Portal

  • L.A. County Sheriff's Department Spied on Entire City with Eye in the Sky but Kept It Secret

    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    “The system was kind of kept confidential from everybody in the public,” L.A. County sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Iketani told the Center for Investigative Reporting, which publicized the endeavor in partnership with KQED. “A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.”   read more
  • He's No. 3 in the Polls, but Journalists Exclude Green Party Candidate from Secretary of State Debate

    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    “As we were discussing the best approach to take, Mr. Curtis began a tirade of insulting and threatening social media posts about our organization,” Press Club President Juliet Williams, an Associated Press reporter, said in a statement. “Upon receiving a phone call from our program director, Mr. Curtis became belligerent and rude, making a conversation impossible. Our decision was clear, given our intent to hold a civil and informative discussion on the issues in the race.”   read more
  • Chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission: Who Is Jodi Remke?

    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    She was appointed to a four-year term to the State Bar Court in December 2000 by the Senate Rules Committee, which was chaired by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton. The independent court, the only one of its kind in the country, hears cases about attorneys who have been accused of professional misconduct. The Supreme Court appointed her presiding judge of the court in 2006. She was reappointed to the court in 2012.   read more
  • University of California Goes for the Gold, Ups Out-of-State Admissions

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Admissions (pdf) of foreign students are up 18% since last year and 51% since 2012-2013. Out-of-state admissions are up 9% since last year and 25% since 2012-13. California students are pretty much flat-lined. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said when the dust settles, he expects 100 more non-Californians to be admitted than last year. They will be worth an extra $2.2 million in school revenue.   read more
  • Focus is on Pesticides as 80,000 Bee Colonies Damaged or Destroyed

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    The Sacramento Bee reported last week that 75 growers met with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last March and three-quarters of them said they had significant damage. Bee keepers indicated they thought the problem could very well be related to a practice by farmers of “tank mixing” multiple pesticides, including a couple of new ones: tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole. Suspicions were also raised about the spraying of insecticides during the day while bees were foraging.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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

Top Stories

  • Federal Report Calls for Delay in Sales of Historical Post Offices, but the Rest Are Still Fair Game

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Preservationists and city officials in Berkeley were aghast when first told that the 1914 Second Renaissance Revival-style post office was toast and a month-long protest outside the building in 2012 got the public's attention. It was one of three California post offices on a current list of 15 for sale, including a 1941 “Spanish Eclectic and Spanish Colonial Revival” building in Burlingame and a 1932 building in Palo Alto.   read more
  • New Bay Bridge Has Leaks, Rust and Weld Defects but No Independent Review

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday that the company that designed the bridge warned Caltrans in 2010 that welds holding the road deck together were at risk because the agency let the builder proceed with mismatched Chinese-manufactured steel sections. Just days before, the Sacramento Bee reported that a key cable—with 137 steel strands—and connecting rods were already rusting because chambers designed to be airtight and watertight were not.   read more
  • State Decides on Chromium-6 Standard 500 Times Less Strict than CalEPA “Goal”

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    The decision affirms a proposal by the department last August to allow 10 parts per billion (ppb) of the chemical made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich in 2000, although CalEPA suggested a goal in 2011 of 0.02 ppb. “A 10-parts-per-billion standard is certainly better than nothing,” said Environmental Working Group Director Renee Sharp. “But when you know that the standard is not truly protecting the public from cancer and other health impacts, it doesn't feel like a victory.”   read more

Controversies

  • State Commission Proposes Ban on Shooting Coyotes for Fun and Games

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    The decision came after it received 13,000 letters protesting the three-day February event at which around 40 coyotes were shot and submitted for prizes. Thousands of such contests reportedly take place across the country, but California tends to discourage killing contests in the wild. However, the fact is, just about anyone with a hunting license in the state can kill as many coyotes as they want any time and any place they can shoot a gun.   read more
  • Water Company Fined for Sending Arsenic-Laced Sludge to Monterey County Landfill

