Portal

  • 10 California Police Agencies Suspended from Pentagon Program for Losing Weapons and Gear

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    NBC Bay Area reported last week that the Napa County Sheriff’s Office lost an M-16 assault rifle and was suspended on May 6. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Department didn’t know where two M16A1 rifles were and was suspended in October 2013. Suspended agencies don’t have to return all their military equipment, but can’t order any new stuff. If an agency screws up bad enough, its status is downgraded to “terminated,” but that has only happened to seven of them.   read more
  • 80% Chance of 10-Year Drought in Southwest; 50% for a Megadrought

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    “This will be worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years and would pose unprecedented challenges to water resources in the region,” lead researcher Toby Ault told the Cornell Chronicle. Ault wasn’t just talking about the 10-year drought. The study also projected a 20%-50% chance of a 35-year-plus megadrought in the next 100 years.   read more
  • Appeals Court Rules Native American Skeletons Unearthed 38 Years Ago must be Returned to Tribes

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    The remains were discovered in 1976 at the Chancellor’s House at the University of California, San Diego by a university excavation team. UC San Diego had dragged its feet on giving up the remains, questioning which Native American group was the rightful owner. However, the university in 2012 agreed to return the remains to the Kumeyaay. But a lawsuit filed against the university by three scientists who wished to study the skeletons halted the repatriation.   read more
  • Yay! Just 17 More Years to Clean Up Toxic Groundwater in San Bernardino

    Monday, September 01, 2014
    The site consists of two plumes of contaminated water at the base of the mountains, which have impacted more than 25% of the water supply for 175,000 San Bernardino residents. The EPA’s final cleanup plan circulated this month, indicates the agency will stay the course it has pursued since the contamination was discovered in the 1980s and expects to restore the aquifer to federal and state drinking water standards in 17 years, or perhaps a little later.   read more
  • One-Fourth of California Foster Care Kids Are on Psych Meds

    Monday, September 01, 2014
    One-fourth of the state’s 60,000 foster kids are receiving the powerful medications, about three and a half times more than children in general nationally. More than half of the kids in group homes were authorized to get the drugs, and those who refuse are often disciplined. Kids as young as 5 have been prescribed psychotropic drugs.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Hollywood Park's Final Race Click the photo for larger view Hollywood Park's Final Race

Top Stories

  • U.S. Approves Fracking on Federal Land in California

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    The report said groundwater is not in danger of contamination when pressurized water, unknown chemicals, acid or other materials are injected deep into the Earth. Earthquakes, air pollution from greenhouse gas emissions, impacts on wildlife and vegetation—not a problem. Its assurances, taken by the BLM as sufficient cause to open the land up, did come with one large caveat: It didn’t have much current information.   read more
  • Loggers Win! U.S. Forest Service Gives the Go to Clear Remains of the Rim Fire

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    The U.S. Forest Service announced on Wednesday it had rejected environmentalist calls to let the 15,000 acres of ravaged terrain in question recover naturally and approved plans to log the area. Trees deemed a threat to the public will be cleared along another 17,706 square miles along roads. Chad Hanson, director of the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, called her decision an “ecological travesty.”   read more
  • Federal Judge Decides California Gun Owners Don't Have to Wait to Buy More Guns

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    If a gun owner in California wants to buy a gun but is discouraged from doing so by having to wait 10 days for a background check to be completed, he has been denied his Second Amendment right to possess a weapon. At least that’s the interpretation of the Constitution by U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. The lawsuit did not challenge the 10-day wait for first-time buyers.   read more

Controversies

  • L.A. Settles with Another Hospital over Patient Dumping on Skid Row

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    Glendale Adventist is said to have “illegally discharged and transported or caused to be transported homeless, mentally-ill, disabled, dependent adult patients who were unable to take care of themselves on Skid Row,” according to Courthouse News Service, which saw the 6-page lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The hospital settled with the city for $700,000 but denied everything.   read more
  • Ex-Nuclear Inspector's Secret Report Urged Closure of Diablo Canyon Plant

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    When Dr. Michael Peck was the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) senior inspector at California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, he filed a report that said the facility should be shut down until its operators can prove it is able to withstand a strong earthquake. The document, written a year ago, wasn't made public by the environmental group Friends of the Earth until Monday after the Associated Press wrote about it.   read more
  • California Reverses Decision that Let Insurance Coverage Exclude Abortions

    Monday, August 25, 2014
    California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) sent letters to seven insurance companies that it had “erroneously approved or did not object” to language in insurance policies that “discriminate against women by limiting or excluding coverage for termination of pregnancies.” That means Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles and Santa Clara University, two Jesuit-run institutions, cannot exclude abortion coverage from employee insurance policies.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Gov. Brown OKs Tripling State’s Film Tax-Credit Program to $330 Million

