Portal

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

PHOTO GALLERY

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

Top Stories

  • Covered California Kicking 10,474 People Off Rolls over Citizenship

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee acknowledged that many of those being sent notices of deficiency may not actually be culpable. “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
  • Frackers Dump 3 Billion Gallons of Dangerous Wastewater into Aquifers

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) reviewed state documents that report at least nine of the wells, used to dispose of water loaded with noxious chemicals and materials extracted using hydraulic fracturing (fracking), contributed to the illegal disposal of 3 billion gallons of dangerous wastewater into Central Valley aquifers. Another 19 injection wells may also have contaminated aquifers, the state said.   read more
  • Watchdog Says LAPD Used “Ghost Cars” to Fake Patrols

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    An internal report by the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) found ghost patrols “during multiple shifts at different times of day, involved officers of differing ranks, and was carried out differently depending on who was involved and where they were assigned.” Supervisors or other people assigned to a desk were logged in as on patrol. The patrol cars they were allegedly driving were parked at the stations.   read more

Controversies

  • 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
  • Armed Tribal Factions Square off Inside Their Casino

    Monday, October 13, 2014
    Around 10 armed members of the Tex McDonald tribal council took over the Chukchansi gaming commission office in the casino complex, controlled for the past month by the Reggie Lewis/Nancy Ayala faction. The McDonald faction said they were looking for, but did not find, critical audits of the gaming operation. At its core is a fight over who truly deserves to be considered a member of the tribe and share in its investments.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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 Gets a Piece of AT&T Wireless-Cramming Settlement

    Friday, October 10, 2014
    After years of sticking charges on people’s wireless devices for services they never asked for and refusing to remove them, AT&T reached a settlement with 50 state attorneys general and the federal government not to do that anymore. Oh, and they coughed up $105 million, 0.32% of AT&T’s 2nd-quarter earnings of $32.6 billion.   read more

California and the Nation

  • “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
  • California Can Ban Eggs from States that Keep Chickens too Cooped Up

    Tuesday, October 07, 2014
    U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller, in Sacramento, dismissed the case after ruling that the attorneys general for the states—Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa—had no standing because they represented the interests of egg farmers, rather than the people of the states. Mueller conceded that some of the producers could take a financial hit, but consumers in general might actually see a decrease in their prices.   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

  • 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
  • How Did Missing, Ripped-Off Elderly L.A. Woman Turn Up in Maine Shack 4 Years Later?

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    The trio that towed 89-year-old Sarah Cheiker across country and left her in a crummy Maine cabin never did jail time and no one ever definitively figured out how her home in Los Angeles was sold to pay for the three-year odyssey, according to Bob Pool, who spun the tale at the Los Angeles Times over the weekend. And there are no indications anyone will.   read more
  • U.S. “Kleptocracy Initiative” Swoops Down on African Official Living in Malibu

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014
    The government accused the son of amassing assets worth $300 million on an annual salary of less than $100,000 “through corruption and money laundering, in violation of both Equatoguinean and U.S. law.” The government did not get all of the son’s loot. The Los Angeles Times said he managed to ship half his property out of the U.S., including a Bentley, a Bugatti, a Rolls Royce and Jackson’s $275,000 white glove from the “Bad” tour.   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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Top Stories

  • Covered California Kicking 10,474 People Off Rolls over Citizenship

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee acknowledged that many of those being sent notices of deficiency may not actually be culpable. “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
  • Frackers Dump 3 Billion Gallons of Dangerous Wastewater into Aquifers

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) reviewed state documents that report at least nine of the wells, used to dispose of water loaded with noxious chemicals and materials extracted using hydraulic fracturing (fracking), contributed to the illegal disposal of 3 billion gallons of dangerous wastewater into Central Valley aquifers. Another 19 injection wells may also have contaminated aquifers, the state said.   read more
  • Watchdog Says LAPD Used “Ghost Cars” to Fake Patrols

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    An internal report by the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) found ghost patrols “during multiple shifts at different times of day, involved officers of differing ranks, and was carried out differently depending on who was involved and where they were assigned.” Supervisors or other people assigned to a desk were logged in as on patrol. The patrol cars they were allegedly driving were parked at the stations.   read more

Controversies

  • 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
  • Armed Tribal Factions Square off Inside Their Casino

    Monday, October 13, 2014
    Around 10 armed members of the Tex McDonald tribal council took over the Chukchansi gaming commission office in the casino complex, controlled for the past month by the Reggie Lewis/Nancy Ayala faction. The McDonald faction said they were looking for, but did not find, critical audits of the gaming operation. At its core is a fight over who truly deserves to be considered a member of the tribe and share in its investments.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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 Gets a Piece of AT&T Wireless-Cramming Settlement

    Friday, October 10, 2014
    After years of sticking charges on people’s wireless devices for services they never asked for and refusing to remove them, AT&T reached a settlement with 50 state attorneys general and the federal government not to do that anymore. Oh, and they coughed up $105 million, 0.32% of AT&T’s 2nd-quarter earnings of $32.6 billion.   read more

California and the Nation

  • “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
  • California Can Ban Eggs from States that Keep Chickens too Cooped Up

    Tuesday, October 07, 2014
    U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller, in Sacramento, dismissed the case after ruling that the attorneys general for the states—Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa—had no standing because they represented the interests of egg farmers, rather than the people of the states. Mueller conceded that some of the producers could take a financial hit, but consumers in general might actually see a decrease in their prices.   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

  • 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
  • How Did Missing, Ripped-Off Elderly L.A. Woman Turn Up in Maine Shack 4 Years Later?

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    The trio that towed 89-year-old Sarah Cheiker across country and left her in a crummy Maine cabin never did jail time and no one ever definitively figured out how her home in Los Angeles was sold to pay for the three-year odyssey, according to Bob Pool, who spun the tale at the Los Angeles Times over the weekend. And there are no indications anyone will.   read more
  • U.S. “Kleptocracy Initiative” Swoops Down on African Official Living in Malibu

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014
    The government accused the son of amassing assets worth $300 million on an annual salary of less than $100,000 “through corruption and money laundering, in violation of both Equatoguinean and U.S. law.” The government did not get all of the son’s loot. The Los Angeles Times said he managed to ship half his property out of the U.S., including a Bentley, a Bugatti, a Rolls Royce and Jackson’s $275,000 white glove from the “Bad” tour.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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