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Former top attorney sues L.A. County over ouster
Mark Saladino, the former top attorney for Los Angeles County, has filed a lawsuit against the county and the Board of Supervisors, saying that the supervisors violated the state's open meetings law when they pushed him out of the position. The suit seeks to have him reinstated to his old job. Saladino, who had previously been county treasurer and tax collector, served nine months as county counsel. He abruptly announced in June 2015 that he was resigning from the post and returning to the Department of Treasurer and Tax Collector in a management role below his old position as head of the department. The supervisors voted in September 2014 to appoint Saladino to the top attorney post, with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas casting the lone dissenting vote. [Article]
by ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2016-05-24
 
In Little Saigon, Latino and Vietnamese cultures merge via restaurant workers
Nearly 25 years ago, Roberto Torres moved from the Mexican state of Guerrero to Orange County, landing a job as a dishwasher at a Vietnamese restaurant. Torres was part of a tide of immigration from Mexico and Vietnam that has transformed the central section of the county, where Asians and Latinos are now the dominant groups. Torres found Vietnamese specialties served at Song Long — fish stew, herb-marinated chicken — a little bland. But he rose over the years to become head waiter. “Chao anh. Chao chi. Anh chi thich an mon gi hom nay?” Torres says, greeting a fashionable couple from Santa Ana, the man in a suit and dark silk tie, the woman draped in a Burberry scarf. “Hello sir. Hello, miss. What would you like to eat today?” Although Latinos have long worked in kitchens and on cleanup detail at Vietnamese restaurants, Torres is one of the few to have stepped from behind the scenes. In his own humble rise, he underscores how two immigrant communities have coalesced to drive the region’s commercial and cultural life. [Article]
by ANH DO, Los Angeles Times. 2016-05-24
 
Expo Line, meet the real world: A car on tracks, a broken-down train
Los Angeles County commuters who woke up early Monday morning to ride the new Expo Line extension quickly encountered one of the ugly realities of the Los Angeles public transit system: its proximity to traffic. At 5 a.m. Monday, just before the start of morning rush hour, a driver in a Toyota sedan crashed through a fence and onto the light-rail tracks, which run at street level along Exposition Boulevard. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority hastily assembled buses to shuttle commuters past the crash. But the accident, which blocked eastbound and westbound trains for two hours, snarled schedules on the first morning that 9-to-5 commuters — many of them new transit riders — could take advantage of the $1.5-billion extension. "The timing is a little ironic," Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said, laughing. "You just have to shake your head and say, 'Geez, why does this keep happening when it does?' " The crash echoed a similar incident three months ago, the day after the debut of the Gold Line extension to Azusa, when a truck crashed through a barrier on the 210 Freeway and burst into flames, damaging a stretch of tracks in Pasadena. [Article]
by LAURA J. NELSON, Los Angeles Times. 2016-05-24
 
This is why the city attorney's office is making sure women know their reproductive rights
The Los Angeles city attorney's office announced Monday that it is aggressively enforcing a new state law requiring pregnancy clinics to inform clients of their reproductive rights. City Atty. Mike Feuer said his office is working in coordination with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to ensure clinics follow the law because "women need timely, accurate and complete information" on their family planning options. "We're not going to wait," Feuer told reporters. "Waiting for a day or a week or a month to enforce this law threatens the health and safety of women who during that time period may not be informed of their choices." The law, dubbed the Reproductive Fact Act, requires licensed facilities primarily providing family planning or pregnancy-related services to notify customers that the state offers free or low-cost access to a variety of family planning services, including prenatal care, abortion and contraception. [Article]
by SARAH PARVINI, Los Angeles Times. 2016-05-24
 
