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LA County is nation's most populous — still
Los Angeles remains the nation's most populous county by far, with 10.1 mln people living within its borders, according to the latest population data from the United States Census. The new numbers bring home the sheer size of the county, which is home to more people than Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey or Virginia. [Article]
by AARON MENDELSOHN, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2015-03-27
 
Supervisor Hilda Solis celebrates opening of community parklets in East L.A.
EAST LOS ANGELES>> It was a perfect morning to enjoy the new outdoor seating in front of So-Cal Burgers in East Los Angeles Wednesday morning. The seating is part of a new parklet on the Mednik Avenue side of the restaurant; one of three built in the East L.A. community. “I like it,” said So-Cal Burgers owner Tony Gomez. “People can sit down and relax; it’s open to the public.” The parklets were part of a county pilot project to create communal gathering spots out of under-utilized spaces, and ‘provide pedestrian-friendly amenities like seating, tables, landscaping and bike parking, a statement from Solis’ office said. [Article]
by CLAUDIA PALMA, Pasadena Star News. 2015-03-27
 
California loosens Jessica's Law rules on where sex offenders can live
California officials announced Thursday that the state would stop enforcing a key provision of a voter-approved law that prohibits all registered sex offenders from living near schools. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said it would no longer impose the blanket restrictions outlined in Jessica's Law that forbids all sex offenders from living within 2Kfeet of a school or park, regardless of whether their crimes involved children. High-risk sex offenders and those whose crimes involved children under 14 will still be prohibited from living within a half-mile of a school, the CDCR emphasized. Otherwise, officials will assess each parolee based on factors relating to their individual cases, the agency said. The shift comes nine years after California voters approved the controversial law, which has made it difficult for some sex offenders to find places to live. [Article]
by KATE MATHER, Los Angeles Times. 2015-03-27
 
Atty. Gen. Harris seeks to halt 'reprehensible' anti-gay ballot measure
The state attorney general has asked for a court order allowing her to halt a proposed ballot measure that would authorize killing gays and lesbians, saying it was both "reprehensible" and unconstitutional. Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is required by state law to give all proposed ballot measures a formal name and summary before the signature-gathering process. But on Wednesday, Harris said she would ask the courts to let her essentially ignore the so-called "Sodomite Suppression Act," which was filed by a Huntington Beach attorney. "This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible and has no place in a civil society," Harris said in a statement. Harris filed an action for declaratory relief with the Sacramento County Superior Court, her office said. If the court does not grant her request for declaratory relief, Harris said, she will be "forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism" and let the signature-gathering process begin. [Article]
by EMILY FOXHALL AND HAILEY BRANSON-POTTS, Los Angeles Times. 2015-03-27
 
Opinion: Censorship of evil idea also wrong for ‘killing’ initiative
California’s political commentariat is vigorously debating whether Attorney General Kamala Harris should refuse to process a proposed ballot measure that would legalize murder of gays. Some argue that as odious as it may be, Harris cannot block the “Sodomite Suppression Act” by an Orange County attorney because state law says that issuing a title and summary is a ministerial duty she can’t shirk. The measure, others argue, so outrageously violates civilized principle that Harris is morally bound to strangle it. And Harris, who’s running for the U.S. Senate, agrees. Calling it “utterly reprehensible,” she’s asking a judge to allow rejection. A third view is that it may be a satiric – or sick – joke along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s “modest proposal” that Ireland’s 18th century problems be solved by selling its children for food. But since no one can contact the sponsor for a rationale, we don’t know. [Article]
by DAN WALTERS / COLUMNIST, Sacramento Bee. 2015-03-27
 
