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Most of California is out of the drought
According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, less than 20% of the state faces any drought conditions and no place in California faces “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. Parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are still officially listed as being in serious drought. But the recent storms would appear to have taken care of that. Cachuma Lake in the Santa Ynez Valley rose 31 feet during the rains, as the dramatic time-lapse video above shows. A year ago, more than 90% of the state was in some form of drought. Parts of Northern California are on track to have their wettest winter on record, with storms causing major flooding and massive snow deposits. Southern California is also having its wettest winter in years. [Article]
by SHELBY GRAD, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
Shasta Dam makes history as water flows from top gates for first time in 20 years
While California’s other major dam has been the focus of national attention, the Shasta Dam was making history itself this week. For the first time in almost two decades, water was released Wednesday from the topmost gates of the dam impounding Lake Shasta, California's largest reservoir, marking another milestone in what is shaping up to be the state's wettest year on record. The release lasted just 15 minutes and was only a test to confirm that the gates were functioning properly in case they need to be used at a later time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The gates operated as expected, bureau spokesman Louis Moore said. With the reservoir at 135% of its historical average for this time of year and nearly 93% of its capacity, dam engineers were releasing billions of gallons of water to make room for incoming flows from the surrounding foothills and Sierra Nevada, according to the bureau. Water was flowing from the reservoir at up to 70,000 cubic feet per second into the Sacramento River, and communities downstream were preparing for a corresponding surge along its banks. Shasta Dam is the linchpin of California’s federal water project, which sends water down to cities and farms to the south. Oroville Dam is the heart of a separate state water project, which also moves water from the Sierra Nevada south. [Article]
by JOSEPH SERNA, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
Metro approves big change to policing on LA County’s trains, buses
In an effort to make riders feel safer, the county’s largest transit agency Thursday approved sweeping changes in the way buses, trains and stations are policed, adding two other law enforcement agencies and reducing the role of sheriff’s deputies. By a 13-0 vote, the board of Metro, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, ratified a five-year, multi-agency contract worth $645.7 million to police the agency’s 1,400 square miles that includes 2,200 buses and six rail lines. [Article]
by STEVE SCAUZILLO , San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 2017-02-24
Jodie Foster, Gavin Newsom, James Franco to appear at UTA rally for immigrant rights
A who’s who of Hollywood stars will crowd the streets of Beverly Hills today for a rally in support of immigrant rights. Jodie Foster, Michael J. Fox, Wilmer Valderrama and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom are all set to deliver speeches at the Oscar weekend “United Voices” rally, according to United Talent Agency, which organized the rally. “The gathering — ‘United Voices’ — aims to express the creative community’s support for freedom of speech and artistic expression, and stand against policies of exclusion and division,” the talent agency — better known as UTA — said in a statement. [Article]
by ANITA BENNETT, Daily Breeze. 2017-02-24
U.S. Border Patrol accuses detained L.A. DACA recipient of immigrant smuggling
A 22-year-old North Hollywood resident and beneficiary of the Obama administration’s immigration relief program was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents near the Southern California border earlier this month on suspicion of attempting to smuggle someone into the country illegally. Border Patrol officials said Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles and a 17-year-old boy were stopped in a vehicle Feb. 12 on Highway 94 in Campo, Calif., about a mile from the border with Mexico. Arreola Robles was driving, they said. Officials said he was processed for removal proceedings and is being held in a detention facility in Folkston, Ga. They would not comment further about the teenager detained with Arreola Robles.  Arreola Robles’ attorney, mother and girlfriend spoke Thursday morning during a news conference at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles office in central L.A. The attorney, Joseph Porta, said he had been unable to speak to Arreola Robles or an ICE representative and that Arreola Robles’ name was not showing up in the online detainee locator system.  [Article]
by ANDREA CASTILLO, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
Making sense of Measure S, the latest battle in L.A.'s long war over development
If you want to understand the forces — and more to the point, the grievances — that gave rise to Measure S, the anti-development initiative that will appear on the March 7 ballot in Los Angeles, you have to go back to the 1980s. That was the decade Angelenos finally rebelled in significant numbers against the headlong growth that had defined the city since the tail end of the 19th century. That backlash began as early as the 1960s; Richard Lillard’s book “Eden in Jeopardy,” published in 1966, lamented a Los Angeles that in “rushing from one brilliant improvisation to another, valuing means, neglecting ends” had become a city that reflexively favored “the politically expedient” over “the historic past.” As a relentless pace of construction and expansion continued, with apartment buildings crowding out single-family houses on residential blocks and new office towers popping up on formerly low- or mid-rise boulevards, especially on the Westside, even some champions of growth decided they’d had enough. [Article]
by CHRISTOPHER HAWTHORNE, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
Gov. Jerry Brown on Measure S: It 'goes too far'
Gov. Jerry Brown is against a Los Angeles ballot measure that would restrict real estate development, its opponents announced Thursday. “I join with all those who say Measure S goes too far,” Brown said in a statement released by opponents of Measure S. It would impose a moratorium on buildings that seek zone changes or other alterations in L.A. city rules and prevent city officials from amending the General Plan — a document that governs development citywide — to allow individual projects where they would otherwise be barred. Backers argue that it will prevent out-of-scale development that ruins neighborhoods and displaces longtime residents. Opponents counter that it will eliminate jobs and exacerbate the housing crisis. [Article]
by EMILY ALPERT, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
From the Archives: The 1942 Battle of L.A.
