Portal

  • Study Links California Quakes to Oil Operations

    Thursday, February 11, 2016
    The research links a local surge in injection by oil companies of wastewater underground with an unusual jump in seismic activity in and around the Tejon Oilfield in southern Kern County. The shaking topped out in 2005 with three quakes, the biggest magnitude 4.6.. Researchers calculated the odds of that happening naturally, independent of the oilfield operations, at just 3%. In Oklahoma and other states, the U.S. Geological Survey linked oilfield operations with a dramatic surge in earthquakes.   read more
  • Santa Barbara Allows Exxon Mobil to Move 17 Million Gallons of Oil by Truck; Environmentalists’ Response Mixed

    Tuesday, February 09, 2016
    Santa Barbara County has long frowned on transporting crude by truck. Kristen Monsell of the Center for Biological Diversity called the decision a "dangerous exception." The county's ruling puts people and the environment at risk of "fiery accidents or another devastating oil spill," she said. But Linda Krop, counsel for the Environmental Defense Center, said they agreed with the decision. "The risks of leaving the oil in the tanks clearly outweighs any concerns about the trucks," she said.   read more
  • Alleged Customer Gas Bill Increases During Porter Ranch Leak Trigger Call for Investigation

    Monday, February 08, 2016
    Englander said that officials across LA have received calls from SoCalGas customers about "abnormally high bills," and linked the rate increases to the leak at the company's gas storage facility. "This bill-spiking comes at a time when SoCalGas is experiencing a major disaster at its Aliso Canyon facility," said Englander. "I am simply not buying that these two incidents are not related. It appears that the entire Los Angeles basin is now feeling the effects of the Aliso Canyon gas leak."   read more
  • Vatican Insists Pope “Is Not an Actor” after L.A. Film Studio Announces Pontiff Will Play Himself in New Movie

    Thursday, February 04, 2016
    Vatican Radio disputed the press release claiming that Francis would "play himself" in the film "Beyond the Sun." The press release was accompanied by photos of the pope with the filmmakers. Vigano's reaction to the announcement was a clear sign that the Vatican didn't appreciate the hype. But Francis has been known to go his own way on several occasions. It was suggested the filmmakers might have shot scenes with the Pope in the privacy of his hotel reception rooms.   read more
  • L.A. Prosecutors File Criminal Charges Against SoCal Gas

    Wednesday, February 03, 2016
    District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the charges aren't a solution to the problem, but Southern California Gas Co. needs to be held responsible for the leak that has uprooted more than 4,400 families. The charges came the same day the state attorney general joined a long line of others in suing the gas company for the blowout that has spewed more than 2 million tons of climate-changing methane since October. U.S. senators want the secretary of energy to investigate the leak.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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

Top Stories

  • State Bills Target Child Sex Trafficking in Key Cities

    Tuesday, February 02, 2016
    The bills would generate temporary housing and mental health services for children rescued from the underground industry. Toni Atkins called human trafficking "modern day slavery" and said the crime is spiking in many of California's largest cities. "According to the FBI, the San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas comprise three of the nation's 13 areas of 'high-intensity' child sex trafficking exploitation in the country," the San Diego Democrat said.   read more
  • Lawsuit Settlement Leads to Pause in Fed’s Offshore Santa Barbara Fracking

    Monday, February 01, 2016
    The lawsuit challenged what it said was the Interior Department's practice of rubber-stamping fracking off California's coast without engaging the public or analyzing fracking's threats to ocean ecosystems and coastal communities. The settlement reached on Friday prohibits officials from authorizing fracking practices in federal waters until the Interior Department completes an environmental review. The settlement could potentially affect oversight of all federally permitted offshore fracking.   read more
  • California Narrowly Upholds Key Policy for Solar Growth

    Sunday, January 31, 2016
    Homeowners with solar panels cheer net metering as it lowers their power bills. But it has been criticized by utilities for rewarding solar users while leaving others to shoulder the cost of maintaining the electricity grid. The Commission said it was difficult to support the growth of rooftop solar while making sure solar customers pay their fair share. The decision was being watched by states working to integrate larger amounts of rooftop solar onto their power grids.   read more

