Portal

  • Prisoners with Hepatitis C Can't Get Expensive Drug that Actually Works

    Friday, October 24, 2014
    The drug costs $1,000 a day, or $84,000 for a full regimen of treatment for a single patient. That works out to $1.43 billion if administered to all infected state prisoners. A study out of Stanford University says that might be a reasonable price to pay, considering the longterm cost of administering less effective drugs. But corrections officials, and probably a lot of taxpayers, say that's not going to happen   read more
  • California Offshore Oil Rigs Are the World’s Best Fisheries

    Friday, October 24, 2014
    The report found that active rigs along the coast were the best fisheries of any marine habitat studied (in scientific lingo) by an order of magnitude. That would be 10 times better than the next best competitor. The scientists attributed the popularity of the rigs to their verticality. Rockfish, for instance, tend to seek greater depths as they age, and oil and gas rigs offered the prospect of never having to move to a new locale.   read more
  • Lawsuit Derails Oil Shipments by Train for the First Time in California

    Thursday, October 23, 2014
    The suit sought a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The air quality district asked for the permit back after Earthjustice filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of the Sierra Club. The suit claimed that the district failed to consider the potential risk to public health and safety posed by shipping the crude in outdated tanker cars along aging rails to within seven miles of the state capital   read more
  • Murder Suspects Walk Because of Secret Jailhouse Informant Program

    Thursday, October 23, 2014
    The judge said the prosecutor’s office repeatedly engaged in misconduct and showed a “cavalier attitude toward the constitutionally-required Brady procedure” in the case of mass murderer Scott Evans Dekraai. That attitude was “patently inappropriate and legally inadequate.” Fallout from the Dekraai case was immediate.   read more
  • Director of the Department of Human Resources: Who Is Richard Gillihan?

    Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Career public servant Richard Gillihan has been the acting director since Julie Chapman stepped down in February. Gillihan was a top official in the Department of Finance when Brown appointed him acting director at CalHR almost to the day that the independent Little Hoover Commission released a scathing report about the agency.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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

Top Stories

  • Federal Judge Rejects New S.F. Law Meant to Curb Evictions

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    Judge Breyer acknowledged “the severity of the housing crisis” but said the law would prevent some landlords from changing the use of their property, which he deemed a “per se taking” by the government of private property without just compensation. He said landlords were being made “to pay for a broad public problem not of their making.”   read more
  • State Supreme Court Limits Liability for Medical Data Breaches

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    If the unencrypted medical records of 4 million people vanish with a stolen desktop computer, has there really been a security breach? Sutter said unless there was proof that the files had been read, there had been no breach of confidentiality. A Superior Court disagreed but was overruled by an appellate court. Last week the California Supreme Court issued a one-line statement that it would not get involved.   read more
  • State Reports Show Exide Leaking Hazardous Waste Far from Its Vernon Home

    Monday, October 20, 2014
    A CBS Los Angeles investigation uncovered public documents from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) that indicate trucks leaving the plant are leaking their toxic materials onto streets and sidewalks, which would invariably lead to them being washed into the Los Angeles River via storm drains. DTSC Chief of Enforcement Paul Kewin told CBS it was apparent the leaks had been going on for a long time and said, “I can’t explain how that got past us.”   read more

Controversies

  • Drought Doesn’t Justify Seizing Medical Marijuana Plants without a Warrant

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    In two weeks, Lake County voters will decide if they want to loosen up, or even eliminate, the restrictive medical marijuana ordinance they passed in June. For now, the county sheriff will have to stop enforcing that ordinance illegally. Judge Henderson did not buy the county’s argument that the three-year drought constituted an emergency that warranted not seeking a warrant. Marijuana needs a lot of water.   read more
  • Asbestos in 3 Schools Puts 1,700 Students on the Bus

    Monday, October 20, 2014
    Eleven schools in the Ocean View school district have been undergoing remodeling work, and tests found trace amounts of asbestos fibers in three. Construction has been halted at all the schools, but parents and teachers wonder if asbestos removal was underway while students were in the classroom. That would be a common sense no-no and a violation of state law.   read more
  • Union Foe Prime Healthcare Wants to Buy Six More California Hospitals

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is not happy. “We are not going to roll over and risk watching Prime Healthcare cut services, raise prices and lay off caregivers like they've done in so many other communities in California and other states,” Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, said on the union’s website.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Orange County Drivers Signing up for 17 Extra Years of Road Tolls

    Monday, October 20, 2014
    The corridor, which parallels the I-5, the I-405 and the Pacific Ocean, has been plagued by awful revenue and ridership projections from the start. Last week, the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency agreed to refinance the debt for a second time, raising the total amount owed, and keep tolls around until 2050.   read more
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian, Once a Force on the Left, Shuts Down

