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California Community Foundation pledges $1 billion to L.A. County nonprofits
In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the California Community Foundation is pledging $1 billion to Los Angeles County's nonprofit organizations over the next decade. The funding announcement follows a survey that found L.A. County residents want to be involved in their communities but believe they don't have enough time or knowledge to help. In the USC Dornsife/California Community Foundation/Los Angeles Times poll, 49% of respondents said they were too busy or didn't have enough time to be involved; 39% said they weren't sure how to help. "Our commitment to L.A. County is very strong," said Antonia Hernandez, president and chief executive of the foundation. "For us, making that commitment of $1 billion over 10 years in a way gives a sense of stability and continuity and that we’re here for the long run to handle the difficult issues and challenges facing L.A. County." [Article]
by ALICE WALTON, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
L.A. County sheriff's official says he had no idea he was driving a stolen luxury car
A top-ranking Los Angeles County sheriff's official bought a stolen luxury sedan last year from the owner of a towing company that contracts with his agency, a Times investigation has found. Assistant Sheriff Michael Rothans paid $3,000 for the 2012 Audi A4, which had been seized by sheriff's deputies from a suspected gang member at a drunk-driving checkpoint. The Sheriff's Department launched an internal investigation last week after The Times questioned Rothans about his vehicle purchase. Rothans, the department's third-ranking official, said he had no idea he was driving a stolen car until more than a year after he purchased it from Lisa Vernola, a longtime friend who owns Vernola's Towing in Norwalk. [Article]
by CINDY CHANG, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
Gov. Brown signs bill opening door to tax increase for L.A. County transit
Los Angeles County voters may be asked to approve a half-cent increase in the sales tax for transportation projects to ease traffic gridlock as a result of a measure signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill allows the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to seek approval from voters for a tax increase to continue work done after the approval of Measure R in 2008 by 67% of voters. “If the voters agree, L.A. County can expand its transit system, address key highway needs around the county, bolster local transportation programs, and support sustainable development,’’ said Senate leader Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles), who authored SB 767. County voters previously approved three half-cent tax increases, in 1981, 1991 and 2008. De Leon cited a study by the Texas Transportation Institute in 2012 that estimated that Los Angeles car commuters are stuck in traffic an average of 61 hours per year, costing about $1,300 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. [Article]
by PATRICK McGREEVY, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
California coroners have issues with new assisted death law
A group representing county coroners in California says several problems need to be addressed in the new assisted-death law signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown. The measure allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients diagnosed with fewer than six months to live. “We have a lot of concerns about the language,” said Rocky Shaw, a supervising investigator for San Bernardino County and president of the California State Coroners Assn. “There are a lot of details to be worked out.” One is what to list on death certificates as the immediate cause of death. In the past, someone taking a lethal dose of drugs would be ruled a suicide, but the new law says that “death resulting from the self-administration of an aid-in-dying drug is not suicide.” Shaw said that leaves a question about how to classify such a death. Also unclear is “what we should do if a guy takes life-ending drugs and then goes to sit in a park to die, and we find him there,” Shaw said. [Article]
by PATRICK McGREEVY, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
Why are so many oil trains crashing? Track problems may be to blame
The only sign of trouble aboard a Norfolk Southern train, hauling roughly 9,000 tons of Canadian crude in western Pennsylvania last year, was a moderate sway in the locomotive as it entered a bend on the Kiskiminetas River. The first 66 cars had passed safely around the curve when the emergency brakes suddenly engaged, slamming the train to a stop. The conductor trudged back nearly a mile through newly fallen snow to see what happened. Twenty-one cars had derailed, one slamming through the wall of a nearby factory. Four tank cars were punctured, sending 4,300 gallons of crude pouring out of the tangled wreckage. The cause of the accident in North Vandergrift was identified as a failure in the rails — not aging or poorly maintained tracks, but a relatively new section laid less than a year earlier. [Article]
by RALPH VARTABEDIAN, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
Gov. Brown signs climate change bill to spur renewable energy, efficiency standards
California launched an ambitious effort Wednesday to expand renewable energy and increase energy efficiency, advancing Gov. Jerry Brown's plans for battling climate change. Brown signed the new goals into law at Griffith Observatory, where the panoramic view of smog across the Los Angeles Basin provided a reminder of the work to be done. Although the state's air quality has improved over the years, Brown said, more must be done to improve Californians' health, and the state must continue setting the standard for halting global warming. “We are talking about the big world of avoiding climate catastrophe, but we are talking about the immediate world of people living in Riverside, Los Angeles and other places,” Brown said. “This is big. It is big because it is global in scope, but it is also big because it is local in application.” Under the legislation, which builds upon standards already on the books, California will need to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030. At the same time, the state will need to double energy efficiency in homes, offices and factories. [Article]