Controversies

  • Paralyzed Man—Shot in the Back by San Jose Cop—Awarded Record $11.3 Million

    Wednesday, December 23, 2015
    The award in the civil rights lawsuit is more than double San Jose’s previous largest payout. Lam has been a wheelchair-bound paraplegic since being shot in January 2014 during a domestic dispute at home with his boyfriend. Someone called the police and reported a man was acting as if he were having a mental breakdown. Lam was standing with a knife pointed at his own stomach and no one else around when an officer shot him in the back twice.   read more
  • Republican Blows up His Own Long-Sought Klamath River Agreement

    Monday, December 21, 2015
    After years of intractable acrimony over how to manage the Klamath River in Northern California and Southern Oregon, all the warring parties reached an accord last year to take down four dams. But last week, it was reported that legislation had been submitted by Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), a supporter of the agreement from the Upper Klamath Basin and the House’s third-most-powerful member, that would probably wreck it.   read more
  • Top O.C. Judge and D.A. Square Off over Treatment of Another Judge

    Monday, December 21, 2015
    The judge was removed from 46 of 49 cases between February 2014 and September 2015 in a practice known as “papering the judge.” O.C.’s Supervising Superior Court Judge Richard King is not fond of the practice and on December 3 rejected the request to disqualify Goethals from a murder case, People v. Tejeda, in a scathing 49-page ruling.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Labor Board Tells San Diego Pension Cuts Were Illegal; Could Cost $100 Million

    Thursday, December 31, 2015
    The state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) said the city should have talked to unions first before ripping up their contracts at the ballot box. Prop. B substituted a 401(k) for a pension for most new city hires, excluding police officers. Those public safety workers still get a pension, but it will max out at 80% of the individual’s salary, not the current 90%.   read more
  • State Tells L.A. Port Firm It Can't Pretend Driver Employees Are Contractors

    Monday, December 28, 2015
    Commissioner Julie Su awarded the short-haul drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation $6.9 million in a case that could have ramifications for hundreds of other drivers in similar situations. They do the work of employees, under the direction of the company, but don’t receive benefits, aren’t covered by overtime laws, have to pay both employee and employer ends of withholding taxes, aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance, and lack job security.   read more
  • Comcast Agrees to Pay $26 Million for Privacy Breach and Hazardous Waste Dumping

    Thursday, December 17, 2015
    Comcast was accused of dumping personal records in landfills since 2005 without any shredding or redaction of sensitive information, including customer names, addresses and telephone numbers. The complaint was filed after a whistleblower came forward in 2010.   read more

California and the Nation

  • California Still Ships Troubled Kids Out of State

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    ProPublica estimated that at least 900 youthful miscreants were stashed outside California in 2015, mostly in Utah. Local school districts provided the most kids, 600. County probation departments accounted for around 235 and child welfare agencies supplied another 52. ProPublica saw “signs that California has a limited ability to guarantee the health and welfare of the children it sends beyond its borders.”   read more
  • Disneyland-Bound Muslim Family of 11 Barred at London Airport Gate

    Thursday, December 24, 2015
    No story of the family’s plight failed to mention Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Stella Creasy, a Labor Party member in the British Parliament, told NPR, “U.K. Muslims believe they are ‘being Trumped,’ ” referring to his declaration a couple weeks ago that if elected President he would, at least temporarily, stop all entry of Muslims into the country.   read more
  • California Regains Top Spot on Conservative List of “Judicial Hellholes”

    Tuesday, December 22, 2015
    The foundation did not rely solely on California’s accomplishments in the area of lead abatement in reaching its decision. “California is the epicenter for lawyers trolling to bring disability access lawsuits against small businesses and ridiculous class action lawsuits against food and beverage companies,” the report said. “Certain areas of the state are also a hotbed for asbestos litigation.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation : Who Is Scott Kernan?