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    An investigation began last year after an anonymous tip to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), according to the Monterey County Weekly. As Monterey County Deputy DA Dije Ndreu pointed out, “It's more expensive and a lot more work to do the proper channels and send it off as hazardous waste.”   read more
  • Bogus “Job Killer” Bills Give Republicans and Corporate Democrats Something to Talk About

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    The California Chamber of Commerce calls them “job killer” bills and released its annual list of the 27 most egregious affronts to common sense and oligarchy in a state where “economic recovery is still the number one issue.” The chamber, which is a symbol as well as mouthpiece for business in the state, could not have enjoyed its success at killing these bills regularly without help from Democrats.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • UC Regents Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit by Former Top UCLA Surgeon for $10 Million

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Dr. Robert Pedowitz came to UCLA to head its orthopedic surgery department in 2009, stepped down as chair in 2010 after complaining about conflicts of interest and industry payments to its doctors, resigned in 2011, filed a whistleblower-retaliation lawsuit against the school in 2012 and settled for $10 million on Tuesday. The school admitted no wrong.   read more
  • California Helps Re-Inflate the Bubble; Leads Venture Capital Surge

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    Venture capitalists poured money into California startup companies in the first quarter of 2014 at a rate not seen since the dot-com burst in 2001 that ended moments later in bust. Eight of the Top 10 recipients of investor largesse are based in California. Of course, there are bubbles and there are BUBBLES. Even if venture capitalists keep up the first-quarter pace for a year, they won't have invested half of the $100 million poured into startups in 2000.   read more
  • Usual Suspects Surface as California Gasoline Prices Soar

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    A few refineries are experiencing problems after making the annual switch to spring fuels. The price of ethanol, a component of California gas, is soaring on the heels of failed Midwest corn crops. Turmoil in the Ukraine has oil companies nervous and Tuesday’s “blood moon” has made everyone insane. One of those explanations is more ludicrous than the others, but all are suspected of being somewhat short of truthful by cynics who have watched the oil industry whipsaw California for decades.   read more

California and the Nation

  • It's Earth Day, so Let's Bash Immigrants

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Californians for Population Stability (CAPS) has been trying to save the Earth by attacking immigration and multiculturalism since 1986, so it's not surprising that the group has embraced Earth Day today with particular zeal. The Santa Barbara-based nonprofit CAPS has been running an ad on television for a week in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego blaming immigrants for the state's water shortage, traffic congestion, air pollution and general environmental degradation.   read more
  • After 9 Years, Woman Gets off Secret No-Fly List, then Is Put on Secret Visa-Denial List

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    The judge called her 2005 exclusion an “inexcusable error” and noted, “At long last, the government has conceded that plaintiff poses no threat to air safety or national security and should never have been placed on on the no-fly list.” But Alsup said he read the classified information cited by the government and “if accurate, warranted denial of the visa.” However, Ibrahim and her lawyers can't see it because of the “state secrets privilege.”   read more
  • Gay Marriage Foe Who Defended Prop. 8 Before the U.S. Supreme Court Defends His Daughter's Gay Marriage

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    A new book by journalist Jo Becker reveals that Cooper learned his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the legal fight careened through state and federal courts on its way to Washington. That apparently didn't stop him from arguing, “It is reasonable to be very concerned that redefining marriage . . . as a genderless institution, could well lead, over time, to harms to that institution and to the interests that society has always has always used that institution to address.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • California State Librarian: Who Is Greg Lucas?

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    The next California State Librarian is not a librarian. Governor Jerry Brown announced that Greg Lucas, a longtime Bay Area political writer with deep political connections, will take over the post. “What the hell?” Roy B. Stone, president of the Librarians’ Guild, inquired of a Los Angeles Times reporter. The Guild represents 350 librarians in Los Angeles. “I’m tired of political appointments everywhere you go for everything,” Stone said.   read more
  • Director of the Employment Development Department: Who Is Patrick Henning?