by CHRIS MAGERIAN and JAVIER PANZAR, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
Lucy Jones, Southern California's 'earthquake lady,' wins 'Oscar' for government service
Lucy Jones, Southern California’s “earthquake lady” and a driving force behind Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s ambitious seismic safety plan, was awarded the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in Citizen Services, officials announced Wednesday. Often referred to as the "Oscars" of government service, the “Sammies” recognize federal workers who have made a notable impact in the United States and around the world. Judges considered nearly 500 nominations and selected eight winners out of 30 finalists. Jones, who joined the U.S. Geological Survey in 1983, is recognized across Southern California for her research and ability to explain earthquakes to the general public. Among her colleagues, she is known for turning complicated science into public action. She has built partnerships with local government, emergency managers, building officials, academic institutions and business interest groups. [Article]
by ROSANNA XIA, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
Column The Cadiz water scheme: How political juice kept a bad idea alive for years
It has never been a great idea to count Cadiz entirely out of the race to sell its costly water deal to the public, considering its long history of lining up powerful political friends. Yet it hasn't been a great idea to bet on the company either, since its stock, after spending a few quarters around the turn of the century in the $200+ stratosphere, more recently has been snuggled down in the single-digit cellar. But it now looks as though Cadiz has run out its string. The Dept. of the Interior may have put the final kibosh on the firm's always-questionable plan to pump groundwater out of the Mojave Desert and deliver it via a 35-mile pipeline to the Colorado Aqueduct, and thence to Southern California. Specifically, the agency last week nixed Cadiz's proposal to escape environmental review by running its desert pipeline over existing railroad rights-of-way. The agency's Bureau of Land Management said the project would still require environmental review, which may be tantamount to a death sentence. Cadiz's CEO, a water attorney named Scott Slater, vowed to "press on," but he'll be marching along a very long trail. Cadiz shares closed Wednesday at $4.01, down nearly 50% from Friday, before the BLM action was made public. [Article]
by MICHAEL HILTZIK, Los Angeles Times. 2015-10-08
A good plan on immigration, Los Angeles County jails — with pitfalls
Anti-illegal-immigration hawks scored a modest victory late last month when Sheriff Jim McDonnell unveiled new guidelines under which the Los Angeles County jails will cooperate with federal agents. But as with everything in an area of public policy made more complicated by Washington’s failure to reform immigration laws, the devil is in the unintended consequences. As McDonnell tries to balance competing political pressures and opposing views of what’s best for public safety, he must heed the legitimate concerns of immigrant advocates. This year has seen big developments in the immigration debate nationally and regionally. Nationally, advocates for tighter immigration laws were fired up by Donald Trump’s campaign and by the July 1 shooting death of a young woman in San Francisco allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who’d been released from jail in that so-called “sanctuary city” despite having been deported five times. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Los Angeles Daily News. 2015-10-08
Why Whittier is having a symposium to address homeless population
WHITTIER >> An alarming increase in Whittier’s homeless population has prompted city and community leaders to come together to seek new solutions at a symposium set for Saturday. The number of homeless in Los Angeles County and Whittier each has increased by about 12 percent over the last two years, said Ted Knoll, interim executive director for Whittier First Day Coalition, which operates a homeless shelter in Whittier. Knoll attributes the increase in homeless, at least in Whittier, to increasing rents and loss of housing, such as the Village Inn and the Bright Hotel, and the closure of the Salvation Army shelter during the last four years. [Article]
by MIKE SPRAGUE, Whittier Daily News. 2015-10-08
Editorial: LA should focus on rehabilitative programs to alleviate homelessness
Los Angeles city officials declared a “state of emergency” and a corresponding $100 million investment in September to address homelessness with a bit more fanfare than the sum probably deserved. To be sure, homelessness in Los Angeles is certainly a state of emergency, with more than 44,000 people at last count living without permanent housing. A majority of these people are on the streets instead of in shelters, and with the annual funding for law enforcement dwarfing rehabilitative resources, it seems that the problem will persist. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Daily Nexus. 2015-10-08
The emergency shelter that a community built
In the 1980s, community leaders in Orange County realized that the area’s abused and neglected children needed a safe shelter whose doors were always open. Thirty years later, Orangewood Children and Family Center is a national leader in the compassionate and comprehensive assessment, intervention, care, shelter and placement of the county’s most vulnerable children. [Article]
by JOELLE CASTEIX, Orange County Register. 2015-10-08