O.C. grads 'embarrassed' by ex-classmate's anti-gay initiative
Although the Orange County lawyer who submitted a proposed ballot measure calling for the killing of gay people appears to have gone underground, hundreds of his former classmates have stepped forward to denounce him. More than 350 Costa Mesa High School alumni have so far signed an online letter this week expressing their “shame and remorse” over the actions of Matthew McLaughlin, who wrote the so-called “Sodomite Suppression Act.” The proposed ballot measure, which has drawn condemnation statewide, calls for the killing of gay people by “bullets to the head” -- or “any other convenient method.” “McLaughlin’s cruel words don’t reflect our values,” the letter says. “If anything, the Mesa we remember stands for just the opposite. As a public school in a mainly working-class part of town, Mesa has long served a community of many different races, nationalities, beliefs and sexualities.” [Article]
by HAILEY BRANSON-POTTS and EMILY FOXHALL, Los Angeles Times. 2015-03-27
 
Metro 10mln fund to help build affordable housing near transport hubs
The Metro board agreed Thursday to look into steps for ensuring affordable housing is built around public transportation hubs, including creating a 10mln fund and setting a goal of building 35 percent affordable housing on Metro-owned land. Metro staffers were asked to report back on those ideas, which were proposed in a motion backed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who chairs the board, and county Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis. [Article]
by COLLEEN PARK, Los Angeles Daily News. 2015-03-27
 
1 in 3 L.A. County youth offenders is re-arrested within year, study finds
It took 400K and nearly four years of work to uncover, but experts now know a basic fact about Los Angeles County’s juvenile delinquency system: One-third of probationers are re-arrested within a year of their release. “The county has the biggest child prisons in the country and they couldn't tell you if the kids got fixed,” said Connie Rice, the civil rights attorney who leads the Advancement Project, the nonprofit that funded the study. The study, led by researcher Denise C. Herz at Cal State L.A., also sought to document the chaotic home lives of the children who end up in the county’s detention camps, group homes, psychiatric hospitals and community-based placements. Half of the children come from families who survive on public assistance. A third come from families with substance abuse. Two-thirds have parents or siblings who have been arrested or incarcerated. And one out of five come from gang-involved families. [Article]
by GARRETT THEROLF, Los Angeles Times. 2015-03-27
 
Nearly 1 in 4 Compton firefighters is working without an EMT permit
Nearly one in four Compton firefighters is working without a permit to perform emergency medical care, a key credential required by other local fire agencies, a Times investigation has found. Out of 74 firefighters at the Compton Fire Department, 17 lack a valid emergency medical technician, or EMT, card, according to city records obtained via the California Public Records Act. That amounts to 23% of the agency’s rank and file. Top officials are scrambling to certify rescuers who lost their permits in recent years, according to Fire Chief Jon Thompson. “It’s something that never happened before and it’ll never happen again,” Thompson said. “It’s being cleaned up.” [Article]
by BEN WELSH, Los Angeles Times. 2015-03-27
 
Commutes are getting longer, study says
Nationwide, commutes are getting longer. But in two Southern California regions, travel time to work may actually have improved. Between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commute distance decreased by 7% in the U.S., according to a new Brookings Institute study. The report focused on job proximity, or the number of jobs that people live close to. Only 29 of the nation's largest 96 metro areas experienced net job gains and improved employment proximity over those 12 years. Bucking the trend: the Inland Empire and Ventura County. The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area had a 9.8% increase in job proximity with 126,418 jobs in 2012, up from 115,127 in 2000. The average commute distance was 9.1 miles. [Article]
by SAMANTHA MASUNAGA, Los Angeles Times. 2015-03-27
 
Finding family: stories of adoption
Oct. 21 will always be a special date for Michelle and Nick Markovsky. It’s the day the Yorba Linda couple found out they would become parents twice, three years apart. That date does not mark the birthday of their two children. It is the date the couple adopted them after being married for 10 years and unable to conceive. Coincidentally, in both adoptions, the Markovskys were notified on Oct. 21 that a child was available. Today, their family includes 3-year-old Anthony and a 2-year-old girl who lives with the family now and whose adoption should be finalized in May or June. [Article]
by AMY BENTLEY / CONTRIBUTOR, Orange County Register. 2015-03-27
 