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    In its day, the newspaper was the social conscience of San Francisco with a strong focus on local news and a hearty appetite for muckraking. It was fierce in its defense of the underclass and its criticism of moneyed interests that perpetuated social injustice. It was one of the great alternative weeklies in the '60s and '70s when every city seemed to have a good one, but they have all but vanished.   read more
  • Covered California Handed out $184 Million in No-Bid Health Contracts

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    AP reviewed contracting records obtained via the state Public Records Act which showed $4.2 million of the contracts went to the Tori Group, a consulting firm with strong ties to CC Director Peter Lee. Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group promoting health insurance reform measure Prop. 45 on the November ballot, fired off a letter to the attorney general demanding an investigation. “This isn't about speed,” Watchdog president Jamie Court told the Sacramento Bee, “this is about being opaque."   read more

California and the Nation

  • Furniture Chain Pays Millions for Spying with Rented Computers

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    Georgia-based Aaron’s Furniture, with around 75 outlets in California, agreed to put up $25 million as reimbursement for an estimated 100,000 customers. The company will also pay the state $3.4 million in civil penalties and fees. The program logged keystrokes, captured screen shots and used a computer’s camera to take photographs. The information included passwords, medical records, Social Security numbers, financial information and pictures of the family in their most private moments.   read more
  • “Tyrant” Obama, in California, Declared National Monument, Like 15 other Presidents

    Monday, October 13, 2014
    Online conservative websites lit up with complaints. “The damage this tyrant is causing America is incalculable,” one typical critic wrote. Presidents have named 110 national monuments, although not all of them retain the designation to this day. Republican President Teddy Roosevelt was the first in 1906. Sixteen presidents have gotten in on the action. Only Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush have not.   read more
  • California Leads the Nation in Homeless School Children

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014
    One out of every five K-12 students nationally who experienced homelessness in the 2012-2013 school year lived in California, according to a study by the California Homeless Youth Project. Those 270,000 students represent a 22.3% increase from just two years before. The 4% rate of homeless public school students in California is twice the national average and growing.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • State Senate President Pro Tempore: Who Is Kevin de León?

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    The first Latino elected leader of the California state Senate since Reginaldo Francisco Del Valle in 1883, Democrat Kevin de León took over for the job of Senate Pro Tempore from Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) on Wednesday. The former political activist and community organizer was a leader of the huge 1994 march in Los Angeles that protested the passage of Prop. 187.   read more
  • Embattled PUC President Peevey Leaving under Fire in December

    Friday, October 10, 2014
    Despite years of controversy at the PUC, the former president of Southern California Edison Company was considered likely to be reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown. But the release of questionable e-mails during a court proceeding over the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion highlighted an overly cozy relationship with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) and specifically called into question some of his actions.   read more
  • Embattled State Fair Employment and Housing Director Resigns

    Monday, October 06, 2014
    DFEH is the largest state civil rights agency in the country. But its authority and resources have been diminished over the years. The Oversight Office found the agency was underfunded, demoralized, had a crummy computer system and was in direct conflict with the federal government. “DFEH nearly destroyed a 19-year relationship with the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] by directing necessary resources away from housing discrimination investigations,” the report said.   read more

Unusual News

  • Customer Sues Comcast, Claims Company Got Him Fired after Complaint about Bill

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    O’Rourke claims he was overcharged for services, denied free premium services he had been promised and eventually sent equipment he didn’t order, for which he was charged $2,000 after signing up for Comcast television and Internet service in February 2013. O'Rourke said in his lawsuit that his employer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, fired him after a top Comcast executive called to complain about his complaining.   read more
  • Report Says Bay Area Earthquake Faults Are “Locked and Loaded”

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    Scientists believe that there is almost certainly going to be a big quake in California within the next 30 years, but have usually considered the state’s southern portion as being most at risk. The new study bears down on the northern half. The analysis predicts a 70% likelihood that one of the four faults, segments of the 800-mile San Andreas Fault, will rupture within the next 30 years. And by “the next 30 years,” they mean it could happen tomorrow.   read more
  • Atheist Parolee, Jailed for Refusing Religious Rehab, Wins Nearly $2 Million

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    Hazle’s attorney announced they had settled his lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and a substance abuse treatment firm a year after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court had screwed up. "The state defendants violated his constitutional rights," the court ruled. "We are aware of no cases in which we have affirmed a zero-damages verdict when, as here, the existence of actual injury was indisputable.”   read more
  • Prisoners with Hepatitis C Can't Get Expensive Drug that Actually Works

