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Kern County declares a fiscal emergency amid plunging oil prices
Kern County supervisors declared a state of fiscal emergency at their weekly meeting Tuesday in response to predictions of a massive shortfall in property tax revenues because of tanking oil prices. Surging oil supplies domestically and weak demand abroad have left Kern, the heart of oil production in California, facing what could be a 61 mln hole in its budget once its fiscal year starts July 1, according to preliminary calculations from the county’s assessor-recorder office. Oil companies account for about 30% of the county’s property tax revenues, a percentage that has been declining in recent decades but still represents a critical cushion for county departments and school districts. “It affects all county departments – every department will be asked to make cuts,” said County Assessor Jon Lifquist in an interview this month. “It just doesn’t bode well.” [Article]
by TIFFANY HSU, Los Angeles Times. 2015-01-28
 
Supervisors declare fiscal emergency amid plummeting oil prices
Kern County supervisors declared a fiscal emergency Tuesday and endorsed a plan for navigating the treacherous budget wilds ahead. Falling oil prices are expected to strip about 61mln from county property tax revenues in the fiscal year that starts July 1, turning a robust outlook into a projected annual deficit of 27mln. And things will only get tougher as pension costs spike and a 20.5mln annual increase in spending at Lerdo Jail comes online in 2017-18 due to an expansion there. The fiscal emergency declaration gave supervisors the ability to spend reserves and get creative in staffing the Kern County Fire Department, which has to absorb 17 mln of the 61 mln oil tax drop. But they also approved a long-term plan that will phase in reductions in county spending gradually, before the high-dollar cost increases hit. It starts immediately. [Article]
by JAMES BURGER, Bakersfield Californian. 2015-01-28
 
Kern County supervisors declare fiscal emergency
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – The Kern County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to declare a fiscal emergency, allowing the county to tap into its 40 mln reserve fund. [Article]
by KYLE HARVEY, Bakersfield Now. 2015-01-28
 
Sentence reduction law sparks sharp drop in L.A. County jail crowding
Los Angeles County’s long-overcrowded jail system saw a sharp decline in new inmates after California voters approved a law last year reducing penalties for a wide array of nonviolent crimes. According to a report delivered Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors, law enforcement officials said that with the passage of Proposition 47, which downgraded many drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, the jail population has begun to dip, although they said it was too early to project if that trend would continue. Fewer new inmates means jailers no longer have to clear room by cutting sentences short and granting early release to many offenders. “We’re going to be in a state of dynamic flux in the jail system for the next six months or so,” Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald told supervisors. [Article]
by ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2015-01-28
 
L.A. County issues alert for chikungunya - rare mosquito-borne illness
An increase in a rare mosquito-borne disease across Los Angeles County prompted public health officials to issue an alert Tuesday to physicians and hospitals to be on the lookout for patients suffering with fever and joint pain. Health officials confirmed there have been 14 reported cases of chikungunya infections since last May; 25 more are under investigation. At least 75 percent of the confirmed chikungunya infections are in those residents who have returned from El Salvador, health officials said. There have been no local transmissions. Other countries and regions of travel reported among those infected include Jamaica, Puerto Rico other parts of the Caribbean and South America. [Article]
by SUSAN ABRAM, Los Angeles Daily News. 2015-01-28
 
Monrovia resident honored by County Supervisor for Museum’s Allensworth showcase
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich recognized the Monrovia Historical Museum Tuesday for having honored the first African American to reach the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army on the 100th anniversary of his death. A Monrovia resident, Ralph Walker, who was instrumental in organizing the event, said he felt inspired to share the story of Allen Allensworth, a “prominent” figure who is seldom talked about in the history books. “When I found out how he’s been neglected, it moved me in a lot of ways,” Walker said. [Article]
by COURTNEY TOMPKINS, Pasadena Star News. 2015-01-28
 
Dozens quarantined as health agencies try to stem measles outbreak
At least 57 people have been quarantined in Orange and San Diego Counties as part of public health officials' efforts to quell the measles outbreak that began at Disneyland last month. For each person who contracts the measles, public health nurses have to track down anyone who might have had direct contact with that person or even have been in the same room, since the virus can linger in the air for two hours after a sick person has left. Nurses have to determine whether an exposed person has been vaccinated or otherwise has immunity to the disease, and if not, ask that person to self-quarantine. [Article]
by ADRIAN FLORIDO, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2015-01-28
 
Disney measles outbreak: Younger doctors need a measles crash course
As public health officials have been working to curb the measles outbreak that began last month at Disneyland, they have run into an unexpected challenge: Because measles was all but eliminated in the United States about 15 years ago, most younger physicians have never seen it. So now a generation of doctors is getting a crash course via a combination of methods, including informal workshops, emails, fliers and old college textbooks. On a recent morning, Dr. Greg Moran, interim chief of emergency medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, gave a quick seminar to a handful of residents, interns and other doctors during their daily huddle in the ER. "Probably most of you young whippersnappers here have never seen a case of measles," he says, going on to explain when a rash might appear on a person with measles. [Article]
by ELIZABETH AGUILERA, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2015-01-28
 
Prop. 47 brings a shift to longer time spent behind bars
For decades, Los Angeles County jail inmates divided their sentences by five, 10 or 20 to calculate the time they would actually spend behind bars. Because of overcrowding, they left after completing as little as 5% of their sentences. Now, as Proposition 47 begins to reshape the California criminal justice system, they are serving much more of their time. The new law, passed by voters Nov. 4, reduced drug possession and other minor crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. The county jail population plummeted and sheriff's officials began increasing the time served for the remaining inmates to 90% or more. Most of the affected inmates will end up serving only half of that, due to automatic credits prescribed by state law, but the change is still profound. Because of Proposition 47, others who would have landed in jail are not being arrested as street cops take a pass because of the low stakes. At the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, bookings are down by 23% and narcotics-related arrests are down 30%. [Article]
by MARISA GERBER, ABBY SEWELL AND CINDY CHANG, Los Angeles Times. 2015-01-28
 