    Wednesday, December 30, 2015
    Kernan grew up in San Quentin. His mother worked at the prison in his youth, and he spent around 10 of his formative years living on the grounds. He started out as a guard, worked his way up to warden and then joined the insiders running the department during tumultuous times. He was the Number 2 guy when he retired and became a consultant four years ago. Now he's back.   read more
  • Influential Assemblyman Quitting to Join Pharmaceutical Lobbyists

    Friday, December 25, 2015
    Fresno Democrat Perea, 38, will be a senior director of state advocacy for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). That didn’t come as a huge shock to the Sacramento Bee, which noted when Perea announced his impending resignation that he was one of the top beneficiaries of Big Pharma contributions in 2013 and 2014 and a possible candidate for a job there.   read more
  • California’s Chief Oil and Gas Regulator Resigns

    Thursday, December 03, 2015
    Bohlen told the Chronicle the agency had “turned a corner” and the “future looks very bright.” Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, did not agree. He said in a statement that DOGGR was still “far too close to the industry it is supposed to regulate. . . . The next supervisor must address Californians’ concerns about water contamination and safety risks from drilling and fracking.”   read more

Unusual News

  • Can We Make Lawmakers Wear Donor Logos like NASCAR Ads?

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    Republican Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist/real estate mogul John Cox has proposed a ballot initiative for November 2016, California Is Not for Sale, which would require lawmakers to wear logos of their Top 10 contributors and include them on any advertising. The initiative is a response to the growing role of money in politics unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.   read more
  • Coercive or Punitive? Orange County Man Jailed 5 Years for Contempt of Court

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015
    The court ordered Nazarzai to account for all his assets and Nazarzai said he had $370,540 at an unidentified location. He was ordered to produce it by July 2, 2010, but did not. Instead, he offered a fanciful story of how the money came to be missing. The judge wrote: "I find beyond a reasonable doubt that the cash was not in the car and never was placed into it for delivery.” Nazarzai was found to be in contempt of court.   read more
  • Giant African Snails Pay Unwanted Call on Port of Oakland

    Monday, December 21, 2015
    Two of the monstrously large creatures (8 inches long, 5 inches wide) were found on wooden pallets from American Samoa at the Port of Oakland this month, raising the spectre of a voracious pest with no known predators set loose upon California which, in the words of the Chronicle, “eats crops and homes.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said this is the second time in two months, snails have been found at the port.   read more
  • Study Links California Quakes to Oil Operations

    Thursday, February 11, 2016
    The research links a local surge in injection by oil companies of wastewater underground with an unusual jump in seismic activity in and around the Tejon Oilfield in southern Kern County. The shaking topped out in 2005 with three quakes, the biggest magnitude 4.6.. Researchers calculated the odds of that happening naturally, independent of the oilfield operations, at just 3%. In Oklahoma and other states, the U.S. Geological Survey linked oilfield operations with a dramatic surge in earthquakes.   read more
  • Santa Barbara Allows Exxon Mobil to Move 17 Million Gallons of Oil by Truck; Environmentalists’ Response Mixed

    Tuesday, February 09, 2016
    Santa Barbara County has long frowned on transporting crude by truck. Kristen Monsell of the Center for Biological Diversity called the decision a "dangerous exception." The county's ruling puts people and the environment at risk of "fiery accidents or another devastating oil spill," she said. But Linda Krop, counsel for the Environmental Defense Center, said they agreed with the decision. "The risks of leaving the oil in the tanks clearly outweighs any concerns about the trucks," she said.   read more
  • Alleged Customer Gas Bill Increases During Porter Ranch Leak Trigger Call for Investigation

    Monday, February 08, 2016
    Englander said that officials across LA have received calls from SoCalGas customers about "abnormally high bills," and linked the rate increases to the leak at the company's gas storage facility. "This bill-spiking comes at a time when SoCalGas is experiencing a major disaster at its Aliso Canyon facility," said Englander. "I am simply not buying that these two incidents are not related. It appears that the entire Los Angeles basin is now feeling the effects of the Aliso Canyon gas leak."   read more
  • Vatican Insists Pope “Is Not an Actor” after L.A. Film Studio Announces Pontiff Will Play Himself in New Movie

    Thursday, February 04, 2016
    Vatican Radio disputed the press release claiming that Francis would "play himself" in the film "Beyond the Sun." The press release was accompanied by photos of the pope with the filmmakers. Vigano's reaction to the announcement was a clear sign that the Vatican didn't appreciate the hype. But Francis has been known to go his own way on several occasions. It was suggested the filmmakers might have shot scenes with the Pope in the privacy of his hotel reception rooms.   read more
  • L.A. Prosecutors File Criminal Charges Against SoCal Gas

