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California Journal For Sierra resident, the well runs dry -- along with her options
Things were bad enough for Rochelle Landers before her well went dry. No job. No money for eye glasses or dentures. And now, for the last month and a half, no water. Landers, a onetime school secretary, does not live in the parched heart of the state: the San Joaquin Valley, where some people get sand when they turn on the faucet. She has an acre in the Sierra foothills, in a sparsely populated town an hour northeast of Sacramento with a seemingly abundant water supply despite the drought. Except for one thing: Her water comes from a well. And her well, which is shallow, has gone dry. For someone with money, this would pose little obstacle. But Landers, 57, is stuck. She's tried to get work. But after interviewers see her front teeth, which crossed like swords after her molars fell out, they never call back. Last month, when her faucet stopped working, Landers thought her water pump was broken. What did she know? She'd purchased her dilapidated home 18 months earlier, moving back to California after a stint in Virginia. Four men from the drilling company slid the heavy concrete cover off her well and peered inside. "Can you believe it?" she said. "They charged me $150 to tell me it was dry." [Article]
by ROBIN ABCARIAN, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-24
 
Editorial A 21st century voting system for Los Angeles
It sounded like a good idea at the time: modernizing elections with touch-screen voting and instant tabulation. Enough with the punch cards and the ink dots, and enough with the endless waits for election results when helicopters carrying paper ballots from far-flung precincts are grounded due to fog. Why should people who do their shopping and banking online be stuck in the dark ages when they vote? But early electronic voting systems proved vulnerable to error. And worries about fraud persisted. Even absent verifiable evidence that election results were changed by hackers or by politically motivated voting-machine makers, the mere belief that such meddling was possible was enough to undermine confidence in elections. So there is some comfort in the fact that the consulting contract adopted this week by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors calls for a modernized system based on some very old-school elements. The proposal emerged after careful vetting from an advisory panel that included election experts and voting rights advocates. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-24
 
OP-ED: The Case for Mail-Only Balloting in Long Beach
As reported here, elected Los Angeles County Supervisors recently approved “a 15 mln contract with Palo Alto consultant Ideo for the design of a more modern way to record votes.” According to the article: “The current (county) system is known as InkaVote and requires voters to mark a paper ballot with their selections.Under the new system, projected to roll out in 2020, voters would make their selections using a touch screen, and the voting machine would then print a paper ballot to be tallied.” Apparently the 15M of your tax dollars will only cover design of the new touch-screen system, not purchase or install any of the new machines themselves. A great government contract if you can get it. Particularly when, as the article also mentions, your company doesn’t have to compete for the contract. [Article]
by JOHN B. GREET / OPINION, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2014-10-24
 
Yes on Proposition P for parks, open space in L.A. County: Endorsement
There are few things that can improve the quality of a neighborhood or a community like parks and open space. Proposition P, while flawed, would ensure that there is a continuity of funds for the green spaces that provide sanctuary from the urban environment in Los Angeles County. And that’s important, especially in underserved areas of the county, where dollars could be leveraged to expand the recreational places for family gatherings, community meetings and natural land. The last-minute measure, placed on the ballot by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors with little public input, is meant to replace 52 mln in annual funding provided by the voter-passed Proposition A in 1992, which expires next June, as well as another parks tax approved in 1996 that generates 28 mln annually and will expire in 2019. The parcel taxes were based on square-footage and together averaged about 21 a year. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2014-10-24
 
California's Renewable Energy Plan Misses the Point on Renewable Energy
The massive, 6,000-plus-page draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan started its journey through the public comment period this week with at least one contentious public meeting. The plan, commonly referred to as the DRECP, would shape both renewable energy development and some conservation across 22 million acres of the California desert in six counties. Criticism of the document is mounting, over its complexity and the relatively short period in which the public will be allowed to comment on the Plan. As we reported earlier this month, the sheer size of the document inevitably excludes most members of the public from having meaningful input into the process. But a closer look at the DRECP reveals that behind the arcane language and the bureaucratic jargon lies a document that is woefully out of date, planning for development of renewable energy in the California desert as though the last six years never happened. [Article]
by CHRIS CLARKE, KCET (SoCal Public TV). 2014-10-24
 
County environmental inspections lag
San Diego County regulators have failed to conduct thousands of state-mandated hazardous-materials inspections at businesses across the region, despite collecting fees that pay for the reviews. The Department of Environmental Health acknowledged the backlog of more than 2,700 required inspections after U-T Watchdog obtained internal records outlining the problems and a road map to resolving them. Inspectors also are about 9,500 behind on the department’s own internal goals for site visits that go above and beyond what’s required by law, officials said. [Article]
by JEFF MCDONALD, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-24
 
