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Ex-L.A. County sheriff's deputies sentenced to prison for beating of jail visitor
Two former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were sentenced to federal prison Monday for their roles in the beating of a handcuffed jail visitor and a scheme to cover up the assault. In successive hearings held in his downtown courtroom, U.S. District Judge George H. King rejected last-ditch requests for leniency from lawyers for Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano. The judge gave Ayala a six-year sentence, and Luviano received seven years. Ayala, 30, and Luviano, 37, were convicted in June alongside their supervisor at the county’s main jail facility. A jury found that the three had violated the civil rights of Gabriel Carrillo, who was left badly bloodied in the 2011 beating and was then arrested on trumped-up charges. The supervisor, former Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, was sentenced last month to eight years in prison. Though Ayala declined the chance to address King before she was sentenced, Luviano offered a brief apology to Carrillo “for the injuries he suffered.” “It was not our intention,” he said, his voice wavering. [Article]
by JOEL RUBIN, Los Angeles Times. 2015-12-01
Skid row tenants accuse landlord of trying to drive them out of building
Tenants at a five-story residential hotel on skid row filed suit Monday accusing landlords of launching a campaign of harassment and intimidation to drive them out of the building. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accuses owner Kameron Segal and his management company, William Holdings, of allowing slum-like conditions, including roach and bedbug infestations and clogged toilets, to fester at the 220-unit Madison Hotel on 7th Street. The landlords canceled maid service and linen cleaning, quit supplying toilet paper and replacing light bulbs and closed off the lobby and TV room, the suit said. These amenities had long been included for residents, who live in single rooms and share common bathrooms. Several tenants accused the on-site manager of berating and threatening them with ouster if they complained, and of barging into their units without notice. Managers also barred organizers from Los Angeles Community Action Network, a skid row anti-poverty group, from entering the premises to talk to tenants, the suit said. [Article]
by GALE HOLLAND, Los Angeles Times. 2015-12-01
With El Niño looming, L.A. has little to show in city's 'war on homelessness'
No problem has prompted more urgent rhetoric at Los Angeles City Hall this fall than the plight of those who live and sleep unsheltered on L.A.'s streets. In July, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced during a speech on downtown's skid row that his staff was a month away from completing a "battle plan" for the "war on homelessness." City Council members drew headlines from around the world in September when they held a news conference publicizing their intention to formally "declare the homeless crisis an emergency," in the words of Council President Herb Wesson. But as the year's end approaches, city officials have little to show for such announcements. The mayor's promised "battle plan" has been quietly scaled back to a loose framework of strategies for reducing homelessness. Two weeks ago, the prospect of a formal emergency declaration receded, as the mayor and some council members asserted the move may not be necessary. Elected leaders say they are opting for a path of steady, methodical progress on a problem that has long proved resistant to government's best intentions. Yet critics say the lack of follow-through on repeated vows of prompt action has sent a troubling signal about the seriousness and competence of City Hall's fight against homelessness. "Everyone looks bad because of this," said Jaime Regalado, an emeritus professor of political science at Cal State L.A. "It looks like we're back to Square One for many, many people. The results aren't happening. It looks like the actions toward results aren't happening. Words are cheap." [Article]
by PETER JAMISON, Los Angeles Times. 2015-12-01
Plans for a new city in the Santa Clarita Valley hit another roadblock
For two decades, the Newhall Land & Farming Co. has envisioned a new city rising in the foothills north of Los Angeles. Situated on nearly 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River, the planned community would house 58,000 people and offer stores, golf courses, schools and recreational centers. Los Angeles County’s elected supervisors approved the project 12 years ago, prompting experts to declare that the Santa Clarita Valley would soon be home to other major developments. A mammoth, 5,828-page environmental impact report won court approval a year ago, and a Newhall official declared that the project had been vindicated. But the plans hit a major roadblock Monday when the California Supreme Court rejected the environmental report, a decision that was expected to further delay the project — one justice said it might add years — but not kill it. The court said the environmental report failed to buttress its conclusion that the development would not significantly affect greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change. Also, the court said, it illegally allowed for the capture and relocation of the unarmored threespine stickleback, an endangered freshwater fish. The ruling, coming after years of fighting between environmentalists and the company, provided new guidelines for all developers trying to win state permits for big projects. [Article]
