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Public, private sector wage gap heavily favors many L.A. city workers
For almost a year, the labor groups representing roughly 20,000 Los Angeles city workers have battled at the bargaining table for people like Marshall Turner. Turner supports his union. Yet when it comes to his job, he's not complaining. A 59-year-old garbage-truck driver, he made $95,696 last year including overtime. His three decades of city employment enabled him to buy a four-bedroom Rancho Cucamonga home and provide for five children. He recognizes his privileged place in an economy that has grown increasingly bleak for blue-collar workers. "I feel blessed at the city of Los Angeles," he said recently over a ramen lunch during a break from collecting trash in South-Central. That sense of satisfaction is not misplaced — at least not when it comes to his paycheck. Among the city workers who are currently threatening to strike amid contract negotiations that have stalled over pay and other issues, many collect salaries higher than those who do similar jobs in both the public and private sectors, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found. The analysis, which compared 2014 city and federal wage data, shows that three of the five largest job categories represented by Service Employees International Union Local 721 — the biggest and most prominent of the unions now in contract talks with the city — pay more than double the median salary of similar full-time, private-sector jobs in Los Angeles County. [Article]
by PETER JAMISON AND CATHERINE SAILLANT, Los Angeles Times. 2015-04-27
 
L.A. County firefighters deployed to Nepal to aid in search and rescue
A team of 57 Los Angeles County firefighters will be deployed to Nepal to aid in search and rescue efforts after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal. The highly trained crew was slated to depart around midnight Sunday from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown approved the dispatch of Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 2, according to L.A. County fire Capt. Roland Sprewell. Authorities said that the death toll in Nepal has exceeded 2,430, which includes more than 1,000 people killed in the densely populated Katmandu Valley and 17 who died in an avalanche that swept into a base camp for climbers attempting to hike Mt. Everest. The massive earthquake flattened buildings, toppled sacred temples and damaged the country's infrastructure. It was the worst shaker Nepal has experienced in 80 years. Rescue workers continue mining the rubble for survivors. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nepalese people and we are eager to get our world-class first responders on the ground to help those that are still being impacted by this terrible event," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of California's Office of Emergency Services. The task force is expected to arrive in Katmandu on Monday, Sprewell said, where they will assist local emergency operations in and around the hardest hit areas of the country. [Article]
by ANGEL JENNINGS, Los Angeles Times. 2015-04-27
 
Social Worker Training Is Paying Off For MSW Students
In 2014, Los Angeles County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection issued a scathing report that pointed out that the social workers investigating emergency cases of child abuse and neglect were often the least experienced. The report connects this finding with another critical insight: First responders are often the weakest link in the chain, contributing to otherwise preventable child fatalities and injuries. This December, Megan Healy became an emergency response social worker investigator for the Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) San Fernando Valley office. In speaking with Healy, one gets a very different impression of the training emergency response workers go through than depicted by the blue ribbon commission. [Article]
by SARAH THOMAS, Los Angeles Chronicle. 2015-04-27
 
New program aims to prevent foster kids from repeating their parents' mistakes
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday on funding a program targeting foster kids who are pregnant or raising babies and aims to stop the cycle of abuse and neglect. The costs for the two-year pilot program would total about 202K and would be paid from funds set aside from birth certificate fees. [Article]
by RINA PALTA, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2015-04-27
 
Santana: Can We Really Trust OC Leaders to Police Themselves?
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas last week put on an interesting clinic on leadership. After his top aide – Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder – got called out for failing to disclose her own economic interests (something pretty standard for top DA executive team members across So Cal, ie: decision makers), Rackauckas solved the stunning oversight with a unique solution. [Article]
by NORBERTO SANTANA Jr., Voice of OC. 2015-04-27
 
Editorial: County’s Gobernadora Basin Shows Supes Casual Malfeasance
This is the time of year you can see the county Supervisors gearing up for their annual June budget Kabuki drama with its predicable fourth act - sarcastically known to insiders as "frugality theater." During this part of the show the Supervisors will wring their collective hands over this or that pittance that the public simply can't afford. There is irony in this performance since so much is simply wasted in County government; and even worse is the long history of the county handing out public assets to the wealthy, the well-connected and the clients of lobbyists who have invested liberally in supervisorial political campaigns. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Voice of OC. 2015-04-27
 