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    Henning, who has been Brown's chief deputy appointments secretary since 2011, comes from a family with a deep history of involvement in government and labor. Henning's father, Patrick Sr., ran EDD for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2004-2009. Henning's grandfather, Jack, led the state labor federation for 26 years, was ambassador to New Zealand and served as U.S. undersecretary of labor in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.   read more
  • Director of the Department of Rehabilitation: Who Is Joe Xavier?

    Friday, March 14, 2014
    Governor Jerry Brown’s new director at the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), Joe Xavier, has come a long way from his early days as a nearly-blind immigrant milking cows instead of pursuing a college education. Brown appointed the Azores native with the impressive back story to head the department on February 14. He took over for Anthony Sauer, who had been director since 2007. Sauer was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident when he was 18.   read more

Unusual News

  • Kid Dodges Security and Narrow Seats for Ride in Jet Wheel Well from San Jose to Hawaii

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    He survived temperatures that theoretically could have reached 80 below zero, but were probably closer to minus 50. There was not enough oxygen to sustain consciousness. Most people die under those circumstances. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says only 25 out of 105 known stowaways since 1947 have survived that kind of trip.   read more
  • Abusive San Diego Cop Allegedly Protected by Department for Almost 20 Years

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    In late 2011, former cop Anthony Arevalos was convicted of sexual battery against 13 women over a period of months. Questions were raised then why Arevalos hadn't been confronted earlier about the string of complaints, but it wasn't until last week that information surfaced that knowledge of the officer's criminal behavior went much further back.   read more
  • L.A. Orders Nonprofit that Treats Sick Kids with Cannabis Extract to Shut Down

    Thursday, April 03, 2014
    The Los Angeles city attorney has told Realm of Caring it does not fit under the city’s year-old medical marijuana ordinance and must close. The group, cited last August for its cannabis treatment of child epilepsy by Gupta in a laudatory CNN documentary, has an outpost in the city. Most alleged dispensaries in the city are being shut down under Proposition D for various reasons, most prominently being they had to have been around since 2006. Realm of Caring is new.   read more
  • L.A. County Sheriff's Department Spied on Entire City with Eye in the Sky but Kept It Secret

    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    “The system was kind of kept confidential from everybody in the public,” L.A. County sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Iketani told the Center for Investigative Reporting, which publicized the endeavor in partnership with KQED. “A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.”   read more
  • He's No. 3 in the Polls, but Journalists Exclude Green Party Candidate from Secretary of State Debate

    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    “As we were discussing the best approach to take, Mr. Curtis began a tirade of insulting and threatening social media posts about our organization,” Press Club President Juliet Williams, an Associated Press reporter, said in a statement. “Upon receiving a phone call from our program director, Mr. Curtis became belligerent and rude, making a conversation impossible. Our decision was clear, given our intent to hold a civil and informative discussion on the issues in the race.”   read more
  • Chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission: Who Is Jodi Remke?

    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    She was appointed to a four-year term to the State Bar Court in December 2000 by the Senate Rules Committee, which was chaired by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton. The independent court, the only one of its kind in the country, hears cases about attorneys who have been accused of professional misconduct. The Supreme Court appointed her presiding judge of the court in 2006. She was reappointed to the court in 2012.   read more
  • University of California Goes for the Gold, Ups Out-of-State Admissions

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Admissions (pdf) of foreign students are up 18% since last year and 51% since 2012-2013. Out-of-state admissions are up 9% since last year and 25% since 2012-13. California students are pretty much flat-lined. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said when the dust settles, he expects 100 more non-Californians to be admitted than last year. They will be worth an extra $2.2 million in school revenue.   read more
  • Focus is on Pesticides as 80,000 Bee Colonies Damaged or Destroyed

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    The Sacramento Bee reported last week that 75 growers met with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last March and three-quarters of them said they had significant damage. Bee keepers indicated they thought the problem could very well be related to a practice by farmers of “tank mixing” multiple pesticides, including a couple of new ones: tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole. Suspicions were also raised about the spraying of insecticides during the day while bees were foraging.   read more