    Wednesday, February 03, 2016
    District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the charges aren't a solution to the problem, but Southern California Gas Co. needs to be held responsible for the leak that has uprooted more than 4,400 families. The charges came the same day the state attorney general joined a long line of others in suing the gas company for the blowout that has spewed more than 2 million tons of climate-changing methane since October. U.S. senators want the secretary of energy to investigate the leak.   read more

Top Stories

  • State Bills Target Child Sex Trafficking in Key Cities

    Tuesday, February 02, 2016
    The bills would generate temporary housing and mental health services for children rescued from the underground industry. Toni Atkins called human trafficking "modern day slavery" and said the crime is spiking in many of California's largest cities. "According to the FBI, the San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas comprise three of the nation's 13 areas of 'high-intensity' child sex trafficking exploitation in the country," the San Diego Democrat said.   read more
  • Lawsuit Settlement Leads to Pause in Fed’s Offshore Santa Barbara Fracking

    Monday, February 01, 2016
    The lawsuit challenged what it said was the Interior Department's practice of rubber-stamping fracking off California's coast without engaging the public or analyzing fracking's threats to ocean ecosystems and coastal communities. The settlement reached on Friday prohibits officials from authorizing fracking practices in federal waters until the Interior Department completes an environmental review. The settlement could potentially affect oversight of all federally permitted offshore fracking.   read more
  • California Narrowly Upholds Key Policy for Solar Growth

    Sunday, January 31, 2016
    Homeowners with solar panels cheer net metering as it lowers their power bills. But it has been criticized by utilities for rewarding solar users while leaving others to shoulder the cost of maintaining the electricity grid. The Commission said it was difficult to support the growth of rooftop solar while making sure solar customers pay their fair share. The decision was being watched by states working to integrate larger amounts of rooftop solar onto their power grids.   read more

Controversies

  • Paralyzed Man—Shot in the Back by San Jose Cop—Awarded Record $11.3 Million

    Wednesday, December 23, 2015
    The award in the civil rights lawsuit is more than double San Jose’s previous largest payout. Lam has been a wheelchair-bound paraplegic since being shot in January 2014 during a domestic dispute at home with his boyfriend. Someone called the police and reported a man was acting as if he were having a mental breakdown. Lam was standing with a knife pointed at his own stomach and no one else around when an officer shot him in the back twice.   read more
  • Republican Blows up His Own Long-Sought Klamath River Agreement

    Monday, December 21, 2015
    After years of intractable acrimony over how to manage the Klamath River in Northern California and Southern Oregon, all the warring parties reached an accord last year to take down four dams. But last week, it was reported that legislation had been submitted by Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), a supporter of the agreement from the Upper Klamath Basin and the House’s third-most-powerful member, that would probably wreck it.   read more
  • Top O.C. Judge and D.A. Square Off over Treatment of Another Judge

    Monday, December 21, 2015
    The judge was removed from 46 of 49 cases between February 2014 and September 2015 in a practice known as “papering the judge.” O.C.’s Supervising Superior Court Judge Richard King is not fond of the practice and on December 3 rejected the request to disqualify Goethals from a murder case, People v. Tejeda, in a scathing 49-page ruling.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Labor Board Tells San Diego Pension Cuts Were Illegal; Could Cost $100 Million

    Thursday, December 31, 2015
    The state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) said the city should have talked to unions first before ripping up their contracts at the ballot box. Prop. B substituted a 401(k) for a pension for most new city hires, excluding police officers. Those public safety workers still get a pension, but it will max out at 80% of the individual’s salary, not the current 90%.   read more
  • State Tells L.A. Port Firm It Can't Pretend Driver Employees Are Contractors

    Monday, December 28, 2015
    Commissioner Julie Su awarded the short-haul drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation $6.9 million in a case that could have ramifications for hundreds of other drivers in similar situations. They do the work of employees, under the direction of the company, but don’t receive benefits, aren’t covered by overtime laws, have to pay both employee and employer ends of withholding taxes, aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance, and lack job security.   read more
  • Comcast Agrees to Pay $26 Million for Privacy Breach and Hazardous Waste Dumping