by MAURA DOLAN, LOUIS SAHAGUN & ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2015-12-01
Electric vehicle firm BYD accused of violating L.A. wage rules
Five years ago, Los Angeles agreed to provide $1.6 million in federal funding to help a Chinese-owned company that makes electric vehicles open a new headquarters downtown. It was one in a string of government contracts and other investments in Build Your Dreams — known as BYD — that were meant to foster green technology and new jobs in Southern California. As part of the deal, BYD was supposed to create scores of jobs and make "good faith efforts" to hire Angelenos. But the company is now in the crosshairs of labor activists who contend that it has flouted wage rules. Jobs to Move America, a coalition of labor and community groups, recently lodged a complaint with the city, saying it believed BYD had violated its agreement with Los Angeles by failing to pay a living wage to employees at its downtown facility. [Article]
by EMILY ALPERT REYES, Los Angeles Times. 2015-12-01
Why rooftop solar advocates are upset about California's clean-energy law
California's aggressive push to increase renewable energy production comes with a catch for people with solar panels on the roof: You don't count. If a home or business has a rooftop solar system, most of the wattage isn't included in the ambitious requirement to generate half of the state's electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, part of legislation signed in October by Gov. Jerry Brown. That means rooftop solar owners are missing out on a potentially lucrative subsidy that is paid to utilities and developers of big power projects. It also means that utility ratepayers could end up overpaying for clean electricity to meet the state's benchmark because lawmakers, by excluding rooftop solar, left out the source of more than a third of the state's solar power. Owners of rooftop solar systems and their advocates aren't happy about the policy. "Ratepayers essentially subsidize utility companies," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Assn. "We all get taken to the bank" if utilities are spending to reach a 50% clean-energy mandate that could be attained faster and cheaper with the help of roof panels. For homeowners such as Carrie McCandless, the state's policy on rooftop solar came as a surprise. "I'm stunned," said McCandless, a Livermore, Calif., resident who wanted to help improve the environment because her daughter suffers from severe asthma. Her solar panels fit the bill, producing clean energy for her family. And they gave her a sense of pride, she said, in helping the state reach its energy targets — or so she thought. "We all think we're making a difference and contributing," McCandless said. "I'm just so angry." [Article]
by IVAN PENN, Los Angeles Times. 2015-12-01
Repairing Porter Ranch leaking gas well may take 4 months
It could take up to four months to plug a leaking gas well above Porter Ranch, marking the most concrete prediction since the problem arose more than a month ago, Southern California Gas Co. officials said Monday. With the work ongoing, the number of relocated families because of the gas’ rotten egg odor has swelled to nearly 300. The company started erecting a relief derrick two weeks ago about a quarter-mile east of the leaking well near the top of Oat Mountain, said gas company CEO Dennis Arriola. “As of today the relief well is on the site and the drilling rig is prepared to start drilling as early as Thursday,” Arriola said. Work crews are now in the process of testing the equipment to make sure that is in good working order and safe. [Article]
by GREGORY J. WILCOX, Los Angeles Times. 2015-12-01
LA County Sheriff to release deputy-involved shooting records
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Monday he and the department’s inspector general have reached an agreement to share department records that will be considered by the Board of Supervisors in coming weeks. “Our hope is he’s going to get everything he needs to do the job the way he wants to, and we’re being as transparent as legally permissible,” McDonnell said in an interview with the Los Angeles News Group. McDonnell’s statements came on the eve of the anniversary of his first year as the 32nd sheriff of Los Angeles County. During his campaign, McDonnell said he supported civilian oversight of the Sheriff’s Department and giving access to records allowable under the law to the department’s inspector general, Max Huntsman. [Article]
by SARAH FAVOT, Los Angeles Daily News. 2015-12-01
What's Taking Los Angeles River Revitalization So Long?