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    California has lost a lot of film and TV business in recent years, as production companies look for cheaper venues and government incentives. Most states and a lot of countries offer grants and tax credits. California, which still dominates film and TV production nationally, leapfrogs from fifth place to second among states in financial incentives, behind New York ($420 million annually) but ahead of Louisiana ($236 million), Georgia ($140 million) and Florida ($131 million).   read more
  • Court Tells FedEx Its Drivers Are Employees, Not Under-Compensated Contractors

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    The complexity of the law and competing judicial applications of it have facilitated a decades-long move to reclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid legal and social obligations. It’s a great corporate cost-cutter whose popularity continues to grow as the labor force is redefined.   read more
  • Texas Company Sues Oakland for $1 Billion over Trash Contract Given to Locals

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    The Texans claim in the suit that the city shared details of its bid with the competition and rejected the staff recommendation in accepting a lousier deal. The lawsuit alleges, “The City Council’s actions appeared heavily swayed by long-term personal and political connections with” CWS. Both companies said they would raise rates for consumers, but CWS promised a smaller bump. Concerns were also expressed about the Texans outsourcing jobs in billing, dispatch, call centers and customer service.   read more

California and the Nation

  • Deadline Looms for 100,000 in Covered California to Prove Residency

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the state was still missing proper documentation for 100,000 people but they had until late September or October to make their case. And according to Covered California (CC) Executive Director Peter Lee, they might have a case to make. “We are quite confident where people have not provided information it's not because they are not citizens,” Lee reportedly told a CC board meeting. “Rather, it's a challenge of getting the information to us.”   read more
  • Data Breach Alert at 180 Albertsons Stores in Southern California

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014
    The company said it contained the breach and patched it, and didn’t believe any data had been stolen. But it doesn’t really know. It assured customers they could continue to use their cards, but an investigation is just getting underway. The breach, which was not explained in any detail, allegedly occurred as early as June 22 and continued until July 17 at the latest.   read more
  • Porn Permits in L.A. Plunge, but Has Production Just Gone Underground?

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014
    John Rogers at the Associated Press found a few folks who think they might not have gone far. “A lot are simply shooting in out-of-the-way places where they won't be caught,” Adult Video News senior editor Mark Kernes said. “Normally it's in people's homes who are willing to rent them out for a day. Sometimes it's out in the woods".   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • California Supreme Court Justice: Who Is Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar?

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The 41-year-old Stanford law professor was born in Mexico before moving with his family to the U.S. when he was 14. A registered Democrat, Cuéllar worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations in various capacities. He specializes in administrative and immigration law, but has taught a broad range of courses, including international and criminal law.   read more
  • President and CEO of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine: Who Is C. Randal Mills?

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    Mills, 42, takes over the stem cell program as it enters the final years of the 2004 voter-approved, $3-billion venture to fund projects. Although his predecessor was said to be leaving to spend more time with his family in Australia, Alan Trounson was immediately hired by one of the companies CIRM had awarded millions of dollars to, re-enforcing the perception that the agency had a serious conflict-of-interest and cronyism problem.   read more
  • Acting Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation: Who Is Lisa Mangat?

    Friday, July 04, 2014
    She takes over a department, wracked by scandal and plagued by a lack of funding, whose $654 million budget is under intense scrutiny. Her predecessor, retired Marine Corps Major General Anthony L. Jackson, was hired in November 2012 with a mandate to reform the agency. His predecessor, Ruth Coleman, resigned four months earlier after $54 million was found stashed in department accounts while 70 state parks faced closure because of budget cuts.   read more

Unusual News

  • California 7th-Grader ID’d Trees with Fungus Linked to AIDS-Related Deaths

    Monday, September 01, 2014
    Elan Filler, who was looking for a science fair project, embarked upon a quest to identify trees in the region with the fungus. Her father helped hook her up with Deborah Springer, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University who studies C. gattii, according to NPR reporter Nancy Shute, and Filler shipped the researcher fungi she swabbed from trees and grew in Petri dishes. They matched fungus from the three trees to infections in people now and 10-12 years ago.   read more
  • DMV Puts Google Car Drivers Back Behind the Steering Wheel

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    Google wants to build a car within five years that drivers won’t have to steer, brake or accelerate, but new California rules that go into effect next month require the Mountain View company’s test vehicles to, at least temporarily, have all those little extras. Google will simply tack on a steering wheel and pedals for the short-term.   read more
  • Beverly Hills Cops Mistake Black TV Producer for Bank Robber after Pre-Emmy Party

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Charles Belk wrote on his Facebook page: “Within an evening, I was wrongly arrested, locked up, denied a phone call, denied explanation of charges against me, denied ever being read my rights, denied being able to speak to my lawyer for a lengthy time, and denied being told that my car had been impounded. . . . All because I was mis-indentified as the wrong ‘tall, bald head, black male,’ . . . fitting the description.”   read more
  • 10 California Police Agencies Suspended from Pentagon Program for Losing Weapons and Gear