Top Stories

  • Federal Report Calls for Delay in Sales of Historical Post Offices, but the Rest Are Still Fair Game

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Preservationists and city officials in Berkeley were aghast when first told that the 1914 Second Renaissance Revival-style post office was toast and a month-long protest outside the building in 2012 got the public's attention. It was one of three California post offices on a current list of 15 for sale, including a 1941 “Spanish Eclectic and Spanish Colonial Revival” building in Burlingame and a 1932 building in Palo Alto.   read more
  • New Bay Bridge Has Leaks, Rust and Weld Defects but No Independent Review

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday that the company that designed the bridge warned Caltrans in 2010 that welds holding the road deck together were at risk because the agency let the builder proceed with mismatched Chinese-manufactured steel sections. Just days before, the Sacramento Bee reported that a key cable—with 137 steel strands—and connecting rods were already rusting because chambers designed to be airtight and watertight were not.   read more
  • State Decides on Chromium-6 Standard 500 Times Less Strict than CalEPA “Goal”

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    The decision affirms a proposal by the department last August to allow 10 parts per billion (ppb) of the chemical made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich in 2000, although CalEPA suggested a goal in 2011 of 0.02 ppb. “A 10-parts-per-billion standard is certainly better than nothing,” said Environmental Working Group Director Renee Sharp. “But when you know that the standard is not truly protecting the public from cancer and other health impacts, it doesn't feel like a victory.”   read more

Controversies

  • State Commission Proposes Ban on Shooting Coyotes for Fun and Games

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    The decision came after it received 13,000 letters protesting the three-day February event at which around 40 coyotes were shot and submitted for prizes. Thousands of such contests reportedly take place across the country, but California tends to discourage killing contests in the wild. However, the fact is, just about anyone with a hunting license in the state can kill as many coyotes as they want any time and any place they can shoot a gun.   read more
  • Water Company Fined for Sending Arsenic-Laced Sludge to Monterey County Landfill

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    An investigation began last year after an anonymous tip to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), according to the Monterey County Weekly. As Monterey County Deputy DA Dije Ndreu pointed out, “It's more expensive and a lot more work to do the proper channels and send it off as hazardous waste.”   read more
  • Bogus “Job Killer” Bills Give Republicans and Corporate Democrats Something to Talk About

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    The California Chamber of Commerce calls them “job killer” bills and released its annual list of the 27 most egregious affronts to common sense and oligarchy in a state where “economic recovery is still the number one issue.” The chamber, which is a symbol as well as mouthpiece for business in the state, could not have enjoyed its success at killing these bills regularly without help from Democrats.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • UC Regents Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit by Former Top UCLA Surgeon for $10 Million

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Dr. Robert Pedowitz came to UCLA to head its orthopedic surgery department in 2009, stepped down as chair in 2010 after complaining about conflicts of interest and industry payments to its doctors, resigned in 2011, filed a whistleblower-retaliation lawsuit against the school in 2012 and settled for $10 million on Tuesday. The school admitted no wrong.   read more
  • California Helps Re-Inflate the Bubble; Leads Venture Capital Surge

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    Venture capitalists poured money into California startup companies in the first quarter of 2014 at a rate not seen since the dot-com burst in 2001 that ended moments later in bust. Eight of the Top 10 recipients of investor largesse are based in California. Of course, there are bubbles and there are BUBBLES. Even if venture capitalists keep up the first-quarter pace for a year, they won't have invested half of the $100 million poured into startups in 2000.   read more
  • Usual Suspects Surface as California Gasoline Prices Soar

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    A few refineries are experiencing problems after making the annual switch to spring fuels. The price of ethanol, a component of California gas, is soaring on the heels of failed Midwest corn crops. Turmoil in the Ukraine has oil companies nervous and Tuesday’s “blood moon” has made everyone insane. One of those explanations is more ludicrous than the others, but all are suspected of being somewhat short of truthful by cynics who have watched the oil industry whipsaw California for decades.   read more