There was a time when the Los Angeles River was in danger of becoming a freeway. In 1988, California Assemblyman Richard Katz proposed exactly that. He figured that by turning this concrete drain system of a river into a freeway would ease traffic congestion on the Ventura and Long Beach freeways by as much as 25 percent . A preliminary report showed, Katz wasn't off the mark. The river could support traffic lanes and congestion would be eased, but it would cost $30 million per mile. Mayor Tom Bradley, a major supporter of river revitalization.Instead of catalyzing the construction of a freeway, however, Katz instead kickstarted advocacy for keeping the river. Just as darkness emphasizes light, former Mayor Tom Bradley eventually opposed the plan, advocating instead for a river restoration. Instead of concrete and trash, Bradley imagined parkland and open space, trails and bikeways. He eventually appointed a taskforce in the 1990s that would study turning the river into a recreational amenity. [Article]
by CARREN JAO, KCET - SoCal Public TV. 2015-12-01
Extortion in name of affordable housing
Imagine immigrating to this country in pursuit of the American Dream and operating a family business for more than 30 years, providing the low costs and good customer service necessary to keep a business running that long – which is no small feat, considering that about half of businesses fail within five years. After such a long and successful tenure, it is finally time to retire and close the business, but the government says you can’t shut your doors without paying millions of dollars that you had worked so hard for over the years and counted on for your retirement. Crazy as this sounds, it is precisely the situation being faced by the Jisser family, which owns the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto. Their park offers the most affordable housing in the posh Silicon Valley town, where the median home price is about $2.5 million. That amount is astronomical even for California, where the statewide median home price is $440,000, higher than every state except Hawaii and two and a half times the $180,000 national median price. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Orange County Register. 2015-12-01
San Diego Water Managers Want Conservation Rules Tweaked
San Diego County Water Managers hope state officials consider more than just conservation as they tweak the governor's urban conservation mandates for next year. Most of San Diego County's water agencies have met the tough conservation goals set by state officials. Agencies are required to cut water use between 12 and 36 percent compared to what they used in 2013. The region has largely met that goal, hitting aggregate savings of 26 percent. But state officials are adjusting the rules in the second year of the governor's conservation mandate. [Article]
by ERIK ANDERSON, KPBS - San Diego. 2015-12-01
Thanksgiving has major impact on county economy, SANDAG official says
As a nod to Thanksgiving, SANDAG’s chief economist recently analyzed national and regional statistics to give residents some perspective on the holiday and its economic impact on San Diego County. “From time to time, it’s important to step back to get a clear view on how events and holidays affect our region,” said Ray Major. “I think many people will be surprised to see how holiday-related spending and tourism affect our local economy.” Here are some interesting facts regarding Thanksgiving and holiday-related tourism: [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, San Diego News Network. 2015-12-01
Gelson’s gets 3rd San Diego Haggen store
High-end grocer Gelson’s said Monday it received approval to get a third defunct Haggen store in San Diego County. Gelson’s, which is a favorite of celebrities in Los Angeles, will extend its business to San Diego County for the first time with locations in Del Mar, La Jolla and, as of a ruling last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Carlsbad. Overall, the grocer paid $36 million for eight stores in Southern California belonging to Haggen, a Bellingham,Washington, business that filed for bankruptcy in September nine months after taking over 146 stores from Albertsons and Safeway. [Article]
by PHILLIP MOLNAR, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-12-01
Report shows meth’s popularity grew in county
SAN DIEGO — Nearly 20 years after San Diego County formed a special task force to target methamphetamine, the dangerous stimulant is becoming more popular and more substance abusers are saying the drug is their favorite illicit substance. A county government report released Monday shows that in 2014 meth reached at least a five-year high in popularity, with 4,991 people admitted to a publicly-funded drug treatment facility listing it as their primary drug of choice. The increased abuse is due to a new wave of high-purity, extremely potent, and low-cost meth manufactured by advanced laboratories run by Mexican drug cartels, officials said. Other problems linked to meth use, including border seizures, the death rate, and arrests, declined slightly in 2014 compared to 2013 after a significant increase this decade. Even so, the way methamphetamine is made and used has changed, and government officials are concerned about the foothold the drug has in the region. [Article]
by JOSHUA STEWART, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-12-01
Did Prop. 47 cause state crime boost?
