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Worried about election hacking, L.A. County officials are turning to hackers for help
Local election officials are looking for some good hackers. As part of an effort to create a new voting system, Los Angeles County computer specialists are headed this week to Defcon, one of the world’s largest hacking conventions, where attendees will try to compromise a new target — voting equipment. County Registrar-Recorder Dean C. Logan said he hopes Defcon’s new Voting Village will give his staff more to worry about as they work to revamp the way Los Angeles County votes. Defcon, which draws 20,000 participants to Las Vegas yearly, has set aside a space this year for hackers to pick apart voting machines, assail voter-registration databases and carry out mock attacks on various voting processes from around the country. In time-honored Defcon style, some will play offense and some will play defense, and the point is to expose vulnerabilities. [Article]
by JILL LEOVY, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-26
Sheriff investigates 'disturbing' claims of deputy misconduct with youth in mentoring program
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating allegations of misconduct involving a deputy and a member of the agency’s youth mentoring program. The “alarming and disturbing” claims were discovered during a countywide review of the agency’s Deputy Explorer program and appear to be isolated, the department said in a statement released Tuesday. The department has opened administrative and criminal investigations into the alleged misconduct, officials said. A sheriff’s spokeswoman declined to detail the misconduct or identify who was involved. [Article]
by MAYA LAU, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-26
Home prices in parts of Southern California are at record highs — and keep rising
In many corners of Southern California, home prices have hit record highs. And they keep going up. In Los Angeles County, the median price in June jumped 7.4% from a year earlier to $569,000, surpassing the previous record set in May. In Orange County, the median was up 6.1% from 2016 and tied a record reached the previous month at $695,000. Across the six-county region, the median price — the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less — rose 7.5% from a year earlier and is now just 1% off of its all-time high of $505,000 reached in 2007, according to a report out Tuesday from CoreLogic. The price increase was even greater than the 7.1% rise recorded in May, and some agents say there are no signs of a slowdown in the Southern California market. [Article]
by ANDREW KHOURI, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-26
Trump administration toughens policy toward 'sanctuary' cities, but the move affects only some funds
The Trump administration strengthened its crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities Tuesday, announcing a new policy that says local governments will lose some federal grants if they do not give advance notice when illegal immigrants are about to be released from custody and give immigration agents access to local jails. The new policy, announced by the Department of Justice, will apply to all cities that get grants from the so-called Byrne Justice Assistance grant program, for which the administration has requested just over $380 million for the coming year. So far, the new policy applies only to those justice assistance grants, which local jurisdictions can use for a wide variety of programs related to law enforcement, including drug treatment, witness protection and prisoner reentry programs. Although the move carries considerable symbolism because of the high-profile debate over sanctuaries, the money involved is roughly half a percent of federal grants to state and local governments, according to figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. [Article]
by JOSEPH TANFANI, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-26
Gov. Jerry Brown signs law to extend cap and trade, securing the future of California's key climate program
Cementing California’s role as a leader on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program while surrounded by a coalition of supporters including his predecessor, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The program, the only one of its kind in the country and an international model in the fight against global warming, is designed to provide a financial incentive for companies to pollute less. It requires oil refineries, power plants, food processors and other facilities to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. “California is leading the world in dealing with the principal existential threat that humanity faces,” Brown said during Tuesday’s ceremony, which took place on Treasure Island with the San Francisco skyline serving as a dramatic backdrop. “What could be a more glorious undertaking?” Cap and trade was slated to expire in 2020, but the new law extends it until 2030, turning the five-year-old program into a more permanent fixture of California’s environmental agenda. The state will also continue generating billions of dollars by selling emission permits, providing a source of funding for building the bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles, another priority for the governor. [Article]
by CHRIS MEGERIAN, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-26
Housing, battling racism and a municipal bank top agenda for L.A. council president