They wrote the book on pimping and now O.C. police, prosecutors using it against the pimps
One of the most important rules of the pimping game is revealed in a book that’s on the required-reading list for many Orange County vice squads and prosecutors. “Most (prostitutes) have low self-esteem for a reason,” observes pimp-turned-author Ken Ivy in “Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game.” “A pimp looks for that weakness. ... Then he uses those weaknesses to his advantage. Weakness is the best trait a person can find in someone they want to control. If you can’t find a weakness, you have to create one. You have to tear someone’s ego down to nothing before they will start looking to you for salvation.” [Article]
by TERI SFORZA, Orange County Register. 2015-04-27
 
Irvine: County's 100-acre plan could kill Great Park
Will the Great Park get a great wall? Some Irvine officials are fuming over the county’s plan to put shops, offices, residences and a hotel on a narrow band of land adjacent to the Great Park. Irvine “has serious questions over whether the proposed development can and should be allowed,” said City Manager Sean Joyce at a recent meeting of the Great Park’s board of directors, composed of City Council members. [Article]
by SARAH de CRESCENZO, Orange County Register. 2015-04-27
 
What's that Caltrans is using for water?
Each year, Caltrans sprinkles about 720 million gallons of drinking water along miles of medians, acres of embankments and anywhere else the highway agency wants to protect its investment in landscaping in San Diego County. That’s enough to supply about 5,700 typical households for a year. Make that 7,600 households, assuming they all reduce use 25 percent because of the drought. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. A state law enacted in 1986 required the California Department of Transportation to stop using tap water for landscaping “as soon as practical.” The agency was supposed to switch to reclaimed water instead — treated water from sewers, which isn’t safe to drink. [Article]
by MORGAN COOK, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015-04-27
 
Oceanside Launches North County’s First Police Homeless Outreach Team
The success of the City of San Diego’s police Homeless Outreach Team has led to the City of Oceanside adopting the same approach to help end veteran and chronic homelessness. Unlike past police practices of using enforcement to deal with homeless individuals, the HOT Team works to actively connect people with social services and housing. Police Lieutenant Karen Laser leads Oceanside's new team. [Article]
by PROMISE YEE, KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2015-04-27
 
COUNTY CLEANS UP DIRT DUMPED IN CLEVELAND NAITIONAL FOREST AFTER ECM INQUIRY
April 26, 2015 (Cleveland National Forest) – The County has begun a major cleanup of dirt dumped along Boulder Creek Road in response to an East County Magazine investigation. Eagle Peak Friends and Collaborators has posted a video on its Facebook page documenting massive quantities of dirt dumped along Boulder Creek Road inside Cleveland National Forest in San Diego’s East County. The group contended that the County is responsible for dumping 20,000 cubic yards of dirt from road-grading—dirt that polluted a federally protected watershed in the recommended Eagle Peak Wilderness area. [Article]
by MIRIAM RAFTERY, East County Magazine. 2015-04-27
 
Homeless rate goes down 8 percent in San Bernardino County in past two years, report says
San Bernardino County has seen an 8 percent decrease in homelessness during the past two years, according to the results of the 2015 Point in Time Homeless Count released recently by the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership. "The PITC results are encouraging. However, the high need for continued state and federal investment to reduce homelessness, such as permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, persists," said 5th District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who is also the chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness. "There is still much work to be done if we are going to reach our goal of ending homelessness in San Bernardino County." [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Fontana Herald News. 2015-04-27
 
Conway says she's excited with new appointment by governor
Connie Conway said she's excited about her appointment to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. "I am grateful for the opportunity," she said. "I am looking forward to it." Conway, whose appointment was announced earlier this week, said community colleges are the place where returning students get the education they are seeking and young students start their path in higher education. "The community college do a great job," she said. "I am anxious to see what's going on." Conway, a former Tulare County Supervisor and California Assembly member, said she got a call from the board's chairman Friday morning, welcoming her into the governing body. [Article]
by LUIS HERNANDEZ, Visalia Times-Delta. 2015-04-27
 
California Rice Farmers Describe Impact of Water Cutbacks
April 22, 2015 - By Ching Lee - California rice farmers say deeper water cutbacks this year will not only force many of them to fallow more ground, but there will be less water available to transfer to other farmers and areas facing shortages. Helped by storms in December and February, water supplies in the Sacramento Valley are in better shape than other parts of the state, said David Guy, president of the Northern California Water Association. But every part of the region will still see water reductions this year, he added, ranging from 25 percent to 100 percent. "Everyone is going to suffer in some fashion," Guy said. [Article]
by CHING LEE, Sierra Sun Times (Mariposa). 2015-04-27
 