Following the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, war jitters swept the Southland. By February 1942, air-raid sirens, searchlights and anti-aircraft guns filled Los Angeles. Blackouts and drills were common. Then on Feb. 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced and shelled oil installations at Ellwood, north of Santa Barbara. In a Feb. 24, 1992, Los Angeles Times article, Jack Smith reported what happened next: It was on the night of Feb. 25, 1942, that Los Angeles experienced the Great Los Angeles Air Raid. It was a night when everyone's fears apparently were realized — Japan had brought the war to mainland America, and Los Angeles was the target.… The Great Air Raid began at 2:25 a.m. on that clear moonlit night when the U.S. Army announced the approach of hostile aircraft, and the city's air raid warning system went into action for the first time in the war. [Article]
by SCOTT HARRISON, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
California moves to pre-empt Trump on environment, endangered species
Needling President Donald Trump and bracing for a rollback of Obama-era environmental protections, Democrats in the nation’s most populous state are launching a preemptive strike. California lawmakers are expected Thursday to propose legislation to fold existing federal air, water and endangered species standards into state law, sources said, enshrining pre-Trump levels of protection in California regardless of any reversal at the federal level. [Article]
by DAVID SIDERS, California Watch. 2017-02-24
Mega-mansions in this L.A. suburb used to sell to Chinese buyers in days. Now they're sitting empty for months
The mansion on Fallen Leaf Road in the secluded Upper Rancho neighborhood of Arcadia has all the trappings a wealthy buyer from China could want: a crystal chandelier in the entryway, marble floors, a home theater outfitted with a dozen reclining leather chairs and, naturally, a fortuitous eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms. At $9.8 million, the recently built property is a relative bargain. A similar-sized home in Beijing would cost twice as much. Yet two months after it was placed on the market, the house remains unsold. Not long ago, real estate like this would have been snapped up almost immediately. “It would have been gone in two weeks with multiple offers,” said Dee Chou, the property’s listing agent. Other real estate agents in the area report luxury homes geared toward Chinese buyers taking up to half a year to unload. [Article]
by DAVID PIERSON, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
After time with county, Napolitano aiming for hometown leadership in Manhattan Beach
Steve Napolitano’s job as a chief of staff for recently termed out Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe had its share of challenges. Knabe’s office handled everyday life concerns of the Fourth Supervisorial District; with 27 independent cities and various incorporated areas totalling more than 2 million people, it has a constituency larger than the population of 15 U.S. states. But for Napolitano, perhaps the hardest part was staying quiet. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, La Canada Valley Sun. 2017-02-24
New study shows stark difference in child poverty among Long Beach’s regions
A quarter of California’s children under age 6 were living in poverty, more than 750,000, as the state emerged from the Great Recession, according to new data from nine local regions on income, demographics, cost of living, social safety programs and other factors. The Geography of Child Poverty in California, a report and interactive map compiled by the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California, offers a trove of information on variations within counties, much of which had never previously been analyzed. In Los Angeles County, 30 percent of young children lived below the California Poverty Measure line, which takes into account cost of living and social program benefits. [Article]
by MARGOT ROOSEVELT, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2017-02-24
L.A. County to Implement State Plan to Prevent Unintended Pregnancies Among Youth
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion calling on county agencies to implement the state’s plan for preventing unintended pregnancies amongst foster youth. The state plan, “California’s Plan for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancies for Youth and Non-Minor Dependents,” aims to address the fact that by age 21 over 1 in 3 girls in foster care will have given birth, according to a report by the Children’s Data Network.      [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Chronicle of Social Change. 2017-02-24
North Hollywood man protected by DACA held by ICE
North Hollywood >> The detention and cross-country transfer of a 22-year-old North Hollywood man is prompting questions from immigrant rights advocates who believe the Trump administration might be violating its recently stated policy of not deporting young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. The case of Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles is complicated by a 10-day silence on the part of immigration authorities, followed by their disclosure Thursday that they believe Robles was trying to smuggle someone into the country. [Article]