Los Angeles should explore whether to create a municipal bank that would finance affordable housing and throw its doors open to the cannabis industry, City Council President Herb Wesson said Tuesday. Wesson tossed out the idea as part of a sweeping speech that set out his agenda for his final term. In addition to the bank, Wesson said L.A. must take new and innovative steps to battle racism, protect immigrants and build more affordable housing. “When our grandchildren tell stories of us, what will they say? Will they say we were brave?” asked Wesson, who recently was reelected as council president. “When the history books remember us, will they say that we did everything within our power to improve the lives of the people we represent?” To combat hatred, Wesson wants the city to help organize scores of intimate dinners between people of different races, faiths and backgrounds. To defend immigrants, he wants the city to craft new legislation. And to ensure more affordable housing is built, Wesson wants a new commission to think up ideas. [Article]
by EMILY ALPERT REYES, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-26
A bitter rivalry between two mayors helps spawn corruption scandal in Antelope Valley
Lancaster and Palmdale have long battled for supremacy in the Antelope Valley, and the rivalry extends to the cities’ mayors, R. Rex Parris and James Ledford. Five years ago, Parris, Lancaster’s mayor and a well-known litigator, heard about a lawsuit filed by a civil rights group aimed at forcing nearby Palmdale to shift from at-large to district elections in an effort to elect more nonwhite candidates. Parris eventually decided to provide legal help to the plaintiffs and, in the process, got a chance to depose Ledford. So on a February morning in 2013, Parris peppered the Palmdale mayor with questions for hours — asking him about politics, city affairs as well as details of his own life and work. Now, issues raised in the deposition have become part of a public corruption investigation into Ledford by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Last month, prosecutors charged Ledford, 64, with illegally receiving nearly $500,000 from local consultants and failing to publicly disclose the income on economic statements. [Article]
by BENJAMIN ORESKES, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-26
LA County Board of Supervisors Accuse Would-Be Repealers of Obamacare to be Playing With People's Lives
As the Senate prepared to vote to open debate on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday accused legislators of playing with people’s lives and failing to seek input from those charged with providing care. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said healthcare was a critical focus of a meeting last weekend of the National Association of Counties. “The healthcare debate should be about improving outcomes and not just a budget exercise,” Ridley-Thomas said, citing broad consensus among county officials nationwide, without regard to partisan politics. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Los Angeles Chronicle. 2017-07-26
As RV towing resumes in LA, officials say program won’t ‘target homeless’
More than four months after a pair of towing contractors quit, Los Angeles is expected this week to begin clearing a “backlog” of motor homes parked illegally on city streets. Citing sanitation issues and the lack of a financial incentive, contractors have been reluctant to take impound orders for RVs, many of which belong to the homeless. [Article]
by ELIZABETH CHOU, Los Angeles Daily News. 2017-07-26
Pomona homeless shelter, service center may be delayed
POMONA >> The goal to open a year-round emergency shelter and centralized service center by the end of November is further from reality than previously thought. As work continues on the planning it has become clear additional time is needed, said Mayor Tim Sandoval, referring to the shelter where Pomona residents living without a home can find resources to help get into permanent housing. “It pushes us to look at a new time line,” he said, the facility may not be ready until early 2018. [Article]
by MONICA RODRIGUEZ, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. 2017-07-26
Porn producers want a seat at table on LA County health permit fees
A public hearing to discuss health permit fees to be paid by porn film producers was postponed by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, after members from the adult entertainment industry raised questions about the process and expressed concerns that they were inadequately notified about the changes. The Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based trade group that represents the adult entertainment industry, submitted a letter Monday asking the Board of Supervisors to postpone the hearing because they were given no opportunity to give feedback over the proposed permit fees, inspections or structure. “Why would the Board consider imposing a permitting scheme developed without participation of the thousands of individuals and businesses who contribute to the vitality of our economy through constitutionally protected speech?” [Article]
by SUSAN ABRAM, Los Angeles Daily News. 2017-07-26
More than a third of California households have virtually no savings, are at risk of financial ruin, report says
More than 37 percent of California households have so little cash saved that they couldn’t live at the poverty level for even three months if they lost a job or suffered another significant loss of income. That’s the grim assessment of the 2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard. The report was compiled by Prosperity Now, a Washington, D.C.-based organization seeking to help people — particularly people of color and those with limited income — achieve financial security and prosperity. [Article]
by KEVIN SMITH, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2017-07-26
Commentary: Electric buses can help our kids breathe easier — and learn better
