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Offensive emails from a top official put L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell on the spot
Outrage over emails sent by a top aide mocking Muslims, blacks, Latinos, women and others is presenting Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell with a serious test as he attempts to reform his troubled agency. On Thursday, more civil rights groups called for the sheriff to fire or discipline the aide, Tom Angel, after the emails were published by The Times this week. A person who made light of those stereotypes is unfit for a top position at an agency that polices the very groups he mocked, some civil rights leaders said. But McDonnell has said he has no immediate plans to discipline his chief of staff because the emails date from Angel’s time with the Burbank Police Department and were an “uncharacteristic act” that do not reflect Angel’s usual good character and judgment. [Article]
by CINDY CHANG and ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN, Los Angeles Times. 2016-04-29
 
L.A.'s water wasters will soon face heavier fines and audits
As regulators mull softening the state’s drought restrictions amid outcry from some Northern California water districts, water wasters in Los Angeles will soon face stiffer fines and water audits under a plan approved this week by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Under the city’s amended water conservation plan, which will take effect Tuesday, the Department of Water and Power will be able to fine residents between $1,000 and $40,000 a month for what it deems “unreasonable use” of water when the city is in an elevated phase of its emergency drought plan. Currently, the department can fine only customers who violate a specific provision of the city’s water ordinance, such as watering at the wrong time of day or using a hose to wash down a driveway. The fines are relatively small, ranging from $100 to $300 while the city is in any phase of its conservation plan. Under the new proposal, fines for those types of violations will increase to as much as $1,200. [Article]
by MATT STEVENS, Los Angeles Times. 2016-04-29
 
California won't celebrate 'John Wayne Day'; one lawmaker cites actor's 'disturbing views' on race
It's a no-go for The Duke. A California lawmaker's bid to commemorate May 26, 2016, as "John Wayne Day" failed in the Assembly after lawmakers cited the actor's comments on race. In a 1971 interview with Playboy, Wayne called black people "irresponsible" and said Native Americans were "selfish" for not wanting to share their land with white colonists. "He had disturbing views toward race," said Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), according to the Associated Press. The resolution received 35 votes but needed 41 votes to pass. Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach), who proposed the bill, blasted the decision as a result of "political correctness." [Article]
by Jessica Roy Luis A. Alejo, Los Angeles Times. 2016-04-29
 
Too good to be true? More food companies settling over questionable advertising claims
If a Santa Monica city attorney had taken a different route to work in July three years ago, Neurobrands LLC might have saved $500,000. On that day, the lawyer noticed a company truck that had some of the drink-maker’s advertising on it, including claims that the beverages helped deliver sustained focus, relieve muscle cramps and normalize sleep patterns. “The claims appeared questionable,” said Adam Radinsky, the chief of the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division. And because the private company’s offices are less than a mile from the Santa Monica city attorney’s office, Radinsky had jurisdiction. See the most-read stories this hour >> The Santa Monica City Attorney, along with the Los Angeles County District Attorney, eventually filed suit against Neurobrands, claiming its advertising was misleading. Earlier this month, Neurobrands agreed to pay $500,000 to settle the claim and change the labeling on its drinks, which are available at many grocery and convenience stores, including Wal-Mart and Rite Aid. [Article]
by JASON SONG, Los Angeles Times. 2016-04-29
 
Hansen: Demise of Sport Chalet a statement of our new culture
While it's not quite Walmart on Black Friday, the scene at any Sport Chalet right now is still a spectacle — and a little sad. In the retail industry, a 10% discount is table stakes — almost paltry — but combine it with "going out of business," and somehow it means all bets are off. Sport Chalet is the latest brick-and-mortar brand to lose to the Internet juggernaut. Headquartered in La Cañada Flintridge, the 47-store chain announced April 16 that it was closing all of its stores, including seven in Orange County: Brea, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo. Overnight, the store stopped selling goods online and will shutter its doors as soon as it can. There is no official final date other than "several weeks" after April 16. [Article]
by DAVID HANSEN / OPINION, Los Angeles Times. 2016-04-29
 