Merced County jail releases on the rise since realignment
The number of inmates released from early from Merced County’s two jails has increased each year since 2011 when the state implemented Assembly Bill 109, also known as the State Prison Realignment Act. The average daily inmate population has increased in Merced County each year over the same time period, according to numbers obtained by the Merced Sun-Star. Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Sullivan confirmed the population increases and subsequent early releases are a direct result of the impact of AB 109 on Merced County. “It’s a complicated subject, but the bottom line is that to reduce state prison populations, they shifted the burden to the local jail and, in our case, it caused additional early releases from the jail,” Sullivan said. Passed in October 2011, the realignment act transferred responsibility for nonviolent, nonsexual, less serious offenders from the state to the counties to reduce overpopulation in the state’s prisons, authorities have said. [Article]
by DON THOMPSON and ROB PARSONS, Merced Sun-Star. 2015-04-27
 
Medi-Cal commission could hire CEO
VENTURA, Calif. - Ventura County Medi-Cal commissioners will discuss hiring a CEO for the Gold Coast Health Plan behind closed doors at the beginning of their meeting Monday afternoon. If a hire is made, it will be announced to the public in the open meeting, said Dr. David Araujo, chairman of the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission. State law allows the commission to discuss personnel issues such as hires in private. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Ventura County Star. 2015-04-27
 
Santa Clara River Earth Day Clean Up
Hands on was the name of the game at the Santa Clara River Earth Day Clean Up! Sierra Club led volunteers on Saturday April 25 in removing trash at the River Gateway Puente land (Johnson Drive at Hwy 101). "Not only is this a bridge between Ventura and Oxnard, this spot is the bridge between urban and natural worlds," explained Nina Danza, event chair. About 1/2 ton of stuff that doesn't belong in nature was taken away that day including car parts, clothes, shopping carts, used food containers, and lots of plastic and paper waste. Environmental leaders from many parts of the county helped. Stan Hakes, chief of staff to Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragosa, hauled bag after bag filled with trash to the transport truck. [Article]
by PRESS RELEASE, Edhat: Santa Barbara. 2015-04-27
 
Plan for Santa Barbara Salamanders Released
The first step in finding the best way to protect the Santa Barbara County population of the federally endangered California tiger salamander went forward on Friday, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releasing its draft plan toward that effort. Recommendations in the plan address habitat loss and fragmentation of the amphibians. Through June 23, community members are encouraged to comment on the draft. A public workshop on the plan is scheduled for May 22 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the county government building in Santa Maria, at 511 East Lakeside Parkway. Comments can be turned in at the meeting or faxed to 805-644-3958. Emailed input should be addressed to sbcts_rp@fws.gov, with the subject line reading “California Tiger Salamander Santa Barbara County DPS Recovery Plan.” [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Santa Barbara Independent. 2015-04-27
 
Lompoc recovery home receives service award
A Lompoc-based service agency that has helped area women and children in need for the past seven years was recently honored by the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women. Recovery Way Home, which is a residential center for pregnant and/or parenting women who are recovering from drug or alcohol addictions, was chosen by the Commission for Women as the county’s 4th District Service Organization of the Year. Recovery Way Home administrators and staff were presented with an award and honored for the selection at the April 14 County Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Barbara. [Article]
by WILLIS JACOBSON, Lompoc Record. 2015-04-27
 
Finding water for cattle to drink poses challenge for San Luis Obispo County ranchers
A year ago, there was so little rain that green grass was scarce, and ranchers including Robert Soto in Cambria were forced to sell off large portions of their cattle holdings in the face of sky-high prices for supplemental feed. Those cattle sell-offs and strong prices led to a 34 percent increase in San Luis Obispo County’s beef crop in 2014 — valued at more than $129 million. Entering the fourth year of California’s drought, local cattle herds have been thinned enough that feed is no longer the top problem. Now it has spread deeper — to the springs and watering holes that are beginning to dry up. “In the last few years, we’ve lost 50 percent of our springs,” said Soto, who runs cattle on 2,500 acres around Cambria — where five generations of his family have ranched. “A spring that has never dried since 1900, when my family started farming here, it’s dry now. Where are the cattle gonna water?” Soto asked. [Article]
by JULIA HICKEY AND KATHE TANNER, San Luis Obispo Tribune. 2015-04-27
 
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