O.C.'s CASA, at 30, still making a difference in lives of county's foster kids
In any given year in Orange County, about 2,800 children are dependents of the courts. Of those, more than 2,000 live in foster care. By the time these children turn 18, almost half will lack high school diplomas. More than half of them will have nowhere to live and will struggle to find jobs. The foster care system is so tough on children, in fact, that more than 70 percent of California’s state prison inmates have spent time “in the system.” An organization in Orange County is working to change these heartbreaking statistics, one child at a time. [Article]
by JOELLE CASTEIX, Orange County Register. 2015-10-08
Future of housing? Solar Decathlon kicks off Thursday in Irvine with new takes on sustainable living
IRVINE – As sea levels rise and natural disasters devastate towns, collegiate teams across the nation are focusing on sustainability and safety as they design the home of the future. The Great Park’s festival area, the site of this year’s U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, is showcasing 14 houses designed with resilience and thoughtful living in mind. What will the houses of the future look like? The prototypes at the Solar Decathlon competition site can be a guide. [Article]
by SARAH de CRESCENZO, Orange County Register. 2015-10-08
After Orange County D.A. kicked off case from jailhouse informants, prosecutors face stricter standards
Prosecutors who intentionally withhold evidence from defense attorneys or the court could face tougher punishment and greater scrutiny under a new state law prompted by the misuse of jailhouse informants by Orange County prosecutors. The legislation, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, strengthens the ability of judges to remove individual prosecutors and, if warranted, their offices, from cases if prosecutors are found willfully withholding evidence. The new law also requires judges to report offending prosecutors to the state bar, which licenses attorneys. The bill was not widely supported by Orange County legislators, though District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Tuesday he supported it. The legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, a professor at San Diego State University whose late husband was a judge. [Article]
by TONY SAAVEDRA, Orange County Register. 2015-10-08
O.C. office rents soaring 12% in a year
Landlords aren’t popular for workers or bosses as Orange County apartment dwellers aren’t the only ones looking at steep rent hikes: The price of office space is surging higher as empty space dwindles. Commercial real estate brokerage JLL reports the average asking rent in the third quarter for Orange County office space is up 12 percent in a year to $28.59 a square foot, the highest in six years. As a loose comparison, rents at Orange County’s largest apartment complexes averaged a record $1,848 in the second quarter, up 6.9 percent in a year, according to RealFacts. [Article]
by JONATHAN LANSNER , Orange County Register. 2015-10-08
O.C.'s worker shortage: Employers face a skills gap in key, high-paying fields, report finds
Orange County faces a critical shortage of skilled workers for some of the best-paid jobs in manufacturing, health care and information technology, according to a report to be released today. “This is a troubling trend, given that these three are key drivers of future economic development,” Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, and Bob Bunyan, chairman of the county’s Workforce Investment Board, warned in a letter accompanying the 78-page report. [Article]
by MARGOT ROOSEVELT, Orange County Register. 2015-10-08
How to get more bang for ARTIC bucks?
Another month brings another batch of disappointing ridership numbers for the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. According to a Register analysis of a city-commissioned study by DKS Associates, an average of 2,326 riders “either boarded or departed mass transit daily from the ARTIC station in July.” That sounds like a reasonable jump in ridership from the 821 train passengers that passed through the station on an average weekday during the first three months of the year. But the wording there is important. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Orange County Register. 2015-10-08
Agricultural Production In San Diego County Declines In Overall Value
The total value of San Diego County's agricultural production last year was $1.82 billion, compared to $1.85 billion in 2013, the county Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures reported Wednesday. The annual crop report showed the first decline in overall value in six years and only the third since 1996. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KPBS - San Diego. 2015-10-08
Center for homeless vets to open
ESCONDIDO — A new center to serve formerly homeless veterans with health issues will officially open in Escondido in about two weeks, and supporters of the project got an early look at the facility during a ribbon-cutting celebration Wednesday. Interfaith Community Service’s new Hawthorne Veterans and Family Resource Center at 250 N. Ash St. will provide beds and services for 20 formerly homeless veterans now living in rented apartments and 12 homeless nonveterans who will move in later through a partnership with Palomar Health. About 160 people attended the ceremony, which included comments from Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and County Supervisors Dave Roberts and Bill Horn. "One third of our population (in San Diego County) is related to the military," said Horn, who wore service ribbons on his suit from his days in the Marine Corps. "Seventeen percent of the homeless population we have counted are former Armed Forces veterans. If you had 17 percent dropouts in high school, you would panic." [Article]
by GARY WARTH, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-10-08
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