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    NBC Bay Area reported last week that the Napa County Sheriff’s Office lost an M-16 assault rifle and was suspended on May 6. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Department didn’t know where two M16A1 rifles were and was suspended in October 2013. Suspended agencies don’t have to return all their military equipment, but can’t order any new stuff. If an agency screws up bad enough, its status is downgraded to “terminated,” but that has only happened to seven of them.   read more
  • 80% Chance of 10-Year Drought in Southwest; 50% for a Megadrought

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    “This will be worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years and would pose unprecedented challenges to water resources in the region,” lead researcher Toby Ault told the Cornell Chronicle. Ault wasn’t just talking about the 10-year drought. The study also projected a 20%-50% chance of a 35-year-plus megadrought in the next 100 years.   read more
  • Appeals Court Rules Native American Skeletons Unearthed 38 Years Ago must be Returned to Tribes

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    The remains were discovered in 1976 at the Chancellor’s House at the University of California, San Diego by a university excavation team. UC San Diego had dragged its feet on giving up the remains, questioning which Native American group was the rightful owner. However, the university in 2012 agreed to return the remains to the Kumeyaay. But a lawsuit filed against the university by three scientists who wished to study the skeletons halted the repatriation.   read more
  • Yay! Just 17 More Years to Clean Up Toxic Groundwater in San Bernardino

    Monday, September 01, 2014
    The site consists of two plumes of contaminated water at the base of the mountains, which have impacted more than 25% of the water supply for 175,000 San Bernardino residents. The EPA’s final cleanup plan circulated this month, indicates the agency will stay the course it has pursued since the contamination was discovered in the 1980s and expects to restore the aquifer to federal and state drinking water standards in 17 years, or perhaps a little later.   read more
  • One-Fourth of California Foster Care Kids Are on Psych Meds

    Monday, September 01, 2014
    One-fourth of the state’s 60,000 foster kids are receiving the powerful medications, about three and a half times more than children in general nationally. More than half of the kids in group homes were authorized to get the drugs, and those who refuse are often disciplined. Kids as young as 5 have been prescribed psychotropic drugs.   read more

Top Stories

  • U.S. Approves Fracking on Federal Land in California

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    The report said groundwater is not in danger of contamination when pressurized water, unknown chemicals, acid or other materials are injected deep into the Earth. Earthquakes, air pollution from greenhouse gas emissions, impacts on wildlife and vegetation—not a problem. Its assurances, taken by the BLM as sufficient cause to open the land up, did come with one large caveat: It didn’t have much current information.   read more
  • Loggers Win! U.S. Forest Service Gives the Go to Clear Remains of the Rim Fire

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    The U.S. Forest Service announced on Wednesday it had rejected environmentalist calls to let the 15,000 acres of ravaged terrain in question recover naturally and approved plans to log the area. Trees deemed a threat to the public will be cleared along another 17,706 square miles along roads. Chad Hanson, director of the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, called her decision an “ecological travesty.”   read more
  • Federal Judge Decides California Gun Owners Don't Have to Wait to Buy More Guns

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    If a gun owner in California wants to buy a gun but is discouraged from doing so by having to wait 10 days for a background check to be completed, he has been denied his Second Amendment right to possess a weapon. At least that’s the interpretation of the Constitution by U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. The lawsuit did not challenge the 10-day wait for first-time buyers.   read more

Controversies

  • L.A. Settles with Another Hospital over Patient Dumping on Skid Row

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    Glendale Adventist is said to have “illegally discharged and transported or caused to be transported homeless, mentally-ill, disabled, dependent adult patients who were unable to take care of themselves on Skid Row,” according to Courthouse News Service, which saw the 6-page lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The hospital settled with the city for $700,000 but denied everything.   read more
  • Ex-Nuclear Inspector's Secret Report Urged Closure of Diablo Canyon Plant

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    When Dr. Michael Peck was the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) senior inspector at California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, he filed a report that said the facility should be shut down until its operators can prove it is able to withstand a strong earthquake. The document, written a year ago, wasn't made public by the environmental group Friends of the Earth until Monday after the Associated Press wrote about it.   read more
  • California Reverses Decision that Let Insurance Coverage Exclude Abortions

    Monday, August 25, 2014
    California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) sent letters to seven insurance companies that it had “erroneously approved or did not object” to language in insurance policies that “discriminate against women by limiting or excluding coverage for termination of pregnancies.” That means Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles and Santa Clara University, two Jesuit-run institutions, cannot exclude abortion coverage from employee insurance policies.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Gov. Brown OKs Tripling State’s Film Tax-Credit Program to $330 Million

