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By Tim Hunt

L.A. court decision has San Ramon ties with national implications

Uploaded: Feb 9, 2016

A landmark case decided in Los Angeles last week has a tragic local angle.
An L.A. judge sentenced Dr. Hsiu-Ying Tseng to 30 years to life in prison after a jury convicted her of the murders of three patients who fatally overdosed on drugs she prescribed. The physician apologized to the families of her victims during the hearing—the first time she had done so, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Among the victims was Joey Rovero of San Ramon who died late in his senior year after mixing alcohol with Xanax and oxycodone at his Arizona university. His mother, April, witnessed most of the trial.
The Los Angeles Times story quoted her saying, “"It feels too late," Rovero said outside the courtroom. "But it was better to hear something than nothing."
After Joey died, April founded the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse and continues to work to strengthen laws and raise awareness.
Another news story out of Southern California struck me recently. We had been in Newport Beach for a conference and found a gas station on Interstate 5 selling regular for just $1.99 a gallon.
The San Diego Union-Tribune story by Dan McSwain looked into why gas in California cost so much. Incidentally, in late September 2014, my daughter and I paid $2 for gas while driving across Interstate 40 to Memphis. I do not believe she has paid more than that since that time.
McSwain observed that he had just paid $2.49 at his neighborhood Costco (the Livermore Costco has ranged from $2.20 to $2.25 in the last week or so). Last Monday, McSwain reported that the California average price for regular was $2.55—11 cents more than it was a year ago.
Nationally, it was $1.82—down 25 cents year-over-year and 73 cents lower than the California average.
He went on to break it down:
Taxes at 59 cents per gallon at 11 cents higher than nationally.
The cap-and-trade that the governor and liberal Democratic leaders allowed to take effect last year adds 12 cents (you might ask, for what—Jerry’s bullet train—that’s where a large chunk of the money will go).
Add in California’s custom high-cost blend and that’s another 20 cents.
The remaining 30 cents is accounted for by market forces—the difficulty of competing with the custom blend and the opportunity for some businesses to take advantage to make an extra profit.
It all adds up to quite a surcharge for some quite questionable “benefits” and way too little of the extra money going to fix roads and bridges.