Mosquito-eating fish, pesticides and more: How Orange County is fighting West Nile virus after huge outbreak last year
VILLA PARK – Twenty years ago, the inspector simply would have jumped the gate. But today, to get to the mucky backyard swimming pool at an abandoned Villa Park mansion – where stagnant water, slimy and shallow, entices egg-laying mosquitoes – John Drews needs a warrant. That can take several days, if not weeks, and Drews does not have that kind of time. Armed with pesticides and tiny, larvae-eating fish, Orange County Vector Control inspectors are at war with mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus. It’s a battle that is starting this week, two months earlier than usual, because of a warm, dry winter. [Article]
by JENNA CHANDLER, Orange County Register. 2015-03-27
 
San Diego County Population Grows To 3.3 Mln Residents
San Diego County remains the nation's fourth-most populous with 3.3 mln residents, and added the fourth-highest number of residents between 2013 and 2014, according to U.S Census Bureau figures released Thursday. [Article]
by , KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2015-03-27
 
County offers naming rights at parks
BONITA — They’ll never be confused with Petco Park or Qualcomm Stadium, but some area playing fields have been renamed after local businesses to raise money for the San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department. Outdoor enthusiasts also can buy shirts, caps and other merchandise emblazoned with names and images of their favorite parks through a website launched Thursday. [Article]
by GARY WARTH, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-03-27
 
Green light for 26mln Rialto flood control project
A recent legal agreement reached between San Bernardino County and the city of Rialto ends a protracted legal battle in deciding who will pay for mlns of dollars in flood control improvements along the 210 Freeway to prevent flooding and damage to the surrounding area. The legal agreement ends a lawsuit filed in 2007 by the county flood control district against Rialto, Caltrans, and San Bernardino Associated Governments, or SANBAG, the county’s transportation planning agency. [Article]
by LESLIE PARRILLA, San Bernardino County Sun. 2015-03-27
 
County welcomes new chief probation officer
Imperial County Superior Court Presiding Judge Poli Flores Jr. has announced the selection of Daniel Prince as the new chief probation officer for Imperial County. “We are positive that Mr. Prince’s collaborative leadership style, knowledge and experience in implementing and developing evidence-based practices and programs and diverse work experiences will enable Chief Prince to successfully lead the Imperial County Probation Department,” Flores said. [Article]
by CHELCEY ADAMI, Imperial Valley Press. 2015-03-27
 
Documentaries focus on Salton Sea, California drought
Two new documentaries about California’s struggles with dwindling water supplies will be shown back-to-back at the American Documentary Film Festival this weekend, one focusing on the state’s epic drought and the other examining the looming environmental problems of the shrinking Salton Sea. The short documentary “A State of Emergency” mixes images of water pipelines, farms and a dry riverbed in Ventura County with interviews focusing on the steps Californians can take to deal with growing water scarcity. The film, by Shaneika Lai, Sydney Guthrie and Casey Acaster, was made as part of Chapman University’s Community Voices program. [Article]
by IAN JAMES, Desert Sun. 2015-03-27
 
High teen pregnancy rate impacts Kern County's health ranking
BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KBAK/KBFX) - The 2015 County Health Rankings, conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, finds that Kern County is the seventh-most unhealthy county in the nation. "The county health rankings tell us that where we live matters to our health, our towns, our neighborhoods," said Abbey Cofsky, MPH senior program officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. [Article]
by KAHTIA HALL, Bakersfield Californian. 2015-03-27
 
Farming's growth based on research
Farming in California is more dependent on research than most people, even farmers, know. And, the primary channel for providing it and transmitting it to farmers is now involved in a rebuilding and strengthening process. The Cooperative Extension Service is a longstanding, government-assisted system for conducting agricultural research and extending the findings to farmers. It operates as its founders designed through the nation's land grant universities. In California it serves its patrons through the University of California. [Article]
by DON CURLEE, Tulare Advance-Register. 2015-03-27
 
Housing affordability increases in 4th quarter
California housing affordability improved from the third-quarter 2014 but dipped when compared to a year ago according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California in the fourth quarter of 2014 edged up to 31 percent from the 30 percent recorded in the third quarter according to CAR's Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI). [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Visalia Times-Delta. 2015-03-27
 
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