    Thursday, December 17, 2015
    Comcast was accused of dumping personal records in landfills since 2005 without any shredding or redaction of sensitive information, including customer names, addresses and telephone numbers. The complaint was filed after a whistleblower came forward in 2010.   read more

California and the Nation

  • California Still Ships Troubled Kids Out of State

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    ProPublica estimated that at least 900 youthful miscreants were stashed outside California in 2015, mostly in Utah. Local school districts provided the most kids, 600. County probation departments accounted for around 235 and child welfare agencies supplied another 52. ProPublica saw “signs that California has a limited ability to guarantee the health and welfare of the children it sends beyond its borders.”   read more
  • Disneyland-Bound Muslim Family of 11 Barred at London Airport Gate

    Thursday, December 24, 2015
    No story of the family’s plight failed to mention Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Stella Creasy, a Labor Party member in the British Parliament, told NPR, “U.K. Muslims believe they are ‘being Trumped,’ ” referring to his declaration a couple weeks ago that if elected President he would, at least temporarily, stop all entry of Muslims into the country.   read more
  • California Regains Top Spot on Conservative List of “Judicial Hellholes”

    Tuesday, December 22, 2015
    The foundation did not rely solely on California’s accomplishments in the area of lead abatement in reaching its decision. “California is the epicenter for lawyers trolling to bring disability access lawsuits against small businesses and ridiculous class action lawsuits against food and beverage companies,” the report said. “Certain areas of the state are also a hotbed for asbestos litigation.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation : Who Is Scott Kernan?

    Wednesday, December 30, 2015
    Kernan grew up in San Quentin. His mother worked at the prison in his youth, and he spent around 10 of his formative years living on the grounds. He started out as a guard, worked his way up to warden and then joined the insiders running the department during tumultuous times. He was the Number 2 guy when he retired and became a consultant four years ago. Now he's back.   read more
  • Influential Assemblyman Quitting to Join Pharmaceutical Lobbyists

    Friday, December 25, 2015
    Fresno Democrat Perea, 38, will be a senior director of state advocacy for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). That didn’t come as a huge shock to the Sacramento Bee, which noted when Perea announced his impending resignation that he was one of the top beneficiaries of Big Pharma contributions in 2013 and 2014 and a possible candidate for a job there.   read more
  • California’s Chief Oil and Gas Regulator Resigns

    Thursday, December 03, 2015
    Bohlen told the Chronicle the agency had “turned a corner” and the “future looks very bright.” Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, did not agree. He said in a statement that DOGGR was still “far too close to the industry it is supposed to regulate. . . . The next supervisor must address Californians’ concerns about water contamination and safety risks from drilling and fracking.”   read more

Unusual News

  • Can We Make Lawmakers Wear Donor Logos like NASCAR Ads?

    Friday, January 01, 2016
    Republican Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist/real estate mogul John Cox has proposed a ballot initiative for November 2016, California Is Not for Sale, which would require lawmakers to wear logos of their Top 10 contributors and include them on any advertising. The initiative is a response to the growing role of money in politics unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.   read more
  • Coercive or Punitive? Orange County Man Jailed 5 Years for Contempt of Court

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015
    The court ordered Nazarzai to account for all his assets and Nazarzai said he had $370,540 at an unidentified location. He was ordered to produce it by July 2, 2010, but did not. Instead, he offered a fanciful story of how the money came to be missing. The judge wrote: "I find beyond a reasonable doubt that the cash was not in the car and never was placed into it for delivery.” Nazarzai was found to be in contempt of court.   read more
  • Giant African Snails Pay Unwanted Call on Port of Oakland

    Monday, December 21, 2015
    Two of the monstrously large creatures (8 inches long, 5 inches wide) were found on wooden pallets from American Samoa at the Port of Oakland this month, raising the spectre of a voracious pest with no known predators set loose upon California which, in the words of the Chronicle, “eats crops and homes.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said this is the second time in two months, snails have been found at the port.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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