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Column: Corruption scandal shows that in Anaheim politics, there are no angels
I arrived early to Tuesday’s Anaheim City Council meeting, expecting to find an overflow crowd wielding metaphorical pitchforks and torches. Evidently, so did the powers that be. Audio speakers squealed outside City Hall for anyone who arrived late. Police officers stood at attention or sauntered around, some in bulletproof vests. It was the first council meeting since explosive court filings alleged that my hometown is living up to the nickname my friends and I have long called it as a joke: Anacrime. On Monday, an FBI affidavit filed in Orange County Superior Court revealed Mayor Harry Sidhu was under federal investigation for public corruption over his role in the city’s attempted sale of Angel Stadium and its parking lots to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno. The FBI alleges that Sidhu leaked insider information to the Angels, deleted evidence of his doings, and attempted to obstruct an Orange County Grand Jury investigation into the affair. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
New variants of concern detected in San Diego County
Ongoing genetic analysis has confirmed that three recent San Diego-area coronavirus infections were caused by the BA.4 variant, one of two rapidly spreading types recently classified as a “variant of concern” by Europe’s main public health authority. Just last week, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control announced the new label based on the demonstrated ability of BA.4 and its cousin, BA.5, to “evade immune protection” whether it was caused by vaccination or prior infection. The county health department confirmed that genetic sequencing performed on positive test results collected on April 18 and 28, and on May 3 all matched the profile of BA.4. It often takes weeks to analyze samples after they are collected, meaning that it is likely that there are more cases present in the community than have been confirmed, especially as only a sampling of all new cases are analyzed. [Article]
by , San Diego Union-Tribune. 2022-05-19
Coronavirus: L.A. County reported 4,725 new cases and nine more deaths, May 19
Los Angeles County public health officials reported 4,725 new cases of the coronavirus since Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 2,926,848 as of Thursday, May 19. Officials reported nine more deaths linked to the coronavirus, for a total of 32,064 deaths since tracking began. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2022-05-19
EPA announces grants for UCSD and other UCs for pollution research
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that a trio of research grants have been awarded to University of California campuses for air pollution reduction research, including a nearly $400,000 grant to UC San Diego. [Article]
by , KPBS - San Diego. 2022-05-19
Survivors of sexual abuse at the California Legislature and public universities shouldn’t be excluded
In recent years, University of California at Berkeley has been the subject of numerous reports of sexual assault claims filed by students. Just last month, California State University faculty circulated a petition calling for the Legislature to launch an investigation into how 23 campuses handle sexual harassment complaints. And then there is the Legislature itself, which has seen frequent reports of sexual harassment claims by staff over the years. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2022-05-19
This tiny Utah town could be the West's green hydrogen hub
The road to Delta is paved with pumpjacks and wind power. Five days into our Western energy road trip, photographer Rob Gauthier and I drove late into the night across Utah, following the setting sun as it bathed the red-rock cliffs and snow-starved Wasatch Mountains in golden light. We crossed the Strawberry River — a sparkling tributary of the Colorado — before traversing Indian Canyon via Highway 191, a scenic byway lined with oil wells. As sunset turned to dusk, we enjoyed sweeping views of Ashley National Forest from Indian Creek Pass, elevation 9,114 feet. An hour later, we passed the Beehive State’s first large wind farm, near the end of the sprawl that extends south from Salt Lake City. By the time we reached Delta, population 3,600, it was well past dark, and I couldn’t see the massive smokestack north of town. It rises 710 feet from Intermountain Power Plant — a coal-fired plant that for decades has been L.A.'s largest electricity source. That’s right, if you hadn’t gotten the memo: Roughly one-sixth of L.A.'s power comes from coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
Weekly reported COVID-19 infections increase by 40% in San Diego County
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,579 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, the most since early February and part of a larger trend as infections continue to increase. [Article]
by , KPBS - San Diego. 2022-05-19
Growing number of sick and dying California brown pelicans worries animal experts
