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Vision for Marina del Rey approved by L.A. County Board of Supervisors
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a vision statement for Marina del Rey this week, with officials saying they hope to better guide the neighborhood’s development in coming years. The approval Tuesday marks the end of a months-long process in which county regional planners created a blueprint that will divide the marina into distinct districts, and they say, make it easier to get around town. Although sections of the marina have been booming, thanks to an influx of upscale residential and commercial projects, planners and county officials agreed that other sections have become worn down and dated. They hope the plan will help modernize the marina and make it the hot spot that it was decades ago. “We’ve memorialized a vision for future development in Marina del Rey that reflects its boating history and recreational use,” said Gina Natoli, a Los Angeles County supervising regional planner. “We’re very happy with how it turned out.” [Article]
by MATT STEVENS, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-31
 
Supervisor: Strip county fire of hiring authority amid nepotism claims
A county supervisor is proposing to take hiring authority away from the Los Angeles County Fire Department following a Times investigation that found a disproportionate number of firefighters have family ties within the department. Supervisor Gloria Molina wants to put the recruitment and hiring process in the hands of the county's human resources department. "Leadership and a culture of nepotism have tainted the fire department's image," Molina wrote in a memo to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. "Hiring processes must not be controlled by privilege and preference. The recruitment process and policies must attract all high-quality eligible applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds, including women and ethnic minorities." The department has also "failed to recruit and support female applicants and female firefighters," Molina wrote, noting that women make up only 1.4% of the force. [Article]
by PAUL PRINGLE, ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-31
 
Changing of guard among L.A. County supervisors not happening quietly
The final weeks of elected officials' terms are typically spent packing up boxes, exchanging goodbyes, and handing out proclamations to constituents and loyal staff members. But facing a historic changing of the guard, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has been making moves designed to solidify what members view as a legacy of fiscal responsibility, and some believe, box in their successors on key personnel and labor decisions. This year's vote for two new supervisors is seen as the most pivotal in decades, in part because it probably will determine if the balance of power on the five-member elected panel tilts more toward organized labor or business and development. Though members are officially nonpartisan, two Republicans, Don Knabe and Michael D. Antonovich, have frequently allied with Democrats Zev Yaroslavsky or Gloria Molina on key budget and labor negotiation issues. [Article]
by ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-31
 
State inadequately investigates nursing home complaints, audit finds
The California Department of Public Health has failed to effectively investigate nursing home complaints, a state audit released Thursday found, with a total of 11K unresolved complaints in its system. The department, which is responsible for monitoring more than 2,500 nursing homes, classified more than 40% of these complaints and incidents as having caused or being likely to cause harm to a resident. Yet the state auditor’s office found that the average number of days these complaints were open ranged from 14 to 1,042 days. The Santa Rosa-Redwood Coast district office had 102 open complaints and incidents that posed a threat to a resident’s health or life. On average those incidents remained open for almost a year, according to the audit. [Article]
by ADOLFO FLORES, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-31
 
Doctors learn to push back, gently, against anti-vaccination movement
The doctors shifted nervously in their seats as the sharp-tongued questioner scanned the room. Dr. Paul Offit, a University of Pennsylvania pediatrician and the nation's most outspoken childhood vaccine proponent, had come to the UCLA lecture hall to subject several dozen physicians to a faux parental grilling. He wanted to give them the kind of pushback doctors have come to expect in affluent parts of Los Angeles and California, where increasing numbers of parents are refusing to inoculate their kids against contagious, even life-threatening diseases for fear of complications. For many of the pediatricians in the audience, taking a hard line on the immunization schedule can mean potentially alienating well-intentioned, if misinformed, parents. If Offit, a rock star in his field, could give these doctors more factual ammunition — and a little practice on their delivery — could they help convince resistant parents that science is simply not on their side? [Article]
by ERYN BROWN, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-31
 
