to live like this, no one deserves this. We must do better and we will,” he said. “The violence we saw last night cannot be repeated.”

More than 2,200 Guardsmen would be deployed in the region, up from 700 in 100 locations on Monday night, in an effort to avoid repeating the events that played out in the area. Looters damaged or destroyed at least a dozen buildings, while others set several cars aflame, as law enforcement officers fired smoke bombs in a bid to restrain crowds of angry protesters.

Television networks, photographers and ordinary citizens wielding smartphones latched onto scenes of unrest, disseminating them widely as the night went on. In the morning, some showed scenes of the smoldering buildings and cars while others focused on immediate clean-up efforts.

Nixon was joined by several state officials who used similarly grim language. “Last night was a disaster,” said Col. Ronald Replogle, head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. And Daniel Isom, director of Missouri’s Department of Public Safety, called Monday night “a disappointment in so many ways.”

“Our community not only needs to be safe,” added St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. “They need to feel safe.”

The announcement of the security boost came soon after Ferguson Mayor James Knowles criticized the lack of National Guard presence amid the tumult, saying he was “deeply concerned” that Nixon chose not to deploy additional Guardsmen as violence increased in the area. “It was my understanding that they would be deployed, if needed, to maintain order and protect businesses,” Knowles said. “They were not.”

VOTE: Should the Ferguson protestors be TIME’s Person of the Year?

Knowles also revealed that Wilson remains on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Prior to the grand jury announcement Monday, Ferguson’s police chief had said the officer may be able to return to his job should he not be indicted.

TIME States

Thrift Store Accused of Pocketing $1 Million Meant for Charities

The Minnesota attorney general faulted both the chain of thrift stores and the numerous linked charities for the alleged impropriety

A Seattle-area based chain of thrift stores may have pocketed more than $1 million designated for charities.

Minnesota’s attorney general, Lori Swanson, has accused Savers Thrift Stores of putting almost all the donations it collected from customers into its own coffers, rather than forwarding the sums to the charities with which it had contracts, including Vietnam Veterans of America, The New York Times reports.

Swanson also blamed the charities for failing to properly oversee their relationship with Savers, citing the organizations’ responsibility to be vigilant and catch such alleged duplicitousness.

Savers, which operates more than 300 stores in more than two dozen states, said in an email to the New York Times that the company “remains dedicated to working openly, honestly and transparently with all of our nonprofit partners.”

One of the charities that have contracts with Savers also reiterated its commitment to integrity and told the Times that its relationship with the thrift store was under review.

Minnesota has given Savers and the charities 45 days to propose a solution, after which time Swanson could bring civil suits against them. The matter has also been referred to attorneys general in other states.

Read more at the New York Times

TIME Education

What California’s College Tuition Hike Says About the Future of Higher Education

CA: UC Berkeley Students Rally Against Tuition Fee Hikes
Students rallied to demonstrate against the university's plan to increase tuition fees over the next five years at the University of California, Berkeley campus on Nov. 18, 2014, in Berkeley, Calif. Alex Milan Tracy—Sipa USA

As state funding dwindles, students at public universities are being asked to pick up more of the tab

When does a public university system become one in name only? That’s the question facing California as officials in charge of the state’s prestigious, but financially-struggling university system clash over how to keep it afloat.

On Nov. 20, the regents that control the University of California system will vote on a proposal to increase tuition at its 10 campuses by as much as 5% a year for the next five years. This year’s tuition and fees for in-state students is $12,192, which could rise to $15,564 by the 2019-20 school year under the proposal. The plan was conceived and put forward by Janet Napolitano, who took over the UC system in 2013.

The fight over the tuition increase pits Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona and federal homeland security chief, against Governor Jerry Brown, a popular figure in the state who was just re-elected with a sizable mandate. Brown has said he opposes increasing tuition, and would restore some state funding cut during the recession only if it stays flat. Brown is a regent and is among a handful of those on the board who have already indicated they will reject Napolitano’s proposal.

“There is a game of chicken,” says Hans Johnson, a higher education expert at the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California. “It’s not clear to me at all how it’s going to turn out.”

