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Three years later, supervisors may revisit plan to raise funds for stormwater projects
Three years ago, an attempt to raise money for regional projects to capture and treat stormwater went nowhere. Homeowners, businesses and school districts opposed the proposed parcel fee, and Los Angeles County supervisors killed a proposed initiative before it could go to voters in a countywide mail-only ballot for property owners. Now, with heightened attention on water supplies and flood control as a result of the drought and El Niño, some local officials and activists want to try again. Environmentalists and public officials have talked about trying another countywide ballot measure next year to pay for stormwater capture infrastructure, county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said. "The county just doesn't have enough money in its coffers to do all the work that's necessary. We will need, I think, to go to the public for it," she said. In the Los Angeles River watershed, only about 15% of stormwater is captured, cleaned up and placed back in the water supply. The rest goes into the ocean, a loss of millions of gallons each year. Stormwater management plans developed by the county and cities in the Los Angeles area in response to new permitting requirements add up to an estimated $20 billion over the next 20 years. [Article]
by ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Public gives input on improving, expanding Glendale city parks
More than a dozen residents came to the Pacific Community Center on Saturday to tell Glendale officials what kinds of projects they envision to improve and expand the city's parks. The meeting was one of two the city held as part of Los Angeles County's Park Needs Assessment Study, a countywide effort to gauge the needs for parks and recreation in cities and unincorporated areas. Glendale was split into a north and south region, with a meeting to focus on the needs of parks in each. The north region meeting was Jan. 30 at Sparr Heights Community Center. Each attendee was given 10 stickers to add to the page of whatever project they deemed important. "The challenge is there's a lot of need and there just isn't enough funding to go around," said Grant Michals, a commissioner for Glendale's Parks and Recreation Commission. [Article]
by RYAN FONSECA, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Big turnout is expected at a showdown over the Coastal Commission chief's future
For more than four decades, the California Coastal Commission has policed land use and preserved public access along more than 1,100 miles of shoreline — some of the most valuable and scenic real estate in the nation. Now an internal battle over whether to fire its executive director has set off an intense public fight over the direction of the agency and its ability to control development and protect the state's vast coastal resources. On Wednesday, the commission will consider ousting Charles Lester, a 23-year veteran of the agency, during its regular meeting in Morro Bay. If he is removed, it would be a first in the agency's history. Lester is the target of a group of commissioners, including appointees of Gov. Jerry Brown, who have questioned the director's management and leadership abilities. But their efforts to focus the discussion on job performance have been met with a torrent of outrage. [Article]
by DAN WEIKEL and TONY BARBOZA, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Zika virus raises more questions than answers for pregnant women
As public health officials and epidemiologists race to understand the Zika virus, doctors in the United States are struggling to counsel patients and ease their fears amid a flood of constantly changing information. Over the last two weeks, an outbreak of the virus has spread to dozens of countries in the Americas. The illness was once believed to have only mild symptoms, but is now suspected of causing serious birth defects, most notably in Brazil. Experts say pregnant women in the United States who haven't traveled to countries with outbreaks have no risk of being infected. But with a rapid stream of new information about how the illness is transmitted, new worries keep emerging among pregnant women. "You can't reassure them," said Dr. Kathleen Berkowitz, an obstetrician who practices in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Last week, officials said that a person living in Dallas had been infected with Zika — originally thought to be only carried by mosquitoes — by having sex with someone who returned from Venezuela. The news set off concerns not just about sexual transmission, but about spending time with people who've recently visited countries with outbreaks and or places with reported cases. One patient asked Berkowitz if she should reconsider a trip to Dallas. [Article]
by SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Has El Niño abandoned L.A.?
By this point in winter, Southern California was supposed to be dealing with rains and flooding, not brush fires and beach weather. Yet temperatures have soared this week, breaking records in downtown Los Angeles and other locations across California, with even hotter conditions expected Tuesday. Forecasters warn of more hot winds as well as temperatures that could exceed 90 degrees downtown. For all the talk of monster rains from El Niño, all but three days in the last month have been dry in the Los Angeles area. Has El Niño abandoned L.A.? [Article]
by RONG-GONG LIN II, BRITTNY MEJIA, SARAH PARVINI, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Suffering bobcats, coyotes, owls spur Thousand Oaks neighborhood to rethink war on rats
The sight was heartbreaking: a thin, mangy bobcat trembling against a brick wall separating the Thousand Oaks neighborhood of Dos Vientos from open space that is habitat for wildlife and popular among hikers. The wildcat was too sick to move, even as passersby stepped closer one recent morning to snap photographs. "It just stared at us," Stephanie Marlin, 53, recalled, "with eyes that seemed to say, 'Look what you guys did to me.'" A few hours later, Marlin posted snapshots of the animal on Facebook. By day's end, they were being used in an emotional fight across social media channels over the unintended collateral damage of the Dos Vientos Ranch Community Assn.'s annual $40,000 war on rats. Images of dead and dying bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes and owls posted on Dos Vientos community message boards and chat threads have aroused outrage among residents in and around the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. They believe rodenticides are working their way up the food chain. [Article]
by LOUIS SAHAGUN, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Murder suspect mistakenly released from L.A. County jail is captured
A murder suspect who has been on the lam since being mistakenly freed from jail in Los Angeles County was captured Monday in Boulder City, Nev., Sheriff's Department officials announced. Steven Lawrence Wright was arrested at a hotel Monday morning before noon, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. He will be sent back to California pending an extradition hearing. Sheriff's investigators developed information that Wright might have been hiding in a Boulder City hotel on Monday morning, the agency said. He was captured by agents from the FBI and local police. [Article]
by JAMES QUEALLY and CINDY CHANG, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Activists call on L.A. City Council to stop arresting homeless people for being homeless
Skid row activists called on the city of Los Angeles on Monday to stop arresting homeless people for keeping tents and other belongings on sidewalks, and asked that enforcement money be directed instead toward building housing. On the eve of what could be adoption of the most comprehensive homelessness plan in a decade, speakers on the steps of City Hall also said the city should make low-cost, mobile showers available and provide access to existing restrooms and storage units instead of investing in potentially expensive new facilities. "What ends homelessness is housing," said Eric Ares, an activist with the Los Angeles Community Action Network. "We don't need a 240-page report to know that." Both the City Council and the county Board of Supervisors have scheduled meetings Tuesday to begin implementing voluminous plans to curb homelessness, which grew 12% from 2014 to 2015, spreading unsightly encampments throughout the region. [Article]
by GALE HOLLAND, Los Angeles Times. 2016-02-09
 