California startup unveils gun technology for cops
WATSONVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A Silicon Valley startup has developed technology to let dispatchers know when a police officer's weapon has been fired. The new product by Yardarm Technologies would also track where the gun is located and in what direction it was fired. The system will not include the controversial remote disabling mechanism, which gun rights advocates strongly oppose. Yardarm Marketing Vice President Jim Schaff says the company has abandoned that effort. [Article]
by HAVEN DALEY / ASSOCIATED PRESS, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-24
 
First case of enterovirus identified in Imperial County
The Imperial County Public Health Department announced today that a lab-confirmed case of enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68) infection was reported this week in a child residing in Imperial County. The child, who was hospitalized earlier this month for a severe respiratory illness, has since recovered and was discharged from the hospital. EV-D68 causes respiratory illness and spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touch-contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of EV-D68 include fever (although fever may not be present), runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Some children have more serious illness with breathing difficulty and wheezing, particularly children with a history of asthma. [Article]
by PRESS RELEASE, Imperial Valley Press. 2014-10-24
 
Child diagnosed, recovers from first case of enterovirus in Imperial County
A child in the Imperial County was reported to have the first lab-confirmed case of enterovirus D-68 in the Imperial County earlier this week. According to the Imperial County Public Health Department, the child has recovered after being hospitalized earlier this month for a severe respiratory illness, and she has since been discharged from the hospital. The virus has been spreading throughout the United States and it is not clear why there is sudden outbreak, but it is not a new illness, according to an informational flyer from the American Thoracic Society, an international scientific society which focuses on respiratory and critical care medicine. [Article]
by KRISTA DALY, Imperial Valley Press. 2014-10-24
 
PROP. 47: Riverside County sheriff opposed to criminal justice ballot measure
Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff has come out against a proposition on the Nov. 4 ballot that would allow certain criminals to apply for reduced sentences. In a statement posted on the Sheriff’s Department website, Sniff, an elected official, wrote that Proposition 47 “is misleading and is a collection of poor changes that will produce the opposite of what that title portends.” If voters approve Prop. 47, Sniff warned that more than 800 county jail inmates could potentially have their crimes reduced to misdemeanors and be released. Inmates petitioning the courts for reduced sentences could be transferred to local jails, further straining an already crowded jail system, he wrote. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2014-10-24
 
Three-feet law gaining attention after accident
PALM DESERT, Calif. - Laws were enacted in California to help encourage drivers to share the road with cyclists, but even in the Coachella Valley the message hasn't become crystal clear. John Siegel's been an avid cyclist for nearly 30 years and was happy when the state enacted the Three-Feet safety law a month ago. But when a member of his cycling group was hit by a car on Saturday in Palm Desert, officers failed to issue the driver in the accident any citation. "We found out talking to the lead investigator that he was unaware that she had broken a law," said Siegel. "He said that he didn't know that she had broken a law and everybody at the scene knew about the new law." [Article]
by ANGELO CARUSO, KESQ.com Palm Springs - Riverside Cty. 2014-10-24
 
Our Voice: Approve medical marijuana taxes
Soon, Palm Springs will no longer be the only city in Riverside County where medical marijuana is legally sold. City councils in Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City have voted to approve dispensaries and placed measures on the ballot to impose taxes. Blythe is asking its voters whether the city should allow dispensaries, and also proposes taxes. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Desert Sun. 2014-10-24
 
Scott Scambray: Value of restorative justice
This is an exciting time for California educators. The Local Control Funding Formula is arguably the biggest change to hit California schools in the last 50 years – maybe ever – and completely overhauls how schools are funded, and how students receive resources and services. Meanwhile, thanks to the Common Core State Standards, teachers across the state are implementing the most significant changes to classroom instruction since 1998, when the state first adopted standards of any kind. As revolutionary as these new practices are, they won’t mean a thing if students aren’t in school and ready to learn to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, for too long, California schools operated under a zero tolerance approach to student discipline when misbehavior occurs. As a result, student suspensions and expulsions skyrocketed across the state, leaving students displaced – they couldn’t go to school – and discouraged as they were falling behind their peers. [Article]
by SCOTT SCAMBRAY / OPINION, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-10-24
 