Underlying the clash of big personalities is a philosophical debate about the changing funding models for public universities. In 1960, California created a lofty master plan that said higher education should be free or very low-cost for residents. “We’ve moved away from that pretty dramatically,” says Johnson. “It’s almost traumatic for California to think about it.” In recent decades, the state has decreased the share of overall public higher education costs it pays for and the system has become increasingly dependent on student contributions, among other sources, for the difference. In the 2001-02 academic year, in-state tuition and fees for UC campuses was $3,429, about one-third of the cost today. Similar trends have played out in state university systems elsewhere as well.

The recession accelerated public schools’ reliance on private money. At UC, the system receives some $460 million less per year in state funds than it did in the 2007-08 school year.

“As a political matter, state officials have made the judgment they don’t want to pay for higher education for our citizens,” says David Plank, an economist at Policy Analysis for California Education, a non-partisan research center. “What were once public universities are now private universities that receive some subsidy from the states.”

Napolitano says that if UC is to remain a world-class educational and research institution, it needs more money, no matter the source. And she says students and families will need to fill the gap left by the state. The proposed tuition increase would affect only around half of the student body. Thanks to income-based federal and state grants, about 55% of UC students pay no tuition.

Gavin Newsom, California’s lieutenant governor, has said he and Brown were blind-sided by the tuition increase proposal. The governor’s office has said Napolitano’s plan could void a plan Brown has endorsed to increase state funding 4 percent per year if tuition stays flat. Napolitano has said she never made a deal and if was one was struck before she took charge, she hasn’t found any record of it. “It was unilateral. It wasn’t anything we agreed to,” says Steve Montiel, a spokesman for Napolitano.

On the eve of today’s meeting of the regents planning board, the speaker of the California state assembly reportedly proposed directing $50 million in additional state general funds to UC to stave off increased costs for students. The proposal followed student protests at at least two UC campuses this week.

TIME States

First Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Issued in South Carolina

Ahead of a planned move by the state's attorney general to block such unions

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — A judge has issued the first same-sex marriage licenses in South Carolina, ahead of a planned move by the state’s attorney general to block such unions.

Early Wednesday, the office of Probate Judge Irvin Condon in Charleston said that he had issued six licenses to same-sex couples.

The judge’s attorney, John Nichols, says the way was cleared for issuing the licenses by a decision in a case in Columbia. On Tuesday, the judge in that case ruled that South Carolina must recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple performed in Washington, D.C.

Last month, the South Carolina Supreme Court told probate judges not to issue any marriage licenses until there was a decision in that case. Nichols says Tuesday’s ruling was that decision, so Condon is issuing licenses.

TIME States

No One Really Wants to Run the Republican Governors Association

2016 dynamics at play

Republican governors gathered at an opulent Florida resort this week to celebrate their victories in the midterm elections are finding the party tempered by an unusual challenge: no one really wants to run their campaign arm.

Usually a hotly-contested position for governors seeking to boost their national appeal and profile, the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) has proven hard to fill this year, according to multiple governors and staffers familiar with the deliberations.

“No one wants it,” one Republican governor said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the sensitive subject.

“It’s a mystery. None of the big shots are aiming for it,” added one gubernatorial aide.

Members of the group’s executive committee, long a training ground for new leaders, have proven largely uninterested. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the current chairman, is gearing up to announce a run for the White House, while the current vice chair and 2013 chair, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is preparing to do the same. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the 2013 vice chair, is contemplating a presidential bid, while Florida Gov. Rick Scott appears unlikely to seek the post, according to those familiar with his plans. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, talked about as a possible 2016 contender, has ruled out taking the slot, as has South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has been talked about as a potential Republican vice presidential selection. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is leaving office at the end of the year—and is looking at a White House run nonetheless—while Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett lost his reelection bid earlier this month. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a rising party star who has said she doesn’t have interest in national politics, is seen as uninterested in the slot.

RGA insiders say it would be a faux pas for a governor with eyes on the White House to seek the post, which allows governors to travel the country on the RGA’s dime to raise money for their colleagues. In 2011, Perry, then the RGA chair, did just that, and was forced to resign his post when he launched an ill-fated bid for the Republican presidential nomination. His departure upended a long-planned transition and pitted Christie against Jindal in a bitter succession battle.

Besides White House ambitions, the low-key nature of next year’s races is limiting the talent pool for the one-year gig. The 2015 RGA chair will be responsible for handling open elections in Kentucky and Louisiana, and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s re-election. Eleven seats will be up for contention in 2016, making this year’s vice-chairmanship more appealing, some aides said.

