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Police need more training to deal with mentally ill, L.A. County told
L.A. County receives report from consultant who was hired to help find a way to divert mentally ill from jails A consultant hired to find a way to divert the mentally ill from Los Angeles County's jail system found that not enough law enforcement officers were trained to handle people undergoing a mental health crisis. In a report made public Wednesday, the consultant found that more resources were needed to train police officers, dispatchers and other criminal justice workers on how to deal with people with mental illness, and that law enforcement agencies should expand the use of special teams that respond to people in crisis. The county, the report by GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation concluded, puts "insufficient resources" into its mobile response teams, the report found. The center was hired by Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, who is heading a task force focused on the mental health issue. The task force intends to develop a detailed proposal for county supervisors to consider early next year. [Article]
by ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-30
 
L.A. County fire chief vows to overhaul hiring procedures
The Los Angeles County fire chief Wednesday said he will overhaul the agency's hiring procedures in response to a Times investigation that found that a large percentage of firefighters given jobs have family ties to the department. Chief Daryl Osby said the reforms were needed to protect the agency's "core values" and guard against nepotism and cheating in hiring. The changes will include a new written test for firefighter applicants and a bigger role for outsiders in the evaluation of candidates. "Everybody who applies to become a county firefighter will get an equal and fair shake," he said. "We're going to revamp our process." The Times reported Sunday that the department's hiring, which is supposed to be based on merit, favored sons of firefighters. At least 183 sons of current or former firefighters have served on the force since the start of 2012, according to an analysis of payroll, pension, birth, marriage and other records. [Article]
by PAUL PRINGLE, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-30
 
San Mateo health officials reviewing Ebola quarantine of doctor
Health officials Wednesday were reviewing the quarantine they set for a Stanford doctor who was treating Ebola patients in Liberia after the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their own quarantine guidelines. When Dr. Colin Bucks arrived at San Francisco International Airport last week, there were no state or CDC guidelines, said Robyn Thaw, spokeswoman for the San Mateo County Health System. The county health system “is in the process of reviewing them to ensure our directive is in alignment with the new CDC guidelines defined as a healthcare worker with ‘some risk,’ ” Thaw said. Bucks has not shown any symptoms of Ebola. He takes his temperature and reports back to San Mateo County Health System staff twice a day. Bucks was told by the county health department to stay away from work and avoid close contact with people for 21 days. He was allowed to go jogging alone, Thaw said. “We are very proud of the work this physician has done," said Dr. Scott Morrow, a San Mateo County health officer. [Article]
by ADOLFO FLORES, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-30
 
Rugged Newhall Pass land joins Santa Clarita open space
Backed by ridge lines once set to be flattened by grading and surrounded by trees and brush once slated to give way to development, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste couldn’t help but smile. “It’s kind of like our Christmas present for 2014,” she told an assembled crowd of dozens Wednesday. [Article]
by LUKE MONEY, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2014-10-30
 
County ethics ballot measure hits snags
One of the election season’s most confusing local ballot measures, “E,” would – in theory – shift campaign finance enforcement duties to a Sacramento agency. Measure E would turn the state Fair Political Practices Commission into the county’s civil prosecutor, able to levy fines of up to 5K per campaign infraction. Criminal prosecution of local campaign violations would remain with the Orange County District Attorney. Supporters say Measure E closes a gap in civil enforcement – without creating a new bureaucracy. [Article]
by NICOLE SHINE, Orange County Register. 2014-10-30
 
Court Rules Against San Diego County Climate Action Plan
An appellate court has ruled against San Diego County's Climate Action Plan, stating it "does not ensure reductions." The court found San Diego County's plan to reduce greenhouse emissions did not live up to state standards. The facts of the county's Climate Action Plan led to a lawsuit by the Sierra Club. A district court judge ruled in favor of the Sierra Club and against the county. Wednesday the appeals court confirmed the lower courts decision. [Article]
by Tom Fudge, Patty Lane, Amita Sharma, KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2014-10-30
 