Hundreds of sick and dying California brown pelicans have recently been found across the region and are now being treated at various rescue centers along the coast, officials said. Some of these large birds — known for their distinctive oversize bills — arrive with fractures, likely hit by cars, while others have multiple fish hooks and fishing lines tangled around their bodies, officials said. Many are emaciated and starving. There is no clear answer as to why so many birds are sick and dying, and state officials are scrambling to perform tests on dead birds to provide some clarity. More than a hundred birds are being treated at the nonprofit International Bird Rescue’s center in San Pedro in Los Angeles County. Some birds are brought to the center from as far north as Santa Barbara and as far south as San Diego. Typically, such facilities take in a few birds for rehabilitation, but the volume of sick and dying birds over the last several days is alarming veterinarians. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
California lawmakers kill plans to ban some offshore drilling
Facing fierce opposition from California’s powerful oil industry and trade unions, legislation to close down operations on three offshore oil rigs off the Orange County coast failed Thursday to win passage in a state Senate committee, seven months after a major spill fouled the beaches and wetlands around Huntington Beach. Senate Bill 953 would have allowed the State Lands Commission to terminate offshore oil leases by the end of 2024 if the agency was unable to negotiate voluntary buyouts with the petroleum companies operating the oil platforms. The legislation focused solely on the three oil leases in state waters adjacent to Orange County, not the 23 oil rigs in federal waters along the rest of California’s coastline. The measure was introduced by state Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) after an October oil spill off Huntington Beach dumped an estimated 25,000 gallons into the ocean. Investigators suspect it was caused by a cargo ship anchor that snagged a 17-mile-long pipeline stretching from an oil platform that operates in federal waters to the Port of Long Beach. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
COVID-19 testing centers expanding in Del Norte County
The OptumServe testing sites in Klamath, Smith River and Crescent City will be expanding their services to include Test to Treat services starting May 16. Test to Treat services include rapid antigen testing, and when testing positive, individuals can receive an assessment by a medical provider to determine eligibility to receive a prescription antiviral medications all at the same location. These services are free of charge, but please contact (888) 634-1123 for more information.  [Article]
by , Del Norte Triplicate. 2022-05-19
CDC report reveals 'historic' increases in gun-related homicides
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis found firearm homicide rates nationwide rose 35% from 2019 to 2020. The report said it is the highest firearm homicide rate in more than 25 years. [Article]
by , KPBS - San Diego. 2022-05-19
L.A. County coronavirus cases rise to new risk level, sparking concern
Los Angeles County hospitals are once again seeing a marked increase in the number of coronavirus-positive patients requiring their care — triggering new concern that healthcare systems could once again come under strain unless the region gets its arms around the latest resurgence of the virus. The case rate in the nation’s most populous county is now high enough to land it within the “medium” COVID-19 community level outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reaching this category, the middle on the agency’s three-tier scale, “is concerning, since it could signal that the increases that we’re seeing in our COVID cases may soon put pressure on our healthcare resources,” said county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. Fourteen California counties are now in the medium community level, but L.A. is the only one in Southern California. The others are eight of the nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area (the lone exception is Napa County), the coastal counties north of the Bay Area, as well as Santa Cruz County and Yolo County, home to UC Davis. So far, no California counties are in the worst, “high,” community level. Getting to that point would require not only an elevated level of coronavirus transmission, but for hospitals to begin seeing significant impacts from COVID-19. “To avoid moving to the high community level, which signifies very high transmission and stress on the healthcare system, residents, workers and businesses need to not shy away from reinstating or adhering to safety practices that are known to reduce transmission,” Ferrer told reporters Thursday. “This includes indoor masking, testing when people are sick, exposed or gathering, and staying up to date on vaccinations.” [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
High-Profile CA Democrat and OC Political Consultant Reveals Role as FBI Witness in Anaheim Corruption Probe
One of Orange County’s highest-profile political consultants –  who’s also a high ranking California Democratic Party official – has confirmed to Voice of OC that she cooperated with an FBI corruption investigation into Anaheim’s city government that burst into public view this week. [Article]
by , Voice of OC. 2022-05-19
Weekly Reported COVID-19 Infections Increase by 40% in San Diego County