    Friday, October 24, 2014
    The drug costs $1,000 a day, or $84,000 for a full regimen of treatment for a single patient. That works out to $1.43 billion if administered to all infected state prisoners. A study out of Stanford University says that might be a reasonable price to pay, considering the longterm cost of administering less effective drugs. But corrections officials, and probably a lot of taxpayers, say that's not going to happen   read more
  • California Offshore Oil Rigs Are the World’s Best Fisheries

    Friday, October 24, 2014
    The report found that active rigs along the coast were the best fisheries of any marine habitat studied (in scientific lingo) by an order of magnitude. That would be 10 times better than the next best competitor. The scientists attributed the popularity of the rigs to their verticality. Rockfish, for instance, tend to seek greater depths as they age, and oil and gas rigs offered the prospect of never having to move to a new locale.   read more
  • Lawsuit Derails Oil Shipments by Train for the First Time in California

    Thursday, October 23, 2014
    The suit sought a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The air quality district asked for the permit back after Earthjustice filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of the Sierra Club. The suit claimed that the district failed to consider the potential risk to public health and safety posed by shipping the crude in outdated tanker cars along aging rails to within seven miles of the state capital   read more
  • Murder Suspects Walk Because of Secret Jailhouse Informant Program

    Thursday, October 23, 2014
    The judge said the prosecutor’s office repeatedly engaged in misconduct and showed a “cavalier attitude toward the constitutionally-required Brady procedure” in the case of mass murderer Scott Evans Dekraai. That attitude was “patently inappropriate and legally inadequate.” Fallout from the Dekraai case was immediate.   read more
  • Director of the Department of Human Resources: Who Is Richard Gillihan?

    Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Career public servant Richard Gillihan has been the acting director since Julie Chapman stepped down in February. Gillihan was a top official in the Department of Finance when Brown appointed him acting director at CalHR almost to the day that the independent Little Hoover Commission released a scathing report about the agency.   read more

Top Stories

  • Federal Judge Rejects New S.F. Law Meant to Curb Evictions

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    Judge Breyer acknowledged “the severity of the housing crisis” but said the law would prevent some landlords from changing the use of their property, which he deemed a “per se taking” by the government of private property without just compensation. He said landlords were being made “to pay for a broad public problem not of their making.”   read more
  • State Supreme Court Limits Liability for Medical Data Breaches

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    If the unencrypted medical records of 4 million people vanish with a stolen desktop computer, has there really been a security breach? Sutter said unless there was proof that the files had been read, there had been no breach of confidentiality. A Superior Court disagreed but was overruled by an appellate court. Last week the California Supreme Court issued a one-line statement that it would not get involved.   read more
  • State Reports Show Exide Leaking Hazardous Waste Far from Its Vernon Home

    Monday, October 20, 2014
    A CBS Los Angeles investigation uncovered public documents from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) that indicate trucks leaving the plant are leaking their toxic materials onto streets and sidewalks, which would invariably lead to them being washed into the Los Angeles River via storm drains. DTSC Chief of Enforcement Paul Kewin told CBS it was apparent the leaks had been going on for a long time and said, “I can’t explain how that got past us.”   read more

Controversies

  • Drought Doesn’t Justify Seizing Medical Marijuana Plants without a Warrant

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    In two weeks, Lake County voters will decide if they want to loosen up, or even eliminate, the restrictive medical marijuana ordinance they passed in June. For now, the county sheriff will have to stop enforcing that ordinance illegally. Judge Henderson did not buy the county’s argument that the three-year drought constituted an emergency that warranted not seeking a warrant. Marijuana needs a lot of water.   read more
  • Asbestos in 3 Schools Puts 1,700 Students on the Bus

    Monday, October 20, 2014
    Eleven schools in the Ocean View school district have been undergoing remodeling work, and tests found trace amounts of asbestos fibers in three. Construction has been halted at all the schools, but parents and teachers wonder if asbestos removal was underway while students were in the classroom. That would be a common sense no-no and a violation of state law.   read more
  • Union Foe Prime Healthcare Wants to Buy Six More California Hospitals

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is not happy. “We are not going to roll over and risk watching Prime Healthcare cut services, raise prices and lay off caregivers like they've done in so many other communities in California and other states,” Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, said on the union’s website.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Orange County Drivers Signing up for 17 Extra Years of Road Tolls

    Monday, October 20, 2014
    The corridor, which parallels the I-5, the I-405 and the Pacific Ocean, has been plagued by awful revenue and ridership projections from the start. Last week, the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency agreed to refinance the debt for a second time, raising the total amount owed, and keep tolls around until 2050.   read more
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian, Once a Force on the Left, Shuts Down