“We have multiple governors interested in being the next RGA Chairman and leading a pragmatic group of 31 GOP Governors, the most for either party in 16 years,” RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said. “We’re fortunate to have many governors who have the potential of leading in multiple facets of the GOP, which attests to their incredible leadership and records of results.”

The most important qualification for the RGA chair is his or her ability to raise money. Under Christie’s leadership, the group raised $106 million and spent $130 million, defending a number of purple-state seats and winning several blue-state governorships.

According to multiple individuals familiar with the gubernatorial discussions, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who was reelected this month, is the inside favorite for the post, though one governor described the situation as “very fluid” before governors meet to elect the new RGA leadership on Thursday afternoon.

TIME States

Colorado Still Can’t Figure Out Final Rules for Edible Marijuana

Pot-infused cookies, called the Rookie Cookie sit on the packaging table at The Growing Kitchen, in Boulder Colo. on Sept. 26, 2014.
Pot-infused cookies, called the Rookie Cookie sit on the packaging table at The Growing Kitchen, in Boulder Colo. on Sept. 26, 2014. Brennan Linsley—AP

A state group adjourned without agreeing on solutions for keeping THC-laced food away from kids

A working group convened to help Colorado regulate edible marijuana products failed to come up with consensus recommendations at its final meeting Monday, punting the issue to the state legislature.

Officials have long been worried that edible products, which can take the form of sweets like lollipops and treats like brownies, will lead children to experiment with marijuana or accidentally ingest it. In May, the largest children’s hospital in Colorado reported that nine children had been brought in after accidentally eating such products, double the amount the institution had seen in the previous year. Despite fears that Halloween would see a spike of such incidents, the hospital didn’t report any cases of accidental ingestion.

The working group was formed to develop ideas for keeping edibles safe and out of children’s hands. The ideas ranged from making all marijuana edibles a certain color to banning most forms of edibles, limiting production to only lozenges and tinctures. A variety of suggestions will be presented to the state legislature when it reconvenes in January.

Makers of edible products don’t want to see their section of the market shrunk and point out that every “preparation of the plant” was given the green light when state voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012.

Washington, which opened its recreational market after Colorado, instituted emergency rules about edibles in June that require state approval of every edible product, including its packaging and labeling. Colorado’s working group rejected a proposal from the state health department to create a similar review commission.

TIME States

Arkansas Governor to Pardon Son for 2003 Crime

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks to reporters at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 5, 2014.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks to reporters at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 5, 2014. Danny Johnston—AP

The prodigal son returns, and he is sorry, Mr. Governor

This is a tale of a son asking a father for forgiveness — in a very public, very formal way.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) plans to pardon his own son for a drug crime committed more than decade ago, after he received a letter pleading to “Mr. Governor” for “a second chance at life,” reports KATV in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“At the time of my arrest I was living in a fantasy world, not reality,” wrote Kyle Beebe, 34, in his application seeking a pardon for his 2003 arrest for possession of marijuana. He received three years supervised probation, plus fines, for the felony conviction.

“I was young and dumb,” he continued in his letter. “I am asking for a second chance to be the man that I know that I can be.”

The Arkansas Parole Board recommended the Gov.’s son for pardon on Oct. 20. These notices are then posted for 30 days, during which time the Governor decides whether to accept or deny the requests.

Gov. Beebe, who says he has granted some 700 pardons since taking office in 2006, tells KATV that he “would have done it [granted the pardon] a long time ago” had his son just asked for one.

“But he took his sweet time about asking,” Gov. Beebe says. “He was embarrassed. He’s still embarrassed, and frankly, I was embarrassed and his mother was embarrassed.”

A spokesperson for the Arkansas parole board tells KATV that Kyle Beebe received no special treatment and that it recommended nine other people with similar drug crime records in the latest batch of pardon applications.

[KATV]

TIME 2014 Election

Republican Wave Floods States

Republicans hold a record number of seats in state legislature as a result of 2014 election

To say it was a good night for Republicans on the state level would be an understatement. Republicans now control 23 state governments outright and are on track to hold more state seats than they have since the late 1920s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

After Tuesday, the GOP has the upper hand in 69 of the 99 country’s legislative chambers. In Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and West Virginia at least one chamber flipped from Democratic to Republican majorities. Results have yet to come down in Colorado, where Gov. John Hickenlooper was barely able to stave off a Republican challenge to his reelection. In many states Republicans are not simply the majority, they’ve secured a veto-proof supermajority, including in Florida and Missouri.