State Outlines Ebola Quarantine Rules; 3 In San Diego County Being Monitored
California health officials on Wednesday ordered people returning from Ebola-stricken areas who have had contact with infected patients to be monitored for the disease, and left it up to county officers to decide how, including a 21-day quarantine. While there are no reported or confirmed cases of Ebola in California, 19 people in the state are being monitored for symptoms because those people recently traveled to an Ebola-affected country. San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said three people in San Diego are in the low risk category. They are not under quarantine or any other restrictions. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2014-10-30
 
County approves funding for beekeeper research
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed Wednesday to spend 50K to for an environmental study of proposed changes to zoning regulations for beekeepers. The county requires 600-foot setbacks between beekeeping operations and neighboring homes, but county staffers and beekeepers have been working to ease zoning regulations. "Over the past year, the biggest challenge has been trying to find that balance between promoting beekeeping while maintaining the public's health and safety," board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said. "Today, I believe we're as close to a consensus as we've ever been." [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KFMB-TV (CBS8) (San Diego). 2014-10-30
 
Greenhouse gas plan inadequate
In December of 2012, Superior Court judge Timothy Taylor, agreeing with the Sierra Club, ruled that San Diego County's long-term transportation plan violated state law by not taking climate pollution sufficiently into account in its long-term transportation plan. Today (October 29), the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, upheld Taylor's decision. [Article]
by DON BAUDER, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-30
 
Court rejects county climate plan
An appellate court has ruled San Diego County’s climate action plan intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is insufficient. The decision by a panel of California’s 4th District Court of Appeal upholds a San Diego County judge’s decision in a suit brought by the Sierra Club, which argues the plan lacks the necessary specifics and enforcement mechanism to achieve the goals. The county adopted the climate action plan as part of its 2011 General Plan update that guides land use throughout the unincorporated area. [Article]
by MARK WALKER, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-30
 
California announces Ebola quarantine measures as Riverside County monitors two low-risk people
California health officials announced Wednesday that the state will now require a 21-day quarantine for people traveling from Ebola-stricken areas who have had contact with infected patients, as local officials continue to monitor two low-risk people in Riverside County who returned from the region where the outbreak is worst. [Article]
by RYAN HAGEN, San Bernardino County Sun. 2014-10-30
 
County defeats Chevron in landmark tax case
Kern County scored an important court victory against Chevron USA Inc. this week in a landmark property tax case that had threatened a key source of local government funding. A state appeals court ruling issued Tuesday supported the county's assertion that drilling new wells increases the value of oil property. It rejected Chevron's claim such activity merely preserves the land's value. The case was viewed as a landmark not only because it could have set a precedent affecting other oil-producing counties around the state. It was also important in that about a dozen other local oil companies have filed property tax appeals using the same legal argument as Chevron. Kern officials said if they had lost the case, the county might have had to repay 17.8mln in property taxes Chevron and other oil producers claimed the county has overcharged them since 2006. That sum represents 4 percent of the discretionary spending in the county's general fund this year. [Article]
by JOHN COX, Bakersfield Californian. 2014-10-30
 
THE GRADE: The ins & outs of education in Kern County
GARDEN GROWS GOLDEN BELL: The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District will receive a Golden Bell award in large part for a school garden created at Buena Vista Elementary School, the district announced in a news release Tuesday. The Golden Bell Awards program, in its 35th year, is a leading educational honor recognizing programs in 19 categories spanning effective governance, teaching and student learning. The California School Boards Association, a nonprofit with nearly 1K educational agencies, sponsors the award and recognizes winners Dec. 16 at its Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in San Francisco. [Article]
by LAUREN FOREMAN, Bakersfield Californian. 2014-10-30
 