California and the Nation

  • It's Earth Day, so Let's Bash Immigrants

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Californians for Population Stability (CAPS) has been trying to save the Earth by attacking immigration and multiculturalism since 1986, so it's not surprising that the group has embraced Earth Day today with particular zeal. The Santa Barbara-based nonprofit CAPS has been running an ad on television for a week in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego blaming immigrants for the state's water shortage, traffic congestion, air pollution and general environmental degradation.   read more
  • After 9 Years, Woman Gets off Secret No-Fly List, then Is Put on Secret Visa-Denial List

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    The judge called her 2005 exclusion an “inexcusable error” and noted, “At long last, the government has conceded that plaintiff poses no threat to air safety or national security and should never have been placed on on the no-fly list.” But Alsup said he read the classified information cited by the government and “if accurate, warranted denial of the visa.” However, Ibrahim and her lawyers can't see it because of the “state secrets privilege.”   read more
  • Gay Marriage Foe Who Defended Prop. 8 Before the U.S. Supreme Court Defends His Daughter's Gay Marriage

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    A new book by journalist Jo Becker reveals that Cooper learned his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the legal fight careened through state and federal courts on its way to Washington. That apparently didn't stop him from arguing, “It is reasonable to be very concerned that redefining marriage . . . as a genderless institution, could well lead, over time, to harms to that institution and to the interests that society has always has always used that institution to address.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • California State Librarian: Who Is Greg Lucas?

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    The next California State Librarian is not a librarian. Governor Jerry Brown announced that Greg Lucas, a longtime Bay Area political writer with deep political connections, will take over the post. “What the hell?” Roy B. Stone, president of the Librarians’ Guild, inquired of a Los Angeles Times reporter. The Guild represents 350 librarians in Los Angeles. “I’m tired of political appointments everywhere you go for everything,” Stone said.   read more
  • Director of the Employment Development Department: Who Is Patrick Henning?

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    Henning, who has been Brown's chief deputy appointments secretary since 2011, comes from a family with a deep history of involvement in government and labor. Henning's father, Patrick Sr., ran EDD for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2004-2009. Henning's grandfather, Jack, led the state labor federation for 26 years, was ambassador to New Zealand and served as U.S. undersecretary of labor in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.   read more
  • Director of the Department of Rehabilitation: Who Is Joe Xavier?

    Friday, March 14, 2014
    Governor Jerry Brown’s new director at the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), Joe Xavier, has come a long way from his early days as a nearly-blind immigrant milking cows instead of pursuing a college education. Brown appointed the Azores native with the impressive back story to head the department on February 14. He took over for Anthony Sauer, who had been director since 2007. Sauer was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident when he was 18.   read more

Unusual News

  • Kid Dodges Security and Narrow Seats for Ride in Jet Wheel Well from San Jose to Hawaii

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    He survived temperatures that theoretically could have reached 80 below zero, but were probably closer to minus 50. There was not enough oxygen to sustain consciousness. Most people die under those circumstances. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says only 25 out of 105 known stowaways since 1947 have survived that kind of trip.   read more
  • Abusive San Diego Cop Allegedly Protected by Department for Almost 20 Years

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    In late 2011, former cop Anthony Arevalos was convicted of sexual battery against 13 women over a period of months. Questions were raised then why Arevalos hadn't been confronted earlier about the string of complaints, but it wasn't until last week that information surfaced that knowledge of the officer's criminal behavior went much further back.   read more
  • L.A. Orders Nonprofit that Treats Sick Kids with Cannabis Extract to Shut Down

    Thursday, April 03, 2014
    The Los Angeles city attorney has told Realm of Caring it does not fit under the city’s year-old medical marijuana ordinance and must close. The group, cited last August for its cannabis treatment of child epilepsy by Gupta in a laudatory CNN documentary, has an outpost in the city. Most alleged dispensaries in the city are being shut down under Proposition D for various reasons, most prominently being they had to have been around since 2006. Realm of Caring is new.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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