Life and Death on LA’s First Water System
In 1903, William Mulholland presented an end-of-year report to Los Angeles’s newly formed Board of Water Commissioners. "The zanja system has made its usual poor showing for the year," he wrote. "It would certainly be the greatest folly to spend any more money in new construction on this system." The commission took heed, and the next year the zanjas were officially abandoned. This closed a chapter in the city’s history that stretched from the founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River) in 1781 to the turn of the 20th century. [Article]
by HADLEY MEARES, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2016-04-29
 
Squeezed out: Millennials and low-income residents leaving O.C. at higher rates than expected
Millennials and others earning less than $30,000 a year are moving out of Orange County – where rent averages $1,753 a month – at higher rates than would be expected, an analysis shows. A data scientist at real estate website Trulia drew that conclusion after reviewing earnings and other demographic data for people who’ve left the county and other pricey U.S. metro areas. The study, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Silver Spring, Md., Washington, D.C., San Jose, Oakland and San Diego, was largely based on data from the 2014 five-year U.S. Census American Community Survey. [Article]
by MARILYN KALFUS, Orange County Register. 2016-04-29
 
OC Supervisors Unleash ‘Doggy Disneyland’
Dogs running and playing off-leash along a strip of sand at the mouth of the Santa Ana River dubbed “Doggy Disneyland” will likely no longer be outlaws following a county decision this week. Orange County Supervisors unanimously voted to amend the law regarding the restraint of dogs on public property to allow the county to designate off-leash areas for dogs. The approved resolution specifically applies to the unincorporated county-owned property downstream from Pacific Coast Highway at the outlet of the Santa Ana River, between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. [Article]
by SARA HALL, Orange County Register. 2016-04-29
 
Sacramento Report: A Tangled Web of Human Trafficking Bills
It’s a rare problem in Sacramento – or anywhere – when legislators agree too much on an issue. But that’s what’s happening, in a way, when it comes to the long list of bills being offered in the Legislature this session that address human trafficking, including measures from several members of the San Diego delegation. Sacramento Report logoMany of the bills overlap or address the same issues. Several, for example, focus on decriminalization for victims who face criminal charges for activities they were forced into. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez told me she ended up taking decriminalization language out one of her bills because there were so many others that did the same thing. [Article]
by SARA LIBBY, Voice of OC. 2016-04-29
 
County Board of Supervisors Extends Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Projects
San Diego, CA – The County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday to vote on staff recommendations to extend a moratorium against new medical marijuana activity in San Diego County. The 45 day moratorium was put in place on March 16 and was largely a knee-jerk reaction to a group of community members from Julian and Ramona. [Article]
by TERRIE BEST, Voice of San Diego. 2016-04-29
 
Estates finishes 1st phase of flood mitigation project
San Diego Country Estates marked the completion of Phase 1 of its flood mitigation project with a visit by county Supervisor Dianne Jacob. The project was initiated last year after the July 18 and 19 downpours produced four inches of rain and left homes flooded on Rutherford Road as rainwater, mud, silt and rocks flowed down the hillside into yards and the street. [Article]
by KAREN BRAINARD, Ramona Sentinel. 2016-04-29
 
VOSD Podcast: SANDAG Hate and a Possible New U-T Owner (Again)
Folks from all walks of political life have aligned against a potential November ballot measure that would hike the sales tax by half a cent to pay for freeway expansions, transportation projects and more. The San Diego Association of Governments, the regional planning group made up of representatives from 18 cities and the county government, decided Friday to ask voters to approve the half-cent sales increase. If passed, it would raise about $18 million for a cornucopia of transportation and land needs. [Article]
by KINSEE MORLAN, Voice of San Diego. 2016-04-29
 
Time-out for pot shops, say county supervisors
After hours of public testimony and discussion, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted on Wednesday (April 27) to freeze the status of several proposed or approved medical marijuana dispensaries, potentially for as long as another year. [Article]
by DAVE RICE, San Diego Reader. 2016-04-29
 