Here Are the Parking Rates Coming to 9 Metro Stations
It’s not news that Metro is considering ending their practice of free parking at their train stations, but now we have intel on what exactly the new policy is going to look like. A Metro document, leaked on the Fans of Los Angeles Metro Rail Facebook page, showed that the agency will soon launch a pilot program that includes parking fees at nine stations—three of which will be on the new Expo Line extension to Santa Monica, which opens in May. [Article]
by NEAL BROVERMAN, LA Observed. 2016-02-09
 
More Housing — Especially the Affordable Kind — Is Exactly What the Westside Needs
L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin has begun championing the redevelopment of an obsolete Metro bus yard in his district into something that the westside of L.A. County is desperately short of: affordable housing. The 3.5 acres of prime Venice land — located at Sunset and Main — is a mere stone’s throw away from the Boardwalk in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country, which is exactly why Bonin, who also sits on the Metro board of directors, says this is the spot for affordable housing. [Article]
by JASON ISLAS, Los Angeles Chronicle. 2016-02-09
 
5 things to know about LA's big homelessness fix
For months, L.A. County leaders have been developing a strategy to address the region's homelessness problem. The numbers are bleak: more than 44,000 people are homeless in L.A. County. Of that, about 30,000 are unsheltered - living in tents, cars and makeshift shelters. Officials have called it a "state of emergency." They've pledged to find the money to address the problem. They've produced studies to better understand what it will take, and they've asked the public to weigh in. [Article]
by JACOB MARGOLIS, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2016-02-09
 
Porter Ranch: Residents will get more time to move home after leak is stopped
Porter Ranch residents were only set to get 48 hours to move home from temporary accommodations after the gas leak is stopped under a proposal from the Southern California Gas Company, but now they're set to get more time under a deal between SoCal Gas and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, according to a press release. “After finding their lives upended for months, Porter Ranch residents deserve a reasonable amount of time to move back into their homes — following independent assurance the leak truly has been stopped," Feuer said in the release. L.A. City Councilmember Mitchell Englander is asking the Department of Oil and Geothermal Resources to work with the L.A. County Department of Health to make sure that the homes of those affected are safe before they return, according to the release. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2016-02-09
 