Column As Lake Mead dwindles, can an interstate water war be far behind?
The last time two states went to war over water, it was 1934. The combatants were California and Arizona and the casus belli was the start of construction of Parker Dam, which would direct water from the Colorado River into California via the Colorado River Aqueduct. The episode unfolded with a sort of Gilbert and Sullivan absurdity. Arizona's governor, Benjamin Baker Moeur, dispatched a handful of National Guardsmen upriver in a ferryboat named the Julia B., which frontline correspondents dispatched to the river by The Times and other California newspapers happily dubbed the "Arizona Navy." The "brave little Julia B.," The Times reported, promptly ran into a sand bank and got worked free by bridge-building crews, after which a truce was dictated by the federal government. The next water war may involve the same combatants, but may not be so amusing. Lake Mead, the main reservoir holding Colorado River water for California, Arizona and Nevada, has reached its lowest point since it began filling behind Hoover Dam in 1935. As of midnight Sunday, the lake reached 1,074.37 feet above sea level. It's expected to keep falling until mid-summer, reaching 1,070 feet before seasonal agricultural demand falls off and it begins to fill again. Last year, the reservoir reached a low point of about 1,075 feet, but not until late June. [Article]
by MICHAEL HILTZIK, Los Angeles Times. 2016-05-24
 
Why The Teamsters Are Opposing Pot Legalization In California
The California branch of the 1.4-million member Teamsters union says it is opposed to a proposed ballot initiative on legalizing recreational marijuana use, and has joined police and prison guard associations in donating to a lobby group devoted to defeating the proposal. The Teamsters, who primarily represent truck drivers and warehouse workers, are not “philosophically opposed” to the legalization of marijuana, California Teamsters lobbyist Barry Broad told BuzzFeed News. But he said the union has serious concerns about how the drug would be transported and distributed under the proposal that Californians are set to vote on this November. [Article]
by CORA LEWIS, California Watch. 2016-05-24
 
Today is the Last Day for County Voters to Register to Vote in the Primary Election
Monday is the last day for eligible Los Angeles County voters to register to vote in the June 7 election. County residents can apply online at lavote.net, mail a voter registration form (available at libraries, post offices and most government buildings) or drop off a form at the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk office at 12400 Imperial Highway, Norwalk. Those uncertain if they have registered to vote already can check their status by clicking here. Registration will officially close on Monday, May 23 at 11:59PM. As of May 1, 2016 there are 4,799,548 total registered voters, according to the county’s RR/CC website. The breakdown includes 2.4 million Democrats, 957,014 Republicans, 106,624 American Independents, 21,051 Green Party registrants, 27,045 Libertarians, 32,713 Peace and Freedom registrants, and 1.2 million nonpartisan registrants. [Article]
by STEPHANIE RIVERA, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2016-05-24
 
Want to Win the Poverty and Homelessness Battle? More Jobs … Fewer Tax Hikes
SHOCKING STUDY--In 2007, about a year before the economy crashed, the Gallup Poll found that 28 percent of Americans had at some point worried about becoming homeless. It’s worse today. A new UCLA study found 31 percent of county residents worried about becoming homeless. Even among people earning between $90,000 and $120,000, 1 in 4 were afraid they would one day live on the street. [Article]
by SUSAN SHELLEY, CityWatchLA.com. 2016-05-24
 
Will Orange County use the old bus terminal for the homeless?
With Orange County expected to finalize its purchase of an old bus terminal in Santa Ana Tuesday, homeless advocates are hoping the facility will be dedicated to the area's large homeless population. The Santa Ana Transit Terminal, which has been shut down since December 2008, will be sold to the county for $3.3 million by the Orange County Transportation Authority, but officials have yet to say how they'll use the space. Meanwhile, plans for a massive redevelopment of the Civic Center, where the terminal sits, are underway. The project, which is expected to revamp more than 20 buildings over two decades, could uproot the area's large homeless tent city when construction starts. [Article]
by ERIKA AGUILAR, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2016-05-24
 
Orange County community leaders mourn Latino and civil rights activist Amin David
Latino and civil rights activists in Orange County are mourning Amin David, one of the area’s most influential and dogged activists who advocated for Latinos and other minority groups as the county evolved from predominantly White to heavily diverse. Amin David died on Saturday after being diagnosed with lymphoma last year. He was 83 and leaves behind a wife and four children. His family announced his passing on a Facebook group page that kept friends and supporters up to date on his illness. [Article]
by ERIKA AGUILAR, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2016-05-24
 
Amin David, Activist and Founder of Los Amigos, Dies at 83
Amin David, a renowned Latino activist who for decades fought for the rights of underrepresented communities in Orange County, died Saturday night after a long bout with lymphoma. David, who was 83, is best known for founding Los Amigos of Orange County in 1978. The group continues to hold weekly breakfast meetings at the Jagerhaus restaurant in Anaheim and became a political venue for the Latino community and others seeking help. [Article]
by ADAM ELMAHREK, Voice of OC. 2016-05-24
 
