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Gay marriage a problem for some public officials? There’s an easy solution
You may have read about the dilemma facing some public officials in southern states after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing gay couples to marry anywhere in the nation. That’s the Los Angeles Times’ word for it — “dilemma.” Here are some less polite but more accurate words for it: being unfit for public service. We’re talking about county clerks, in Texas and other places, who don’t want to follow the new law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because their religion tells them homosexuality is a sin. [Article]
by KEVIN MODESTI / EDITORIAL, Los Angeles Daily News. 2015-07-03
Neighbors decry shelter plan as count shows homeless numbers rising
Piano store owner Chris Vance says he and his neighbors are in “panic mode.” They've owned businesses in an Anaheim industrial area for years, but they recently learned Orange County has big plans for the area that don’t exactly fit their long-term investment plans: a 200-bed homeless shelter. If approved by the Board of Supervisors, the shelter will open next door to Piano Empire, which Vance has owned for 20 years. He moved to Anaheim from Santa Fe Springs in 2012. “We’re at Ground Zero,” Vance said while working this week in the building at 1000 N. Kraemer Place, north of the 91 freeway. “And a lot of businesses are just finding out about it for the first time.” [Article]
by MEGHANN M. CUNIFF, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
Flushing the past, renewing the future: Irvine Co. replacing 12,000 aging toilets to save water
It was early morning as Ron Mangill, an Irvine Co. liaison, guided a pair of plumbers up the narrow staircase of a Newport Beach townhouse. The two men made their way up the steps, fresh new toilets slung over their shoulders. “This right here is a granddaddy,” Mangill said, pointing to a 20-year-old hunk of faded porcelain nestled in the bathroom’s corner – a stark contrast to its replacement. That “granddaddy” toilet is more than just old – it’s a water guzzler. It is one of more than 3,000 toilets the Irvine Co. recently yanked and hauled to a landfill to make room for new, low-flow flushers in its six oldest Newport Beach apartment communities. [Article]
by BIANCA ALMADA and MATT LEMAS, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
State attorney finds OC supervisors acted illegally in approving 'COIN' labor ordinance
Orange County leaders acted illegally when they failed to let unions try to negotiate new requirements imposed last year on county contract-negotiation processes, an attorney for a state agency has ruled. The proposed ruling by an administrative law judge for the Public Employment Relations Board, issued June 16, could force the county to repeal key parts of the Civic Openness in Negotiations ordinance, dubbed COIN, which requires offers and counter-offers on labor contracts be publicized and requires more detailed analysis of the financial effects of proposed labor agreements, among other things. The Board of Supervisors has not yet voted on whether to appeal the ruling. [Article]
by MEGHANN M. CUNIFF, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
South county water district uses gimmicks and technology to encourage water conservation
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess — a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation in drought-stricken California is turning things around, proving it’s possible to get people to change their ways. The 154,000-customer Santa Margarita Water District cut its water use 18 percent in May, compared with a pitiful 3 percent in the previous 11 months, state officials announced last week. [Article]
by GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
Medi-Cal misfire : CalOptima seeks to rectify state billing error with $8.9 million in payments to O.C. health providers
CalOptima, Orange County’s Medi-Cal insurance program for low-income residents, mailed checks this week totaling $8.9 million to nearly 500 health care providers to resolve a complicated state billing error that started in 2011. In Orange County, 785 doctors, hospitals and other providers were erroneously reimbursed $15 million from the wrong fund for treating Medi-Cal patients, according to the state Department of Health Care Services. Instead, their claims should have been sent to CalOptima, which is state-funded but makes payments on behalf of local patients. The error continued for nearly two years, from July 2011 to May 2013. It affected five other county-run Medi-Cal programs besides CalOptima. All of the health care providers who received the erroneous payments were required to pay the state back. [Article]
by COURTNEY PERKES, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
Fewer state residents admitted to University of California
SAN FRANCISCO – Fewer California high school students have been offered admission to University of California campuses for the fall, officials reported Thursday, while the number accepted from outside the state and abroad has again increased. A total of 92,324 students – 58 percent of those who applied – were accepted as freshmen to one of the public system’s nine undergraduate campuses. Californians account for more than two-thirds of all the applicants given a spot, but those 61,834 residents marked a decrease of 1,039 from last year. Only three campuses – Merced, Riverside and San Diego – admitted more California residents than a year ago. [Article]
by LISA LEFF Associated Press, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
Rising sheriff's costs force city budget cuts