Division 13: LA County Metro's new environmentally friendly bus facility
Los Angeles County Metro's new bus maintenance facility on the edge of downtown L.A. was officially introduced on Monday, though it's been operating since Feb. 1, according to a Metro press release. The facility, named Division 13, is set to receive a Gold LEED designation for its high level of environmentally-friendly design. Among it's environmentally-friendly features: [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2016-02-09
 
Voting Rights Act Suit Filed Against San Juan Capistrano
Advocates for Latino voters are suing the city of San Juan Capistrano under the California Voting Rights Act, alleging that the city has an at-large city council election system that prevents Latinos from electing their candidates of choice. If the suit is successful, the city would have to change its council election system to guarantee more representation for Latinos. The 2010 U.S. Census showed almost 40 percent of the city’s residents are Latino, yet there are no Latinos currently serving on council, according to the suit – which was filed by the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, as well as residents Tina Auclair and Louie Camacho. [Article]
by ADAM ELMAHREK, Voice of OC. 2016-02-09
 
Economic gaps could harm South County's future, new report says
MISSION VIEJO – South Orange County’s young people may one day find themselves unable to afford to live where they grew up, according to a new report out of Saddleback College. The 2016 South Orange County Economic Report lists three “economic opportunity gaps,” including a lack of affordable housing for young professionals and middle-income families, that could limit growth in the near future. But it also shows that the regional economy has consistently grown at least 2 percent per year since 2008. [Article]
by CHRISTOPHER YEE, Orange County Register. 2016-02-09
 
Our eroding coastline: Recent storms are reshaping beaches, and some are getting tougher to visit
Eight-year-old Phoebe DeMoss chases her puppy down a sandy cliff that a month ago was a flat, dirt parking lot and hangout spot for surfers at San Onofre State Beach. Trailed by her father, Bob, she heads toward a 10-foot concrete pillar topped with a sign warning visitors to stay clear from the stretch of beach. The massive, tilted structure encircled by cobblestone – unearthed by recent wild weather – is one of a half-dozen like it, giving the once-pristine beach the look of a scene from an apocalyptic movie. [Article]
by LAYLAN CONNELLY, Orange County Register. 2016-02-09
 
There are now more registered drone operators than registered planes
WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration said there are now more registered drone operators in the U.S. than there are registered manned aircraft. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told a legal forum on Monday that the agency passed the milestone last week when it topped 325,000 registered drone owners. There are 320,000 registered manned aircraft. Huerta said the number of small unmanned aircraft is even larger because drone operators often own more than one drone. [Article]
by JOAN LOWY / The Associated Press, Orange County Register. 2016-02-09
 
Spitzer: Orange County needs to fix jail roof security now, not wait for internal investigation
County Supervisor Todd Spitzer has asked Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to expedite security upgrades to the Central Men’s Jail roof immediately instead of waiting for an internal investigation into how three inmates escaped last month. Spitzer wrote a letter to Hutchens on Feb. 2 urging her to ask the Board of Supervisors for cameras, motion detectors, infrared equipment, flood lights – “whatever you may need” – instead of waiting “until the conclusion of a comprehensive investigation” that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department launched in response to the jailbreak. [Article]
by JORDAN GRAHAM, Orange County Register. 2016-02-09
 
O.C. home affordability falls to 7-year low
The price of paradise has jumped as Orange County homes reach an level of unaffordability not seen in seven years. Rising home prices and meager pay raises have crimped the typical household’s ability to buy an Orange County residences – even with mortgage rates near historic lows, two widely watched benchmarks of affordability show. [Article]
by JONATHAN LANSNER , Orange County Register. 2016-02-09
 
New senior housing coming soon to Orange
Construction could start as early as June on a three-story, 98-unit senior living community planned at 630 The City Drive South. Oakmont Senior Living is developing the complex and will run the facility to be called “Oakmont on The City Drive” once it opens, which officials expect will be August 2017. The project was recently approved by the Orange Planning Commission. [Article]
by BROOKE E. SEIPEL, Orange County Register. 2016-02-09
 
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