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    California has lost a lot of film and TV business in recent years, as production companies look for cheaper venues and government incentives. Most states and a lot of countries offer grants and tax credits. California, which still dominates film and TV production nationally, leapfrogs from fifth place to second among states in financial incentives, behind New York ($420 million annually) but ahead of Louisiana ($236 million), Georgia ($140 million) and Florida ($131 million).   read more
  • Court Tells FedEx Its Drivers Are Employees, Not Under-Compensated Contractors

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    The complexity of the law and competing judicial applications of it have facilitated a decades-long move to reclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid legal and social obligations. It’s a great corporate cost-cutter whose popularity continues to grow as the labor force is redefined.   read more
  • Texas Company Sues Oakland for $1 Billion over Trash Contract Given to Locals

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    The Texans claim in the suit that the city shared details of its bid with the competition and rejected the staff recommendation in accepting a lousier deal. The lawsuit alleges, “The City Council’s actions appeared heavily swayed by long-term personal and political connections with” CWS. Both companies said they would raise rates for consumers, but CWS promised a smaller bump. Concerns were also expressed about the Texans outsourcing jobs in billing, dispatch, call centers and customer service.   read more

California and the Nation

  • Deadline Looms for 100,000 in Covered California to Prove Residency

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the state was still missing proper documentation for 100,000 people but they had until late September or October to make their case. And according to Covered California (CC) Executive Director Peter Lee, they might have a case to make. “We are quite confident where people have not provided information it's not because they are not citizens,” Lee reportedly told a CC board meeting. “Rather, it's a challenge of getting the information to us.”   read more
  • Data Breach Alert at 180 Albertsons Stores in Southern California

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014
    The company said it contained the breach and patched it, and didn’t believe any data had been stolen. But it doesn’t really know. It assured customers they could continue to use their cards, but an investigation is just getting underway. The breach, which was not explained in any detail, allegedly occurred as early as June 22 and continued until July 17 at the latest.   read more
  • Porn Permits in L.A. Plunge, but Has Production Just Gone Underground?

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014
    John Rogers at the Associated Press found a few folks who think they might not have gone far. “A lot are simply shooting in out-of-the-way places where they won't be caught,” Adult Video News senior editor Mark Kernes said. “Normally it's in people's homes who are willing to rent them out for a day. Sometimes it's out in the woods".   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • California Supreme Court Justice: Who Is Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar?

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The 41-year-old Stanford law professor was born in Mexico before moving with his family to the U.S. when he was 14. A registered Democrat, Cuéllar worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations in various capacities. He specializes in administrative and immigration law, but has taught a broad range of courses, including international and criminal law.   read more
  • President and CEO of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine: Who Is C. Randal Mills?

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    Mills, 42, takes over the stem cell program as it enters the final years of the 2004 voter-approved, $3-billion venture to fund projects. Although his predecessor was said to be leaving to spend more time with his family in Australia, Alan Trounson was immediately hired by one of the companies CIRM had awarded millions of dollars to, re-enforcing the perception that the agency had a serious conflict-of-interest and cronyism problem.   read more
  • Acting Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation: Who Is Lisa Mangat?

    Friday, July 04, 2014
    She takes over a department, wracked by scandal and plagued by a lack of funding, whose $654 million budget is under intense scrutiny. Her predecessor, retired Marine Corps Major General Anthony L. Jackson, was hired in November 2012 with a mandate to reform the agency. His predecessor, Ruth Coleman, resigned four months earlier after $54 million was found stashed in department accounts while 70 state parks faced closure because of budget cuts.   read more

Unusual News

  • California 7th-Grader ID’d Trees with Fungus Linked to AIDS-Related Deaths

    Monday, September 01, 2014
    Elan Filler, who was looking for a science fair project, embarked upon a quest to identify trees in the region with the fungus. Her father helped hook her up with Deborah Springer, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University who studies C. gattii, according to NPR reporter Nancy Shute, and Filler shipped the researcher fungi she swabbed from trees and grew in Petri dishes. They matched fungus from the three trees to infections in people now and 10-12 years ago.   read more
  • DMV Puts Google Car Drivers Back Behind the Steering Wheel

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    Google wants to build a car within five years that drivers won’t have to steer, brake or accelerate, but new California rules that go into effect next month require the Mountain View company’s test vehicles to, at least temporarily, have all those little extras. Google will simply tack on a steering wheel and pedals for the short-term.   read more
  • Beverly Hills Cops Mistake Black TV Producer for Bank Robber after Pre-Emmy Party

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Charles Belk wrote on his Facebook page: “Within an evening, I was wrongly arrested, locked up, denied a phone call, denied explanation of charges against me, denied ever being read my rights, denied being able to speak to my lawyer for a lengthy time, and denied being told that my car had been impounded. . . . All because I was mis-indentified as the wrong ‘tall, bald head, black male,’ . . . fitting the description.”   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Hollywood Park's Final Race Click the photo for larger view Hollywood Park's Final Race