LAGUNA WOODS – The city adopted its 2015-16 fiscal year budget and work plan on June 24, but a steep hike in the cost of law enforcement services has forced the city to make cuts to staff and city programs. At $2.3 million, the city’s contract with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is the single largest expenditure – 46 percent of the $5.6 million general fund operating budget. [Article]
by SCOTT BOSCO, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
Brown removes 'lynching' wording from 1933 law
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown announced Thursday that he has signed legislation removing the word “lynching” from the state’s criminal code following the arrest of a black activist at a Black Lives Matter protest. The Democratic governor signed the bill by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, within days of receiving it. He signed it without comment. Mitchell took up the issue after 20-year-old Maile Hampton was booked under a 1933 section of the California penal code that applies the word “lynching” to the crime of attempting to seize someone from police custody. [Article]
by JULIA HOROWITZ / ASSOCIATED PRESS, Orange County Register. 2015-07-03
Resistant Malibu homeowner finally opens pathway to 'Billionaires' Beach'
In the decades-long struggle to make the beaches fronting California's well-heeled coastal communities more accessible to the public that owns them, a mile-long stretch of Malibu known as Billionaires' Beach has been the site of a particularly pitched battle. The enclave is dotted with sumptuous getaways owned by celebrities including former Dodgers owner Jamie McCourt and Larry Ellison, former chief executive of Oracle Corp. Over the years, movie stars including John Travolta, Courtney Cox and David Arquette have had homes there, and Richard Meier and the late Michael Graves are among the starchitects who have designed residences on the pricey strip officially called Carbon Beach. Music mogul David Geffen for years fought the California Coastal Commission over access, finally handing over the keys to a walkway that was quickly nicknamed the Hooray for Hollywood Moguls path. And on Tuesday, the commission will officially announce the opening of another path about a half-mile from the Geffen property. Activists call it an important victory in the fight between homeowners seeking privacy and people eager to expand their right to walk, run, lie and play on the sand, which is public property up to the average high-tide line. [Article]
by MARTHA GROVES, Los Angeles Times. 2015-07-03
Garcetti stance on homeless crackdown draws critics from both sides
Faced this week with a choice between signing or vetoing controversial legislation that would crack down on homeless encampments, Mayor Eric Garcetti charted a complex middle course. Resorting to a peculiarity of Los Angeles' legislative process, he said he would allow the measures to become law without his formal approval. At the same time, he said he would block their enforcement until the City Council softened some of the new rules' harsher provisions. The decision seemed to have a political logic, appeasing advocates of gentler solutions to Los Angeles' growing homelessness and residents pleading for tougher action against trash-strewn tarpaulin settlements that have spread throughout the city, particularly downtown and in beachfront Westside neighborhoods. [Article]
by PETER JAMISON AND GALE HOLLAND, Los Angeles Times. 2015-07-03
A first-hand look at lane-splitting from a motorcyclist's perspective
The motorcyclist merged onto the I-5 at Riverside Drive. In a tight ecru leather jacket, jeans that hugged her like a second-skin and black spike-heeled boots, she was dressed to kill. I just hoped she wasn't going to kill me. I was on the back of her bike, wearing dorky jeans and a look of pure terror. Susanna Schick had offered to show me what it's like to ride a motorcycle between cars during rush hour. The controversial practice, known as lane-splitting, is commonplace on California's clogged freeways but unnerving to some motorists. You're crawling along in your car and, suddenly, a motorcycle comes whipping past, straddling traffic lanes. Sometimes it whizzes by before you know it, other times you startle and think: Is that even legal? Are they suicidal? "Lane-splitting," Schick said, "is safer than sitting behind a car waiting to get rear ended." [Article]
by ROBIN ABCARIAN, Los Angeles Times. 2015-07-03
One woman's story of falling in with OC's 'ticket fixer'
Next week, a federal grand jury will start hearing testimony from hundreds of Orange County residents who allegedly paid a former Superior Court clerk to reduce or erase their drunk driving and other traffic violation charges and penalities over the last five years. It's likely the grand jury will hear many stories like that of Anaid Antunez of Fullerton. One night in March of last year, she and her aunt went out to dinner. Antunez admits she had too much to drink and caught the attention of a police officer when she drove away from the restaurant without her headlights on. "I’ve never gotten a ticket in my life and a DUI comes along and I’m like, 'Okay, I want to just get rid of it,'" she says. So she searched the advertisements on Craigslist for a lawyer or some type of service to handle her case. When Antunez called the number on one ad, a man quoted her $6,000 or $7,000. She told him she couldn't afford that much. [Article]
by ERIKA AGUILAR, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2015-07-03
The Black and White on Graywater
After six hours of handiwork and a trip to Home Depot one Saturday last year, Mark West had MacGyvered himself a low-commitment water-conservation system. West, the 47-year-old chair of the Surfrider Foundation and a test director for the Navy, had only just heard of graywater set-ups, where residents reuse laundry or shower water to water their lawns and for other landscaping. A Surfrider event attendee sought West out and evangelized about the ease and utility of the systems. [Article]