L.A. County's Prop. P would levy tax for parks, conservation work
Along with casting their votes for a new supervisor, sheriff and assessor Nov. 4, Los Angeles County voters will decide whether to tax themselves to pay for park and conservation projects across the region. The proposal, Proposition P, would levy a $23-per-parcel property tax on county residents, generating an estimated 54 mln a year for the next 30 years. The measure is billed as a replacement for Proposition A, a 1992 park measure that expires next June. The old measure provided about 52 mln a year. Another park funding measure that passed in 1996 brings in about 28 mln annually and will expire in 2019. Those measures have helped pay for some large projects, including restoration of the Griffith Park Observatory, installation of a new shell at the Hollywood Bowl and an Olympic-sized pool in East Los Angeles, and replacement of trees downed by a 2011 windstorm in the San Gabriel Valley. [Article]
by ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-31
 
Public meetings held to discuss removal of sediment from Devil’s Gate Dam
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works will hold three public meetings next month about the removal of 2.4 mln cubic yards of sediment from the Arroyo Seco’s Devil’s Gate Dam. The project, necessitated by surplus sediment that flowed into the reservoir in the wake of the 2009 Station Fire, is scheduled to take place over several years. County officials recently signed off on the environmental report required by state law. [Article]
by COLLEEN PARK, Los Angeles Daily News. 2014-10-31
 
San Diego County Gets Three Of Five Stars For Childhood Well-Being
San Diego County got a three out of five-star rating for childhood well-being from the children’s advocacy group Children Now. The nonpartisan, nonprofit group examined the educational and economic welfare of children in every county in the state of California. The group posted the study on its website Wednesday. San Diego got mixed results. “Five-star rating means you're at the top in all the indicators in education,” said Jessica Mindnich, research director for Children Now. “San Diego has three stars, so it’s not doing poorly but it's not where we’d like to see it.” [Article]
by MATTHEW BOWLER, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-31
 
Supervisor Cox, Scripps Scientists, Call for Continuation of Vital Earthquake Monitoring Programs
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego scientists joined San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox on Oct. 28, 2014, in a call to sustain funding for earthquake monitoring projects designed to provide critical information for the region. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) cuts jeopardize the Scripps-operated ANZA Seismic Network, a system of 29 seismic sensors in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties that transmits data continuously in real time, and the Precision Geodetic Network, which uses high-precision instruments to monitor the buildup of fault stress that leads to earthquake activity. [Article]
by PRESS RELEASE, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-31
 
County, Fallbrook TOT revenues increase
The County of San Diego collected 3,403,805.14 of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue during fiscal year 2013-14, which was the county’s highest amount since 2007-08. The TOT, which was reduced from nine percent of the lodging unit rate to eight percent in October 2007, is collected from occupants of hotels, motels, bed and breakfast venues, mobile home parks, private campgrounds, and other structures occupied or intended for occupancy by non-residents for lodging or sleeping purposes. [Article]
by JOE NAIMAN, Fallbrook Village News. 2014-10-31
 
Tourism Summit Leaves Questions
California and county tourism officials brought a tourism summit to Lake Arrowhead on Oct. 23, touting plans to bring more visitor dollars to businesses in the state, but the program left some local business owners scratching their heads. “I didn’t hear what they’re going to do to help us,” one mountain communities business operator told this reporter. “It was all about what the state’s doing, but what’s the county going to do for us?” [Article]
by MIKE HARRIS, Lake Arrowhead Mountain News. 2014-10-31
 
County looking for new jail designer
The Tulare County Supervisors recently voted to end a 5.5 mln contract to build a new, 500-plus-bed jail in the Porterville area. The county argues architecture and design firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, Inc.’s designs would drive up the jail construction cost by millions of dollars. That firm was awarded the contract in December 2012. HOK will walk away with about 2.17mln for the work it already has done on the jail project. [Article]
by DAVID CASTELLON, Visalia Times-Delta. 2014-10-31
 
Child abuse prevention focus of conference
In an effort to raise awareness of commercial sexual exploitation of children on a local, national and global scale, the Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council is hosting the 9th Annual Cynthia Lockhart-Mummery Conference, which will focus on such exploitation, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. The conference is intended to give attendees a better understanding of commercial sexual child exploitation and what needs to be done to combat it. Many may think human trafficking is not a local issue, but Billie Shawl — coordinator for the Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council — said that’s far from true. [Article]
by STEPHANIE WELDY, Visalia Times-Delta. 2014-10-31
 