Rocks placed below San Diego overpass to deter camps: 'We're not anti-homeless. We're pro-resident'
Jagged rocks installed to deter homeless encampments below a freeway overpass have sparked a debate between people arguing for compassion and residents demanding safer, cleaner streets. City crews installed the riprap next to the walls of the 5 Freeway overpass late last week at the request of Sherman Heights residents, who had complained that homeless encampments on Imperial Avenue had made it difficult and sometimes dangerous for pedestrians. "When we saw the rocks going up, we celebrated," resident Ildifonso Carrillo said. Carrillo, a member of the Sherman Heights group Compassionate Solutions, said residents were fighting to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. "We're not anti-homeless," he said. "We're pro-resident." [Article]
by GARY WARTH, Los Angeles Times. 2016-04-29
 
Reports: Lack of building affects SD economy
Don’t be fooled by all the cranes downtown. Home building in San Diego County was cited by reports this week as lagging much of the nation and a drag on the local economy. The University of San Diego’s monthly analysis showed the local economy grew just 0.4 percent in March, mostly because of a huge drop in residential units authorized by building permits. Other parts of the local economy were good, said the university’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators, which was released Thursday. Unemployment claims were down, local stocks are bouncing back and help wanted advertising is up, it said. [Article]
by PHILLIP MOLNAR, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-04-29
 
Transportation sales tax hike to go on ballot
SAN DIEGO — A regional panel of governments voted Friday to draft a ballot measure for a sales tax increase that would pay for road improvements, new trolley lines, and open space projects throughout the county. The decision Friday morning is a significant step for San Diego Association of Governments, but there are still a series of procedural maneuvers before voters have the chance to weigh in during the November election on a half-cent sales tax increase that would last for 40 years and generate $18 billion. [Article]
by JOSHUA STEWART, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-04-29
 
Living green goes mainstream
It has been 36 years since the first Earth Day was celebrated as a way to raise Americans’ environmental consciousness. Since then, what was initially perceived by many as a hippie tree hugger issue has been codified in building rules across the country. California’s are the strictest. “Although states on the East Coast are breathing down California’s neck, Title 24 is unparalleled in the rest of the country,” notes Asa Foss, LEED residential technical director with the U.S. Green Building Council. What does this mean for anyone wanting to start a remodeling project here? “First, be aware of what Title 24 and the building code requires you to do,” Foss suggests. He is referring to the portion of the state’s building requirements commonly called CAL Green. [Article]
by JAMIE GOLD, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-04-29
 
EDITORIAL: Cities dialing 9-1-1 on sheriff's contracts
Cities across Riverside County are desperately looking for an alternative to the budget-busting contracts with the Sheriff’s Department. Big raises given to Sheriff’s Department employees by the Board of Supervisors since the recession have mainly served to double the number of county employees earning $100,000 or more in total compensation. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2016-04-29
 
Benoits used private emails to discuss county business
A father-son duo representing Riverside County on several powerful boards have discussed county business using personal email accounts in at least six instances since September, a controversial practice the fate of which could ultimately be decided by the California Supreme Court. Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit and his son, Wildomar City Councilman Ben Benoit serve together on the boards of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, Southern California Association of Governments and the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority. [Article]
by ANNA RUMER, Desert Sun. 2016-04-29
 
San Bernardino County DA creates unit to prosecute animal cruelty
SAN BERNARDINO >> A link between animal cruelty and other crimes — especially domestic violence — has prompted the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to create a new unit to prosecute animal cruelty cases, District Attorney Mike Ramos announced Thursday. “This is a link that experts across the country have known about for some time,” said Ramos following a press conference where he introduced the new unit. “Any abuse is something we will not tolerate, not in this county.” The case of Fontana mother Lorna Lopez illustrates the connection, said Ramos. Lopez and her husband, Victor Lopez, were reported missing by family members March 12, 2013, after the couple was seen arguing. She was found in a Chino pasture two days later. Victor Lopez had turned himself in and led police to her body. [Article]
by BEATRIZ E. VALENZUELA, San Bernardino County Sun. 2016-04-29
 
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