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Sacramento considers banning ‘loud, smelly people’ from local transit system

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Loud, smelly people could be asked to leave buses and light rail trains in Sacramento under new rules to be considered by transportation officials Monday night, the latest in a series of steps to make California’s capital city more transit-friendly.

The proposals come as Sacramento enjoys a downtown building boom that will eventually add a high-end basketball arena and a soccer stadium, amenities that officials hope will draw patrons to the area by light rail, bus or train.

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“If we can make it more attractive or make it more enjoyable to use the light rail or bus, then people are more apt to use it,” said Alane Masui, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Regional Transit District.

Like many American cities, Sacramento fans out toward its suburbs in a sprawling metropolitan grid built more for automobiles than transit in most areas, and has struggled to win middle-class riders to its bus and light rail system.

Complaints abound. Last year, nearly 7,000 customers contacted the transit system’s customer advocacy department, which mostly takes complaints, and transit officials also reported 318 crimes, according to Masui and transit system data.

The system, which serves the City and County of Sacramento, has about 98,000 boardings on weekdays.

Under the ordinance set for discussion Monday night, passengers will no longer be allowed to get on a bus or train unless they are covered “above and below the waist” and wearing shoes.

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They will also be banned from emitting a noxious odor unless the smell is related to a disability or medical condition. Passengers will not be allowed to play sound equipment that is audible to other passengers and will be banned from sleeping on a train that has reached the end of the line.

Those who refuse to comply could kicked off by authorities, the ordinance says.

Masui said the rules grew out of complaints received by the agency, including gripes that people were bringing bags full of smelly recyclables on the bus.

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But advocates for disadvantaged Sacramentans said the regulations were a swipe at homeless people, who have a right to ride buses and trains.

Pam Haney, advocacy coordinator for Wellspring Women’s Center in Sacramento, told the Sacramento Bee newspaper that the part of the rules dealing with odor appeared discriminatory. Haney told the newspaper that she doubted anyone would be kicked off the bus for wearing too much high-end perfume.

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(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Eric Walsh)


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Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports

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Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.

The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.

It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.

CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.

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Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’

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Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."

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House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report

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Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.

"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.

"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."

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