Merced County officials discuss report on expanding health care coverage
Most San Joaquin Valley residents oppose expanding affordable health coverage to include undocumented immigrants, according to a report presented at Thursday’s Merced County Health Care Consortium meeting. The voting poll, conducted by the California Endowment’s Healthy California Program, shows that in the state, 54 percent of Californians support expanding coverage for all, but only 44 percent in the San Joaquin Valley support the idea. According to Marisol Avina and Marlon Cuellar, program managers with Healthy California, the data was gathered through 800 phone interviews with registered voters statewide. Eighty-four of those interviews were made in the San Joaquin Valley, including Merced, Stanislaus, Madera and Fresno counties. [Article]
by ANA B. IBARRA, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-10-24
 
Growing population needs new solutions
Housing is scarce in Ventura County, and available inventory will only shrink further unless local governments and residents can find a way past opposition to new development, according to speakers at the 13th annual Ventura County Housing Conference in September. The population will grow from about 840K to an estimated 1 mln people in the next two decades, but we’re not ready for the extra residents, said land-use consultant Sandy Smith, a former mayor of Ventura, at the event. He estimates the county will need an additional 76K new residential units to accommodate the growth. [Article]
by BECCA WHITNALL, The Acorn. 2014-10-24
 
Event for foster youths was a success
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Ventura County had its second annual CASABlanca Pop-Up Dining Event recently at Ventura Harbor Village. About 300 guests dressed in black and white attended the event to raise awareness and funds to benefit CASA of Ventura County. The theme was “A Magical Dining Experience by the Sea.” Guests brought their own tableware, and prizes were awarded for most creative table, most elegant table, most spirited group and best dressed. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Ventura County Star. 2014-10-24
 
County launches new elections mobile app
The Ventura County elections Division recently announced the launch of a new elections mobile app for smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. The app will enable the 839K residents of Ventura County to view real-time elections information via an iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device. Voters will also be able to look up their registration status, polling place locations, sample ballots, track their Vote By Mail ballot and view elected officials for each voter. Information and links available within the app provide residents access to: voter registration, election night results, candidate filing schedules and forms, poll worker opportunities, resources for voters serving in the military or overseas, and contact information for the Ventura County Elections Division. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Ventura County Star. 2014-10-24
 
Op/ed: Measure P is good for our economy
The oil companies have been spending millions of dollars to misinform about Measure P. It does not and cannot shut down existing oil production. It applies only to future wells using specific, high-intensity techniques such as fracking, acidizing and steam injection. The initiative is well-written. It was drafted by one of the top legislative firms in the state and reviewed by numerous law firms, including Environmental Defense Center and Stanford Law School, and is endorsed by state and local legislators and four former county supervisors who are familiar with legislation. Opponents of Measure P don’t want to debate the real issue, which is whether or not we want massive new oil operations — thousands of new wells are planned —using extreme techniques that use large amounts of water, cause spills and water pollution, trigger earthquakes and increase air pollution. These are not companies with good track records. A farmer in Kern County won a 8.5 mln dollar settlement against Aera Energy for polluting his groundwater. That same company just applied for 220 wells in our county. [Article]
by KATIE DAVIS / OPINION, Pacific Coast Business Times. 2014-10-24
 
Op/ed: Measure P is too deceptive and costly
It would cripple the oil industry, a mainstay of the North County economy, and deprive the county of more than 16 mln in annual revenue — most of which supports our schools. It would expose taxpayers to losses of tens or hundreds of mlns of dollars in “takings” lawsuits. And sadly, it’s all based on misunderstandings and misinformation. The authors of Measure P are two law firms: San Francisco’s Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, and Santa Barbara’s Environmental Defense Center, or EDC. Despairing of shutting down the oil industry at the state level, their goal is to eliminate oil production in California county-by-county. Measure P supporters call themselves the “Water Guardians,” an organization that never existed before Measure P was written. Their leaders are members of 350sb.org, the local chapter of a group dedicated to combatting climate change. They believe that climate change endangers the planet, that climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels, and that therefore we must renounce fossil fuels. [Article]
by DALE FRANCISCO / OPINION, Pacific Coast Business Times. 2014-10-24
 
Construction set to get underway on 20 mln SLO County Juvenile Hall expansion
Construction is set to get underway next week on a 20 mln expansion of San Luis Obispo County's Juvenile Hall. The facility is located on Highway 1, not far from the Cuesta College campus and Camp San Luis Obispo. The project will add 20 new sleeping rooms, three classrooms, a mental health treatment office, two interview/counseling rooms, a multipurpose gymnasium, staff bathrooms, male and female staff locker rooms, a training/conference room, and staff offices to the existing structure. The total size of the expansion is more than 23K square feet, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department. [Article]
by RANDOL WHITE, San Luis Obispo Tribune. 2014-10-24
 
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