SACRAMENTO — As the national consumption of margarine increases, so, too, does the divorce rate in Maine and vice versa. Between 2000 and 2009, in fact, those two seemingly unrelated sets of data correlate with eerie precision. Over the same time period, the more Americans buy Japanese cars, the more people commit suicide by crashing their vehicles. These correlations are irrefutable, yet ridiculous. Who could claim that eating margarine causes people to file for divorce? I gleaned these statistical absurdities from the website of the author of a book called “Spurious Correlations.” Its subtitle echoes a maxim common among statisticians: “Correlation does not equal causation.” That well-known phrase is worth remembering as Californians analyze the results of Proposition 47, a statewide initiative passed last year that has led to the release from prison and jails of 13,000 offenders. Mainly, it reduced the punishment for a handful of drug and property crimes by reclassifying them from felonies to misdemeanors. [Article]
by STEVEN GREENHUT, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-12-01
WEATHER: Homeless shelters scramble as temperatures drop to near freezing
A biting cold permeated much of the Inland region Monday night and Tuesday morning, leaving some of the area’s shelters and community centers in a frenzy to keep people warm. As predicted, overnight lows fell into the 30s and even upper 20s in some Inland location. The cold weather had shelters and community centers across the region filled to the brim and working to provide as many resources as possible. Among the centers helping was the Frazee Community Center in San Bernardino, where workers were giving out blankets and hot meals to those in need. Though the center itself does not have beds on location, it was working Monday to refer homeless people to places where they could stay the night. [Article]
by ALEX GROVES, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2015-12-01
Former Tri-County Fair CEO Symons arrested on three felony charges
A press release from Inyo County District Attorney Thomas Hardy said District Attorney Investigators arrested former Tri-County Fair CEO Sally Ann Symons on embezzlement and misuse of government funds charges this morning after she voluntarily surrendered herself at the District Attorney’s office in Bishop. The District Attorney has filed a complaint alleging three felony counts: Misappropriation of Government Funds, Embezzlement of Government funds, and Grand Theft. The Complaint alleges that the acts took place between August, 2014 and September, 2015, while Symons served as the Chief Executive Officer for the fair. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Sierra Wave. 2015-12-01
Bishop Planning Commission to discuss marijuana cultivation, vaping ordinances
The Bishop Planning Commission will have its plate full at its Tuesday meeting as it takes on marijuana cultivation and vaping ordinances with both public hearings and recommended ordinances on the agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall. While the city has ordinances against medical marijuana dispensaries, there are no regulations regarding cultivation. If Bishop chooses not to deal with cultivation, the state will with recently passed legislation. During its November 9 meeting, City Council opted to go the self-regulation route. Council members had mixed suggestions as to how to deal with cultivation of a controlled substance that may be much less controlled if and/or when a state-wide initiative goes on the ballot next year. [Article]
by DEB MURPHY, Sierra Wave. 2015-12-01
Real-life scenarios play out at new social worker training facility
RIVERSIDE >> When the social worker knocks at the door, a sleepy-eyed woman in a housecoat answers. “Oh, my daughter’s here, she’s fine, and we are about to eat dinner now,” the woman said. This was the scene Monday, when officials who work with and train social workers from the area were touring the newly built training facility at Academy for Professional Excellence in Riverside. The facility allows newly hired social workers to train in real-life scenarios. In San Bernardino County and elsewhere across Southern California, these social workers are training to experience what they might in the field — learning from mistakes and gaining confidence from a newly operational facility in Riverside, which serves as the new social worker training camp. [Article]
by JIM STEINBERG, San Bernardino County Sun. 2015-12-01
Ag lands, crops shift with the times
We tend to think of agriculture as a static industry, but crops and the locations where they grow change with the times, sometimes without our realizing it. Take cotton in the San Joaquin Valley for example. In 1979, Fresno County alone recorded 44,000 harvested acres, most of it in the Westlands Water District. This year the crop accounted for about 4,800 acres, only 10 percent of the earlier level. Similar drops in acreage occurred in neighboring Madera, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties as well. Fernandez insurance JCR Tech Support Onlookers wonder why. Insiders provide answers such as “polyester,” China, loss of a significant share of the country’s textile industry, aggressiveness and competitive advantages in the Middle East. Lumped together they add up to “market conditions.” [Article]
by DON CURLEE / COLUMNIST, Recorder Online. 2015-12-01
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