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    In its day, the newspaper was the social conscience of San Francisco with a strong focus on local news and a hearty appetite for muckraking. It was fierce in its defense of the underclass and its criticism of moneyed interests that perpetuated social injustice. It was one of the great alternative weeklies in the '60s and '70s when every city seemed to have a good one, but they have all but vanished.   read more
  • Covered California Handed out $184 Million in No-Bid Health Contracts

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    AP reviewed contracting records obtained via the state Public Records Act which showed $4.2 million of the contracts went to the Tori Group, a consulting firm with strong ties to CC Director Peter Lee. Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group promoting health insurance reform measure Prop. 45 on the November ballot, fired off a letter to the attorney general demanding an investigation. “This isn't about speed,” Watchdog president Jamie Court told the Sacramento Bee, “this is about being opaque."   read more

California and the Nation

  • Furniture Chain Pays Millions for Spying with Rented Computers

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    Georgia-based Aaron’s Furniture, with around 75 outlets in California, agreed to put up $25 million as reimbursement for an estimated 100,000 customers. The company will also pay the state $3.4 million in civil penalties and fees. The program logged keystrokes, captured screen shots and used a computer’s camera to take photographs. The information included passwords, medical records, Social Security numbers, financial information and pictures of the family in their most private moments.   read more
  • “Tyrant” Obama, in California, Declared National Monument, Like 15 other Presidents

    Monday, October 13, 2014
    Online conservative websites lit up with complaints. “The damage this tyrant is causing America is incalculable,” one typical critic wrote. Presidents have named 110 national monuments, although not all of them retain the designation to this day. Republican President Teddy Roosevelt was the first in 1906. Sixteen presidents have gotten in on the action. Only Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush have not.   read more
  • California Leads the Nation in Homeless School Children

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014
    One out of every five K-12 students nationally who experienced homelessness in the 2012-2013 school year lived in California, according to a study by the California Homeless Youth Project. Those 270,000 students represent a 22.3% increase from just two years before. The 4% rate of homeless public school students in California is twice the national average and growing.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • State Senate President Pro Tempore: Who Is Kevin de León?

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    The first Latino elected leader of the California state Senate since Reginaldo Francisco Del Valle in 1883, Democrat Kevin de León took over for the job of Senate Pro Tempore from Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) on Wednesday. The former political activist and community organizer was a leader of the huge 1994 march in Los Angeles that protested the passage of Prop. 187.   read more
  • Embattled PUC President Peevey Leaving under Fire in December

    Friday, October 10, 2014
    Despite years of controversy at the PUC, the former president of Southern California Edison Company was considered likely to be reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown. But the release of questionable e-mails during a court proceeding over the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion highlighted an overly cozy relationship with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) and specifically called into question some of his actions.   read more
  • Embattled State Fair Employment and Housing Director Resigns

    Monday, October 06, 2014
    DFEH is the largest state civil rights agency in the country. But its authority and resources have been diminished over the years. The Oversight Office found the agency was underfunded, demoralized, had a crummy computer system and was in direct conflict with the federal government. “DFEH nearly destroyed a 19-year relationship with the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] by directing necessary resources away from housing discrimination investigations,” the report said.   read more

Unusual News

  • Customer Sues Comcast, Claims Company Got Him Fired after Complaint about Bill

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    O’Rourke claims he was overcharged for services, denied free premium services he had been promised and eventually sent equipment he didn’t order, for which he was charged $2,000 after signing up for Comcast television and Internet service in February 2013. O'Rourke said in his lawsuit that his employer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, fired him after a top Comcast executive called to complain about his complaining.   read more
  • Report Says Bay Area Earthquake Faults Are “Locked and Loaded”

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    Scientists believe that there is almost certainly going to be a big quake in California within the next 30 years, but have usually considered the state’s southern portion as being most at risk. The new study bears down on the northern half. The analysis predicts a 70% likelihood that one of the four faults, segments of the 800-mile San Andreas Fault, will rupture within the next 30 years. And by “the next 30 years,” they mean it could happen tomorrow.   read more
  • Atheist Parolee, Jailed for Refusing Religious Rehab, Wins Nearly $2 Million

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    Hazle’s attorney announced they had settled his lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and a substance abuse treatment firm a year after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court had screwed up. "The state defendants violated his constitutional rights," the court ruled. "We are aware of no cases in which we have affirmed a zero-damages verdict when, as here, the existence of actual injury was indisputable.”   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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