SEIU, Fresno County’s largest employee union, rejects 5% raise
A raise negotiated by Fresno County supervisors for its largest union was rejected after voting came to a close Thursday afternoon. The Service Employees International Union, whose six units represent about 4,500 of the county’s 7,100 employees, opposed the plan to raise their salaries by 2% in three weeks and another 3% in August. The vote was an “overwhelming no,” said Riley Talford, a senior shop steward for SEIU’s supervisory employees. He did not disclose the final results. He said the vote showed that the county has to do “a better job and show respect to the employees who are serving this county.” The voting occurred over the past three weeks. “We will regroup and come together to find the best path forward,” Talford said. “The offer was just unacceptable from the county.” Talford emphasized that SEIU’s rejection of the contract “was not a vote to strike.” [Article]
by MARC BENJAMIN, Fresno Bee. 2014-10-31
 
Stanislaus, Merced leaders hope ACE rail comes south
A few dozen leaders from Stanislaus and Merced counties waited at a Manteca station Thursday for a train to take them west. They rode the Altamont Corridor Express, which runs from Stockton to San Jose by way of Livermore, to show their support for a proposed branch to Modesto and points south. Modesto could get service as early as 2018 and Merced by 2022, with Turlock somewhere in between. The planners do not yet know how to cover the capital cost, estimated at a few hundred mln dollars, but that did not daunt the people riding Thursday. “I think the ACE train is fabulous,” said Cecil Russell, chief executive officer of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, as he waited for the 7:24 a.m. departure. “It think it’s a boon for our economy, for people who have to commute day in and day out.” [Article]
by JOHN HOLLAND, Modesto Bee. 2014-10-31
 
Students find out how government works
STOCKTON — Dozens of high school students fanned out across San Joaquin County on Thursday, getting an up-close look at the work done by county government agencies while having a chance to find out more about how to get into those jobs themselves. Before heading out on a tour schedule that would showcase the boats, dogs, bomb-disposal equipment and more that make up the Sheriff’s Office, Escalon High senior Rebecca Murdock, 17, said she thought she could be interested in a career in law enforcement. The idea sounded even better after a few hours touring the department. “It was amazing,” she said, saying she was particularly impressed learning how the agency investigates a crime scene. It was something she could see herself doing, she said. Students from nine schools across the county came to the County Administration Building, the third year since the resurrection of Youth in Government Day, organized by county government and the San Joaquin County Office of Education. [Article]
by ZACHARY K. JOHNSON, Stockton Record. 2014-10-31
 
Apartment rental costs rising throughout county
Apartment dwellers throughout Ventura County are being forced to dig deeper into their pocketbooks to make their monthly rent payments. The cost of renting an apartment in the county surged between January and July due to increased demand and a low number of vacancies, according to a recently released survey by Ventura-based Dyer Sheehan Group. [Article]
by ANNA BITONG, The Acorn. 2014-10-31
 
Childhood obesity no longer increasing
The statistics on childhood obesity point to disease and early death for too many children in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. In 2010, the Ventura County Health Care Agency conducted a survey that ranked cities in the two counties by the number of overweight and obese children living there. [Article]
by STEPHANIE BERTHOLDO, Ventura County Star. 2014-10-31
 
County health facilities take action in wake of Ebola threat
Unprecedented health safety measures are in effect at all county-run hospitals in Ventura County. The new protocols have been prompted by the Ebola virus threat, and just getting into the Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura will be different now. Anyone entering the hospital will have to pass through a screening booth at the main entrance at Hillmont Avenue. The second entrance is the emergency room. All visitors will go through a brief screening process and answer questions to determine if they have had any exposure to the Ebola virus. [Article]
by ART VAN KRAFT, The Acorn. 2014-10-31
 
Program has saved over 600 infants
For most parents, a new baby is a tremendous blessing. For others, it’s an impossible responsibility. To help parents faced with an unwanted baby and to prevent a newborn from being abandoned, the state passed a law in 2001 that allows anyone to anonymously leave their infant at any fire station or emergency room in California. Called the Safely Surrender Baby Law, it has saved the lives of nine infants in Ventura County, according to Bill Nash, spokesperson for the Ventura County Fire Department. [Article]
by BRENNAN WHITMORE, The Acorn. 2014-10-31
 
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