Grand jury: Two Orange County agencies have leadership, morale problems
SANTA ANA – Rampant infighting, ineffective leadership and aging computer systems have created poor morale at the public administrator and public guardian offices, according to a report released Monday by the Orange County Grand Jury. The watchdog agency focused on how splitting up the offices of the public guardian, which handles the welfare of county residents unable to take care of their own needs, and the public administrator, which manages estates of those who die without a will, has impacted the embattled departments. [Article]
by SEAN EMERY, Orange County Register. 2016-05-24
 
Finance plan approved for I-405 toll express lanes
ORANGE – The county transportation board on Monday approved an initial toll policy and finance plan for the Interstate 405 express lanes, that agency staff say balances a free-flowing commute and generating sufficient revenue to pay for the expansion without tax dollars. Board members voted 11-3 in favor of a staff-recommended combination of two of three toll options from a traffic and revenue study presented last month, on the I-405 Improvement Project between State Route 73 and Interstate 605. [Article]
by JESSICA KWONG, Orange County Register. 2016-05-24
 
With solar panels, O.C.'s buildings could be generating almost as much energy as they use, report says
To generate a lot of energy from rooftop solar panels, you need two things – a lot of sunshine and a lot of roof space. Orange County, it turns out, has both, making it one of the most solar-ready regions in the country, according to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. [Article]
by AARON ORLOWSKI, Orange County Register. 2016-05-24
 
Orange County's income gap: the rich earn 11 times more than the poorest
Even as Orange County’s economy recovered in the years since the recession, the income gap between the rich and poor has widened significantly, according to a new analysis of U.S. census data. The 90th percentile of Orange County families earned 11 times more than the 10th percentile in 2014: $203,000 a year, compared with $18,000. That gap grew 16.7 percent since 2007, the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank, reported Tuesday. [Article]
by MARGOT ROOSEVELT, Orange County Register. 2016-05-24
 
More San Diegans Registered To Vote In Primary Than 2008 General Election
Monday is the deadline to register to vote in the June 7 primary. But the surge in signups started months ago in California, approaching numbers typically seen for November elections. Here in San Diego County, registration is already higher than it was in the month before the 2008 general election, when a record number of Americans went to the polls and elected President Barack Obama. As of May 15, 1,501,148 county residents had registered. That's compared to 1,409,229 in October 2008. [Article]
by MEGAN BURKS, KPBS - San Diego. 2016-05-24
 
Border Report: Sanders Visit ‘Could Be a Turning Page’
As California’s presidential primary draws near, candidates are visiting the state and making the rounds to press the flesh and talk to voters. Former President Bill Clinton appeared in San Diego on Saturday to stump for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, the sole remaining Republican candidate, will be in San Diego on May 27. [Article]
by BROOKE BINKOWSKI, Voice of San Diego. 2016-05-24
 
Medical marijuana exempt from “no smoking” law?
There are several places in San Diego where local laws ban smoking, such as beaches and parks. But for the 46 percent of residents who are renters, unless they live in public housing, landlords make the rules. That leaves secondhand smoke, a carcinogen, still seeping through walls and windows. [Article]
by SHEILA PELL, San Diego Reader. 2016-05-24
 
San Diego County Reduces Water Use by 23% in April
Customers in San Diego County cut back on water consumption by 23 percent in April, compared to the same month three years ago, marking the largest monthly reduction since September, the San Diego County Water Authority reported Monday. The state-mandated target for the county as a whole is to reduce consumption by 13 percent compared to the corresponding month in 2013. The goal was lowered recently from 20 percent after the region was given credit for bringing a desalination plant in Carlsbad online. [Article]
by HOA QUACH, San Diego News Network. 2016-05-24
 
California's car buying boom continues
The car industry's winning streak in California continues. For the first three months of this year, registrations for new cars sold exceeded 500,000, a 3.8 percent improvement over the first quarter of 2015, marking the 22nd consecutive year-over-year increase in quarterly registrations. The state is on track to top 2 million new vehicle registrations for the second straight year. "We're a car state," said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association, which released the new figures last week. "Passenger cars are king." [Article]
by ROB NIKOLEWSKI, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-05-24
 
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