“Voters overwhelmingly voted for a new, open, innovative future for their families by electing state level Republicans in record numbers across the nation, including in traditionally blue states,” said Matt Walter, the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee in a statement. Walters said Republicans were successful largely thanks to their recruitment of a diverse set of candidates, including the youngest lawmaker in the U.S.

The payoffs for the GOP victories the state-level could be substantial. In states where the Republicans have single-party control they have shown willingness to advance aggressive party agendas: think North Carolina during the 2013 session. Come 2020, when state lawmakers will again be tasked with redrawing electoral maps, party control will be crucial.

Democrats haven’t lost hope.“Republicans had a great night,” director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) Michael Sargeant says. “But our operations were able to make sure we limited the damage in some places. ”

Democrats raised a reported $17 million and made about 2 million voter contacts this cycle. Sargeant says that work resulted in Democrats holding on to majorities in key states including the Maine House, the Iowa Senate, and the Kentucky House, which he says will ensure Republican agendas don’t sail through in those states.

“Those victories along with some others were critical to make sure they’re still balances,” Sargeant says.

TIME Election 2014

California Voters Back $7.5 Billion Water Bond

Governor Jerry Brown backed the measure to help prevent future water shortages

In addition to re-electing Governor Jerry Brown by a wide margin, California voters also endorsed his top priority, approving a $7.5 billion water bond. The measure, which looked certain to be passed 66.8% to 33.2% after 99.9% of precincts reported, is meant to shore up the state’s ability to cope with drought conditions and will increase its water storage capacity and protect drinking water.

Ahead of the vote, critics pointed out that the water bond wouldn’t have much immediate effect on the ongoing drought nor would it decrease the state’s overall water usage. But Brown poured more than $3 million of his own campaign funds into the water bond promotional campaign, which was also bolstered by large donations from wealthy Californians, including tech entrepreneur Sean Parker and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

TIME Election 2014

Meet the Republican Who Might Run Massachusetts

Charlie Baker
Charlie Baker after a debate with Democratic candidate Martha Coakley in Boston on Oct. 21, 2014. Steven Senne—AP

Charlie Baker has made it a tight race by courting Democrats

Politicians abhor dead silence. But for 31 seconds, Charlie Baker sat on a debate stage, staring at the ceiling, and wracking his brain for the answer to the thorniest question he’s fielded since he jumped into the race for Massachusetts governor last year. The question: Name a current politician who’s a role model for you. “Um… um…. You know, you’re kind of stumping me here,” Baker said. After 31 seconds of stammering and silence, he finally ventured, “Um, how about Jeb Bush?”

Baker has been locked in a tight race for governor of Massachusetts for months. Recent polls have shown him leading his Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, by as little as a single point. Still, the most uncomfortable Baker has been all campaign hasn’t been in the final, frenetic dash toward Election Day, but in that primary campaign debate in late August, when he was forced to identify himself with another Republican.

That’s because Baker is a throwback to a kind of Republican politics that no longer exists at any meaningful scale. It’s what has the former health insurance company CEO within reach of the State House in Boston. But it’s also what makes the final step so difficult to pull off.

Baker is running without much company. The only other Republican in Massachusetts with a shot at major office is Richard Tisei, a former state legislator, and Baker’s 2010 running mate, who’s in a tight race for Congress in the suburbs north of Boston. “I think running as a moderate anything is more complicated than it used to be. That’s the nature of our politics these days,” Baker says. “I think having a different set of viewpoints within the Republican party in New England, and nationally, is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Democrats dominate Massachusetts politics. The state Republican Party claims less than 11% of all registered voters. Massachusetts hasn’t sent a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives since 1994. The outgoing governor, Deval Patrick, stormed into office on a campaign that political strategist David Axelrod used to test-drive the themes that took Barack Obama to the White House in 2008. The state flirted briefly with Scott Brown, then turned on him so violently that he fled across the border, to New Hampshire. In Brown’s place, Massachusetts voters installed Senator Elizabeth Warren, a populist who’s pulling the entire Democratic party leftward.

Yet Massachusetts voters have a history of electing a certain kind of Republican to lead the state. The last two Democratic governors are Patrick and Michael Dukakis; between the two of them lies a 16-year stretch of Republican rule. The problem for Baker is that moderate New England Republicans have almost vanished as a political force.