County seeks imput on Mooney Grove plan
The County of Tulare will hold a workshop Nov. 6 focusing on the County’s 20-year master plan for Mooney Grove Park. It is the first of two meetings to be held this year seeking residential input on the plan. Both meetings will be held prior to the Board of Supervisors’ final consideration of the plan. It is anticipated that the second meeting will be held in December, with Board action coming in January. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Recorder Online. 2014-10-30
 
Study shows less toddlers attending preschool in Kern County
BAKESFIELD, Calif. - Less children in Kern County have attended pre-school than any other county in California, according to a scorecard released by the Children Now Network. The scorecard released on Wednesday shows that between 2010 and 2012 only 32 percent of 3-and 4- year- olds in Kern County attended preschool, which is the lowest in the state. On average, most counties had at least 50% of children within that age enrolled in preschool. "It has everything to do with finances," said Cheryl Nelson the Director with Community Connection for Child Care. [Article]
by LESLEY MARIN, KERO (ABC - Bakersfield). 2014-10-30
 
County prepares for school water deliveries
Tulare County will give bottled water to schools with contaminated water systems after the Board of Supervisors voted to accept a 1 mln grant from the California Water Resources Control Board. The grant is part of 100mln the state is making available to communities to deal with the effects of the statewide drought, now entering its fourth year. Tulare County is among the worst affected areas from the drought. It’s the first awarded grant money to buy bottled water for schools under the state’s pilot program. [Article]
by DAVID CASTELLON, Visalia Times-Delta. 2014-10-30
 
Madera Co. EDC launches app
A few months after launching a revamped website, the Madera County Economic Development Commission has become even more user friendly with a new mobile app to help businesses and travelers find information about the county. With the app, which is free on iTunes, Google Play and the Windows Phone store, users can find available commercial and industrial properties in Madera County. There is also information on county demographics, tourist attractions, economic incentives, community highlights and contacts for local resources. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Madera Tribune. 2014-10-30
 
State rail agency seeks to avoid bullet-train injunction battles
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is facing seven lawsuits over its approval of the Fresno-Bakersfield segment of its statewide bullet-train line. Now the agency is asking the federal Surface Transportation Board — which oversees rail lines in the U.S. and gave a green light to the project over the summer — to declare that those lawsuits should not be able to seek a California judge’s order to block construction. The authority’s petition to the federal board, filed earlier this month, is the second time that the rail agency has taken a “head-’em-off-at-the-pass” tactic to argue that federal jurisdiction over the project essentially overrides portions of the California Environmental Quality Act. The lawsuits challenging the state’s approval of the Fresno-Bakersfield segment allege that the state’s environmental analysis of the route was inadequate and does not provide enough measures to make up for anticipated harm to residents, farmers, businesses and communities along the route. The Surface Transportation Board, made up of three presidential appointees, is giving project supporters and opponents until Nov. 6 to respond to the rail authority’s petition. [Article]
by TIM SHEEHAN, Fresno Bee. 2014-10-30
 
Madera County farm company, feds reach labor practices agreement
A Madera County farming company and the federal government have entered into a voluntary agreement to self-monitor the farmer’s labor practices and those of the labor contractors it hires. Officials with Agriland Farming Company of Chowchilla and the U.S. Department of Labor signed the agreement on Wednesday. The voluntary agreement focuses on making sure the laws protecting worker health, safety and work environment are being followed. “Agriland demonstrates the kind of proactive approach to compliance that we applaud and encourage. Their actions will have a positive impact on the workplace and promote the welfare and labor rights of farm workers,” said Rick Newton, Sacramento District Director, U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Fresno Bee. 2014-10-30
 
Not-so affordable housing
Apartment dwellers throughout Ventura County are being forced to dig deeper into their pocketbooks to make their monthly rent payments. The cost of renting an apartment in the county surged between January and July due to increased demand and a low number of vacancies, according to a recently released survey by Ventura-based Dyer Sheehan Group. [Article]
by ANNA BITONG, Ventura County Star. 2014-10-30
 
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