Historic preservation for unincorporated L.A. County sites gets initial OK
For the first time, historic sites and buildings in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County will be eligible for legal protections under a measure that won initial approval Tuesday. The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to move ahead with preservation regulations that could be applied to qualifying buildings, neighborhoods and even distinctive geographic features. The proposed law, expected to receive final approval in the next few months, also will allow property owners who secure county historic designations to get tax breaks under a state law. [Article]
by JEAN MERL, Los Angeles Times. 2015-01-28
 
California developers expect to build more commercial space through 2017
California real estate developers are feeling bullish and plan to build more office buildings, apartments and warehouses in the months ahead, a survey says. New commercial space is expected to increase through 2017 across most California real estate markets, thanks in part to job growth and the rise in goods moving through the state's ports. The outlook is based on the recent Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast a measure of future commercial construction in California that analyzes the three-year outlook for real estate development activity based on surveys of real estate professionals. [Article]
by ROGER VINCENT, Los Angeles Times. 2015-01-28
 
Editorial: Bike sharing, an environmentally driven notion, doesn't work
The idea behind bike sharing programs is pretty simple: Rent a bike at one place, ride it to your destination, and return it to another nearby station. The concept fits well within local governments’ greener push to get travelers out of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and into more environmentally friendly forms of transportation. But, while popular among local governments, travelers don’t seem so enthused about the idea. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Orange County Register. 2015-01-28
 
Editorial: Going on offense against sex trafficking
Jeremiah Johnson and Andrea Wilson appeared this month in Santa Ana Superior Court, where both were sentenced to prison for trafficking and pimping a teen-age girl. The victim was lured into prostitution with promises of money and a better life. When the girl tried to free herself, she was threatened with harm. Against that backdrop, the House of Representatives this week passed a dozen bills targeting human trafficking. “Though few are aware of the severity of the problem,” said a statement from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “human trafficking affects tens of thousands of people in America.” And nowhere more so than in California, according to the Center for Public Policy Studies. It notes that “California, with its large immigrant communities, the world’s ninth-largest economy and extensive international border, is considered one of the top four destinations in the U.S. for human trafficking.” [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Orange County Register. 2015-01-28
 
Two Votes Separate Do, Correa in County Supervisor Race
Two votes. That was the margin separating Republican Andrew Do and Democrat Lou Correa late Tuesday night in the race to represent over 600,000 people living in central Orange County on the Board of Supervisors. Do, a former chief of staff to state Sen. Janet Nguyen, who took over for Correa when he termed out last year, had 16,202 votes. Correa, who was ahead for most of Tuesday night’s tallies, finished with 16,200. There are still about 6,100 votes – mainly Election Day provisionals and late mail-in ballots – that remain to be counted in the next few days. [Article]
by NORBERTO SANTANA Jr. and THY VO, Voice of OC. 2015-01-28
 
Only 2 votes separate Andrew Do, Lou Correa in county supervisor special election
A tightly contested race to replace Janet Nguyen on the Orange County Board of Supervisors remains too close to call today, with just two votes separating Andrew Do and Lou Correa. Do, who was Nguyen's chief of staff, led former state Sen. Lou Correa with 16,202 votes compared to 16,200 votes for the former state senator, with all 101 precincts reporting, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters. There are still last-minute absentee ballots to be counted, and both candidates are hopeful. [Article]
by MEGHANN M. CUNIFF, Orange County Register. 2015-01-28
 
Leaders gather for Economic Coalition reception
About 165 business, community and elected leaders attended the Orange County Economic Coalition Legislative Reception at Saddleback Memorial on Friday. The Orange County Economic Coalition works to promote a strong economic quality, its website states. [Article]
by MICHAEL SUYDAM / GUEST COLUMNIST, Orange County Register. 2015-01-28
 
2.5 mln will give homes to 100 of Orange County's homeless
About 100 homeless people will move into housing thanks to a 2.5mln federal grant awarded to a coalition of county agencies. The money is part of 19.5mln in federal grants to Orange County, and the earmarked funds are for a long-term program designed to keep the homeless off the streets, something that officials say will make a huge difference. The grants are from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and most of the remaining money is for existing programs. [Article]
by MEGHANN M. CUNIFF, Orange County Register. 2015-01-28
 
Newhall County Water District Wins Kudos for Budget
The Newhall County Water District announced this week that its 2014 budget has been recognized with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada – North America’s leading municipal government finance organization. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, The Signal. 2015-01-28
 
County OK's campaign limits
SAN DIEGO — Political parties will be limited in how much they can contribute to county candidates under action taken by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The board voted 4-1 to cap the amount of donations from the parties to 25K for supervisorial campaigns and 50K for countywide races, such as those for district attorney and sheriff. The county, which has largely followed the city of San Diego’s lead on campaign financing rules, currently has no limit on political party contributions. [Article]
by MICHAEL SMOLENS, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-01-28
 
County board makes right call on Laura’s Law
This editorial page has long supported implementation of Laura’s Law, a 2002 state measure that counties can use to help individuals suffering from severe mental illness, their loved ones and their communities. We applaud four San Diego County supervisors for their votes Tuesday to finally take a crucial first step toward realizing the law’s benefits. The measure allows counties to set up special courts in which judges may order outpatient treatment of mentally ill individuals who refuse to accept care or who have had severe illness-related problems, including psychiatric hospitalizations or incarceration. The law is named after a worker at a Nevada County clinic who was killed by a severely mentally ill assailant. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-01-28
 
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