by CATHERINE GREEN, Voice of San Diego. 2015-07-03
Housing permits up 70%
San Diego County housing permits rose 70.4 percent through May and could top the 10,000 mark for the first time since 2006, according to the Construction Industry Research Board. "It's positive but it could be even better," said economist Alan Gin at the University of San Diego's Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. For the first five months of the year, local jurisdictions issued permits for 4,491 homes, compared with a total 2,635 for the same period in 2014. If the 2015 monthly production rate repeats 2014's level, the total could approach 11,300 permits by year's end. In 2006, the year before the recession hit, total production stood at 10,777. Since then it dropped as low as 2,990 in 2009. Last year it was 6,586. But that still not be enough to meet demand, Gin said, especially since the limited supply is leading to higher costs for both buying and renting. [Article]
by ROGER SHOWLEY, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-07-03
EDITORIAL: Gerrymandering loses, voters win
In a boon for California, sensible election districts won in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Specifically, the court upheld Arizona’s redistricting law, passed by a 2000 referendum. It set up the Independent Redistricting Commission to eliminate gerrymandered U.S. congressional districts – designed to favor incumbents and the status quo – drawn by the state Legislature. (State legislative districts were not at issue.) The decision affirmed California’s similar Citizens Redistricting Commission, established when voters approved Proposition 11 in 2008 and Prop. 20 in 2010. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2015-07-03
RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Lawsuit seeks injunction against marijuana law
A Redlands attorney who has represented dozens of Inland medical marijuana collectives filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the county’s new marijuana restrictions for unincorporated communities. James De Aguilera, who represents the Nuevo-based collective Chronic Relief, filed his action in county Superior Court. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against enforcement of Ordinance 925, which the county Board of Supervisors passed in May and took effect Thursday. [Article]
by JEFF HORSEMAN, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2015-07-03
GRAND JURY: Panel tells Riverside County to find another lawyer
Riverside County should tear up its contract with its top lawyer and search for a new county counsel, according to a civil grand jury report released Thursday, July 2. The report, which comes at the end of the 19-member panel’s term, is the latest salvo in an ongoing dispute between the grand jury, a court-appointed government watchdog, and Greg Priamos, the head of the county counsel office. Jurors contend Priamos, the former attorney for the city of Riverside, deliberately obstructs their probes of county agencies by denying access to requested information. Priamos has said the grand jury doesn’t understand his job as county government’s legal adviser. [Article]
by JEFF HORSEMAN, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2015-07-03
San Bernardino County focused on the ‘hard work of government’: Guest commentary
The 2015-16 budget adopted unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in June shows that San Bernardino County government is fulfilling its mission to create a county where our residents and investors can prosper and achieve well-being. Our balanced $5.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1 provides an array of vital and award-winning services — from social services and job creation to public safety and better roads — for each of the more than 2 million people who live in the vast expanse of San Bernardino County. We were also able to make a substantial contribution to the county’s “rainy day” fund to ensure our residents that we will be able to address emergencies, and show employers that doing business in our county is a safe and solid investment. Our newly approved budget is also a symbol of so much that is going well in our county these days. It shows how our county community is emerging from the recession stronger than ever, with homes once again in demand and employment on the rise. It shows how our county government is once again functional and effective, with a Board of Supervisors focused on cooperation and accomplishment, and an organization characterized by accountability and efficiency. [Article]
by JAMES RAMOS and GREG DEVEREAUX / OPINION, San Bernardino County Sun. 2015-07-03
Brain-eating amoeba kills woman in Eastern Sierra, health officials say
Test results show that a 21-year-old Bishop woman who died last month after waking up from a nap was suffering from a brain-eating amoeba, public health officials said. Inyo County Public Health officials believe the woman, whose name has not been released, contracted the infection on private property used by only friends and family. Residents in the area are not at risk, officials added. “The investigation will continue, and all appropriate measures will be taken to involve and inform affected parties of any actions needing to be carried out to minimize any risk to persons in the future,” said Public Health Officer Richard Johnson. Officials are working with the woman’s family and friends to investigate the source of her infection, Johnson said. [Article]
by VERONICA ROCHA, Los Angeles Times. 2015-07-03
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