by GRACE WYLER, Los Angeles Daily News. 2017-02-24
In Mexico, momentum grows to put out welcome mat for 'Dreamers'
Before Maggie Loredo left her home in Georgia’s Dalton County for her grandfather’s house in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, she called the office of the Mexican public education secretariat. If I want to apply to a public university, she asked, but I grew up in the United States, which documents am I going to need? Nothing but your transcripts and diploma, the attendant told her. At the time, in 2008, that sounded alluringly simple to Ms. Loredo, who had lived without legal status in the US since she was a toddler. She was contemplating a dramatic remedy to her stagnating work life: a move to the forgotten country of her birth, where public college is free and no immigration-related work rules would crimp her career aspirations. What she found upon her return was a different story. After several visits and phone calls to the secretariat, she finally tracked down the person who could revalidate – certify as authentic and applicable to Mexican standards – her high school education. [Article]
by DAVID IACONANGELO, Chronicle of Social Change. 2017-02-24
LASD launches new unit to target social media threats |
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has set up a new unit to investigate terror threats online. The special unit remains alert for any threats including incoming tips and threats aimed directly at Southern California [Article]
by CARLOS GRANDA, KABC Los Angeles ABC 7 News. 2017-02-24
Don’t Drink the Transit Kool-Aid: Here’s Why Angelenos Aren’t Riding the Buses
TRANSIT LA--Much of our current society's problems is that we're too often willing to be apologists: apologists for Bush's Iraq War, apologists for Obamacare failures, and apologists for our personal causes.  Well, I doubt I am the only one who supports Metro but notes two glaring problems:  the trains are too slow, and there's a big problem with safety/security.  First, the Good (we love that Sergio Leone paradigm, don't we?):  I think that Metro's leadership and staff, at this immediate time, are among the greatest examples of successful government I have ever witnessed in my lifetime.  They are responsive, they do care, and they're trying to improve their operations.  [Article]
by KENNETH S. ALPERN / OPINION, CityWatchLA. 2017-02-24
Protesters seek out California's Republican members of Congress at their homes
A couple of dozen activists came out to a suburban cul-de-sac in Lancaster on Thursday night, planning to hold a candlelight vigil outside Rep. Steve Knight's house, part of a statewide effort targeting seven GOP representatives . The protesters were there in large part to demand a town hall meeting with Knight to discuss the Trump administration's immigration and healthcare policies. [Article]
by JAVIER PANZAR, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
Body cameras are becoming the norm in Southern California
Guns drawn, Fullerton police officers cautiously approached an SUV, the cameras on their uniforms recording as they searched for a firearm a suspect had supposedly pointed at a motorist. As one officer guarded the middle-aged driver now in handcuffs, two other officers flanked the vehicle, with one finding a rifle inside. Taking in the entire encounter – from tense beginning to jail-cell ending – were body cameras, standard operating procedure for Fullerton officers as well as an increasing number of their brethren across Southern California. [Article]
by SEAN EMERY and CHRIS HAIRE, Orange County Register. 2017-02-24
How an off-duty cop telling teens to stay out of his yard escalated to gunfire, protests and outrage
The altercation on the tidy, suburban street in Anaheim apparently began with a complaint common in many neighborhoods: a group of teenagers walking through a neighbor’s yard on their way home from school. But this seemingly mundane dispute spun out of control on West Palais Road on Tuesday when authorities say an off-duty Los Angeles police officer confronted the group. Other teenagers pulled out their cameras, filming the officer as he held a 13-year-old boy by the collar of his sweatshirt, trying to detain him. The situation quickly escalated from there. At one point, another teen rushed the officer, sending him tumbling over a line of bushes. The officer then reached into his jeans and drew a gun, firing a single shot. No one was hurt by the gunfire, which Anaheim police said was aimed at the ground. But footage of the encounter stirred uproar across the country, prompting criticism of the off-duty cop’s actions and questions over why investigators arrested two teenagers — but not the officer — at the scene. [Article]
by MELISSA ETEHAD, Los Angeles Times. 2017-02-24
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