Baker, 57, has long been the state GOP’s brightest star. He rose to political prominence two decades ago in the cabinet of then-Governor Bill Weld. Weld was a Republican who rode a tax revolt into office, but he was so far to the left on social issues that he won in liberal enclaves like Cambridge and Amherst. Baker’s politics echo Weld’s. As health secretary and then budget chief for Weld and his successor, Paul Cellucci, Baker earned a reputation as a sharp policy mind and number cruncher, but was not known as an ideologue.

“He’s the smartest guy in the room, but he doesn’t act like it,” says Jay Ash, the city manager of Chelsea, a small, heavily Central American community just north of Boston. “He’s inquisitive, and he doesn’t dismiss people’s views. He’s open and engaging on the issues.”

“I worked in an administration that was pretty successful in working across the aisle to get stuff done with Democrats,” Baker says. “A lot of our successes were because we had two teams on the field, competition and political engagement. Whether voters decide that’s what they want or not is going to be up to them. I certainly wanted to run a race built on that kind of message and approach.”

Ash and Baker met in the early 1990’s, when Chelsea was operating in state fiscal receivership. They’ve been friends since, yet Baker didn’t get Ash’s vote four years ago, when Baker made his first run for governor. Baker’s 2010 campaign was filled with stunts meant to generate voter outrage, like displaying a prop welfare card that said it could be swiped for booze and lottery tickets at taxpayer expense. The disgruntled turnout wasn’t enough and Baker lost to Patrick with 42% of the vote.

The Massachusetts governor’s race is a redemption run for both Baker and Coakley. Coakley lost the 2010 contest for Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat to Brown in spectacular fashion, and reporters are salivating over storylines about Coakley blowing another high-profile race against another Massachusetts Republican. Coakley has been a popular attorney general, though, and she’s run hard for governor. Their race is neck-and-neck less because Coakley has done something wrong, than because Baker has done a whole lot right.

Baker has managed to run for political office while mostly taking divisive politics off the table. He has beaten the drum on a few red meat Republican issues, like lowering taxes and hardening work rules for welfare. But the bulk of his campaign has been focused on education and economic opportunity, and in these areas, he’s driving a debate that’s less about political vision than it is about competence in managing government. He’s bent the race to his strengths, and made the contest a referendum on putting a policy wonk in the governor’s office.

Baker has also gone to lengths to play up his social liberalism, releasing campaign videos with his brother, who’s gay and married, and with his teenage daughter, who assures him on-camera, “You’re totally pro-choice and bipartisan.”

“Ideologically, he’s where the majority of people in Massachusetts are,” says Larry DiCara, a prominent Democratic attorney in Boston.

“In some states, he’d be a Democrat,” says Ash, who praises his friend’s current run. “He’s with Democrats and independents on social issues.”

Baker is also with Democrats in a more literal sense. On the trail, he has taken the fight to Coakley in the urban centers that normally hand Democrats lopsided vote margins. Baker is trying to raid the Democratic base, aggressively courting votes in Irish pubs and mill towns. He’s held over 150 campaign events in Boston — an unheard-of presence in a city where voters normally hang 40-plus-point losses on Republicans. Baker lost the city by 47 points in 2010; a recent WBUR poll had him cutting that deficit in half.

“You have to make the sale, but you can’t make the sale if you don’t show up,” Baker reasons.

And as he tries to close the deal, he’s doing it without much support from state Republicans. Massachusetts Democrats enjoy an enormous campaign volunteer base, the machinery of organized labor, and star power in Washington, DC. As the campaign entered the home stretch, Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden all swung through to rally the party faithful for Coakley. Weld, who’s now working as a rainmaker at a Boston law firm, is the closest thing Baker has had to a star campaign surrogate.

Baker’s party doesn’t have the bodies to compete with Democrats on the grassroots level. (His campaign has knocked on 270,000 doors this election cycle, a huge number for a Massachusetts Republican; Elizabeth Warren’s campaign hit 240,000 doors in a single weekend two years ago.) But he has received one major outside boost: the Republican Governors Association PAC has spent more than $12 million on the race, over two-and-half times what they spent on the 2010 campaign and more than the combined spending of Baker and Coakley’s own campaigns.

But national Republicans will be hard-pressed to find broader lessons. If Baker wins, it will be because he won over Democratic voters and narrowed the daylight between his partisans, and Coakley’s. That isn’t a formula that has legs far outside Boston.

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