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,579 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, the most since early February and part of a larger trend as infections continue to increase. [Article]
by , KNSD NBC San Diego. 2022-05-19
For more than two years, L.A. County and USC clashed over hospital management
For years, a contentious dispute between Los Angeles County’s healthcare leaders and the University of Southern California has seethed behind closed doors, injecting tension and acrimony in the operations at one of the nation’s busiest public hospitals that climaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic. As early as 2019, officials at L.A. County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights began accusing USC of failing to live up to its contract obligations, where the county pays up to $170 million each year in return for USC’s faculty doctors and nearly 1,000 medical residents treating some of the region’s poorest patients. The county has contended that USC repeatedly fell short of providing enough doctors under the contract while also “double-booking” its internists, cardiologists, and others — claiming they were scheduled to simultaneously treat patients at both the public hospital and the university’s privately owned Keck Hospital across the street. Last spring, the second-in-command of the county’s health services agency, Dr. Hal Yee, informed USC that it had breached its contract. In scathing correspondence, Yee documented two years of meetings and reviews that he said indicated “underperformance” and “a broad lack of accountability and responsibility on the part of the university.” The complaints from the county have partly spurred change at USC, which since 2020 has installed new leaders atop the medical school and healthcare enterprise, replaced some physicians that directly interface with the hospital, and retained consultants to ensure compliance with the county. But the university also fired back. While USC has acknowledged some “areas of challenge,” they’ve rejected the idea that a true breach of contract ever occurred. USC also lodged a host of complaints about the County, including that it responded to physicians’ concerns “with hostility and demands for retributive action,” resorted to threats to oust a USC administrator, ignored the university’s aid to the county during the pandemic, and repeatedly highlighted past problems in a way that’s “divorced from the reality on the ground.” [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
Nonprofit Calling For Reparations For Displaced Residents Of Chavez Ravine
The nonprofit Buried Under the Blue is demanding reparations for descendants of the residents of three primarily Latino communities who were displaced in the 1950s to make way for public housing that was never built. Years later, the land was used to build Dodger Stadium. [Article]
by , . 2022-05-19
San Diego County homelessness spikes at least 10% since 2020, task force finds
Homelessness in San Diego has grown by at least 10% since 2020, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness revealed Thursday by releasing its 2022 WeAllCount Point-in-Time Count, a one-day snapshot of the minimum number of San Diegans living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, safe havens and on streets and along riverbeds. [Article]
by , KPBS - San Diego. 2022-05-19
Oceanside Now Has the Highest Unsheltered Homeless Population in North County 
The latest results of the annual homeless census show that Oceanside’s unsheltered homeless population significantly increased since 2020, while Escondido’s decreased.   [Article]
by , . 2022-05-19
Paxlovid rebound: What you need to know about COVID return
Some coronavirus-positive patients who have completed treatment of the anti-COVID drug Paxlovid are rebounding into illness, and experts are urging people to be cautious if they develop COVID-like symptoms again and become infectious. It’s unclear how often “post-Paxlovid rebound” occurs, but UC San Francisco Department of Medicine chair Dr. Robert Wachter said he knows of at least one person who completed Paxlovid treatment and then became infectious again, spreading the virus to other family members. “It can happen,” Wachter tweeted. “If you develop recurrent symptoms and have a [positive] rapid test, you are infectious. Please act accordingly.” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said post-Paxlovid COVID-19 relapses are “real.” “They’ve happened in a significant enough number that they’ve been noticed by lots of folks in lots of different places,” she said. In a statement on its website, the U.S Food and Drug Administration said it is aware of reports of COVID-19 symptoms returning following the completion of Paxlovid treatment. “In some of these cases, patients tested negative on a direct SARS-CoV-2 viral test and then tested positive again,” the FDA said. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
Costa Mesa drafting new law to curb catalytic converter thefts
To stem a rising tide of catalytic converter thefts, the city of Costa Mesa is drafting a law that would make it illegal to possess the stand-alone vehicle part without proof or documentation of lawful ownership. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-05-19
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