As parents, we spend a lot of time worrying about our children’s education: we nag them to finish their homework every night, we push to pair them with the best possible teachers, and we lay awake at night hoping they are going to be prepared for their future. However, we often ignore one of the largest, yet invisible, obstacles to a child’s education in Los Angeles: air pollution. We are a city inundated by pollution-spewing cars, buses, and trucks—with a big opportunity at our fingertips to switch to clean, electric transportation. [Article]
by NANCY WHITEHORSE / OPINION, LA Streetsblog. 2017-07-26
OC Supervisors’ Attempted Takeover of CalOptima Health Plan Appears Dead
An effort by Orange County supervisors to take control of the county’s health plan for nearly 800,000 low-income county residents appears to have died, after a change approved Tuesday that allows state legislators to block it before it takes effect. And in a public rebuke, one of Supervisor Andrew Do’s colleagues said Do has been pushing for the CalOptima takeover because the health plan’s board refused to elect him chairman. [Article]
by NICK GERDA, Voice of OC. 2017-07-26
Orange County has hired falcons for $1.8 million to destroy the seagull problem that won’t go away
High above Orange County’s three landfills, government-hired peregrine falcons circle, under contract, looking for hungry seagulls to chase away or kill. The service isn’t cheap: the county has approved $1.8 million in contracts over the past five years for falconry services. The Board of Supervisors approved the last year of that contract on Tuesday, July 25. But the program has been extremely effective. [Article]
by JORDAN GRAHAM, Orange County Register. 2017-07-26
Who are the homeless living in the shadow of the Big A? Here are 11 stories
A luxury car drives past Angel Mayfield’s tent in the Santa Ana River, and the driver shouts out his window: “Get a (expletive) job, you (expletive) pig!” Mayfield has a job. Two, in fact. The residents in the homeless encampment next to Angel Stadium call their neighborhood River View Village. Their world sometimes defies expectations. We spent a week talking to people who live along the Santa Ana River trail. Like any neighborhood, the people are diverse, but most share a common goal: They’d rather be paying rent than living in a tent. Here are 11 profiles of people who, for now, call River View Village home. [Article]
by BILL ALKOFER, Orange County Register. 2017-07-26
Study: Orange County is 7th Most Expensive City for Tech Workers to Rent
(TNS) -- Southern California is a pricey place to be … even for well-paid technology workers and their bosses. According to a study of U.S. and Canadian technology talent by the CBRE real estate brokerage, Southern California ranks among the costliest regions of 50 major technology centers tracked. For example, CBRE analysts compared average wages in high-paying technology businesses to typical apartment rents [Article]
by JONATHAN LANSNER, Government Technology. 2017-07-26
Help Us Crowdsource San Diego’s Mello-Roos Tax Districts
Homeowners in San Diego County paid almost $1 billion in Mello-Roos taxes during the past five years. Even so, we know surprisingly little about how the taxes are charged or used. The cities, school districts and assorted other government agencies that have these special taxes possess documents that can shed light on how each Mello-Roos district works. Documents list how properties should be taxed, how the money is supposed to be spent and — if you’re a homeowner — where the money has gone. inewsource is exploring these issues. But with 246 Mello-Roos districts in the county, we need your help with a crowdsourcing effort. [Article]
by LEO CASTANEDA, KPBS - San Diego. 2017-07-26
Possibility of big box store draws opposition
Plans for the Hagey property behind Stater Bros. shopping center were not presented at Monday night's Ramona Village Design Group meeting, but the nearly 20 residents attending had plenty of questions and comments about the potential of a big box store near Ramona and H streets. "We don't want a big box on H Street," said Liz Bailey, who lives on that street. "What if we don't want it?" Chair Rob Lewallen said county staff had not yet given him proposed plans for Hagey's property bordered by Ramona, H, and 16th streets. The county may have those plans ready for the Ramona Design Review Board meeting, which Lewallen also chairs, on Thursday, July 27, he said. That meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane. Lewallen and some of the other members of the group said they were surprised when county staff mentioned the possibility of a big box on the site rather than a small or medium box store as had been discussed in the past. He said the public will have plenty of time to weigh in. [Article]
by KAREN BRAINARD, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-07-26
Commentary: Losing animal services would affect us all
In case anyone hasn’t heard about it, the County of San Diego is planning to take an action that will affect every animal owner in this community. Which means, it will affect all of us. The county is considering closing its Department of Animal Services, laying off hundreds of employees, and outsourcing services to a third party provider (the San Diego Humane Society). The county has already terminated six animal services contracts with incorporated cities in the county — including the City of San Diego — effective next June. However, despite what has been reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the county has not yet reached a decision about who will provide animal services in the unincorporated area of San Diego County. Which is us. [Article]
by KATIE REID / OPINION, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-07-26
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